Cokers & Pedals w/ Pins

After reading a note from my pal Adam, I’m seriously considering getting metal pedals with pins. I’ve been using decent plastic pedals, and part of the reason is that I don’t like when pins enter my body and take out chunks of it.

But Adam made a bunch of good points, and I’m thinking maybe I should get pin-pedals and just wear shin guards (or even, dog-fuhbid, long pants). It seems like a few of my bad UPDs would have been avoidable had I been using better pedals.


Grippy pinned pedals are a great upgrade for a Coker. Grippy pedals make it possible to put more body english into turns and other maneuvers. It makes the Coker more controllable.

I have never had a pinned pedal hit my leg or shin while riding the Coker. I don’t bother with shin pads to protect me from the flesh eating pedals. It’s not something I even worry about. I am however very consious of my flesh eating pedals on my muni. If I ride the muni without leg protection I often get bit.

The big thing is to keep the pedals under your feet and the best way to do that is use grippy pedals with grippy shoes.

I agree with JC. I’ve never got a pedal bite on my unprotected legs from my Coker and I use metal platform pedals. However, my MUni is always trying to chew up my lower legs. I always wear my 661’s while Muniing:D

I can’t stand an insecure feeling between pedals and feet. That can be caused by incorrect Q as well. The most grippy pedals won’t help if your feet want to be elsewhere.

Grippy pedals are great for bad weather, bumpy roads, heavily-crowned roads (where there is a lot of side force on the pedals), hills (where one is doing a lot of hard spinning), standing on the pedals.

They are not as much better than plastic for smooth, dry, flat roads on sunny days.

Another factor is platform size. Having a large, supportive platform is just as important. Getting the outside edge of your foot on solid pedal makes a big difference in foot security. Some pedals with fancy pins are narrower than others.

I always have grippy pedals on, but then I always have leg armor on. John’s knee warmer suggestion has come in very handy this spring, and I’m always wearing them too to keep from putting holes in my skin.

Your UPDs can be spectacular, David, but I don’t really know if grippy pedals would have prevented them. More likely, your switch to longer cranks will help more. The combination of the two, adding a helmet, and eliminating unnecessary risks such as riding against traffic and talking on the cell phone while riding, would make the family unit very happy.

My two cents.

I remove some of the pins for the right amount of grip. On my muni, I only use the pins on the front edge of the pedal.

Thanks for the ideas about platforms, D3. I’m not sure what Q is.

For the record, I always wear a helmet on my Coker and always have.

Well essentially, it is the distance between pedals. Sheldon Brown calls it “tread” or “Q-factor”, and makes it the distance between pedal attachment points, which is close enough. Distance between pedals on a unicycle is determined by axle length and crank design. Some cranks flare outwards more, increasing their contribution to a given wheel’s Q. Widening a unicycle hub with welded-on flanges not only separates the flanges more, but also separates the pedals more.

On the stock Coker, my feet always wanted to drift outwards, even when using super grippy pedals to try to “lock” my feet in place. This left me fighting the unicycle and was quite unsettling. When I switched to the wide hub, I was noticeably happier on both grippy and non-grippy pedals. Similarly, on my Suzue-based 29er, I had to add pedal extensions to be comfortable. Recent experiments I’ve done with a KH hub-based 29er show me that the pedal spacing for me is pretty good without adding the extensions, since the hub/axle are wider and the cranks have more contribution to Q than the Bike Euros on the other 29er.

Since pedal spacing is a factor in bicycle fit, it is reasonable to conclude it is also a factor in unicycle fit, with the above experiences serving as instances of a general principle. However, a bit of thought about the nature of unicycling and fit shows one that individual body characteristics, seat height, seat type, crank length, riding type, and even terrain type are all complicating factors, so that calculating the ideal Q for a person is a non-trivial task. It is currently not possible to calculate accurately a person’s ideal unicycle Q from body measurements and the like.

However, road riding is the unicycling style that is the most controlled in terms of seat height and body motion, so it may be the one to start with by simple individual experimentation, as I have done.

In general, we currently have control over: seat type, hub width (more precisely, axle length), crank brand, pedal width. These things are worth playing with for a serious rider in order to achieve optimal Q. Note that some hubs have proprietary axle/crank interfaces so that using a different brand of cranks is not possible. Note also that, for some or most cranks, choosing a longer crank also increases that crank’s contribution to Q.

