Coker rim/cranks observation

WOw! I just got a loaner coker from a friend who has two, so that’s really cool and now I’ll have a 36-er to use 'till I get my own! But here’s what I’ve noticed very quickly; This loaner is an original coker w/steel rim, which was just trued and spins beautifully.

John (Vivalargo) also has a basic coker but with an (older) airfoil and the same coker tire as my loaner. He uses the prowheel 127mm alum. cranks and when I rode it, It was smooth, nimble and got up to speed quickly. It is a joy to ride.

On This loaner, with the steel rim and coker tire, and 127mm steel cranks (couldn’t find any alum. 127’s locally) with no “q” factor like the Prowheels, I immediately noticed that it was MUCH harder to get this coker up to speed, and overall it just felt sluggish.

So my question is, do you think it soley because of the steel rim and or the steel cranks vs John’s setup? The conditions were basically the same, on flat ground with little or no wind. I also noticed that when I did hit a hilly section, that it was more difficult to climb, compared to John’s coker. thoughts?:smiley:

Yeah the rim weight seems to make a hell of a difference. I found my airfoil/125mm alloy cranks wheel to be easier to accelerate than my steel rim/150mm steel crank wheel, despite it being a higher gear.

Now that’s amazing, and I totally can believe that! Yeah I felt that when I rode john’s Coker it was as easy or maybe even easier to ride than with the standard 152’s on a steel rim. I was mainly wondering if there were maybe some other factors involved other than weight, like the more aerodynamic shape of the rim. Thanks.:slight_smile:

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! From what I’ve heard it seems to be the lighter rolling weight of the airfoil which makes the difference. I’ve got a radial with steel rim, alloy 125mm cranks and coker tire at 50psi and the setup isn’t exactly zippy but I enjoy it. At first I had difficulty wielding the beast but since I’ve gained much more control and strength.

I have steel rim and cranks, and I get up to speed just fine.

if u have a light car it gets up to speed faster than a heavier car right…
so if u have a light coker it will get up to speed faster than a heavier coker…

That’s good, but from what I’m sensing from those who have ridden both steel then airfoils, is that everything is just that much easier and faster. Again, that’s not to say that your setup isn’t fine for you. Have you made the comparison, and did you find any substantial difference? Btw, what size/material cranks are you using?

I’m guessing that’s more rim the rim then the cranks. Were the spokes the same?

Yeah John has the 12 gauge non-stainless spokes, as does my loaner. only real difference is the rim and crank material; length is identical.

I said both rim and crank were steel. =p

Umm, length is 127, or 125, I cant remember which ones I bought. Pretty sure its the 127s though.

I dont know, I just have never cared too much about weight, or even think about it when riding. I hop on and start pedaling, and in a few revs im up to my cruising speed and I jsut relax and float.

Oh yeah sorry I saw that you did mention alum!:o Well that’s cool. I rode a friends steel rimmed coker for a 20 miler using 152mm (steel) cranks and it was smooth as butta!

Yeah, you just get more leverage which helps move the steel rim. I had 150ish cranks on at first, and rode those a lot, but bent them doing muni, and then bought shorter cranks just for fun.

At first, hills felt a little harder to get up, but now they feel the sme as how the longer cranks feel.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but lighter components will get you there faster. To those of us who do a significant amount of riding on 36ers, the higher performance components are worth it. For a more casual rider, steel is indeed fine.

Just like square taper cranks might fine for a casual MUni rider, but don’t really serve the needs of those who want to take it to the next level.

i santa cruz, many of us despise aluminum cranks; they break way too easily (right jason?). I’ve seen it happen a few times on rides. Steel is the way to go, although, it will bend…


They break? Is that under “normal” riding conditions, or offroad riding where there’s probably a lot more stress on them? That still shouldn’t cause them to break should it? The KH Moment cranks are aluminum and I haven’t heard of any of those breaking, and I do 5’ drops with them! Or could it be the inferior quality of some alum cranks that cause them to break? :thinking:

It all makes sense to me…better parts = better unicycle.

Although, like many above me have said, I ride just fine on the steel rim and cranks. I’ve never thought to myself that I don’t get up to speed quick enough.

I think you have to consider the conditions in which you’ll be riding. If you’re riding on mostly flat…your weight really doesn’t matter.

It’s Coker muni, although, the time they break is when people are going down steep hills and applying a lot of pressure. Jason broke one were the pedal screw area was just trashed while going down a steep hill with no brake. Taking pedals on and off will wear them away more quickly than steel. Rob has broken many of them; he says they “snap”. You would hope they wouldn’t break…but they do!

The KH cranks and hub are very different; they are a lot beefier (and splined) than the tapered coker cranks.


I’ve liked my aluminum tri-drilled Kookas a lot, and they’ve held up very well. A thousand miles plus now with no adjustment, loosening, or issue of any sort. Although I have heard that Kooka has historically been one of the strongest aluminum cranks, so maybe that is why.

On the climbing difficulty you mentioned, it may be due to flex with the steel rim that you are not conscious of because you’re busy climbing, but it nevertheless adds to the effort needed. When I bought my first coker, stock w steel rim, etc., I noticed a clicking sound on my wheel whenever I was doing a semi-steep climb or descent. It wasn’t there on the flats. Turned out it was my computer magnet hitting the “reader”, and the reason it was hitting it was due to wheel flex. I would not have really noticed the flex if it wasn’t for that noise.

That said–and just my humble opinion Terry–but I think you’re over-thinking this whole steel stock versus airfoil versus crank material versus blah topic. You’re serial posting. I think one challenge may be the relatively short comparison rides on the different models you’ve tried. The “feel” of any given one could be influenced by a number of factors, and it takes multiple longer rides (in my view) on any given beast before you can really assess or make strong comparisons. When I first got my GB4 36, it felt strange to ride after my stock coker. The sage advice I got from U-Turn was to put on some miles. And then some more miles. Then see if I still felt the same.

My reco would be maximize around the wheel first, meaning get the Airfoil rim, wide hub, and the strongest wheel build you can afford. You’ll ultimately benefit from the extra strength and longevity, and knowing how you like to hop around, if you had a steel rim you would one day give in to the temptation to do some curbs or something, and you’ll eventually mess it up. Ask Harper…who was fine for thousands of miles on his stock coker, then decided one day to get into the stair hopping business.

If you can save some on crank weight, great, but personally I’d maximize around other factors like preferred Q, etc. In case of my current setup, I maximized around flexibility. While the Kookas are not the lightest of aluminum cranks, the tri-drill option gives me flexibility to change crank lengths, which suits the kind of riding I do. For a while I had a pair of steel 140s that were quite heavy, but they worked great and I got used to them quickly and they would accelerate and climb fine. Once you get into a good wheel and frame, the other details make less of a difference…you’ll get used to anything once you’ve put in some miles.



Couldn’t resist! HAha howabout that! Cereal, Post (brand) and unicycle all in one “Serial post!”:wink:


Dude… :roll_eyes: