Better (yet still afordable)36" than the Coker?

as u may know, i work for a Retail Radio Station
as some of u (those paying attention) might know, we provide this retail radio solution to South Africa’s leading retail chain
now for those of u who have REALLY been paying attention, u will know that this company is the main sponsor of the two largest timed mass participation cycle races in the world, the
Cape Argus Cycle Tour and the 94.7 Cycle Challenge
now that we have the backround in place…

we had a farewell dinner for our station manager last night
she’s been my direct boss for four years and is leaving the radio station to join the marketing department of the retail chain we’re connected to
she’ll head-up their involvement with the World Cup in SA in 2010
no, soccer
sitting at dinner last night, i happen to sit opposite the ‘senior buyer’ for the biggest region in the country, a pretty powerfull job
i know the guy and we we’re chatting about this and that when he made the mistake of asking me what i do on weekends, work-wise
i don’t do any freelance radio work on the weekends like some of the other presenters, so i mentioned my unicycling exploits, especially the ones i get paid for
one thing lead to another and the upshot of it all is that he’s agreed, in principle, to sponsor a unicycle team to ride in next year’s 94.7 Cycle Challenge:)
but sponsor to the tune of buying a bunch of Cokers:D
i’m busy finding out how many of the unicyclists i know will be willing to get invovled and commit to such a sponsorship
details such as ownership of the unis after the event must still be discussed

i quoted him a price of R5000-R7000 ($800-$1100) to land a Coker (with airfoil rim) in South Africa
he then asked if there is anything better available
i mentioned Bronson Da Silva’s ‘monster’ to him and mentioned that i’ll find out if there’s anything slightly more affordable, yet substantially ‘better’ than the new, improved Coker

hence this thread

is there a ‘better’ 36" unicycle, readily available, ready for training and racing, in the $1000-$1500 price range?

send word

Re: Better (yet still afordable)36" than the Coker?

The best 36" unicycles are the ones assembled by U-Turn. A strong well built wheel will make a difference. You can have the wheel built in SA but it’s not going to be as good as what U-Turn can do. The big advantage is how he builds the wheel. The second advantage is that he only uses quality parts and has access to goodies like stainless steel spokes from Tom Miller.

A U-Turn wheel, good frame (like the Hunter or GB4), carbon fiber seat, and other goodies will get you into the $1500 (USD) range.

Or you could get wild and have a jackshaft geared 29er built in SA. A 29er wheel and tire would be cheaper to get in SA. The hard part is getting the engineering work, design work, and build work done to make such a unicycle.

Possibly a Stockton built wheel with hunter frame? That is quite a coker.

Re: Re: Better (yet still afordable)36" than the Coker?

is that $1500 retail or does that allow something for shipping?
i’ll need to find out about transport options as well

Re: Re: Re: Better (yet still afordable)36" than the Coker?

I’m not sure what the retail price would be for a U-Turn unicycle. I built up my custom Coker myself and didn’t go through U-Turn. The costs for a Coker like the ones that U-Turn builds does add up. The wheel is the most expensive bit, but the other bits add up too. I’m taking a guess that a U-Turn Coker with all the goodies could get to $1500 (USD). That would be including goodies like a custom handle, pre-configured cycle computer, and more. I didn’t keep track of how much I spent on my custom Coker. It’s something over $1000.

Best bet is to email or PM U-Turn and find out from him how much various configurations are. With less expensive parts the cost can come down. For example, using a KH seat instead of a carbon fiber seat will bring the cost down. After that you’ll have to factor in shipping.

i’ll get hold of U-Turn

thanx for the input

Now you got me thinking!

Question to all the 36” riders, what is your average or longest distance you ride/have ridden in a day and how long did it take you to do it?

94.7 Km is faaaar.

Check out the rout profile pic attached, and let us know what you think!

6 hour cutoff time is this possible, would it be extended for the uni riders?

This Craig guy that done this race, a year or two ago, did he use a standard coker, what crank length, and how long did it take him to finish? Did he finish?

Details such as ownership of the unis after the event must still be discussed

  • if you cant keep it, what they going to do with them?

Just some thoughts, you would need to get them long before, to get used to a 36” wheel and to put some serious training in.
And at the same time, also get spares/consumables eg. Tyre, tubes.



i take it u’re in then?
do u think kirk would be keen?
i’m about to email the group to find out who’d be interested

craig rode the stock Coker (that’s the one JayneZA bought off him) until last year when he got a sponsor to buy him one with the new airfoil rim
i think he rides on 150 cranks
he was on course to finish the Argus year before last when they stopped the race due to the temperature on the day
he was about 20km out (on top of Suikerbossie which he rode in one sitting) with 2 hours to go
that same year he missed the cut-off of the 94.7 by 20 minutes
he took off with the first group (the pro-riders, i think) and got a special dispensation to try n finish before the last group’s cut-off time
he missed this by 20 minutes
last year his wife had a kid and his training went for a loop
he was forced to withdraw at the halfway stage
my girlfriend used to date a guy who rode the Argus on a 24
he took off at 3 in the morning or something stupid

given some of the distances some of the riders on this forum cover on a regular basis, i have to assume that the 94.7 is doable
it’s not as far as it is REALLY hilly
maybe a geared-down 36" that u can drop down to an effective 24" for the hills would be a good idea?

i’m pretty sure craig will be quite keen on having some company in the race
even if he has to race in his Pickfords colours while we race in Pick n Pay shirts

Hi Gild,

Congratulations on scoring such an awesome sponsorship deal- you guys rock! It sounds like not only a pretty cool project- it’s guaranteed to bring them heaps of publicity to have a SPONSORED unicycle TEAM! Wow!

