Explain some stuff to me (trials)

ok so me and my friend recently got into this whole “trials” uni-ing and muni-ing.

i don’t have much of a bike background but he used to be a pro BMX/flatland rider. he had sponsers anywhere from profile to torker in his past. so here is where we are so confused.

The frame of a unicycle, its basically a fork on a bike. Most uni frames are aluminum or stainless steel. a few very high end unis have a chromoly-steel frame. Now in the bike industry the cheapest frames are made from the chromoly-steel and then the more expensive a bike the more exotic the material the frame is made out of. Why are the KH unis using a aluminum frame, from my friends past experiences this is a very very bad idea. Aluminum tends to crack and break what makes these KH unis so great?

With that said now let me move onto the hub and cranks. These are basically the heart of a uni. from what it seems the frames material doesn’t exactly matter cause most of the forces fall on the wheel, cranks, and hub. So basically you get a profile hub and profile cranks and you are set for life.

i don’t know, i know that we will each probably be buying a kH 20 trials by the end of the month but for what it is it just seems rediculously expensive, it doesn’t have a life time warrenty on the cranks or hub and that seems to be the most important part of the unicycle. Why not just spend 100 bucks more and get the Yuni with profile hub and cranks.

Maybe we are missing somthing here and he could probably explain this alot better than me. But please just clue me in on what make a unicycle a good unicycle. I’ll be paying unicycle.com a visit on friday sense i live in georgia and its time i upgrade from my Nimbus X that i got just to toy with. we are torn between the Qu-ax, KH, and Onza.

thanks guys.


ps. this is a real addicting sport, we have both come to the realization we will be buying a 24 for the summer to do some Muni-ing. i think we are addicted.

John, I reccomend using the search button. Regardless, I’ll give some of tese q’s a try.

You won’t find a single production stainless-steel unicycle frame on the market. It’s just not economical, being as s/s is more expensive than just using chromoly and paint or chrome. A few people have made them custom, but that’s because s/s was the material was on hand, not because it’s mechanically superior to chromoly or aluminum.

Aluminum does tend to crack and break, assuming it is of inferior design and construction. It can be debated, the quality of the KH frame construction, being as it’s from Taiwan. However, there haven’t been any failures of KH frames reported yet, so chances are they’re fine. The design is excellent, no worries there.

Chromoly is a fine frame material. Chromoly frames are generally heavier than aluminum ones, but if you bend it somehow, you can bend it back. A bent aluminum frame is scrap metal.

The KH trials uni is a great trials uni. It will work well for the beginner and intermediate trials rider for a very long time. The first part to fail will be the seat, at which point you know you need to improve your technique and get a cf base. The seat is not made for high end trials riders, because all high level trials riders use carbonfiber seatbases. Following the seat, you might break the seatpost or pedals, but otherwise it’s a damn solid uni.

Anyone who whines about weak KH seats is a fool. They aren’t made for people who stress their seat a lot.

If you want a lifetime waranty, go ahead and get some profiles, They are solid, but heavy, and you probably won’t break profiles or KH cranks. They’re all strong enough. To be fair, though, the KH hub/crankset is a better design than the profiles. It’s theoretically as strong, or stronger than profiles, and wears better.

If I were you, I’d get the KH trials uni and use that extra $100 for a carbonfiber seatbase and extra set of pedals (jim c’s). Then you will have a virtually indestructable unicycle.

Good luck.

Edit: BTW, as for stress analysis, I’ve been riding trials for 3 years, muni for 4. In trials, the most commonly borken parts are pedals, by far. The hub/crankset definitely gets heavily stressed, but frames get a lot of twisting forces. I found out the hard way, after making my own frame, and not compensating enough for twisting forces. Just buy quality equipment, though, and you can avoid wasting time analyzing the forces unicycles get put through.

I have had a (small) problem with the frames but the paint on mine did not ionise properly (what roger from UDC said) And there was an unusual clicking sound, He fixed it.


To my knowledge, no one’s come forward yet about any of the alum. KH frames cracking. You rarely hear about frames in general cracking.

Kris Holm is man who’s been a founding father of mountain and trials unicycling. He’s a rider who designs and rides his own stuff. Over the years he’s been one of the best, most out-going, and friendly representatives of the unicycling community. So, he’s very dedicated to what he does. He mass-produces exceptional quality products. You can now get one hell of a stock unicycle, because of him. The only thing that you may end up upgrading is to a carbon fiber seat base, and a thompson seat post.

