Building a freestyle uni

I’m planning to build a freestyle unicycle and I’m want to know if my
choices are good ones. The cost of the parts I’m looking at add up to
a lot less than a comparable assembled uni, plus this way I get to
choose the parts myself. I plan to us the unicycle for learning
skills outdoors (currently polishing level 3 and learning level 4). I
am 5’10", weigh 175, and have been riding for 6 months.

Here are the parts I have picked:

Suzue 48-hole hub
Sun BFR double-walled alloy rim
Maxxis Hookworm 20 x 1.95 freestyle tire
102-mm alloy cranks
United deluxe pedals
Semcycle XL longneck frame and seatpost
KH saddle

This all adds up to about $260 (US) from

In addition to general comments, I have a few specific questions:

Is building a 48 spoke wheel worthwhile? 36 spoke parts seem more
easy to locate and may be marginally less expensive.

Are wide rims like the BFR useful here? My guess is a narrower,
lighter rim might be better, but I don’t know if they are available
drilled for 48 spokes.

Which cranks do you like? I think 102 should be a comfortable
length since I ride a 26" street uni with 125s.

If I go with the Semcycle longneck frame, is the 7" seatpost the
right size for me?



Sounds like you have the right idea. I don’t know how much you need the 48 spokes, it seems a bit overkill for freestyle. Also, the KH saddle isn’t the best for freestyle. It is very large and hard to do things like unispins and other skills.

I’m just looking at and I see some advanced freestyle unis that look decent and quite a bit cheaper.


I’ve heard of a few freestyle unis with 48 spokes- doesn’t it make a stiffer wheel? Can’t hurt can it! I wish they sold the long necked frames here! But anyway, I’d go for a miyata saddle over the KH for freestyle- not as deep, so easier to hold out front etc etc. Plus theKH bumper rubsmy thigh when I have it out front for ages, bot so with the Miyata.

Looks pretty good to me. That’s almost my setup. It’s nearly bombproof, which is better for outdoor practice. I practice outdoors all the time. I’ve only ridden in a gym once in 2 1/2 years.

The BFR is really good. If you are riding a lot outside, avoid the chrome version because moisture will work under the chrome at the spoke holes.

I’d replace generic “seatpost” with a GB4 seatpost. It won’t crease like the cheaper ones. You will have extra and can leave it on or cut it off as you prefer.

I haven’t tried the KH freestyle seat yet but I have one on the way to try, to see if I should recommend them.

You may find 102s to be short. 110 would be a more middle-of-the-road choice, unless of course you are already used to 102. Steel cranks are also fine and may hold up longer. At that length they are not that heavy, and besides, if you were concerned about weight you would probably want 36 spokes. I have had good experience with the Miyata cranks.

Pick anything but the United, Pyramid, or Schwinn pedals. They will be slippery soon from dirt or moisture. I use the Miyata ones and they are really good for good weather and cheap, but do not grip well in the rain and abrade quickly on the outside where the pedal hits the ground. So I have to replace them fairly often. But they are relatively shin-friendly and give lots of ground clearance.

I think the new hub is probably better. It is wider, flange to flange than the suzue, which will make up for the fewer spokes, and it is made from harder steel.

48 spokes is nice for hockey because the tennis ball won’t get stuck in your spokes. With 36 spokes the gaps in the spokes are just enough to allow the tennis ball to possibly get stuck. When the ball gets stuck in your spokes it is a penalty so you want to avoid that in competitions. Get 48 spokes if you plan to play hockey seriously. Otherwise, get 36 spokes.

Consider the new Wide Chromoly Hub instead of the Suzue. I’m pretty sure it will fit nicely in the Sem Long Neck frame, but you’d have to confirm with

I’m using a 36 hole UDC hub with a Alex DX32 20 inch rim for freestyle.

I bought the rim from

I see they have a 48 spke DX32 rim pretty cheap.

It dosen’t look like they have the 36 hole in stock right now.

I’m using one of the UDC hubs in a Semcycle XLW frame an it only had to spread a little bit wider to fit the hub.



Here’s an update on my new unicycle. I built the wheel with a hub and BFR rim. the frame hasn’t arrived, so I’ve been riding on my 26" frame.

The first problem is that my ankles hit the Bicycle Euro 110mm cranks. I never hit the nubs on my KH24’s cranks, so I was surprised to have this problem. Which is better, dealing with the problem or getting new cranks. I don’t know if new cranks will help, and the only other 110s has are $65 Doteks. Of course I could go down to 102 (125 won’t work since I’m scraping my shoes on the ground with the 110s as it is).

The second problem is a real letdown. The 20x1.95 hookworm tire pales in comparison to its 26x2.5 big brother. The small version is floppy off the wheel and feels like it is folding under when I make sharp turns. Am I just imagining this as I get used to riding a 20" wheel, or should I look for a replacement.

Thanks for your advice.


I’d wait on the ankle thing until you’ve ridden it for a while. I think the problem will just go away.

Your saddle choice also drastically affects your foot placement, depending on your body geometry. If you are still having foot issues after a while, then try a Miyata saddle, which is narrower and less bulky, although probably a little harder.

Increase the pressure in your tire and the tire will stop folding. For freestyle hopping is essentially a low-priority activity except for unispins, and the higher pressure gains you smoother turns and the like. However, a higher pressure may insist on a smoother practice area, which is reasonable.

As far as the comparison with the larger tire, that too, will go away. The 20" freestyle is for different things, and as your riding changes to match the unicycle, so you will see that the tire is excellent for freestyle.