After many months and miles on my Nimbus 29er, I’m ready to move up to the big one. I really like the distance riding and feel pretty comfortable unicycling on rural roads. I want a unicycle to participate in long-distance charity rides, road-riding for exercise, and for riding on well-groomed non-paved trails. I’ve decided my next uni will have a 36-inch wheel. Components that I’m pretty sure about are:
Airfoil wheel with UDC ultrawide hub and SS spokes
KH fusion seat with rail adapter and alloy seatpost (25.4 mm)
150 mm cranks
Speedplay drillium pedals
I need some advice about the frame. I’m thinking about the Hunter; I love the beefy look. I assume it weighs considerably more than a standard Coker frame. Does it make much difference in the ride (heavy frame but rotating mass will be light)? Do the extra tubes make a difference that can be felt?
Are there other big wheel frame companies I should consider?
Any experiences by others who have assembled their own “coker” would be very much appreciated.
I’ve been toying with getting a 36-inch wheel too. Those Hunter frames look super nice, and if they weren’t so pricey I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one.
Here’s something else to consider. I don’t know if you’re planning to use a brake, but it seems to me that you should choose the brake, wheel, and frame altogether. From what I’ve read here, it seems that Magura brakes don’t have as much play as v-brakes. So, if you want a Magura brake on a Hunter frame, you need to be sure the wheel is nice and stiff as to prevent it from rubbing when turning or riding offroad. If anyone knows better, please correct me.
The new UDC 36er will also include a handlebar / luggage rack unit integrated into a rail adaptor for the seat, which may also interest you.
I think the new frame supports Magura mounts, which means you can use hydraulic brakes or (I think) get an adapter and use V brakes.
The handlebar unit and the UDC 36er frame will also be available separately, AFAIK.
I have a UDC 36er, upgraded with the wheel you describe and am very happy with it. I’m planning on getting the handlebar unit, but am not yet sold on the frame - I need a better idea of what advantages it’ll have first.
If you chose to get the standard frame first, you could fit a caliper brake to it with a bit of DIY - these are meant to work well on 36ers.
PS. I suggest you convert your 29er into a muni. I put a Kenda Klaw tyre and 150mm Bicycle Euro cranks on mine after buying my UDC 36er.
PPS. The UDC gel saddle is very comfy, also. The new Kris Holm Freeride saddle looks interesting, though.
Thanks for the feedback. It’s great news that there will be a UDC 36er with frame enhancements. Might be worth waiting for. Regarding the brakes: good point, I’ll plan on getting them eventually, but will probably start out without them.
Still, I’m curious about the concept of a strong heavy frame with very light rotating components (wheel, crank arms, pedals). Is it overkill? Does frame stiffness translate into noticeably improved rideability? Or does the extra frame weight offset the strength benefits?
Thanks for the idea about transforming the Nimbus into a Muni. I was thinking I’d sell it to help pay for the 36er, but it will be hard to part with.
I think it’s worth having a stiffer frame rather than a superlight but flexy frame. The standard Coker frame works great, but my new lightweight aluminium frame flexes noticeably when I’m pulling up or pushing down on the saddle. It’s annoying cos the wheel keeps rubbing on the frame when climbing or descending.
The Hunter frame is fairly light- they don’t feel a lot heavier than a standard Coker frame. The Standard frame is pretty stiff though.
If Roger is reading this- how heavy are the new Nimbus Coker frames?
I got a standard coker frame with my stockton coker, and after reading around a bit I was worried about tire rub, but it turns out to have been no problem at all. I’m a fairly smooth pedaller, I think, but I’ve definitely never had a problem with the stock frame. I wouldn’t dismiss it right out of hand, for sure. I know Bedford will put mounts on it for you if you’d like, as well.
A good stiff and well designed frame makes a noticeable difference on the Coker (or generic 36er). The legs on the 36" frame are long as it is and that length translates in to more flex issues. Flex will cause the wheel to possibly rub the frame legs. If you have a brake even a little bit of flex in the frame and wheel will cause the rim to rub the brake pads (more of an issue with the Magura brake than a cable brake that is mounted such that it can float).
Flex causes the unicycle to feel less responsive and wonky. My response when noticing flex is to pedal softer so as to cause less flex. With a stiff frame I can (and will) stomp on the pedals with no noticeable flex. So a flexy frame and wheel affects my performance just because I ease up when I notice flex.
I have a GB4 frame on my JC Coker. It’s good, but no longer available.
