Cranky about adjusting to longer cranks.

I have had a couple of rides on my lovely new custom MUni now. Everything about it is sweet: great black powder coated Yuni frame with orange powder coated Alex DX rim looks awesome, the three inch Gazz is just a delight for hopping and dropping, the big machine is easy to idle and surprizingly nibble on technical trails BUT I have gone from the 150 mm cranks on my first MUni to 158 Monty’s on this new uni and though this is not much in terms of mm’s it seems to have made a lot of difference in handling on the straight stretches.

How can this be? I feel like a bit of a dolt about this but riding along on the easiest of all terrain, just the straight and smooth sections, I feel like the MUni is sort of wanting to twist to the left all the time and I am mucking about trying to keep centred on the fine machine. I can’t quite make sense of this though I do recall it is a little like when I went from 127’s on my freestyle to 140’s. Of course, things did sort themselves out after a few rides.

But it just seems sort of weird and I wondered if anyone else has had a similiar experience. By the way, don’t get me wrong, these cranks are have very nice torque on the hills and I am glad to have this length but I wish the adjustment up wasn’t so awkward a first, this has been a little hard on my uni riding pride!


Hey Erin…longer cranks on flat or ‘flat’ ground seems kinda slow and wobbly.
You’re in Vancouver…take your awesome new ride on some hills!
You’ll be begging for 170’s!

Ha ha, mine was gone looooong ago. Just to ride around all padded up forces hyper-humility.

Stick with it; you’ll relax soon. Then everything will line up. Your muscles are tensing asymmetrically, partially to facilitate ejection, since your body is a little nervous. Notice that you have many things that are different; not just the crank length. Probably pedals, Q-factor, weight, tire width, tire profile, and maybe seat and handle (or did you say you swapped them?) are different; so your body is dealing with a lot of things. Take some time to ride just “listening” to the uni. Hear how it rides and how it wants to be ridden. That will really speed your adaptation.

Of course, check your uni for symmetry and proper seat height, but I have seen this in myself many times now. For example, when I first got the Coker I had twisting problems galore.

BTW Grats on the new machine!

I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear your reaction to those cranks!

Sorry, that’s a bit mean, but I had pretty much decided on the Monte 158s for my first Muni (in part because of the pictures of yours - nice!), and I’ve been worrying that they wouldn’t be long enough! Sofa will probably argue that they won’t, but I’m happy in between those who think they’re too long and those who think they’re too short!

Seriously, I’m sure U-Turn is right and you’ll get used to them soon. Like you said, things will sort themselves out!


Re: Cranky about adjusting to longer cranks.

Erin wrote:

> I feel like the MUni is sort of wanting to twist to the left

Hi Erin,

I too feel that my KH24 and my 24" United pull to the left. Oddly this
doesn’t seem to happen on my 19" trails uni with the Monty tire. I have
attributed it to a recent fact I learned which is that my left leg is
…75 inches shorter than my right. I think the discrepancy causes me to
lean a bit to the left. Perhaps you’re experiencing a similar problem?


If the pressure in your 3" Gazz is a bit too low, your unicycle will wander all over the place when you try to ride it on hard, smooth ground or pavement.

Not to answer for Erin, but I thought the same thing too, until quickly I remembered that an orthopedic surgeon had measured my legs as part of analyzing a knee injury and had pronounced that they were equal in length. This was a surprise to me but since I had done a lot of walking on crowned roads there was no way to isolate the issues. So that really wasn’t the problem.

That said, measuring the legs doesn’t address the hips and the sit bones and their relationship to the legs when they are “processing” the saddle.

One thing to note is that Erin didn’t have the problem before; so the saddle/hip/sitbones/leg thing is not likely to be the issue.

Another thing to think about is Jason’s “lean to the left”. That is, that we don’t always hit the saddle (or the pedals) in the same way. So even if our uni and body are symmetric, our riding position in a given moment may not be. I definitely find that one-foot riding with my right foot seems to have the pedal farther away; I attribute this to the fact that I have one-footed with the left foot far more and so my sitting position probably has warped to account for this. So now I have to start emphasizing the right foot to help balance things out.

Jason you may be able to mix pedals to correct the leg length difference if your footwear doesn’t already do it.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions guys. It is so valuable to have hear your ideas.

“longer cranks on flat or ‘flat’ ground seems kinda slow and wobbly”

humm, that is a good observation to know about, thanks Sofa. Don’t know about wanting to go with the 170’s any time soon though, I stick with Tim who thinks these are probably just right between the ‘too short and the too long’ cranks for me. They are indeed working splendidly on the Vancouver hills already.

"Take some time to ride just “listening” to the uni. Hear how it rides and how it wants to be ridden. That will really speed your adaptation. "

Yeah, U Turn, I think this will be the key to bonding with my new MUni. All in all, I think the set up is perfect and exactly what I was hoping for. But you are right, there is the wider tire, different tread, different seat and longer cranks all to get used to at once! It will take a few rides until the machine and I are more intimately aquainted.

“but I have seen this in myself many times now. For example, when I first got the Coker I had twisting problems galore”

This is useful for me to hear as well U Turn, at least I can feel that
I’m in good company! :wink:

Yah, Harper, I do think the low pressure, 20 psi, that I am running the Gazz at would definitely add to the tendency to wander on hard ground, I even notice this a bit when I’m on my Monty Trials with 30 psi. Ah but I already so enjoy the cushy landing of the Gazz and the extra lift on hops that the fat tire provides.

