Coker Ready, Custom Ready?

Is there a base level of experience or skill level you would recommend mastering before moving up to a big wheel? I know I want to pursue unicycling as a regular hobby - I live right on a great network of bike trails, but I hate bicycling. I’m new to the sport. I have a 24" torker LX. I can free mount about 75%, ride up and down moderate hills, and handle most of the varying crown in the path. I stilll wipe out on steep uphills. I don’t have a whole lot of stamina in the seat comfort department yet. Maybe I’m not wearing the right clothes…?

I’m considering ordering a custom uni, but also think I might be better off getting a coker deluxe to learn with. I figure I can always sell it later or give it to my daughter who’s also learning to ride. I just hate to spend significant dollars on the deluxe, when I know I realy want the custom. I guess I’m trying to figure out whether I’d really be able to ride a big wheel, or if I’d really mess up the nice custom in the learning process. Any comments would be appreciated, thanks for your attention,


You want to make sure you can do the “static” freemount. A “roll-back” mount doesn’t work (for many folks, at least) on a bigger wheel.

Are they paved or dirt?

Why do you hate bicycling? I hope it’s not the pedalling part!

Two words: bike shorts.

Get a high quality 29" and then move up to your custom 36". That way you can have the variety later on.

I got a coker after riding for not all that long. I could mount a normal unicycle 100% and idle a bit. It was fine. I got the coker cos I was riding to work every day on the 24" and wanted a bit more speed. Some people have learnt on cokers, and I know a lot of people have ridden cokers before getting idling down.

Looking at the web, the only difference between the wheel on a coker deluxe and a super-posh custom unicycle is the spokes, it doesn’t say if they use stainless spokes for the deluxe wheel. It might be worth phoning them up to ask, as I know have just got in a large stock of quality stainless spokes that are cheaper than stock coker spokes, they may be using these in wheelbuilds now.

Other than the spokes being potentially different, the wheel is the best you can get. You won’t be throwing away the wheel if you upgrade to a custom uni, and that’s a large part of the cost of the coker.

The wheel being the most important part of the uni, everything else on a custom unicycle is mostly posh stuff for the sake of shinyness, or things to make riding really super-long distances easier. For most people custom unicycles are mainly vanity projects, to have a nice shiny toy, they’re not something you need to have in order to ride hard, or that makes you a better rider. If you ride regularly and ride hard, you’ll know exactly what parts you need to upgrade and what to upgrade to, rather than just buying a really expensive custom uni that will probably not be the right one for you.

The other thing about custom uni parts, is that coker wheels are expensive to post and hassle to upgrade. Everything else is easy to upgrade and easy to fit, it’s easy to buy a new frame or a new seat later on, once you know what you’re going to use it for. The money you save over a custom uni, you could spend going somewhere nice to ride it, or on something more useful than shiny parts, (eg. beer).

Something else to note, whilst a lot of people on here moan about the stock coker and how poor it it is, if you’re not of a heavier persuasion, they are actually fine. Many of them have done thousands of miles and are still in one piece. You could just buy a radial 360 and save up for a custom unicycle if you decide you need it.

What are the bike trails like? If they’re hard-core mountain bike trails, you might have more fun riding a 24, 26 or 29 on them. If they’re wide trails, then the coker will be super.


I say go for it!
I had been riding maybe six months when I went coker. I had a devil of a time mounting it, but I really enjoyed the learning to ride it.

Riding a coker really isn’t any harder, as soon as you realize you have to get up a little speed before it stabilizes.

I’d get the “Radial 360” which is on sale for a shade over three hundred. It’s a perfectly good uni, and when you go custom, you’ll have a spare for a friend. It’s also nice to have a “beater” you can take to the beach or other abusive situations.

If you’re planning on doing distance riding, get the coker. If you’re planning on riding through town a lot, I’d suggest getting a 29"… I hate riding my coker through town, you have to dismount and brake a lot and a 29er is so much better for that (it might be my short cranks (102mm) that drive me mad on the TOWNCOKERING (new word?) you might want to ask some more experienced coker riders who’ve used more cranksizes)

Cokers are pretty bloody amazing though.