Optimal Q is desirable for: relaxing while maintaining proper foot position on the pedals, even on rough terrain; minimizing side pressure on the saddle; minimizing muscle and tendon interference by the saddle; developing optimal energy transfer through the legs to the pedals; developing higher spinning rates with longer cranks; and the like.

Although some riders dismiss Q as an issue, I believe, partly based on my own personal experience, partly from simple thought experiments, and partly from the bicycling literature, that Q is quite important for the serious unicyclist. As distance riding (both road and off-road, touring or racing) develops, Q-factor will become a major factor in fitting a unicycle to a rider for optimal performance over many miles. I have started developing a unicycle-specific system for quantifying this, and hope to fold it into the unicycles I build.

Re: Cokers & Pedals w/ Pins

Just get pinned pedals and don’t fall off.

I reckon the large reduction in fallings off saves you a lot more hurt than the small chance of shinning yourself on a coker. I’ve only ever hit my shins on the muni and then not badly.


I agree with David, that Q-factor is very important for unicycles. In my opium it is considerably more important than on bicycles because there is an additional factor with them. On a bike the main factor affecting the Q-factor is the hip width and the natural position of the legs. On unicycles there is an additional factor which is the lateral movement created when you press on the pedal. On a muni (or when casual riding) it is advantageous to use this lateral movement for control. When it comes for straight racing this lateral movement is a problem and you need the wheel to spin as smoothly as possible. If you check out the unicycles that are used by the top riders at UNICON you will find that many of them have cut down narrowed to help with this.

My experience with widening my hub is that although it made my Coker more handleable off-road it dropped my top speed by 1mph and made my high speed cruising less comfortable. (Take note Zach, check out a few widths of hubs/cranks when training and see what you are comfortable with).


Hmm…I’m sure you mean opinion

In my experiences I have never hit my legs on the pedals of my coker. This is much different from my experiences on my trials, where people always ask me if my legs were mauled by a tiger.

The big wheel on a coker keeps the pedals away from my legs. I’m having trouble imagining shredding my legs on a coker. I’m just not seeing how it would happen.

You should be safe with pinned pedals sans leg armor on a coker. Waits for the cokerhead to tell their story about mangeling their legs :astonished:

Pinned pedals on a Coker. Not slippery when wet. It was my first upgrade and I’m glad I did it years ago. Like others who have posted, I’ve raked my shins plenty of times but never on a Coker. I don’t ride at David Stone speeds, though. Your UPD’s are probably launches in which regaining control is much more difficult. I wouldn’t want pinned pedals chasing me down the pavement necessarily.

Ooh – I forgot to mention a little story. I was uni’ing in an annual ride along with my bro and our friend (and co-fo of the NYUC) Joe Merrill. Suddenly Joe lost his balance due to a little dip in the road. He hopped off at about 14mph and held onto his Coker by the seat (in order to keep it from dashing into the bikers behind him). The problem was that he didn’t know a technique I’ve used ever since that day (meaning that I didn’t know it either). What I now know is that if you end up in Joe’s position (post-UPD running while you hold the Coker behind you), you need to LIFT THE COKER as it ‘runs’ behind you. What happened to Joe was that he slowed down faster than the Coker did, causing it to swerve in front of him. His legs got caught in his nasty pedals, and he ended up getting 7 stitches at the hospital for the gash in his shin.

I’ve gotten enough responses to know that I need to get some wide, pinned pedals. I’ll get back to everyone on this subject some time next year after I figure out how much better life is with an improved Q. [And thanks to Dave Stockton for info on THAT subject – very informative!]


There are metal pinned pedals that are less flesh eating than others. Some pedals have smoother and more rounded grip pins than others. Pedals that use threaded set screws for grip pins will have sharp edges that rip skin more easily. Pedals with smoother pins are less likely to rip the skin.

Some pedals at Dan’s Comp that have more skin friendly pins:

Haro Big Block
They’re big and heavy. Short little grip pins that are smooth.

Sun Ringle Zuzu
Smooth grip pins. Traditional concave DX style pedal. Lots of pins. I’ve been using the Zuzu pedals on my Coker.

Wellgo Platform Pedal
It looks like the Wellgo’s also have a smooth grip pin. Hard to tell exactly from the picture. also has the Bulletproof pedals which look to have the same smooth style grip pins as the Wellgo’s.

Since I added magnesium pinned pedals and changed from my everyday shoes to sticky Vans I have not had any upd’s or any meat removed from my legs. As well as john childs said. And I RIP thru the trails every day.
Try it You won’t regret it.