Advice for mountain Cokering

I’m fishing for advice on how best to deal with the terrain in the high mountains of Colorado on my Coker. I dropped $65 to register for the Iron Horse this year and have been getting in tons of bike, mtb, muni, and Coker miles over the past few months and fitness-wise I’ll be as ready as I’m going to be. I wanted to know from those who swim with the two-wheelers what I need to know about dealing with cyclists coming up behind me on the descents, coping with lllloooonnnngggg, steep stretches of road (up and down), and anything you’ve learned the hard way so I don’t have to.
My Coker has a caliper brake that I can fit with either a brake lever or thumbshifter and I’m even considering riding about half the ride on a 29er for the better climbing gear and slower speed for the steep descents. Thanks to all for your advice.
Tom Miller
Kokopelli Bike and Board
Cortez, CO

send a pm to brian mackenzie on these fora…that or aspenmike…i think those would be the 2 guys to talk to about coker muni.

Why do you even want to use your coker for muni? Why not get a 24, or 26, or even your 29, but a 36???

'cuz it’s a blast.

I think he’s talking about road (distance) riding in a mountainous area.

In that case, people like Nathan Hoover, John Stone, and others who do the various European unicycle tours would give the best advice.

But are they “practical” for muni, especially the more “trialsy”, rocky type trails? Big drops, gapping, hopping, etc, or are you thinking more “rolling” type muni? Do you think, in time, that the 36" size will overtake the stadard 24/26 in popularity for muni? I have a coker, but it’s the basic one, so the rim would fold really easily on even short drops.

Well, with the latest advances (widened hub, airfoil rim, s-steel spokes, Stockton build, 29er tube, Wallis saddle/handle, Hunter frame), a 36" MUni is the same weight as an older 24" MUni. Couple that with trials-quality cranks and excellent pedals, and you’re talking about rolling log piles (see Brian’s footage), easily doing big drops, whipping through stuff you had to work through on your 24". That’s practical. Whether it will become the “standard” MUni – I kinda doubt it, because it’s slightly heavier (coupla pounds) than the equivalently-advanced 24".

It’s really an individual preference. This is a new situation; only about 4 years ago the conventional wisdom was: 20" is for trials only, 24" is for MUni, 26" is too weak for technical MUni but ok for X-C, 29" is too weak for technical MUni but ok for X-C, and Cokers were too weak for anything but road riding by light persons.

Now the wisdom is: Select your size based on your preference and riding goals, since all five are available in versions that are tough enough for just about anything. {The jury is still out on 29ers, though; neither I nor anyone else has seriously gone after that size for huge stuff; though Jag has done some, and I know that Ben’s done some great off-road with a 29er I built for him, including some 2’ drops at a skate park (vid available), the Lifestyles race, and the Mt. Washington Hill Climb (vid available)}

I’m not saying that stock versions of those sizes are tough enough. Even matching component lists does not guarantee that a uni is tough; the build is equally important. Just because Joe Schmo has the same recipe and ingredients as Master Chef XYZ doesn’t mean his omelette will taste as good!

terry click the strongest coker wheel link in u-turns sig…you will see what a well built coker wheel can really take.

Cokers are great for fast, non-techincal MUni. If you have a lightweight wheel- there’s an amazing amount of terrain that can be covered. I’ve done several 100km+ Mountainbike races and there is no way I would have done these on a smaller wheel- it would have taken forever.

The best upgrade for an offroad Coker is a tubelss tyre and an airfoil rim :slight_smile:

Back to topic, please. The Iron Horse is a road race, pedalers versus a train. It isn’t offroad muni…it’s all pavement over big Colorado passes. I believe that Aspenmike is the only person that has ridden it start to finish. You should PM him if he doesn’t jump on this thread.

I did a quick search and found this thread on last year’s event. Mike did a super-detailed write-up of his ride experience last year.

Good luck Tom…it sounds like a great event. Maybe you and Mike will double down on the uni finishers this year.

It just seems to me that because of the super large wheel and added weight, pedalling uphill would be much harder, and of course, brakes would be a must, but usesless in steep DH rocky terrain. Cokers are hard to stop at higher speeds; at least quickly, if you either don’t have, or can’t use the brakes. Plus there is significantly less Maneuverability than a 24. But still sounds like it would be fun, at least as a novelty.

They’re fantabulous for cross country, not very technical MUni, but not for natural trials, which is what you’re talking about I think.
So anyway…long cranks are good for coker MUni. How long depends on how heavy your wheelset is, and how strong your legs are. I have the airfoil wheelset, so I have 150mm cranks, which work well for hills.

150’s? The average muni, at least the KH 24 freeride has 165’s, and that’s on a 24! So 150’s on a 36" wheel would be like that same kh with 110’s, or even shorter, which doesn’t seem very eficient or practical for muni, unless your on flat ground most of the time. To get comparable “torque” capability for the coker, wouldn’t you need a much LONGER crank, say at least 180s? Just curious.

I don’t know much about a real 24" MUni, since I’ve never ridden one…but I find that with a regular coker rim, since its so heavy, you need about 170mm cranks, but with the airfoil, 150mm are fine…could just be me though…

YOur coker is still a couple pounds heavier than a modern kh 24, and yet your cranks are significantly shorter than the 24. Yes, you can surly go faster, but I can’t see how climbing and stopping (without brakes) would be as easy as a 24 with 165’s.

Iron Horse


I’ll see you there. Look for me on a blue KH29XC with a Big Apple.

My plans are less ambitious than yours–my goal this year is Hermosa.

Best of luck as you prepare. I’ll be rooting for you.


Cokering off-road isn’t about doing things the easy way.

I think cokering uphill is almost easier than a Muni, BECAUSE it’s bigger. I use 125s for around campus, with various short hills, and they’re fine. You can’t really understand it if you haven’t done it before. It’s the same as how someone who’s never ridden a unicycle before doesn’t understand what it’s like.

Yep, because the wheel is so big and heavy, it practically keeps itself going up hills, since its harder to stop. So if you can get going before you reach the hill, you can use your momentum to keep going.

Neither is Muni-ing on a 24! Try 5’ drops and hopping and gapping on hardcore rocky/hilly terrain on a coker. I’d love to see that, serioulsy that would be awasome to see! PLease do it asap then post a video. That stuff IS hard enough on a 24, at least for me. I don’t think KH does muni on his 24" the “easy way”.