Unicyclist Community

Go Back   Unicyclist Community > Unicycling Discussion > General Unicycling Discussions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 2002-05-10, 04:42 AM   #1
harper
768 - It's in your DNA
 
harper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Age: 66
Posts: 9,148
MUni frame by Steve Howard

Yesterday, I received a pretty little package on my front porch. Inside was a custom red anodized aluminum frame by Steve Howard. Not only did it contain this elegantly machined marvel (see photo) it also had 170mm Shimano aluminum bike cranks with the chain ring spider machined off by Steve and one of his 27.2mm rail type seat tube adapters for a Viscount seat. I believe that the axle/hub is one of his stainless steel types.

Stock items were a pair of Odyssey pedals, Viscount seat, Alex DX32 rim, 24x3 Gazzaloddi tire, and 450mm long Interlock 27.2mm seatpost. The seatpost very soon had 3" hacksawed off of it. I chamfered it with a file (I do accurate work like Steve's new Haas CNC with just a file. And then I reanodized it in my bathtub.)

It went together like the precision machine that it is. The bearings were seated in Steve's unique bearing clamp and centered to within 0.020" without stressing the forks. The bearing clamps are easy to tune by slightly overtightening and then releasing until the wheel coasts. When pumped up, the wheel and tire ran true and centered in the frame, that gorgeous frame.

I had problems with the left crank in that it would not advance far enough onto the taper to completely thread the crank nut. One or two threads were exposed. That later became a problem as it loosened up with stair hopping/riding. I lost the nut in the dirt, sand, or grass when I was four blocks from home. I took the crank off and, thanks to recent skill development, one-foot rode the few blocks home.

I hammered the cranks on dry (wood backing block, rubber mallet) and torqued mightily on the crank nuts. I went out and hopped and retightened several times and since have had no problems.

There is a park close by where I can do 12" hops up and down the wall of a wading pool. There is a set of four stairs that I could hop up and ride down. I did all of this stuff over and over again and still no crank loosening. Finally, I did a couple of 24"-30" drops into sand that I could land but not ride out of. Sand is tough. There was a STEEP dirt hill that I ran up and down a couple of times. Although the crank was not loose, the bearing clamp on the right fork blade had slid about 0.75mm (0.030") in towards the hub.

This weekend I plan to get together with David Maxfield and John Childs and have them thrash about on it. The three of us will be sharing the unicycle and reporting its performance.
Attached Images
 
__________________
-Greg Harper

Destroying the climate by shutting down nuclear power plants, one by one, since 1979.

Change is good. Bills are better.
harper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-10, 05:00 AM   #2
harper
768 - It's in your DNA
 
harper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Age: 66
Posts: 9,148
I forgot to add that the assembled unicycle as shown in the photo weighs 14.5 pounds. And, one-foot riding it is easy with a huge platform for a frame crown. Looks good on my ironing board, too, doesn't it?
__________________
-Greg Harper

Destroying the climate by shutting down nuclear power plants, one by one, since 1979.

Change is good. Bills are better.
harper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-10, 05:08 AM   #3
Dylan Wallinger
Newsgroup User
 
Posts: n/a
Re: MUni frame by Steve Howard

I can't get over how cool those frames look, and I'm dying to have one!
Beautiful.
  Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-10, 06:27 AM   #4
teachndad
ONE for the...Off Road
 
teachndad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: West San Fernando Valley, Southern California
Posts: 1,086
Greg,

I think I may have the same cranks that you have on your Muni. Remember a while back and you had recommended Steves work to machine the spider off a crankset. They were nicely machined.
I also have the same problem with the left crank coming loose.

I have had to retighten them usually after riding. It really hasn't been an inconvenience. I am very thankful and love my 170's. I bought some loctite to use to tighten them.

Work the maze.
__________________
Rod
scottw818.wixsite.com/vintage-rod-and-reel
teachndad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-10, 07:53 AM   #5
teachndad
ONE for the...Off Road
 
teachndad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: West San Fernando Valley, Southern California
Posts: 1,086
I just wanted to make sure that everyone knew that Steve didn't make the cranks. The problem with the left crank is a problem with the cranks themselves and not Steves hub. They came from a STX crankset.

... that is a nice frame. Best pix so far. Shux, my new one won't look that nice.



Work the maze.
__________________
Rod
scottw818.wixsite.com/vintage-rod-and-reel
teachndad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-10, 12:09 PM   #6
rhysling
Simmian Envoy from Fenetic Climate
 
rhysling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Circling overhead.
Posts: 1,867
Send a message via AIM to rhysling
Greg,

Is this the first ride you've had that features a pitch adjustable seat? How do you like that angle? I'd comment on how tasty Steve's frame looks, but I can't get my toung off the screen, and my eyes no longer focus this close. BTW: how do I return all this laundry?

