Coker tyre vs TA for cross-country

I’m seriously thinking about (OK, almost definitely going to but trying to justify the expense in my head :roll_eyes: ) buying DarkTom’s coker. It’s a Qu-ax upgraded with a UDC wide hub and is a good price, so should be good to get me into cokering.
I’d be using it almost exclusively for cross-country riding - I can’t see myself getting into much long-distance road unicycling (I use a bike for that type of riding). Tom’s machine is fitted with a road TA tyre rather than a Coker tyre, hence my question…
Does the small amount of knobbly tread on a Coker tyre make much of a difference to off-road grip over the road tyre, or is it just psychological? I know Sam (redwelly) rode a road-tyred coker at Sleepless, so it was OK at least in the dry. And Tue’s Coker tyre was so bald (cloth showing through in places!) it might as well have been a slick. The Coker tyre is hardly muni tread after all.
And if I were to replace the tyre with a Coker one, is there a market for a TA tyre with 350 miles on it? I’m having trouble justifying the £150 for the unicycle, so another £65 for a tyre is out of the question unless I can get something back on the road tyre.


Sounds like you have a good opportunity to have one of each, and try them both out! :wink:

I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that… la la la la la la la. I’m trying to convince my guilty conscience that this won’t cost much… you’ll be saying I need an airfoil rim and one of your wheelbuilds next :wink:

Seriously though, if I change the tyre there will obviously be a time when I have both tyres in my posession, but I don’t want to buy a new (expensive) coker tyre if it’s not going to give me much benefit. It’s presumably going to take me some time to get used to the thing anyway so if the tyre only lasts 1000 miles as UDC suggest then I’ll probably wear out the tyre before I’m ready to consider pushing the limits of grip anyway. Most of my off-road commute (or at least the coker-suitable route) is gravelly anyway, so the tread won’t make that much difference. It’s grassy slopes and packed mud I would imagine a Coker tyre might be better than the TA.


I haven’t tried the TA, only installed it. The impression I get from the riders here, including one that slid down a grassy slope on the TA, is that the TA is strictly a road-only tire. Just looking at the tread, there is no structure that would provide grip along the tire, only transversely. So along the tire, it is essentially a slick.

I have ridden the button tread Coker tire in snow and ice, and on single and double track, and it performed well for me in those circumstances.

I’ve got a not-coker with a radial tyre on it at the mo, haven’t had much of a chance to take it off road properly yet, but if you’re in no hurry I’ll let you know.

I cannot really see how the original coker tyre would be that much better. Maybe when new, but even then the tread wasn’t especially thick. Once the tyres worn down a bit it’s just a lumpy slick. I can’t remember mine having much grip - on slippy bits you just rely on being smooth, and the wheel being too heavy to be able to make it skid.

Anyway, grip is for wimps.

I’ve found my TA is fine for cross country (compacted dirt / grass) in dry conditions, but haven’t tried it in the wet - I’m imagining it won’t be very grippy. I’m inclined to use a 29er with a proper knobbly tyre for that sort of thing.

Side note: Roger at UDC UK recommended the Coker for me for offroad, I believe it’s what he uses.

I’d say it’s not worth getting a Coker tyre for extra grip.

Yes, with a radial 360 TA tyre you have zero control on slimy wet grass/mud (can keep going in a straight line, just forget about starting/stopping/turning. But I think you’d need more knobbles than coker buttons to improve that by much (* though I’ve not done it myself. Sorry, another ignorant post…).

As long as the mud has some grit in it (like Dartmoor!) then the grip can still be there. It only really goes when it turns in to a smooth paste.

However, with a Radial 360 tyre, you have more potentially superfluous rubber. The outside ridges could possibly be cut down in a knobble pattern with some kind of grinder tool. Having a knobbly ridge around the ‘corner’ edge of the tyre should make a big improvement in turning on slimy surfaces. Cuts down weight too, if you’re into that game. :wink: Leaving the middle and two inner side ridges smooth would keep road smoothness if you want it. Though a fully knobbilified Radial tyre could be a cool thing.

Sam (who has just been bolting broom sticks onto his coker…)

I’ve ridden both off-road in wet muddy conditions. I really didn’t notice a dramatic difference. I’d image the coker should be better, but I’d give the TA a shot. It might be just fine.

Thanks for the comments. Sounds like I may as well stick with the road tyre until it wears out - unless it turns out to be really useless on my usual route. I like Sam’s idea of modifying the tread on the edges… whether I’d have the guts to take an angle grinder or stanley knife to £60 worth of tyre I don’t know :astonished:

Looks like I’m going for it anyway… I’ve been digging about in the attic to find superfluous stuff to flog to offset the guilt of buying the coker…


I have ridden both tyres. The TA tyre lasts much longer than the original coker tire. So if there might be a significant difference in offroad performance its only for a few hundred miles :roll_eyes:


I should add that UDC Roger suggested that the TA tyre has sufficiently thick tread that I could get a tread cutting tool and make a decent off road tread in it. No idea where one gets aforementioned tool, or really what sort of tread would work well on a coker, but there’s a project for you if you feel adventurous.

Broom sticks?

I’ve got some lino cutters somewhere… hmmm… wonder if that would work.

Lino cutters sound worth trying :slight_smile:

Maybe a one of those drill-multi-tool sander things would be good too.

John: You’ll find out about broom sticks soon enough. Let’s just say I may have to try to stop people from calling me Harry.

The TA tyre is (in my humble opinion) a lovely tyre to ride (I ride mostly on road, but hey) so if you’ve got it you may as well try it - you might well find you like it.

I’ve pretty much decided not to bother swapping the tyre - if it misbehaves on the grass I’ll try experimenting with cutting some tread.


A TA tyre with cut tread could be interesting - a knobbly coker would be most excellent :slight_smile: Please post pics if you do any cutting, and let us know how you did it!

don’t cut too far !

i know you won’t, but ya know, just to be sure, don’t CUT TOO FAR

Will do. I was thinking more of a few v-shaped grooves rather than knobbly, just to give it a bit more purchase than a slick. Worth a try I think. If I do it I’ll try lino cutters and see how it goes - attacking it with an angle grinder or even a dremel sounds a bit scarey.
I haven’t actually got the unicycle yet - I’ve told Tom I’ll have it and Roger’s doing us a superb deal on getting it moved, so I’ll keep you posted.


Cutting the TA sounds good to me, man. You’ll definitely have to post pics up if you do do this.

It’s in the post. It’s not actually in the post, but you know what I mean. The ball is rolling.


I agree with this sentiment. For carving turns, the TA is smooth like warm butter. (pronounced “butta”)

That smooth turning feeling (also found on the 29er BA2.35) inspired my “personal rollercoaster” sigline.