I LOVE riding my coker through cities (like SF). There are some skills that help, such stillstanding (with corrective hops) which might be difficult with 102m cranks!! Also, in downtown areas where I live, there’s almost always something to grab on to in intersections (such as stop signs and pedestrial walk/don’t walk signals.)

…Ok for most people, a 29er might be better, I’m just pointing out that the coker becomes more managable as you put more and more miles on it.

Another thought on going cheap with your first coker, is that as you get experienced, you discover which improvements you might like on your custom coker.

Thanks for the input everyone. The bike trails near me are paved, about 4 ft wide, a fair amount of side to side slant, and up and down short (1/2 block) hills.

I never took up bicycling, because I had a couple of Harley’s (one at a time) to cover the miles with. Like many of you, I’m sure, I have always enjoyed being slightly outside of the mainstream. Unicycling allows me that noteriety plus the advantage of using this new hobby as a challenging “project” for my wife, 2 kids, and me to work on together. (new owners of 24",20",18", and 16" unis.)

The point about re-using the expensive wheel, first on the deluxe, then on a custom later is well taken. So about half the value of a deluxe can probably be carried into the custom.

I’m also hearing that nothing really prepares one for mastering a big wheel like practicing on a big wheel…I guess that’s pretty obvious, I wanted to make sure that just being able to ride A unicycle is a pretty good lead on being able to ride THE unicycle.

Thanks again!


i think i’m gonna get some because my “jewels” get pretty umm, uncomfortable on the seat.

i hate to be dumb, but i’ve never had bike shorts. so do u like, wear anything underneath them?

i think if i got them, i’d wear them and wear a pair of pants over them because bike shorts are just, well, weird unless ur riding a fancy road bike.

u don’t wear anything other, that defeats the purpose
and you can get cool, baggy mountain biking bike shorts that still have the pad, it just looks cooler on teh outside :slight_smile:

check REI or similar outdoors stores for good baggy ones, or Fox Racing for good baggy ones that carry a higher price (just because of brand)

oh maybe i misunderstood what the shorts are used for.

i thought the tight bike shorts are just to keep everything “in place” and keep stuff from getting squished. so, it would be the same as wearing a pair of tighty whities.

whats the pad?


i just looked at and they have the mountain biking shorts, but they’re just a pair of rugged shorts with a tight bike short liner.

so, wouldn’t i accomplish the same thing by get a pair of tight bike shorts and then wearing regular shorts over it?

I think bike shorts also help to reduce friction on your thighs.

The coker deluxe has an airfoil rim that is lighter and stronger than the standard laquered brushed steel rim that comes on the basic coker (the standard rim isn’t aluminium though Bedford has claimed it is).

The airfoil rim makes it a much better unicycle and means you can add brakes if you want to as well. A handbuilt wheel is always better than a factory built one. It is worth paying the extra when you first buy it (if you can afford it) rather than buying a second rim later.


dude, i rode a coker before i could even freemount all the time, its not that hard, and the chicks love them

Yes. Bike shorts* under regular shorts will probadly be more comfy than regular shorts over knickers, briefs or boxers.
Proper bike shorts ( not the kind sold by some fitness shops as "cycle style shorts) have a padded area sewn in to them to give your crotch some padding from the saddle. The pad also gives a nice flat smooth area with no seems , so reduces chaffing considerably. Different shorts have different size and shape pads, unicylists generally want a fairly wide and deep pad- think about the shape and size of your saddle.

  • with Nothing but you under them.

True! I have several pairs of bike shorts, but only the ones with the widest pads are good for uni’ing. It seems like with the narrower pad, the seam, the edge of the pad inside the shorts, is still in the “contact area” where thigh touches seat.

cool thanks. i’ll have to get a pair soon. i reeaally need them.