Christopher
__________________
"Jeeeezus! I can be misunderstood enough all by myself" -Uni57

"Jesus would love you if he were real."
-Catboy

"Could someone please pass the brain soap?"
-Jethro
rhysling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-10, 03:37 PM   #7
harper
768 - It's in your DNA
 
harper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Age: 66
Posts: 9,148
Quote:
Originally posted by rhysling
Greg,

Is this the first ride you've had that features a pitch adjustable seat? How do you like that angle? BTW: how do I return all this laundry?

Christopher
I've never had a pitch adjustable seat. On the Viscount I would tilt the front up higher. As I ride I can tell that this would put my pelvis more over the padded region in the back of the seat and my genitals further away from the front. I know this sounds counter intuitive. The Viscount will not remain long on this MUni, though.

Send the laundry to:

John Foss
c/o USA

Did you starch the cycle shorts like I asked?
__________________
-Greg Harper

Destroying the climate by shutting down nuclear power plants, one by one, since 1979.

Change is good. Bills are better.
harper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-10, 03:50 PM   #8
uniracer
redneck eh?
 
uniracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Hartland, CT
Age: 33
Posts: 134
Send a message via AIM to uniracer
im curious how much that whole uni together costed? im thinking of gettin a new 24in muni for trail riding and i love that frame and im wondering if i can get one also. i finally got a job and can afford a muni and cant wait to get one. My e-mail address is KyleBMX4fun@aol.com peace out Kyle Grasso
uniracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-10, 04:43 PM   #9
dan
Unicyclist
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 179
That is a cool looking frame. For some reason I still like the likes of the Telford. The frame geomatry seems like it would absorb some road shock before it ever got to your but. However maybe while muniing the tire is at a low enough pressure to where you do not feel much anyway. I think the characteristics of road riding may be different.

By the way, my gentitals simply hang off the front of my seat.

dan
dan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-10, 11:02 PM   #10
uni-man-dan
http://www.thedan.com
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Boston
Age: 32
Posts: 168
Send a message via AIM to uni-man-dan
wow, what a great design. my ironing board is just white, yours has flower like spots!

And how bout that Unicycle frame!
could I get a Blue one? or mabey one with flames?

you could park in by sticking a chop stick or somthing thru the farme and thru the spokes to the other side of the frame. then the wheel couldnt turn.


pointless input from,
dan
__________________
http://www.thedan.com

uni-man-dan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-11, 05:14 AM   #11
UniDak
Unicyclist
 
UniDak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Age: 34
Posts: 529
Send a message via AIM to UniDak
Beautiful. Just Beautiful.
-=David Kaplan
UniDak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-14, 03:38 PM   #12
Aj
Newsgroup User
 
Posts: n/a
Re: MUni frame by Steve Howard


I remember when Steve first posted the first frame like this to this
forum. I wrote to him asking if he'd make a Coker rim but never heard
back from him. Can you give me his e-mail. TIA.

Aj

  Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-14, 04:28 PM   #13
John Foss
Newsgroup User
 
Posts: n/a
RE: MUni frame by Steve Howard

> That is a cool looking frame. For some reason I still like
> the likes of the Telford.


The Telford frames are elegant and beautiful.

> The frame geomatry seems like it would absorb some road
> shock before it ever got to your but.


This is true in theory, but the frame is tubular steel and very well
constructed. I don't think that in practice you would be able to feel any
difference.

Unfortunately the drawback with Telfords is the lack of them. But I heard a
rumor that Geoff is working on a new batch of a dozen, of which he plans to
bring any extras to UNICON...

> By the way, my genitals simply hang off the front of my seat.


Thanks for sharing. I thought that was your seat handle you were gripping,
but I won't say any more.

JF
  Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-14, 08:38 PM   #14
John Foss
Newsgroup User
 
Posts: n/a
RE: MUni frame by Steve Howard

I am also testing a Steve Howard MUni. Mine will be up for auction at
UNICON, so *you* could be its next owner!

I'm going to use Greg Harper's previous post to help me tell about mine:

> Yesterday, I received a pretty little package on my front
> porch.


Wow. I never thought you could fit a unicycle into such a small box! The box
was the same height and width as the 3" Gazz tire, and stuck out where the
axle was. Due to the frame design, all the parts fit in the box without
requiring any more space. A seat was not included.

See the completed unicycle:
http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?m=64203631403&n=1244531114
Is it a beauty or what?

> had 170mm Shimano aluminum bike cranks with the chain ring spider
> machined off by Steve and one of his 27.2mm rail type seat tube
> adapters for a Viscount seat. I believe that the axle/hub is one
> of his stainless steel types.


