Guni discussion thread

This should be a broad enough topic to have a thread dedicated to it
did a search but found nothing
so basically any discussion on Gunis is fair game
all wheel sizes

I want some competition for schlumpf to get out there and lower the prices a bit
1 grand for a hub is a little much

I’m inspired by what I call the FrankeGUnis. Those jackshaft beasts, be they works of art (UniSk8tr rules!) or works in progress. I’ve hooked up with a cycling buddy with a good welding setup, and I’ve got Atomic Zombie’s book, and I’m using the recipe therein to build a giraffe unicycle. That’s a GUni, right? :wink: With that project under my belt I hope to move on to a something like a 1.5:1 26" FrankenGUni. We’ll see.

Of course Schlumpf hubs are precious jewels and I can’t wait for the day to own one myself. I’m entering bicycle tours this year that I can just make the cutoffs on ye olde UDC brande coker, and I think if I’m still game next year it might be time for some mechanical advantage. I don’t see much need for the KH/Schlumpf MUni hub tho. I don’t jump off crap.

that’s “FrankenGUni” not “FrankeGUni”

Compared to bike equipment, I would say the Schlumpfs are pretty cheap. How much does it cost to get a decent groupset for a bike?

They’re not massed produced but perhaps that could lower the cost. The only thing is that quality must not be compromised. If you get a gear failure on a bike, it’s usually not fatal. If you get it on a Geared Uni, it’s pretty nasty.

I suppose if you compare it to b*kes the price seems reasonable but comparing it to other unicycle components it seems blown out of perportion. 2 high quality 36" unicycles is the same cost the price of one hub.


Front derailleur: $50
Rear derailleur: $90
Bottom bracket: $50
Rear cluster: $100
Crankset: $150
Shifters: $60

Total: $500

And the Schlumpf fails at shifting far more often than any of my bikes, and the buttons fall off.

The Schlupmf is pretty amazing for what it is. But I think it’s clearly both significantly more expensive and more failure-prone than equivalent bike gear.

I run Dura-Ace which is quite a bit more than that. And in this part of the world, there is no way you’d get an Ultegra groupset for $500USD!

The Schlumpf hubs are all handmade and assembled. I think that when you take into account the amount of work that goes into building them…Florian must be paying himself next to nothing. Especially if you add in the research and development costs.

As for reliability, I had an ultegra derailleur that self destructed in less than two weeks. I would not want a Schlumpf hub made cheaply unless it can be done with very stringent quality control procedures. A gear failure on a bike is painful to the hip pocket, but not a big deal. Geared unicycle hubs on the other hand, MUST NOT fail at all. I think that’s one reason why it’s likely to be relatively expensive for a while…you need someone taking great care with each hub build.

I emailed Florian and asked what the weight difference was between the road hub and the KH hub. He said only 100 grams difference. That is not much weight IMHO and is justified by the beefier, more solid KH hub. I tend to bang my road unis around from time to time. I like knowing the hub is intended to be dealt rough.

I agree. Didn’t old 3 speed bikes used to have geared hubs? And how much would they have cost? Like 5% of the schumpf hub. Although saying that I know a guy who does downhill and he has a 14 speed geared hub which cost him a couple of grand. Still, that’s 14 speeds compared to 2.

Someone definitely needs to bring out some competition.

i have one of those hubs, i battered it out of a bike with a rock and a hammer for free (found the bike in the pits), now im taking it appart and seeing it theres any chance it can be adapted for use in a unicycle, i even had a crazy idea to use electromagnets to change the gears, but i dont know if that is really possible, but how cool would it be to have a swich on your t7, that changes your gear!

I don’t think competition is going to lower prices at this stage. I think if the sport was big enough for large scale production then the prices would be lower.

I seriously doubt there is much money to be made in the Schlumpf hub. If someone brings out a cheaper and better hub, I don’t think it would be worthwhile for Schlumpf to continue making these hubs.

These hubs are only a couple of years old…we haven’t had a century of development like bikes have.

