Custom Coker help

I’m ready to invest in a new unicycle. I’ve been reading these forums for a little over a year now. This is a first for me to get involved with communicating to others that I do not know. So bear with me.
I’ve been riding a Yuni 29” for awhile now. I am now ready to buy a Coker. I do not desire one of the ready made Coker brand unicycles. I’m pretty sure that I want one of the aero rims. A well built frame, brakes, and probably one of those air seats.
I am asking for recommendations from other owners of these unicycles. What can you tell me about your experiences getting one of these put together. I would like to keep it under $2000.if possible.

I am considering either a Hunter or GB4 frame. A wheel either from or should I get one from Livewire wheels. The wheel is in stock now. How long would it take me to get a Livewire wheel built and are they worth the extra money. From what I’ve been reading the company is having a rough time getting these wheels built. Why is that? Is Livewire giving a price break because of this delay.

What about the frames. What is the turnaround time on a custom built frame. Does anybody have a Hunter and a GB4? What do you like better.

I am willing to spend the money to get quality as long as I am really getting a better product not just hype.

Thank you for your recommendations. I look forward to riding one soon.

Not sure how much I can help out in this discussion. But I will try.

I have a stock Coker, and added brakes to it. For moderate hills and flat riding I was pretty happy, until I started riding steeper terrain. I put the brake on thinking it would be great for the downhills and saving a little energy. I was wrong. I can not get the stock wheel true enough to really feel comfortable enough using the brake on a downhill. On the uphills when I am really hammering it uphill I get so much flex, either in the frame, or the wheel that the brake drags. So I decided to take the jump and buy and airfoil wheel.

I have heard a lot of good things about the Livewire wheel, and decided to plunk down the money back in the beginning of April. I hope it will turn out well. Time will tell. Until then, I ride my stock Coker.

After I ordered a wheel I started looking at upgrading my seat. I also wanted to add the GB4 handle. I had already added a computer to my stock Coker, so I needed the handle with the computer mount. was out of the handles with the computer mount, and I was trying to get everything before a ride in late May. I emailed George barnes at GB4 and he responded immediately. Seriously like 5 minutes later. After a few emails, I was so impressed I ordered a frame too. I wasn’t planning on it, since I had heard others stretched their stock frames to fit the widened hub with the airfoil rim. Even though George was in Colorado, he was able to get the frame, handle, brake mounts, seat stiffener etc… all built to my measurements(I’m short), and then the handle and frame were powder coated to match in amazing time. He even sent me pictures of the building process before it was sent to the powder coaters. He didn’t have to, but it was kind of cool since it is all hand made and custom made just for me. He sent me updates, and notified me when it shipped. When it showed up it was packed so well a UPS truck could have drove over it w/o damage. The packing list was meticulously written on the inside of the box, and each part was wrapped in bubble wrap. It was then all packed in a double wall shipping box. I’m sure just the packing cost $10. I have heard he isn’t building, but I think if you give him time, he will probably still take orders. I guess the only way to know is if he responds here, or you send him a line.

As for Hunter, I know several on this board have his frames, maybe one of them can tell something about that experience.

If you have been reading the Coker wheel thread, you know that Livewire is still working on a quality solution up to the Livewire standards. And from what I have heard they make a great wheel. I wouldn’t have ordered otherwise. Hopefully this solution won’t take too much longer. I am really looking forward to putting it all together. Until then I ride the stock Coker, since my GB4 frame was made to fit the wider hub.

I also have a GB4 frame and had a very similar experiance that bugman had including the in progress photos, e-mails of the building progress and an apology up front that it may take awhile for my frame to be built because he was away from his shop. George (GB4) had my frame built sooner than his original estimate. He was terrific to work with. Unfortunately, his frame building business may not be available anymore.

As far as the wheel went, I built my own, and would encourage you to think about possibly doing it yourself. It’s not rocket science, and you can save $$ and end up with a similar product to the very expensive wheel that is available. E-mail or IM me if you would like more information.

