geared up unicycles

Jason <jazz@cs.uq.oz.au> wrote:

>After much deliberation on the matter, I am thinking of building a 20" wheel
>with internal gears (seven speed) in the hub - I found a German manufacturer (*
>Sachs??? *) which makes excellent quality internal gears for racing bikes. A
>little over the top? Maybe…

Ken <kfuchs@winternet.com> replies:

>I certainly hope that Jason succeeds in making a viable geared up unicycle,
>especially one practical enough for commercial manufacturing, so everyone
>willing to pay can get a reliable one. The big wheel may still out perform it,
>but how many people can get a 40" or larger big wheel into their car’s trunk?

I have ridden 40" big wheel unicycles on four occasions and once I rode Tom
Miller’s 20" standard unicycle geared up more than 2 to 1. John Foss has
described its mechanism and handling characteristics and I concur with his
assessment. For speed and distance I would prefer the big wheel.

Big wheels have their drawbacks too–crosswinds can make holding a straight line
into a wrestling match. At least that was my experience. Does anyone have a
technique for handling crosswinds on a big wheel? My response was to lean WAY
out to one side and do a lot of action-reaction twisting to jerk the wheel back
where I wanted it. Very tiring and almost ineffective.

The bigger the wheel, the more inertia, so accelerating and decelerating take
much more time and effort than with a smaller wheel. This didn’t seem to stop
the penny-farthing bicyclists of the turn of the century so I guess it’s
something you just get used to. I think I’d be leery of riding one in traffic,
where sometimes the only thing that saves one from stupid motorist stunts is
maneuverability and quick braking.

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Dennis Kathrens | “Hey, where’s your other wheel?” |
|d. kathrens@genie.com | “WHAT other wheel?” |
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Re: geared up unicycles

Dennis Katherns <d.kathrens@genie.geis.com> wrote:

>Big wheels have their drawbacks too–crosswinds can make holding a straight
>line into a wrestling match. At least that was my experience. Does anyone have
>a technique for handling crosswinds on a big wheel? My response was to lean WAY
>out to one side and do a lot of action-reaction twisting to jerk the wheel back
>where I wanted it. Very tiring and almost ineffective.

I haven’t had any problems with crosswinds on a big wheel. My guess is riding
with one’s back straight and vertical may be the trick. I’d actually guess that
the momentum of the big wheel would be an advantage over a standard unicycle in
a cross wind. Sorry, I can’t be of more help than this.

I did have problems riding just before a thunder storm hit. The wind was very
strong and literally changing direction every second or two; it was very gusty.
I had to zig zag in a very unpredictable pattern to continue riding in the
desired direction. When the rain came, the gusts and wind direction changes
stopped, allowing smooth sailing, but my big wheel and I got soaked.

Sincerely,

Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com