36'er tips appreciated

I recently bought a used Coker. This is an older version, steel frame, and steel rim. I rode it today for the first time, and am looking for tips from others. I was able to ride it, but never felt very comfortable on it. It was heavy and seemed unresponsive. It is equipped with 152mm cranks. At the end of the day, I got on my old schwinn 24, and felt like I was going to push the pedal through the pavement it was so much easier to pedal. I am not disheartened, but I am willing to listen to the experience of others.

The more you ride the more you will get comfortable with the coker. Just keep on riding and get used to the big wheel. It will get easier on you in time. The cranks should be fine for all round riding. When I first got my fixed 36er I had to get used to it for a while. I put on shorter cranks pretty soon and tried to get faster on it. Breaks were helpful for the downhills then. Adding a handle bar like the KH T-bar one or the Nimbus Shadow could be an improvement for longer rides. Of course the 36er will always be harder to control than smaller wheels but as I said it will get easier. Hope that helps.

You will get used to it with more experience in the saddle. That being said, the old Cokers are supposed to be very heavy. You could upgrade the rim to a light-weight aluminum one, and you could switch to a 29" innertube. Those changes will reduce the rotating weight a lot and make it much more responsive.


I think the first upgrade will be a new wheelbuild … expensive but probably worth the expense. The other upgrade I think I’ll look into would be handlebars (I already have a brake). Being I learned to ride before handles on uni seats I’m not even used to holding onto the seat right now. For the immediate future I think I’ll just try to get used to what I have.

once you get on a 36er with a aluminum rim, stainless spokes and a 29er tube you wont believe the difference

You’ll get stronger with more rides. Before you spend a lot of money on upgrades, why not give it a month or so and see how your muscles adapt?

I think the first upgrade should be a 29er tube. Out of all the upgrades you could do it’s the most cost effective. You spend four dollars on something that will be noticeable in the ride. I’m not saying that a new wheel won’t do wonders, but it’s quite a bit more expensive.

Once you get comfortable riding it and keeping the wheel under control it’s amazing how fast it starts to feel stable. I think the bigger wheel actually feels more stable than the smaller ones, but you do lose some of the twitchy response.

Hey Bruce.

I’m actually from the Durham area, and I have an old T7 handlebar that I never use anymore, I’m at school right now, but I could bring it home for you if you want. The support bars are just slightly bent, but it still seems sturdy to me. I mounted it on one of the ends, and I probably shouldn’t have. Anyway, it’s yours if you want it. It would at least be a cheap way to figure out if you like the handle or not. It does take a while to get used to though.

…or he might not even be able to tell the difference. It sounds like he only knows what it’s like to ride a 24" Schwinn, so even a top-of-the-line 36" with all the trimmings is going to feel heavy, sluggish, and unwilling to turn.

The first time I rode one, I kept expecting it to be able to turn better. But a Coker is not made to do quick turns. It has a lot of tire, plus a heavy wheel, and it’s made to cruise. Yes, you can do turns and spins on one, but it’s a lot more work (and expensive on tires!). I had a different background with big wheels, having ridden many wheels, mostly larger, but all had hard rubber (no air) tires. They spin like crazy. But they basically suck to ride for any distance; I’ll take an air tire every time.

So you have to give the Coker some time, as it’s a whole different type of unicycle. Once you get into the groove of cruising somewhere, eating up lots of distance, you’ll see what it’s strengths are. Though the wheel weight can be improved, it’s going to be heavier and more sluggish than a 24" no matter what. If you’re like most people, after you’ve been riding it a while you will want to try some shorter cranks for more efficient cruising. Unless you’re riding it offroad…

I pretty much thought I was going to die the first 100 times I got on my 36er (or tried to anyway). Now, after 3 months of riding, I love it and commute to work everyday. For me, the first day was nothing more than trying not to break bones.

When I first rode a (borrowed) 36" I was already comfortable on a 29" (or it may have been 28" at the time). It took me like four tries to get the 36" started, even with the support of an adequate bridge railing. Such is the nature of a 36": it resists getting in motion, and you really need to get used to that. But quite soon (I mean within a mile) I was reasonably comfortable riding along on the flat and quiet bike path, and I was thrilled with the speed I got with so little effort!
Like others say, a 36" is really different from smaller unicycles. But once you get used to it, I’m pretty sure you will like it.

Just ride it lots, and don’t be afraid of it.

My first Coker was the steel framed, steel-rimmed “Big One” and when I took it out the box I swore out loud and wondered what I’d bought.

On my first ride, I mounted against a solid support, tried to ride, and immediately UPDed.

Within a few hundred metres I was riding it in a hard-work swaying and staggering sort of way. I soon got over confident and went for top speed and had one of the most painful belly sliding UPDs I can recall. Ripped the palms out of a good pair of gloves and took skin off my knee.

But then I got into riding it a lot, and as long as you plan a long way ahead, you can ride it fast and smooth up and down quite steep hills. It can be stormingly good fun.

I am 5’8" (172 cm) and something like (ahem) 12 stone (170 pounds or 76 Kg) and count myself as an experienced but “mature” rider, and I usually ride on 150s. I have ridden on shorter cranks and it’s thrilling but less versatile.

I now have a Nimbus 36 and don’t ride it half as often as I should.