I wouldn’t say that you are set for life if you purchase a profile hub and crank set. You can still bend, break, or just generally wear a set of cranks down (more than likely it depends on what you do, and how good your technique is). They are by no means “God.” I’ve been riding my set of 145mm’s for going on two years. They have minimal wear, mostly from scraping ledges on hops, or pedal grabs that I missed, or didn’t land right. You still have to regularly maintenance them. They can develop creaks when riding, from the splines. Even then, the splines are bound to wear down, eventually. You can develop slop from the connection of the hub keyway, and the spindle/axle key. Some people have complained that it’s not too clear whether profile will cover this under the warranty. Besides, word on the street is that KH/Onza’s are very very nearly as strong as the profiles…and they way less…and the hub connects to the axle/spindle via splines, like with the cranks–instead of a keyway.

Why can unicycling be expensive? Well, for one thing there’s a small market…in case you didn’t notice. Unicycling is very challenging in the initial stages. It takes a lot of practice and dedication to get the basic riding skills down. Even then, if you’ve also noticed, there are very few people in the forefront of the sport, pushing the boundaries. It’s hard! In this fast paced day and age, it’s involves a lot more time and dedication, not to mention patience than staring at the tv while drinking pop lounged on the sofa. But, once the bug bites, and you are able to break and creat new challenges for yourself, then it can become really addicting. Oh, did I add that the general body of people I bump into on a campus of about 27,000 is that people think that riding a uncycle is impossible. There’s still a lot of the clown stigma attatched, too. I just had a guy say, “Wow…I didn’t know I’d be seeing some circus stuff today,” while I pulled a flatground 360 in full trials gear. My response was, “No. None of that. Circuses suck!” It just so happens that I take this sport very seriously. I’m not just a joke, or some petty amusement.

But, anyway. If you’re going to pay for top-end equipment, what do you expect?! It’s going to cost some dollars. I have a few custom parts on my unicycle, that were hand-made by fellow riders. That’s their time and energy that I’m paying for…not to mention that the material was carbon fiber

yea listen to gerblefranklin. The kh hubs are pretty much just as strong, but dont have the lifetime warrenty and are even a bit lighter! On a unicycle lightness is good, the lighter the better.

I really dont know why uni’s are so expensive. Look at it this way, in the bike world a top quality bike is what $6,000 on up? In teh uni world a top uni that is stock is like $500-$700.

Back to the hubs, they are made stronger that profile hubs and have a tapered end to eliminate creaking. They are also made out of a stronger
lighter aluminum than the profile hubs.

So what makes a uni a good uni say for Muni or trials is…

  1. being strong (strong rim, hub, and cranks(must have splines on hub))

  2. being light (so aluiminum is the best because uni frames dont take to much stress like bikes do)

  3. having a wide tire like a 2.5 or 3.0 (these tires are standard for muni & trials)

  4. Also make sure to have a good quality uni, some unis have crappy parts that break easily or are defective. Thats why a Kris Holm unicycle is probably one of the best uni’s to buy.

I guess that is the basics

I can say i have had my KH muni for awhile and i use it for everything so if you just want one uni for every job then get a 24" preferably a KH.

Heres a little run down on tire sizes

36" for road use only, this is a joke for any other type of riding

29" good for long distance road or XC trail riding

26" good for longer XC on rouph trails or Muni

24" most common wheel size, used as a standard for Muni or rouph XC, a 24" is also used for trials riding. You can do the same trials on a 24" as a 20" but its just harder.

20" pretty much used for trials only

hope this makes sense :wink:


firstly most good trials uni sra e 19inch not 20inch.

and two 20" is used for freestyle, learners, some XC, and for some people MUni.

Third cokers (36") are often used for muni and XC…take a look at some of brian mackenzies vids they are off road cokering.

first with the 19in to 20in is the same thing, 19" rim 20" tire…

and yea 20"ers are used by little kids for muni,but thats not really what a “Trials uni” is meant for so i didn’t say that.

And yes 20"ers are the most common, and are used alot in freestyle

and yes 36"ers are used for Muni, thas why i said its a joke! You cant do serious Muni a a 36"er. Do you think Kris Holm can do what he can on his freeride on a 36" Coker!!? Think about him in moab doing big drops on his coker! thats crazy!

20"ers for XC is also crazy talk, you can ask any serious XC rider if they do there long distance rides on there 20", and id bet they will say are you nutz!

you can do anything on any uni. and yes you can do serious muni on a coker. ive seen a guy who did a 7 foot drop on his coker… the trials thing ill give you though that your right about.

just for kicks i want to see that coker Muniing, is there anyplace i can go to see pics?

ill find some links for ya hold on a minute

ok this is a link to a coker-muni vid.

and this is a link to some pics and vids of the worlds strongest coker wheel.

hmm… i saw that strongest coker one before, but the muni vid dont work. I looked it up myself though and found some mild muni on cokers, but i still say its not very practicle (sp?) to muni with a 36".

maybe not now …but maybe someday someone will do it like its never been done before.