Best option now is the Hunter frame. The new UDC Nimbus 36" frame should also be good, but it’s an unknown to me till I can see and ride one.
A very important factor in a 36er is the quality of the wheel build. The wheel is the part that gives me the most trouble. It goes out of true on me a couple times per season, usually due to the light XC muni I do with it. I wish I would have gotten a Dave Stockton (U-Turn) wheel build. Would have saved me the trouble of dealing with so many wheel problems.
I would gladly have a Hunter frame. It’s a very nice frame. The UDC Nimbus is an unknown so I can’t say one way or the other on it yet. Most likely it will be very nice.
I’d guess the new frames don’t weigh much more, but the great big handle looks like it adds a bit of weight. It is balanced front-back though, which is nice compared to some of the handle setups I’ve ridden, felt much more immediately rideable than Roger’s GB handle.
I’ve ridden on the current Schlumpf 36, and you can feel the flex in the frame on that particularly in high gear. I’ve never felt flex slowing me down on the stock frame, although I’ve got a suzue hub and a good wheelbuild, maybe much of the flex on the stock cokers is in the wheel, rather than the frame.
I don’t have a brake, if you use maguras it means you have to worry way more about flex. Of course you can avoid this by using a caliper brake, which is much cheaper, and will work well on the stock frame.
Personally I still don’t like the wide hubs as much as the normal ones. Roger was trying to sell me some hub that has a wide flange-flange distance but isn’t as super wide as the extra wide hub. I can’t remember what it was, maybe the latest version of the normal UDC hub.
Pedalwise, I’m really loving cheap platform pedals with half toeclips at the moment. These pedals. I’ve had everything from £5 pedals to £60/$100 pedals on the coker, and to be honest, this is the setup I’m happiest with. I kind of like unsealed bearing pedals because they’re less likely to go wrong with no chance of fixing them when you’re a long way away from home. I wouldn’t recommend trying the toeclips before you’re used to the coker though.
As for the frame, given you don’t really know your requirements yet and haven’t ridden a coker much, I’d just buy the stock frame. They only cost £25 / $50 or so, that way you can upgrade the frame when you actually know what you want in terms of brakes, handles etc. rather than getting some super pimp-cycle that you need to replace half the really expensive bits on once you’ve learnt to ride it.
I agree with Ken and Joe, the stock coker frame is a very good frame and it should serve you well for quite a while. I’m still using mine too, I havn’t had reason to want to switch frames yet, I don’t have much experience with other frames, so I don’t know how flexy it is compared to a Hunter, but I don’t seem to be getting much (or any) flex on my coker with standard frame.
Hub/Rim: The airfoil rim is a very good one, the best to get at the moment, if you have ‘long’ legs you’ll want to go for udc extra wide hub, if you have short legs you might consider getting a narrower hub like the udc 100mm hub, or a 92mm suzue hub.
Halfclips: I’ve just started using halfclips, mainly on my 29er, and I’ll be trying them on my coker this afternoon, you’ll want to get confident on your coker before changing to halfclips, then practise dismounting (not difficult at all, but you don’t want to be caught my surprise if you suddenly have to dismount).
Thread jack: Joe, is it possible to freemount pedals with halfclips? I don’t like having to static mount/grab a lantern post all the time.
First one is to do a standard mount, with your mounting foot in the toeclip, and then once your other foot is over the second pedal, bring it slightly further forwards and slip it into the toeclip. I’ve seen Sam do this, and it looks really good, but I’m finding it super hard to do at the moment. I think it’s the ideal mount into clips.
Second one, which is what I do, and also what John Himsworth does, is to mount with your mounting foot in the toeclip as before, but put your second foot onto the back of the other pedal. You can then ride along slowly a little bit, and at the top of a pedal stroke, lift off that foot until the pedal swings down with the weight of the toeclip, and put your foot into it. I practiced this against a lamp-post to learn it, then tried it while riding along and it isn’t too hard.
If you get your foot in just the right place, the foot slips into the clip and it feels oh so easy. Sometimes, when doing either of these methods, you end up with the pedal the right way up, but your foot on top of the toeclip. The trick here is to kind of wiggle your foot round so it goes under the clip. This isn’t too hard to do.
I upgraded from a stock Coker frame to a Hunter. I notice a definite difference in frame flex especially when climbing hills. If you’re not riding with brakes, I’m not sure the differance is with the extra $300+ dollars unless you appreciate the look and feel of a quality frame beyond just its function.