Re: Custom Coker help

Hi there, Phelps! I’d be glad to give you a quote on a full uni or single wheel from LiveWire. PM or email me if you would like.

As far as the wheels go, the delay has been due to the Airfoil rim’s woes and is completely out of my hands. You are seeing the end of about 9 months of various delays. In fact, by the time we are done with the braking surface issues we will have an excellent solution to a sequence of troubles, delays, and technical challenges. Our original project fixed several flaws of the 36" wheel in a ground-breaking way, and the latest is no exception. Newcomers may not remember that before The Strongest Wheel came on the scene, it was accepted as common knowledge that Coker wheels, and large wheels in general, were weak.

As far as “price break”, in fact the price will be higher because there will be additional manufacturing steps involved. However, you will not be able to buy or make a better wheel. Seriously, there is very little or no profit in these wheels because of all the labor and trouble; I hope the uni community understands that.

As far as wheel building not being “rocket science”… Although it is true that it doesn’t take much to assemble a wheel, to build a truly great wheel, it does take a lot of insight and experience. I use a lot of my two engineering degrees when I build a wheel, as well as three years of experience building Coker wheels to the highest standards. The original project took a full year of many ideas, custom parts, tests, tweaks, data collection, and the like. In other threads I talk about all the others who also deserve credit for their contributions to this technology.

With respect, although a person may claim their wheel is “similar”, I have had a standing challenge up for three years now and have had no challengers (see Until that challenge takes place, there is no basis for that claim. And quite honestly, I’m glad my first wheel was not a 36". Finally, three years later with probably eight hundred dollars of custom/specialized equipment developed just for building these wheels (and more currently in the works), I’m happy to say that I’m very proud of the LiveWire product.

Bugman will be very thrilled with his wheel, which won’t be long now. And it makes a great combination with George’s fine work – just ask Mike Tierney!

For frames the main choices here in the US are the Hunter and GB4. There are other’s making 36" frames and there are DYI frames. The Hunter and GB4 are going to be the best of the bunch though. With George getting out of the frame building business for the time being the choice is now down to Hunter. The Hunters are great. I’d be glad to have one if I didn’t have a GB4. Hunter is willing and able to customize the frame to your specs. You can make it truly custom.

The easy way to get a quality wheel is to get it from LiveWire. U-Turn has built the wheels before and knows the tricks. I had my wheel built locally here in Seattle. It turns into a rolling experiment. The shop that I had build the wheel is now closed so I can’t go back there for truing and other wheel maintenance. I then went to a second shop that has a very good wheel builder. That shop has gone out of business too. So now I’m at a third shop. Every time I go to a new shop the wheel builder has to relearn how to build such a big wheel. They don’t know how much tension is needed. So each new wheel builder has to make a guess as to how much tension to use. It turns into a rolling experiment at that point. The first shop built the wheel, the second shop added more tension, and the third shop trued up a wobble and then replaced a broken spoke. Had I gone with U-Turn to build the wheel those problems would not have happened.

The saddle designed by Scott Wallis is really nicely made. I want one.

A Hunter frame with LiveWire wheel and a Scott Wallis saddle would be the killer combo. U-Turn can do all that for ya.

Re: Re: Custom Coker help

Just curious, I didn’t find the challange on your gallery. What is the challange?

I am sure I’ll be happy with the wheel. Can’t wait to get it. Hopefully your machinist gets it all set up soon.

I’ve been riding a Hunter36 with LiveWire wheel for over 2 years and can whole-heartedly recommend this as an awesome unicycle. I have two complete setups now, for myself and Beau. You can see some photos of them here.