There are some unique features of unicycle hubs which bikes don’t have to contend with. Like the fact that if a hub failed, it can be fatal. I know there are other designs out there, but I would be reluctant to spin one of them at over 30km/hr if I wasn’t sure of the quality of the design and production.

Ok, at the risk of repeating myself in other threads, I’ll tell you all about my guni. Although to put it in to context and set the scene, I’ll start about 6 months before I bought it, when I used to commute through Central London on a 29er. The 29er was fantastic, and pretty much ideal for commuting. There were a few bits of the journey, however, where I’d be spinning at full speed and still didn’t have quite as much speed as I wanted. I was giving some serious thought to RTL, and was wanting to get in to long distance touring. I posted on here asking for the opinion of Schlumpf owners if they thought a 29" Schlumpf or a Coker was the way to go. The general consensus was that the Schlumpf wouldn’t be that much faster (if at all), and needed more concentration to ride, and that I’d be better of with a Coker.

The new Nimbus 36 suited my budget quite well, and I ordered one of those. It was fast. It was big. It was well made. It was fantastic. However, riding in London always made me feel a little bit dangerous, and I wasn’t quite comfortable on it. I took it for a 4 day tour of about 150 miles or so, expecting us to bond better. The mountainous terrain didn’t do much to endear me to it, however, and it became a 4 day slog. After that I started to go back to my 29er for London riding as it was slightly quicker.

And then the trading post had an ad for a second hand Schlumpf. These really don’t come up very often (I don’t think I’ve seen one for sale before or since), but I didn’t have the money to buy it, and having made a wrong decision with the N36, I began to doubt my uni buying judgement. But I really wanted the Schlumpf though. A few PMs later, and we agreed on a good price plus my N36 in part exchange.

In all honesty, I have never looked back. Getting the Schlumpf was probably one of the best unicycling decisions I have ever made. Commuting in London is much much quicker than either the fixed 29er or the N36 as I get the best of both worlds and none of the disadvantages. I rode 144 miles in 2 days for my RTL qualifying ride back in September, and still felt pretty fresh the next day. I’ve taken it on a 24 hour mountain bike race too, although the terrain wasn’t really suitable for high gear. It is a sensible size to transport around, and I’ve not had any real problems on public transport.

The hub is the standard Schlumpf road hub, not the KH version. However, as I don’t do big drops, I really don’t see a need to upgrade. The original Schlumpf frame, however, is crap, so I have got a Triton Sponge frame on order (should be here next week! Woo Hoo!). I have mainly used the 2.0" Big Apple tyre, which is fantastic, although at the moment I’m experimenting with other lighter tyres for RTL. I’ve already got the MG1 magnesium pedals, so all in all, it’s pretty light for a guni.

The only reliability issues I have had is with the buttons (well, just the gold one actually) coming lose and getting lost. I think I’ve got through about 5 of these in almost a year, although the last one I put on I used a bit of puncture repair glue, and that seems to have held up well for the last 700km.

So, in short, I love my Schlumpf. It is nothing short of fantastic. If I had to do it all over again, I think I’d skip the N36 buying, and just go strait for a 29" Schlumpf.

What about a KH Schlumpf hub, or a 36" guni? Well, in high gear the 29" gives a good enough burst of speed to get the heart pumping, and can still scare me. I doubt I’d want the speed that a 36" can give, and wouldn’t want to sacrifice the manoeuvrability that a 29er offers. I’m giving some thought to a KH Schlumpf hub to go in my 24" muni, however, as I think that’d give the right combination of agility on the trails, and speed in between.We’ll have to see how the pennies hold up first though.

STM (schlumpf.the.monkey)

I understand why Schlumpfs are expensive, and I agree that Florian probably isn’t making a whole lot of money off unicycle hubs. But I don’t think there’s any way in which Schlumpf unicycle hubs compare favorably to quality bike parts. They’re extremely expensive, pretty much everyone loses buttons or has to fiddle with them regularly, shifting is pretty sketchy, and I heard of one case where someone wound up with a compound fracture of his leg due to a Schlupmf failure. (Oh wait, that was you).

