Playing with the saddle angle is next on my list of tweaks. My Coker saddle is less angled than my muni saddle. I just haven’t played around with the angle enough yet to find that perfect angle for long Coker rides.
I put a slight potato chip wobble in my stock steel Coker wheel. It happened on a twist and slight hop to try to recover from a bad mount while riding the Iron Horse Trail. The wheel was still ridable after that, but it certainly wasn’t in good shape. I got it bent back into shape and trued but after a bending like that the wheel is never going to be the same. Once the steel wheel gets bent it’s not going to hold up as well after being straightened.
The problem with the steel rim is that you cannot tension the spokes. The rim just can’t handle it. The spokes have to be left loose. The rim is also weak. The combination of loose spokes, narrow hub, and wimpy rim makes for a weak wheel.
The reconditioned wheels have a wider hub than the stock Coker. That should strengthen up the wheel some, but I don’t know by how much since the spokes will still have to be a bit loose. I’d take one of the reconditioned Cokers over a stock Coker. I’m assuming that the rims came from Coker bikes that never sold. If that’s the case, and the wheels haven’t been ridden before then I wouldn’t exactly consider them used wheels.
The steel wheel isn’t a complete piece of junk. They are rideable and quite functional. Lars Clausen used a steel wheel on his ride across the US. See pictures here. He also had a brake with the steel rim and a stock Coker frame. But there is a limit to what you can do with the steel wheel and stock Coker frame. But if you stick to the pavement and ride carefully (don’t do any hops to recover from a bad mount) then a steel rim can do OK.
If your plans are to add a brake and build the uni up to something fancy I’d suggest going with an Airfoil rim. There’s a big difference in the Airfoil rim. You actually end up with a strong wheel. The Airfoil rim is an extrusion for a downhill MTB rim. It’s a strong rim.
One option would be to save up for a wide hub Airfoil wheel (like the Strongest Coker Wheel In The World). Get a stock Coker frame that has been widened to fit the wide hub. Put on a saddle and call it good for now. Then upgrade bit by bit later on.
Another option would be to get an Airfoil wheel with a standard wide hub like the Schwinn hub or the new CrMo Unicycle.com hub. Put on a stock Coker frame, add a saddle and call it good for now. You can upgrade to a better frame later on.
If you want to save money and are careful with the wheel you could do OK with the reconditioned Coker. Just don’t plan on good results if you add a brake. You’ll have too much wheel flex when climbing and the wheel will rub the brake pads. The steel rim is also not smooth and true so braking will be jumpy and difficult to control.
I don’t really know prices for how much an Airfoil wheel with wide hub would be. I bought all my parts over a long period of time and didn’t pay attention to the cost. I’m sure if you emailed U-Turn you could get a proper estimate for the cost of different wheel options.