cure for loosening pedals?

I have aluminum cranks on a 2 year old unicycle. I admit I’m not knowledgeable. Since working on my freemounting everything seems to be getting loose. My pedals though seem to be progressively loose requiring tigthening every mile or so… Is there anything I can do to keep things from getting worse? …or is it too late. What went wrong? What are my options?

…having unicycle riding withdrawal in Michigan…

You have your right crank on the left side and vice versa (or your frame is backwards). This causes the pedals to come loose.

What he said - it could even be as simple as your saddle pointing the wrong way. My first uni came with no instructions at all how to assemble it, and unicycles don’t really look like there is any difference which way round things go. But as you have discovered, it matters a lot.

Holy Moley! I took the unicycle in to the bike shop where I bought the uni for crank replacement a last month and heard them talking about turning the seat around to make it easier for them to reach something with a gear puller. I didn’t know any better and didn’t question it.
I’ll turn the seat around. Thanks. (I’ll also let them know so they won’t mangle other unicycles in the future.)

Not sure you did, but you shouldn’t blindly turn the seat around, even though that fits the problem. Look at the crank arms and/or pedals. They should have an L and an R on them. Your left leg should be using the L crank, and right… R.

I will double check the cranks. I did turn around the seat and the pedals stayed snug on a four mile ride and did not loosen, but the right crank did loosen.

…so I’ll check the cranks…

Sorry to change the topic within a thread but
for the first time I used a hydration system…
…way more convenient than stopping to drink. The ride was 10 times more enjoyable.

Is this a never ending saga?

Pedals were on the correct cranks, L and R. So next to figure out are the cranks on the correct side… I wonder if the frame gives any indication… I’ll look tommorrow…

hmmm…I went a whole season without pedals or cranks becoming loose, hard to believe this is now happening after getting things serviced…

I’ll just write a beginners guide to what goes on which side of my unicycle so I or someone else can copy and paste it everytime these questions are asked.

The pedals only fit onto their respective cranks. Left has a left hand thread, right has a right hand thread.

The cranks fit onto the hub, orientation does not matter, if cranks come loose it is because they are not tightened properly (you might need spacers to give the cranks a shoulder to tighten to, and loctite is your friend).

The tire fits onto the rim, if it is directional (little arrow on the tire indicates which way it is supposed to turn), make sure it is on the right way around. Looking from the right side of the wheel (where your right crank is), the arrow should point clockwise. If there is no arrow, the V shape of the knobs / lines on the tire should be pointing backwards when you look at it from the top, with the wheel in the right orientation.

The frame has only one non symmetrical part, which is the slit in the seattube, the orientation of which is completely irrelevant, but people generally have it on the back.

The seatclamp has a slit too, it should be aligned with the slit on the frame.

(This next part should be obvious)
The saddle. Look at you unicycle from the top, the saddle facing forward: The crank on the left side of your unicycle should hopefully be the left one, the crank on the right the right one, if not turn the seat around.

Now you have checked all this, make sure your bearing holders are not too tight, they should be just tight enough to not rattle and wobble around (no play), if you squeeze to much your bearings will break.


I had the same problem, undo, wipe clean, grease and put back in. Mines never come undone since, and I’ve been doing 30 min a day for last few months, idling,freemount etc

As explained by Finnspin, the frame doesn’t really care. Slot in the back, sticker or logo in the front, but that’s only aesthetics; no problem riding with the frame either way. So once you’ve established which pedal is which, everything should orient from there.

Not at all. They probably just gave it back to you with something turned around. Could have been the seat or the wheel (if they took the wheel off the frame). At bike shops, unicycles usually get handed to the least-experienced mechanics, which makes them perhaps less likely to realize that right/left pedal thing still matters; and more than on a bicycle.

  1. Pedals on correct crank: Left on left and right on right as per embossed letters.

  2. Previously loosening pedals no longer loosening since spinning the seat around to match left and right side pedals and left/right cranks.

  3. Frame is once more oriented with slot facing back as it was before taking it in to the bike shop.

  4. Since reorienting seat the left crank became loose one time to date. I’ve retightened it and haven’t had chance to test it. A loose left crank is why I took it in several months ago and the crank was replaced by the most knowledgeable staff person they had, who admitted he knew little about unicycles other than putting them together.

Conclusion… hopefully this is a once in a blue moon event… but it may be time to research lock tight…

No need for loctite if you’ve solved the fundamental problem - pedals don’t come loose when riding normally if properly tightened (they are handed precisely in order to avoid that happening). At least until you start riding backwards that is - I trashed a set of cranks when a pedal came loose learning backwards riding when I was mostly riding backwards in a session, but now I can ride backwards and it’s just part of a session it no longer seems a problem (I’m checking regularly now, but they’ve not come loose again).

BTW there’s no real way the pedals could be in the wrong cranks - they simply wouldn’t install more than one turn or so and would come off the first time you tried to ride, it would be dead obvious - the issue is simply having the cranks and pedals on the wrong sides.

Resolution: More muscle…

Seems like I should let you know how things were solved.

…First of all, the bike mechanic had turned the seat around in the opposite direction. We didn’t know then what a difference that would make. That was the cause for progressive pedal loosening. After the advice on the forums here, I corrected that fine, but then a crank started becoming loose.

I tried tightening it with what I thought was extreme muscle multiple times. I was told don’t over tighten because parts are aluminum. The crank kept becoming loose. At that point I took it back to the bike shop.

A new technician agreed with me the crank didn’t seem to be seating tight against the spindle even though I had tightened it at that moment so nothing seemed to be moving or going to move. Where I had been careful, Richard the tech brought out something that looked like a breaker bar to give his wrench even more leverage than his weight and bodybuilder arms might do. 3/4 ths of a turn later the crank was now flush against the spindle and he declared the crank ‘healed!’ (Is that a technical term?)

I haven’t had a problem with the crank or the pedals since. I’m a little surprised since the earlier mechanic warned me I could strip parts… I’m also a little surprised because I was really sure I was putting super human effort into tightening the crank. Guess you have to be from Krypton…

Anyway its great to be back on the road again and I sincerely appreciate the truly helpful advice on this site.

I had a creaking crank with a bolt that I thought was as tight as it could possibly go. Sometimes you just have to eat your spinach and tighten it even more to fix the problem.

From trying many times I know that I am not strong enough to strip the m12 screws on most hubs, at least with normal allen wrenches, even with all my weight and strength combined. Since both the hub and bolt are screw are steel, I do not really worry about them that much.

I use a wooden block to seat the square tapered cranks onto the hub.
A couple of whacks with the hitting stick, make sure the bolt is tight, then tighten it even further.

A wooden mallet will do the same job.

There’s no way you could possibly overtighten a crank bolt with a normal allen wrench. I use a torque wrench for mine, which is a couple of feet long, and still putting quite a bit of force into it to get the right torque.

I made a small addition to Finnspins fine points. …