No I like doing long distance rides on a 29" or Coker. Anytning smaller would be nutz.

Unless you want to qualify that. If your original statements were in reference to high-end or hardcore Trials and MUni only, you would need to say so to keep from being hit back by the folks on this newsgroup (always correcting us).

Cokers are great on trails. Just depends on the Trails. Kris Holm has one too.

(Response to original post)

You guys had good questions. The fact that some of your assumptions are wrong is understandable because you are very new to unicycling. Welcome hardcore newbies!

A unicycle frame is shaped like a bicycle fork. But the stresses on it are totally different. Not a little bit different, not the same only different. They are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. The main stress on a unicycle fork is twisting, from your feet pedaling one way while your seat (or hand holding the seat) resists or pushes the opposite way. This force is basically nonexistant on a bike fork. Meanwhile, most stress on a bike fork is at the top, where the fork is held by the headset. Unicycles have almost none of that.

So they look the same, but they have different needs.

Now on to what unicycle frames are made of. 99% of the unicycles in the world have frames made of varying grades of “regular” steel. There are a few frames claiming chromoly, and only the KH is factory-made of aluminum (other aluminum frames are hand made, in much smaller numbers).

Unicycle frames generally don’t have problems. The reason KH uses aluminum is for lightness and stiffness. The majority of frames are steel because steel is cheap, and 99.9% of unicycle buyers don’t want to spend a penny more than they have to.

You are assuming Profile is the best hub for unicycles. The powerful warranty can be very valuable. But the KH hubs are great as well. From my own experience, my Profile hub creaks a lot, even though I’ve tried a few times to quiet the thing down. This sounds to me like constant wear & tear when I ride uphill. I think larger splines are better for unicycles. As time goes on we’ll learn more about the success level of Profile vs. KH hubs/cranks.

Expensive, and yet your alternative was to spend $100 more. There is an easy way to determine what’s a ridiculously expensive unicycle. Generally you can draw the line at hand-made frames. For comparison:

When those unicycles were first available, they were not too expensive because there were no alternatives. But now that you can get something equivalent for around $500, the idea of buying one of these hand made ones is a little ridiculous.

If the KH is too expensive, what were you recommending as the not-expensive alternative? Remember, unicycles are made in tiny numbers compared to bikes. This is why the parts cost more. Bikes are made by the thousands, or tens of thousands. Unicycles are made by the hundreds. Or less.

All of those will treat you very well. As I don’t own either I won’t make suggestions. I actually own the last one from the links above. When I ordered it, a HK had a hand made steel frame, and was also over $1000.

If you have the money, go for the KH or Onza, but don’t be worried about the Qu-Ax. I’ve ridden it hard for about 5 months, and it’s the best purchase I ever made. My trials ridding has improved in leaps and bounds, it’s so much fun. (not that buying it will make you ride better, but it won’t hold you back.)

thanks for the great responses.

one more quick question. the bigger tire on a trials uni; does it help you hop/jump higher? Right now its feeling like i can’t jump higher than a foot. and maybe that bigger tire will help me add a few inches. my friend can jump quite a bit higher than me, maybe i just don’t have the right technique. maybe i need to start working on my vertical jump. i have also read height comes with time.

i’m fully expecting my Nimbus X to fail any day now LOL i have take 2 foot drops on it and my friend who weighs 180 has take 3.5ft drops on it. it has held up surprizingly well for somthing without splined cranks. My friend is waiting for his wife to o.k the purchase of a new Uni, and he needs to get his tax return, and i am waiting till i install a few more car parts on my car before i dump more money into a differnt hobby :wink: lol

take care guys

yea the fatter & bigger the tire the easier and higher you will get to a point.
Most of the hopping hight is from your technique and feness (sp?), not brute strength. After time you will get better at hopping and higher and higher.
And not only does the bigger tire on a trials or Muni help you hop higher, but i think its mostly big to make it easier to land and stay on obstacles or in rouph, sandy ,or rocky terrain.

Did you go to www.unicycle.2ya.com? They have toturials and tips on hopping

unlike most people hopping was the easiest thing that i learned. i could hop before i could ride forward. LOL i can hop all day long :wink:

i’m still not great at SIF hopping but am improving.

i guess i just need to keep at it and perfect my skill and i will get higher.
i can’t wait till i’m on the fatter tire, i see it helping in a lot of situations.


“Training Wheel Not Required” is the Brian MacKenzie DVD that shows lots of extreme Cokering. Coker MUni, Coker ultimate wheel, Coker off-road ultimate wheel, Coker ultimate wheel trials, lots of things you didn’t think Cokers were “supposed” to do. Buy it (preferably to support Brian and the unicycling community) or borrow it.

Edit: There is an OUTSTANDING Easter egg in that DVD.