And boy- that is one huge race 35,000 riders! How I so wish I could be there. (If you need a spare rider on the team…:wink: )

In terms of your question, I won’t be too specific- but I would suggest at the minimum to get something with:
-Airfoil rim
-Stainless Steel Spokes hub- (or widened hub if that’s your thing)
-Carbon fibre seats +/- airseat depending on rider preferences
-Good pedals
-Some form of handle- I’m liking my GB at present.

I think everything else is secondary- if you can get a funky looking frame like a Hunter in your budget that would be a bonus. Otherwise the Stock frame works fine.


94.7km should be within reach of most riders with a bit of training. You do need to get the Coker a bit in advance to practice and experiment with seat/handle/crank setups. I’d recommend at least 3months before the race, preferably more.

It looks quite hilly, but not much more than The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge which I did last year, and will do again in two weeks time. The race was 100miles/160km long and I did it comfortably in 8hrs20min, which included a 20min break for lunch. Hopefully I’ll go under 8hrs this year. It had about 1500-1800m of climbing, mostly in the first half of the course.

Good luck, I hope you can put together a team!


Oh, and I should add that if you do go for a wheel with the stainless steel spokes, you should get a good supply of extra spokes and a few extra nipples too. If you break a spoke you are going to want a replacement without ordering from the US. You’re not likely to break a spoke with a U-Turn built wheel. I think the spoke breakage is more likely with spokes that are loose rather than highly tensioned like the way U-Turn makes them. If you decide to go the route of having the wheel built in SA then definitely get some extra spokes and nipples.

this is kind of off topic but has anyone made a geared coker?

that would go fast…lol

Yes, I’ve made one. See my thread on “Geared 36”.

Greg Harper (same town) has also made a geared hub version. Search the archives for “geared coker”…

this sponsorship issue’s been bubbling under for a while now
i’m happy to say that it seems to be back on track and important discussions and decisions are expected this week
one question
if i tell them that this will be the first corporately sponsored unicycling team in the world, would that be factually correct?
and in the event that some of the uni-basketball or UniHoki teams have received sponsorships, can i say it’s the first corporately sponsored road-racing uni team in the world?

Well- has sponsored several teams in mountainbike events in the past, but I think it is more of an informal basis- it pay entry fee for team, gives team a roof over their head, team wears T-shirts etc. Anyone that was interested in doing the particular event could get on that team.

As far as I know- yours could well be the first formally sponsored team- ie with a roster of riders/contracts etc.

are there sample contracts available somewhere?
i’m trying to figure my way thru the minutiae of this thing
if a rider is injured while training for this race, who pays his medical bills?
should riders buy their own helmets, wrist protectors and water-backpack-thingies?
or, since it’s likely to be colour co-ordinated with the corporate colours, is that something the company should provide?
i’m trying to find the balance between asking for too much and not asking for enough
any pointers?

Shirts should definitely be team sponsored- you are out there advertising for your sponsor. Helmets maybe- it’s always cool to have a similar kit. Gloves, maybe, but I think that’s less important.

I’d say if a rider is injured, they probably will need to pay for themselves- unless you’re a professional team that rides fulltime, it will be a fairly generous sponsor to cover medical bills as well.

Make sure you get plenty of publicity for the sponsors; let all the newspapers etc know about it at least a week before the event. And afterwards send all the newpaper clippings, TV interviews etc etc to your sponsor with a thank you note. Sponsorship is about what you can do for your sponsors- and the more publicity you get them, the more stuff you can get from them.


it seems at this point as tho the company’s marketing director witll have the final yay-or-nay on this issue
(hence my question about ‘first sponsored uni team in the world’
marketing people love the phrase ‘first in the world…’)
so i have no doubt that they will drive the publicity of the team pretty hard
i’m hoping to be able to use the ride to raise some funds for a charity as well

since i’ve been a publicity slut for unicycling for a while now, i’ve made conact with most of the main sources of publicity for the cycling world and news-sources in general
this will come in handy if this comes off

mmm, should talk to them about a unicycle category next year…

How about “only” sponsored unicycle team in the world? Or the South African National Unicycle team?

Sounds like you have your publicity machine well oiled. You could even give your local newsmedia a call to see if they want to make a documentary out of it.

i like the way your mind works
and one of the TV-channels in south africa have just started a new sports show
called ‘That Sports Show’
they might very well be quite keen to get involved in something like this just to help set them apart from the others

your comments about giving the sponsor as much coverage as possible are well noted

If its for a race thats hilly and all and you have someone paying for it, then why not a Schlumpf 28"?