Compared to buying two different sized unicycles they are not that expensive. (Or even one 42.5" unicycle with pneumatic tyre!)

I don’t think that everyone has lost buttons - I think it’s mainly me :frowning:

The only maintenance is topping up the oil once every six months, but apart from that they’re don’t need regular fiddling with.

If they’re set up right, then once you’re used to them, shifting isn’t sketchy at all. I’m probably 98% successful at up-shifts, and 85% successful at down-shifts.

The leg breaking hub was the first generation of Schlumpf hubs. As far as I know they were all recalled after that and upgraded to the 2nd generation which has twice as many engagement pins (I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong on that).


They’re also not expensive compared with buying a car. But let’s keep the comparisons apt: two unicycles are two unicycles; one unicycle is one unicycle. A Schlumpf unicycle is extremely expensive by any reasonable measure; the hub alone costs more than two full Nimbus 36" unicycles, and more than four Nimbus 29ers.

Ashley lost a button on her KH/Schlumpf. I’ve had to fiddle with mine after my last two rides. When I was riding an original Schlumpf the buttons were always wonky.

The fact that you’ve gotten good at compensating for the sketchiness doesn’t make it any less sketchy. The seemingly random period of rotation before it engages after shift is far sketchier than any bike shifting system. The fact that it can freewheel if you don’t hit the button solidly enough (I’ve had several crashes due to this effect) is extremely worrisome.

“It’s better than it used to be”, while true, isn’t a strong endorsement of the quality of the hub.

Actually my Schlumpf is worth more than my car is :o

But the point is that having a shiftable guni is a lot like having two unicycles, except that you can swap between them without even having to dismount. Ok, so you could buy 2 N36s, or 4 N29s, but why would you? Even buying one of each and keeping the change, you still haven’t got anything even nearly as versatile as a Schlumpf.


So if you put together a Schlumpf that’s relatively comparable to the Nimbus 36", it will cost you maybe three times the cost of the Nimbus. Yes, the Schlumpf will be more versatile. Will it be three times as versatile? No, not even close. The cost is a very high premium for an incremental benefit. Again, I understand why that is, and I even bought one myself. But it’s inaccurate to characterize it as anything other than very expensive.

Yep, it’s expensive.

It’s high quality and low quantity with zero competition. Lots of expertise went into it, and probably some pretty expensive tooling. By all accounts, they SHOULD be expensive.

I think over time, they may drop in price somewhat. Actually, they already have when you consider the fact that the upgraded KH Schlumpf hub is on par with the cost of what the first gen hubs cost at the initial release.

I think we’re used to some pretty cheap stuff that got that way because of very high volumes and cheap overseas labor. Even the voume of the most expensive Schimano group (Dura-Ace) is likely to be at least several orders of magnitude higher than Schlumpf hubs.

The volume of these will never be high, and as Harper found out, cheap labor won’t cut it on parts that require as high of a level precision as these do.

Personally, I think the value is reasonable, and this hobbie is still relatively inexpensive (think car racing, boating, and horses). The more expensive bicycles can be $5k+++ but you’d have a hard time spending more than $2500 putting together the highest-end unicycle possible.

If he was really making money hand over fist, surely some competition would emerge to take some of it over. I don’t think we’re going to see that anytime soon.

I am thankful these hubs even exist, and to Florian for making it happen.


As Mike says, there presently is really very little market for these hubs. I hope Florian can make a profit. His parts are of exceptional quality and many of them are case hardened. His shifting mechanism is patented and it is the feature that makes it stand out from the first prototypes that Frank Bonsch and I built. The static shift hubs could be made domestically and sold for around $600 to $800. But now that shift on the fly exists and has been repeatedly proven to be possible, why would anyone want a static shift hub? Mike himself used it as a stepping stone to a superior system.

Hey, throw me a bone here.