Correct crank/pedal assembly

So I was practicing today (a good day, I think I hit 15’ several times), when I noticed a slight rattling sound. It sounded like it was coming from a pedal, so I checked, and sure enough, one of the pedals was slightly loose.

As I looked at it, I happened to notice a small “R” on one side of the pedal, just next to the crank. Which seemed odd, since it was the left pedal. I checked the other one, and sure enough, there was a small “L” on it.

I took them off, and, as I suspected, I couldn’t switch them because of the threading (I’ve wrenched on my bicycles lots of times). Then I noticed that even the crank arms had “R” and “L” stamped into them, and they matched the pedals. I tried to remove a crank, but only succeeded in putting a slight dimple in the frame as I tried to leverage it off (I doubt that it’s any worse than what I’ll no doubt be doing to it on accident in the next few weeks, but note to self: buy a crank puller).

So it seems to me that my cranks/pedals were installed on the wrong sides. At my level, I doubt that it’s a big problem, although the fact that one of the pedals started to loosen already tells me that it’s something I should get corrected. But before I take it back to where my wife bought it and ask the guy who put it together (my brother-in-law) to switch them for me, I want to make sure that I’ve got it straight how this thing is supposed to be facing in the first place, since I’m pretty new to this sport. So here are my assumptions:

  1. The fat part of the seat goes in back.
  2. The quick-release on the seat tube goes in back (not the handle, I realize that can go any direction, though I always have the ones on my bikes facing down or back, but the actual holes that the quick-release axle goes through).

If those are correct, then it seems to me that the cranks are on backwards, and my options are to a) get them put on correctly, or b) turn the seat around, which will put the quick-release in front.

Any problem with option “b”? Or should I just take it back and get it built properly?


Just spin the seat 180 degrees and things should be fine:)

that’s what i was thinking…

or switch the cranks if you don’t like riding a frame that’s “backwards”

The frame will have a slot in it where the seat clamp is. This slot is the back of the frame. With that slot backwards, turn the seat so it’s facing the right way (the fat part is the back, as you guessed). If the cranks are now the wrong way round, it’s easier to turn the whole wheel round in the frame than it is to swap the cranks over. Depending on what kind of bearing holders you have, you will either need to undo four nuts (“maincap” bearing holders) or slide the holders out of the frame (“lollipop” holders - I haven’t had any experience of those so I’m not sure if they’re held in by grub screws, bolts or just friction).

To remove the cranks (I’m assuming it’s a normal square taper axle, not a splined one) you’ll need a crank puller (same as for bicycle cranks). These are not expensive to buy, otherwise most bike shops will remove the cranks for you for a small fee.

Good luck.


I had the exact same thing happen to my norco uni. I took it back to where bought it and they put some locktite in and gave the entire uni a full checkup. Since then I havn’t had any problems with it whatsoever.

take it to my bike shop. u live rite next to it


How about taking the wheel off the frame, rotating it 180, and reinstalling the wheel? There’s no need to take the cranks off!

If the cranks / pedals do come off, however, give the threads and/or square taper a light coating of grease or antiseize before reinstallation. This will allow for a better fit and easier maintenance in the future.

yea if you have them on there the wrong way the pedals will keep loosening because of weight on the pedals that is turning them “undone” enstead of tightening them when you do drops or just plain ride around. Other than the pedals coming loose all the time there is no real damage done.

You don’t need to take it to a bike shop, you just need to take the frame off and flip the wheel around so everything’s in the right direction.

There should either be 4 bolts holding a cap on around the bearing (on the axle) that you take off,

or there will be lollipop bearing holders (you unscrew bolts that hold them in the frame and they drop out)

Just take the wheel off and switch its direction.

…and if you ever have any problems other than that I work at Wheel Away bikeshop in Campbell on friday afternoons and saturdays and do most of the uni wrenching there :slight_smile:


D’oh! I never thought about the fact that the cranks are attached to the wheel. Too many years of cycling with two wheels. :roll_eyes:

It’s got the four bolts. I’ll rotate it later tonight. Looks like the tire tread is the same in both directions, so I imagine it makes no difference which direction it’s facing.

Thanks guys! I’m awfully glad I Googled “unicycle learn” on Christmas morning! And Colin and Ben, I’ll stop in at your respective bike shops soon, it’ll be nice to meet some local unicyclers. :slight_smile:


It doesn’t matter if the slot in the frame is facing forwards, so you could just spin the seat around. Even quicker than reversing the wheels.

Some bikes have the slot in the front of the seat tube, supposedly to prevent mud thrown up by the wheel getting in the slot.


That’s what I would think too. If the tread is directional and the profile as a V-shape to it, the tyre should be mounted such that the corner of the V hits the road first. The reason for this is that water can be drained away from the centre of the tyre to the sides. However, at unicycling speeds water drainage is not a problem anyway, so I’d guess that tyre directionality doesn’t matter for us.

Note: I’ve heard that people were experimenting with the rolling direction of offroad tyres to increase grip on downhill versus uphill, or something like it. ISTR there was a marginal difference only, if any.