These are great for long distance touring, great for offroad including racing. Solid and dependable. After you ride one of LiveWire’s wheels you won’t want to ride anything else. Working with Rick Hunter is also fantastic as he is extremely capable and willing to make whatever you want. He enjoys custom projects. For example look at this picture of a recent custom one he made for Bronson. Note the doubly-adjustable handle made exactly to Bronson’s specifications. Also you can’t see well in the photo but this frame has drastically different bearing holders than usual - to handle the Creative Gecko wheel with custom hub and adjustable cranks that Bronson is using. Rick has made hundreds of unicycle frames and really knows his stuff.

I’d say the 4 most important parts of the unicycle you’re talking about building are:

  1. wheel
  2. wheel
  3. wheel
  4. seat/post/frame/handle


Su-weeet. I’m waiting on a less jazzed up version of a Hunter frame and Stockton wheel.

What kind of cranks are those? Those are very cool.

I have just ordered a GB4 coker frame and I’m just waiting for it to come back from powdercoating. I’ll post a writeup when it comes. I’m expecting it to be a great frame and add at least 2mph to my cruising speed.


dose aneyone have a pic of a gb4 frame

Thank you all for your helpful information. With GB4 no longer available my choice for a frame, is a Hunter and unless I’m crazy enough to attempt building my own wheel, my choice is a LiveWire wheel. Theres not a lot of choices are there?

John Childs, you give a good reason not to rely on someone unfamiliar with building and fixing your Coker wheel. I didn’t realize that they were that different from what a bike shop is used to working with.

I would like to see Nathans 3 wheel unicycle

All sorts of 'em here:

BTW: I celebrated the first day of summer with a nice after-dinner ride tonight which brought me to the 1000 mile mark on my GB4 36. While there isn’t a lot of tread left on my Coker tire, U-Turn’s excellent wheel is still running strong and true. Only thing I’ve done to it in 14 months is adjust the air pressure in the tire.

I believe that Nathan has three U-Turn wheels so he’s not exaggerating. :slight_smile:
The most important part of a unicycle is the wheel. A stiff and well built wheel makes a difference in how the unicycle rides. If you’re trying to cut corners on a custom build the motto should be “splurge on the wheel and skimp on the frame”. That’s the opposite it is for bikes. For bikes the frame is the most important part because it determines the geometry and feel of the bike. On a unicycle the wheel is the most important part and the seat is second.

The Coker wheels get more fussy if you install a brake. The wheel needs to be stiff enough that it doesn’t rub the brake pads while you’re riding. That was the problem after the first build. The wheel didn’t have enough tension and would rub the brake pads during heavy pedaling. So I had to take it to another shop to get more tension. At that point it became a guessing match by the wheel builder to figure out how much tension is just right without being too much. It’s tricky.

The Hunter is a great frame. I was just a few days from ordering a Hunter frame when I found a second hand GB4 frame for sale. I couldn’t pass that up so I ended up with the GB4. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

Re: Re: Re: Custom Coker help

Read a bit closer. The third album in that gallery has the following for caption (emphasis added):

Album: Strongest Coker Wheel in the World
With help from the other members of the New York and Eastern Connecticut Unicycle Clubs, I tested my new Coker wheel. I built it from scratch a while ago and now testing is almost finished. ALL CHALLENGES ARE WELCOME! I’m working on a detailed website to describe this and other aspects to a Coker project, but until then here are some test results.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Custom Coker help

Actually I did see that. It just didn’t seem like a challange against all other wheel builders, more like a challenge to “test” Dave’s Worlds Strongest Coker Wheel.

GB4 all the way!!

I also am getting a gb4 coker frame just waiting for it to come from the brown truck. Contact gb4 manufactureing L.L.C. He built my 26" big muni I love it so much, I’m also getting a 24" from him also.

You can click on the link in munipsycho’s sig line to see picture of the frame being built. If you search one on one, he has pictures posted of his frame, or maybe he’ll repost them in this thread.

Here it is.

1o1, That’s a sweet ride? Very nice. Is that the wheel you built? What size cranks?

Thank- you. Yes it is. It is the end result of my DIY kit.

The cranks are Nimbus X 150’s