I believe mine is the same, except for the seat. He offered to send it with
a Viscount, but I told him not to bother as I'd never ride it that way. So
he made a rail adapter for a Miyata seat, and I took one of my hoarded read
Miyata seats from last year, converted it to air, and mounted it up there.

The axle on the unicycle is a cotterless Steve Howard design.

I won't go into detail about the components, because that's not what this
cycle is about. We are testing a new type of frame, on a unicycle with a 3"
Gazz tire and 170mm Cranks. The cycle is obviously built up for MUni, so we
are testing it on the trails.

> The bearing clamps are easy to tune by slightly overtightening
> and then releasing until the wheel coasts.


Mine have not slipped so far.

> When pumped up, the wheel and tire ran true and centered in the frame,
> that gorgeous frame.


I have to check the spokes, as they have not been adjusted yet. Doing some
truing is normal for a newly-built wheel after putting some miles on it.

> I had problems with the left crank in that it would not advance far
> enough onto the taper to completely thread the crank nut.


My cranks were fine. I took a 14mm wrench on the first few rides, and
tightened the cranks occasionally (mostly before starting out). Now they
don't show any more "turn" when I go to tighten them. This is also normal
behavior for newly-installed cranks.

> There is a park close by where I can do 12" hops up and down
> the wall of a wading pool.


My first couple of rides didn't offer much in the way of drops, but this
past weekend I went down to Santa Cruz and rode in Wilder Ranch with a group
of MUni experts. But let me start from the beginning.

I had seen the Steve Howard frame at MUni Weekend last fall. He brought one
with him, and it looked really cool. I don't know if that was his first one,
but it had thinner fork legs and a different design on the crown. The
current design has much thicker legs (3/8"?), and a simpler crown design
that uses less metal so it should be lighter.

The three piece frame design is very simple to work with. You put the pieces
together (doesn't matter which sides the legs go on, and tighten the bearing
holders onto the bearings. Just make sure you put the fork legs on the
bearings before screwing them into the crown. I had to do that part over...
:-P

The three piece design allows the possibility of interchangeable parts.
Different length legs will accommodate different-sized wheels. Different
width crowns will work with different tire widths. Riders could mix & match
without having to buy whole new unicycles or frames.

The fork legs attach to the crown with three screws on each side. These
screws use the same size hex wrench (5mm? Sorry, I don't have it with me) as
the bearing and seat screws. I like it when one tool fits all. The fork
screws have stayed perfectly tight since I assembled it.

The bearings attach with a single screw, which went together like a piece of
cake. Tighten the screw and you're done! Brett Bymaster and Eric Kvamme
expressed concern that if the bearing works its way out of the frame and the
rider isn't paying attention, it could potentially break the bottom of the
frame. There is nothing there to hold the bearing in place, which could be
something to consider for future models.

But so far the bearings haven't moved.

The frame looks way cool. No other unicycle has such a design. I like it! I
imagine that Steve could also, for a price, cut any design into a frame that
a rider wanted. He hasn't commented on this yet, but I think it might be
cool to have one that says UNI-CYCLONE down the side, for example. I love
the anodized finish. No paint! And I love the lightness of aluminum. You
have to use more material because of the flat-blade design, but it still
only weighs about as much as a regular steel frame.

I pointed out to Steve that the frame's design will allow twisting as you
ride. A flat-blade design will always allow more twist than one made from
tubing. The only way to resist the twisting is to add more material, making
the frame heavier. But starting with aluminum puts you in a good position,
so you can have a unique-looking frame with basically no weight penalty.

Brett Bymaster suggested that the frame might be prone to cracking after
long-term use, because of the constant left-right twisting it will get,
especially when being pedaled hard. This remains to be seen. I know aluminum
is less resistant to these kinds of repetitive forces than steel.

But let's quantify this twist. By holding the tire and twisting the seat
side to side, yes there is some twist. Slightly more than with a tubular
frame. But does it twist like a Schwinn or Semcycle Deluxe? Not even close.
So it's not like riding on a bendy frame.

On to the ride. In a word, "Wheeeeeee!"

But let's be more specific. On my first ride, I had limited time so I took
it to William Pond Park, near my house. This park has dirt trails along the
American River, but the area is basically flat. I rode the unicycle up &
down the little hills that were there, over some round river rocks, and over
lots of bumps. I stopped and took pictures of the cycle before it got dirty.
It sure does look nice with its red frame and red seat! Plus I was wearing a
T-shirt and helmet in the same color as the frame, and brand new black
gloves with red trim, but didn't get any pictures of that. Then I proceeded
to get lost on the wrong side of the river (I never ride there because it's
too flat), and spent the rest of my time riding fast on pavement trying to
find my way back.