So, all in all, I’ll just be patient while making friends with my new wheel. Again thanks for all your comments.


Re: Cranky about adjusting to longer cranks.


I’ll see you in Moab!! I wish I had a frame to put my brake on… no brake


I know this feeling all too well. When I went to my 28er with new everything. I found myself with my hips sliding to the right, left shoulder forward. I reversed the seat and it slid to the left. Tried riding on the other side of a crowned road and on flat surfaces as well.

U-Turn gave me the same advice. Only thing is, I have had practically no time to ride it. :frowning:

What about this - using a Sem XL frame or Sem XLW frame,
I started thinking of how to check the alignment of the frame. I thought maybe I could
1)lay the frame down on a flat surface with the bearing holders just over the edge.
2)Then press down on the crown so that both sides of the crown rest on the flat surface.
3)push down on the crown with one hand and the blades with the other. Alternate the amount of force exerted on the crown and then the blades.

If the frame is in alignment, the blades should also be flush against the flat surface as well. If it is out of alignment, the frame will rock up and down.

What about the vertical test?
1)put the frame vertical on the main cap bearing holders and see if it sits stable. If it rocks then, I think the bearing holders could be out of alignment.

Has anyone done this to check alignment and does it work?

Probably the best way, Rod, to check alignment of a unicycle frame is to use a “fork alignment tool” which you will find your LBS using in their workshop. It is constructed to do just that, and includes reference markers to determine distance of arm from center. We used that tool to ensure your frame was spread properly for the hub and that the arms were balanced fore-and-aft as well as centered about the seat tube centerline.

Some problems with your first test are that it is dependent on leg and crown shape, that it is dependent on your table flatness, that it gives no real indication of the relationship of the legs to the seat tube, and that it does not provide a platform for fixing the alignment. The fork alignment tool does not have those problems.

Problems with your second test include the above problems. In addition, there is the problem that you are not testing the alignment of the bearing housings as they sit on the bearings, but the bottom of the housings. Those surfaces are essentially
irrelevant. The best way to check the inline alignment of the bearing housings (in the direction of the length of the frame) is by securing the bearings to a properly dished wheel, placing the wheel firmly in the frame, and measuring the span between the rim and each of the frame arms. By adding shims atop the bearings inside the bearing housing, you can correct for inline alignment problems. That’s what we did with your wheel and frame.

An additional alignment issue, for which we are currently constructing a custom tool, is the angular position of the bearing housings with respect to the axle. If the housings are misaligned in this sense, they can put improper pressure on the bearings themselves.

All that said, one needs to be able to correct misalignments. This is partly a function of the stiffness and quality of the frame. The Sem frame arms correct nicely, but not too easily, about the centerline, but are almost impossible to correct fore-and-aft because that is the direction of the wide part of the tube. Happily, we haven’t seen this as a problem; if we did, we would exchange the frame for one that did not require that correction.

The stock Coker frames are like licorice and bend too easily. However, mine survived the three person test quite nicely.

She winked at me, she winked at me! :stuck_out_tongue:

When I was adjusting to riding my 20" and then recently my 24" muni I noticed the same thing. It really got quite frustrating riding along and having to compensate for naturally twisting/leaning to the left. Now it doesn’t happen anymore and I have no idea why.


Try throwing the short cranks on again for a few days, then go back to the longer cranks again, then the shorts, etc. This will force your legs to relax and hopefully solve the problem?
I have some questions for you. I want to get a mountain uni this summer, mostly for mild trail riding, and it will likely be a 26 inch Semcycle from unicycle .com. I want a nice comfy seat and the three inch tire sounds nice, but I don’t know if it will fit on the cycle—. I’m sure the questions I really want to ask are ones I haven’t thought of yet. Since you’ve been there I would appreciate any advise you can give me. thank you, carjug

Changing cranks takes some adjusting to. Stick with it.

I used to ride my 24 with 150s and though it was the best possible combination of wheel/crank. Now I ride with 89s, and I get on my mate’s 24/150 and find it unrideable for the first few minutes!

I changed up from 150s to 170s on the 26, and hated them so much I switched back. But after a bit of ‘rationalisation of the fleet’ I put the 170s back on. It’s great for plodding over rough ground, and awful for riding on a flat surface. It’s slow, laborious, and wobbles/zigzags.

You may find it’s easier if you fiddle about with the height of your seat. Try it a bit higher than usual. You probably lowered it about 8mm when you put the longer cranks on? Well try putting it back up, and a little bit more.

Good luck.

a while back it was rumored that darren bedford was getting monty cranks that had been ground down to make them fit on the suzue hub properly, (not just the spider.)

are therse the new cranks you have?

Humm, good question… how exactly would I be able to tell? They are indeed the Monty 158’s but what would I look for to know if they are ground down to fit the suzue hub as they should?

Quite a few guys from back east saw my MUni at TOque, maybe they can share their observations about the cranks… Sofa, Spickdoo…?


The way I understood it from darren is that the Monty 158 cranks did not have the problem that the 145’s have been having. As a result Darren shipped back all his 145’s and is waiting for the modified version of them ( I think thats how it went anyway)

Erin, I didnt realize that that was your Uni that was on display at the bedford booth it looks really nice.


That’s right, Mike. I asked Darren about the Montes and he said the 145s (for the trials unis) were the ones that didn’t work. They were too much work to fix and he sent them back. The 158s were fine.