Dumb Q: why no multi-hole cotterless cranks?

I was looking at cranks at UDC recently; I noticed that the ISIS uni’s offer 2- and 3-hole crank upgrade options, but the cotterless ones (i.e. Club) do not. Why not, I wonder? The Club 24 comes with 127’s, but most 24 muni’s seem to come with 150’s. Meanwhile some riders tout the 114’s or 102’s for faster/smoother road riding.
It seems a 100/125/150 combo in cotterless might be a nice option instead of buying multiple cranks, just like it is for, say, Oracles. I mean, they sell all these crank sizes in 1-hole cranks, why not multi-hole ones for more versatility?

It’s probably because of the low quality of the cotterless standard: it’s generally not used on good unicycles so options like multi-hole cranks are not available.
Moreover, as far as I can remember, multi-hole cranks are pretty new - maybe 10 years or so - whereas cotterless is much older. Since then ISIS has replaced cotterless.

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The cotterless/square taper cranks that UDC sells now are steel, and even if they were high quality would be too narrow to drill. They have a bulged eye where they are drilled for the pedal, but the rest of the crank is skinny.

Aluminum is bulkier than steel (for the same weight or strength), so the whole crank arm is usually wide enough to drill. My old Venture and Venture 2 cotterless cranks are aluminum and the same as the Isis versions, so they would be fine for drilling, but I can’t remember if they were sold with extra holes or not.

Apparently, they exist:

But they are not common for the reasons Maxence stated, most riders advanced enough to appreciate multi hole cranks will choose a unicycle with splined cranks anyway.


The SHW dual-hole cranks are nice for what they are. I am certainly happy with them. The look nice and they are pretty light. However, I suspect they make most sense for bigger wheeled unis, intended for road riding (much like the penny farthing they were designed for). This use case does not require the strength that a splined crank interface will give you, because you are far less likely to be doing jumps or drops. Also the selection between 150 for steeper, hilly road and trails or 125 for a bit more speed on flatter roads makes sense.

So if you have a cheap 36er, e.g. a UDC Trainer/Titan or an old coker, it is a nice upgrade that gives you a couple of options. If you are using a smaller uni and doing a form of unicycling that is more abusive to the uni, you really want to upgrade anyway.


So there are some out there! Although those sound a little less durable perhaps.
I guess it makes sense that folks who are interested in different crank lengths might also be those who upgrade to an ISIS uni anyway.
It also seems like a shame for unis like the club (which seems like a quality long lasting item, and plenty durable if you’re not doing hops and drops) doesn’t have more versatile crank options.

Although $20 for 1 hole cotterless, vs $95 for 3-hole ISIS (VCX+), you could nearly buy 4 sets of cotterless cranks for the same price anyway! Unless you’re packing them with you on a long ride and concerned about weight, it’s probably better to just get the crank size(s) you like/want.

I’m mostly just curious (would 150’s make my 24 easier to balance/mount than the 127’s it came with? Would the 114’s be ‘smoother’ for just basic riding?). For $40 i could try both. Still much cheaper than a new ISIS muni (or the the 3-hole ISIS cranks for that matter)

Someday I will get an Oracle with the VCX+ upgrade option included…:grin:

I’ve only had limited experience on these crank lengths and wheel sizes, but I think that at 127 on a 24 you’ll be pretty comfortable, it’s not going to hinder you too much (vs. 150s). But, in my opinion, 114s for just riding a 24 are too short and it feels weird and unnecessary. Yeah, you can go a bit faster/smoother… but I don’t think the difference would be enough to warrant the change. Maybe I’m wrong, though - again, I don’t have a ton of time logged on the different lengths with a 24.

For me the shorter the crank, the easier to mount. My 24" came with 170mm and I cut them down to 125mm. The shorter they are the more pressure you can put on when mounting. If you carry it to an “unreasonable” extreme, 0mm cranks would be very easy to mount, just step on. Of course you could not ride away.


Agreed with @JimT! And in a similar same way to his example with 0mm cranks, I think there is also a too long a crank ratio. I got on a 20" with 145mm cranks and it was pretty hard to get on, and hard to ride smoothly - way too much leverage. My first 24" had 150mm cranks and I never got to enjoy it until I shortened them. My current muni 24" has 137mm which are perfect. And my street 24" has 110 which are great. On a smooth surface, I wouldn’t go above 125mm. Sweet spot being 110 or 114 - though it’s not “IUF” approved if you want to race.

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That is interesting, i figured shorter would be harder, for 2 reasons: 1) being higher off the ground 2) offering less leverage to get going, but what you said makes sense.

I have to admit, now i really want to get 2 crank sets now, 1 longer and one shorter, just to see if I like either better. $40 plus a puller isn’t too much…

I think I will opt to go for a set of 114’s and 140’s to have on hand based on you and Jim’s replies. Maybe the 140’s will be better than 127’s for light intro muni when I’m gettingmore ready for that, and the 114’s might make mounting easier and possibly learning to ride more smoothly, or just faster when ready for it.

That would be a one wheel static chair, but watching tv, while stillstanding or hopping wouldn`t be relaxing. :slightly_smiling_face:

Ask other local unicyclists if they have the other length cranks. You might find someone happy to part ways with the 140’s

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FWIW, UDC (UK) sells the SHW 125/150 cotterless cranks now



There are 120/140mm cotterless cranks on some Trek kid’s bikes like this one. I am not sure if you can buy the cranks separately though. Since the intent of these cranks were to get longer as kids grow they might not be strong enough to hold up to long term uni use.

Edit: I got my numbers wrong here: “I think it said they used 9/16” pedals instead of 5/8” which could be a strength concern as well and could limit pedal choices.” 9/16” is standard.

And of course there is a chainring which would probably be best to remove before using the cranks on uni unless they are going on a giraffe.

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9/16" is the “standard” for bike pedals - and on unicycles, nothing to worry about there. (And it says they do in fact use 9/16" pedals and cranks on the website). If you can find a pair seperately, it does look like a decent option, if the price is okay.

(1/2" would be the only other pedal thread size you might ever encounter, but that is pretty outdated and I doubt you’d find it on a new bike nowadays.)

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Thanks for the correction.
I do have a set of 1/2 pedals on my 20” Schwinn along with its cottered cranks. :slightly_smiling_face:

That’s one reason. The main reason is probably market driven; if people aren’t asking for it, nobody’s making it. We unicyclists are barely noticeable in relation to the much, much, much larger bicycling market.

This is possibly the “largest” reason, and the one I thought of first. Square taper cranks are/were relatively cheap, so it was easy to accumulate various sizes and not difficult to switch from one to another. We did some crank-swapping in the Ride The Lobster race, but this was difficult to do while a single other teammate was riding; you had to either drive to destination first and then do the change, or do it and hope you didn’t leave your teammate hanging out there.

On the first question, yes. But then you’re be riding around slower, with your feet making large circles. Crank size should be based on the largest/most important portion of the riding you’ll be doing. Of course, being able to change them out gives you better flexibility. On your second question, yes. 114 is a great “general” size for a 24". You can still ride up all sorts of hills, and have power to start, stop and do lots of tricks. BTW, 114 was my preferred size for my 36" (ungeared) uni on relatively flattish bike paths. If the hills got longer or steeper, 125 or larger would be needed.

That size might still be found on childrens’ bikes (and old Schwinns). :slight_smile: