After experiencing UNI5 I can’t imagine the majority of Coker riders not having interested in harpers hub-- particularly the riders that are doing a lot of long miles. I would guess that most that participated in the European tour last year would have given a small body part for a vehicle that was lighter, faster, and as efficient as the Coker. Using a 700C rim and tire combination with this hub offers all of that and more. Since there were females involved in the tour, the body parts given up may have been interesting!
Prior to then Coker we as commuters, tourists, and speed enthusiast have been extremely limited in our selection of unicycles. There were only a handful of us around. All efforts toward improving speed were directed at building bigger wheels. Big wheeled unicycles were hard to get and not very affordable. Only a few hobbyists had the ability to build custom big wheels for those enthusiasts that knew of them and could afford to purchase one. If you were lucky enough to own one you looked beyond the fact that the wheels were heavy, cumbersome, and inefficient. Most of the inefficiency was because of the inability to make use of a pneumatic tire. There was, and still is simply not enough demand to entice a manufacture to produce pneumatic tires for big wheels at an affordable price. We had to settle for heavy hard rubber tires that were not designed to travel down the road at high speeds. All of this was not too many years ago.
Now with the introduction of the Coker speed and distance unicycling has grown by leaps and bounds. Coker has offered us what we wanted–a pneumatic big-wheeled unicycle at an affordable price. They took what they already had (36 inch wheel with a pneumatic tire) and put a unicycle frame around it. People are traveling longer distances and enjoying their travels much more than ever before. Big group tours are slowly becoming more and more common. Although the Coker is much better than what we have had in the past, we are still riding on a rim and tire combination designed for something other than unicycling. There is still plenty of room for improvement. An efficient high-end big-wheeled unicycle will never be available to us at anywhere close to affordable price because demand is far too low. If you had more money than since it could probably be accomplished. Utilizing high-end bicycle componentry to build efficient high-speed unicycles has never been an option because wheels are not offered bigger than a 700C or 28 inch. So not knowing any different we settle for the Coker, which is the only vehicle available. Until now.
It took someone thinking outside the box to make it happen. Someone finally looked for a way to acquire speed without the use of a big wheel. Harper, by way of an internally geared hub brings unicylists a world of high-end bicycle componentry to acquire more speed without sacrificing comfort and enjoyment. This is a major milestone in the evolution of speed and distance unicycling.
By way of UNI5 he has brought this technology to our towns and cities for us to make the comparison for ourselves. A 24-inch tire geared up to 36 was done for us to make the comparison with our Cokers. I have made the comparison and conclude that the characteristics are very close to the same. I have only seen a few postings making the comparison between the two, good or bad. UNI5 must not yet be in the hands of speed and distance riders. I would love to hear from those that completed the European tour. Would Harpers hub coupled with a 700C rim and tire combination made your trip more pleasant? If so, why? If not, why?
I am going to have one of these hubs in the near future. Hopefully there will be enough interest generated for Harper to make the hub affordable for us all. I have ridden many big wheels. I have owned a 48 inch rideable replica and now have a Coker. I’m primed and ready for the next generation of high-speed unicycles. It’s going to be fun!
Do I stand alone in my thinking? Mama just needs to know if she’s going to get the furniture she wants. It’s real simple-if not enough interest is shown for Harper to make the hub available at an affordable price then Mama won’t get her furniture. After all, I have the drawing and will get my hub either way. Errr–at least I hope!