My second ride was on the Foresthill Divide Loop trail in the Auburn area.
This is a relatively new trail that I actually helped to build, but I've
never ridden on most of it. Brett rode it years ago, and told me it wasn't
very interesting from a MUni point of view. But I felt like riding something
new. Yup, I think it's an awesome trail for mountain biking, but doesn't
offer much in the way of technical. I cruised lots of miles with no
problems.

On both of the first two rides, I was very aware of the long cranks. I've
been using 150mm cranks since I've been riding 26" MUnis. The 170's are a
lot more work when you're going fast. But how much of this is because I'm
not used to them? So I reserved judgment. Anyway, that has nothing to do
with the purpose of the test, anyway.

The other thing different for me on this unicycle is the 3" tire. I have a
Roger Davies carbon uni that only fits regular mountain bike tires (and
hence doesn't get much action anymore), and a DM ATU that only fits a 2.6"
Gazz. This was my first 3" tire. I've ridden them before, but not on whole
rides. The first to rides I did were not challenging enough for me to notice
much about the 3" Gazz, except the weight. It *is* a heavy tire. An
appropriately wide rim on it makes for a fairly heavy wheel.

But then there was the third test ride, which was the first one on what I
would call "appropriate" terrain for the setup. Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz
on Saturday. I got together with Nathan and Beau Hoover, Brett Bymaster,
Bronson Silva, Bruce Bundy, and Eric Kvamme. We did just under 10 miles in
the park, which is criss-crossed with tons of trails. I don't think we rode
on any of the Wilder trails that were part of the 1999 MUni Weekend. But
there were plenty of technical areas, and some big ups and downs to ride, as
we went from around sea level to around 550'.

When I come and ride in Santa Cruz, I often feel the limitations of my DM.
The trails have more steep spots, more drops, and just plain more variety
than most of the not-too-far trails around Sacramento. Santa Cruz truly is a
paradise for MUni. Here, the Steve Howard MUni was in its element. What I
noticed after riding long sections of drops or rough stuff, was that the
whole trail was basically one notch easier than when it was the last time
I'd ridden it (last November on my 2.6" Gazz DM). Everything was easier!
Nathan brought us to an uphill spot with roots and rocks, saying that the
challenge was to ride up it without hopping. I rode up the easy line, almost
with no problem. That was too easy. So I tackled it again, going straight up
the middle where the bumps were almost like stairs. I still made it. Wow!

We did lots of drops and way lots of bumps. We hopped and pedaled across
streams and through the round rocks on either side. We did not do any drops
over 2'. Brett spent about 10 or 15 minutes trying to hop up a very steep
spot with roots that provided both obstacles and landing points. He never
quite made it, but neither did Bruce. The cycle never complained.

I took pictures on Saturday but I haven't got those processed yet. There's a
video clip as well. I'll let everybody know when they are posted.

I think most of the guys tried the unicycle, and it got positive comments
all around. The only critical comments were the ones mentioned above by
Brett and Eric. The big question was "How much will one, equipped like this,
cost?" Good question. I'm sure an answer will not be far off.

HOW YOU CAN OWN THIS UNICYCLE
When Steve offered to give this one to me, I felt a little guilty. I had
just ordered a new MUni from Unicycle.com, and have wife pressure to deal
with as it is (about 35 unicycles in the garage now). So I thought of the
idea of Brett and I testing it, then showing it off at NAUCC and UNICON,
then using it as a fundraising device to aid the conventions. Proceeds from
the sale will go to help fund the conventions. I don't know yet if I want to
offer the unicycle also to people who will not be at the conventions. Then
I'll have to ship it (and it won't fit the original box with the seat). Ask
me if you're interested. It will go to the highest bidder!

Stay on top,
John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
jfoss@unicycling.com
www.unicycling.com


"If people want to truly understand mountain biking, they have to do two
other things: ride a unicycle, and master the trampoline." -- Joe Breeze,
one of the originators of mountain biking, in a conversation with Tim Bustos
  Reply With Quote
Old 2002-05-15, 01:03 PM   #15
uniracer
redneck eh?
 
uniracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Hartland, CT
Age: 33
Posts: 134
Send a message via AIM to uniracer
hey john. that uni sounded like a blast to ride. in your last paragraph said u were willing to accept bids for the uni well im up for entering into the bidding for the frame because im lookin at MUni's to get into it more and i love that frame My er-mail address is KyleBMX4fun@aol.com Kyle Grasso
uniracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
frame, howard, muni, steve


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2001-2016 Gilby
You Rated this Thread:
Page generated in 0.79439 seconds with 11 queries