Harper Hub Interest?

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!


Just some Shmuck who happens to own a Coker

I’m margenaly interested in the opinion of bad ass riders on the usefullness of the 1.5 hub. 'Don’t know 'bout the rest of ya, but I’m not a bad ass- but I do like to go fast and would enjoy touring. Climbing hills is plenty hard on the Coker- but not hopeless. I wonder, if for the likes of me, that a fixed geared-up hub would meen a walk up steep grades when paired to a 29" wheel…

Mechanicaly, the hub performed flawlessly. I don’t have the balance and foot controll needed, though, to ride it at speeds above, say, 12mph. Doubtlessly, there are others who do and will. Still, I hope that the 29" wheel will offer the best of both worlds. Out on the Coker yesterday, I was struck by just how comperatively comfortable and effortless it was to ride. The 24" 1.5 was fun to ride- in a test pilot sort of way; I couldn’t quite relax though.

I’m sure going to stay tuned for future developements, weather or not that involves a ‘commercialy’ available hub.


Re: Just some Shmuck who happens to own a Coker


Do you mean that you hope the hub will work well with the 28" wheel (or 29")?

I know when we were riding it, you mentioned that you didn’t feel as stable at higher speeds. So, maybe the hub on a 28" wheel would give you 1.5 times the speed of a 28", but you’ll have more mass, so maybe you’ll have more stability. Also, you’d have all the hardware available to you for 28" unicycles.

I guess that may be obvious to everybody else, but I think that might be pretty interesting.

Now we just need harper to make one with a 1.0, 1.5, and free-wheel setting that you can adjust with a lever, like from an old movie, so that you can switch gears while riding. :slight_smile:

(I know some of you serious types would scoff at me saying that, but that would be a nice ability to have.)


All unicycles come with a free wheel- it’s the cyclists that are unwilling to use it (well, most, anyway).


With this in mind, another feature not yet explored for distance riding is that a more “normal” frame size puts the rider at a height above the wheel that would allow gliding on long downhills. I myself can glide about 18 inches and most of that is down toward the pavement. Kind of like a 14 millisecond freefall with a unicycle in the way.

I really think that few if any riders could position their feet on the frame of a big wheeled unicycle and I don’t know if the addition of a prop for the foot on the frame would facilitate this. Nor do I know if gliding would be practical with a big Coker wheel. Something tells me intuitively that the big, massive wheel would be more desireable for gliding. If not, we all know it is at least possible on frames with wheels around the 24" size.

If a geared up hub were ever designed to free wheel I assume a brake is needed in order to do so. I have haven’t ever coasted so I don’t know. You could easily install a Shamono Dura Ace brake or something similar that would hug a 700C rim and work flawlessly. It would be nice to have one installed with a 700C regardless of its ability to coast or not. Just another example of the wide range of benefits associated with this hub. I have heard many complaints about brakes not working properly on Cokers.

I forgot about the portability factor too. My wife will no longer complain about a big-wheel unicycle taking up most of the room in our car when on vacation. Wonder how much that benefit is worth?


If you have lots of money to spend you could try the Rohloff speed hub, a 14 speed panetary hub. which offers 526% increase between the lowest and highest gears. I don’t know if it would be possible to adapt it to work in a uni but it would be an expensive experiment as they are about £600 each in standard config.

More info at

Re: Harper Hub Interest?

On Fri, 26 Apr 2002 04:35:23 -0500, calvin
<calvin.3pnkz@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>If you have lots of money to spend you could try the Rohloff speed hub,
>a 14 speed panetary hub. which offers 526% increase between the lowest
>and highest gears. I don’t know if it would be possible to adapt it to
>work in a uni but it would be an expensive experiment as they are about
>£600 each in standard config.


I´m the ‘other one’ who has build a geared unicycle hub (ratio 1,58 on
a 26" resulting in a virtual 41"). I have talked to Mrs Rohloff about
the possibility to get a few of the pinions that are used in the hub
(about two year ago). But they didn´t want to do that. I don´t think
using parts from a Rohloff would help building a multispeed hub and
using it for a single speed hub would result in a rather large hub.
Therefore the shimano nexus hub (4 or 7 speed) is better. That´s the
reason why i used it for my hub. And it is easier to get (14 $ on a
flea market, the shifter was broken, but the pinions were OK).

You can take a look at my hub at


I just want everyone to know that at least from my perspective you do not have to be a speedster to benefit by using Harper’s Hub. The hub lends itself to touring and commuting very well. Its lighter, and much more compact. The biggest benefit to all types of riders is that high-end bicycle wheel and tire combinations can now be used rather than the limited offerings with big wheels. I feel that 90% percent of a unicycle is the wheel and tire combination. Coker riders are forever searching for a lighter, stronger rim, and as far as I know it still not available. As for the tire we have no choice other than the one Coker offers.

Simply put, if you are looking for more gear inches and want the benefits of a mass marketed high-end bicycle wheel and tire combination, you may want to consider the internal hub.


Re: Harper Hub Interest?

“Unifrank” <frank.bonsch@epost.de> wrote in message
> Therefore the shimano nexus hub (4 or 7 speed) is better. That´s the
> reason why i used it for my hub. And it is easier to get (14 $ on a
> flea market, the shifter was broken, but the pinions were OK).
> You can take a look at my hub at
> http://www.unicycle.de.vu

Looks like this may be the quickest way to have speed hubs for the masses.


I’ve been wondering if the Schlumpf Speed Drive could be adapted to a uni?
This is a bottom bracket unit that has planetary gears built in to the chainring mount. It has 1:1 and 1:1.65 drives, and is shifted by pressing with the heel at the crank arm bolt. It even has an “easy shift” option that mounts an arm to the pedal axle to simplify shifting. It would probably require stopping or at least idling to shift.
Their website (www.schlumpf.de) doesn’t recommend use on fixed gear bikes, as the unit shouldn’t be under full load when pedaling backwards. Would its’ use on a uni really stress it that much?
I wholeheartedly support the development of internal hubs for unis, I think it will be an awesome addition to touring. I really like the idea of a nice fat-tired Monty with its’ comfort and manuverability, and the ability to “shift on the fly” to 33 inches or so for some distance travel. And, a 24 could become a 39.6, and a 26 up to 42.9 (my favorite), and (whoa!) a 29 becomes a 47.85 incher.
I think geared unis are great, but if you’re going to go for it, make it shiftable.

Sorry, should have cut and pasted the first time


holy crap,that looks so crazy i think it just might work for uni touring or racing.i’ll be watching this thread!

I think I might take alot of flak for this but I’ll take my chances.

Will clearly has a scheme for overcoming the conflicting requirements of shift-on-the-fly transmissions and minimum backlash in a bi-directional hub and I wish him well in his endeavor to develop one. They are simple to design, build, and make reliable and that’s apparently why you see so many of them on the road today.

I corresponded with Schlumpf several months ago concerning the appropriateness of applying the speed drive to unicycles and availability of commercial gears. Shiftable, freewheeling systems are a bit different, they are subject to fewer demands and are somewhat less difficult technically.

Frank found that broken Shimano hubs were available for very little money because the shift mechanism was unreliable and they broke. He only needed them as a supply of gears and some other parts of the right size so they provided an ideal parts supply house for him. The idea that he took a $14 seven speed freewheeling hub and, with a $3 roll of duct tape somehow attached it to a unicycle to produce a single speed, bi-directional hub is slightly simplistic. There is a discussion in past threads of the extensive machining that he had done to produce the hub. I was astounded that he built his hub with no welds. One of the reasons he was able to do so was that he had a press fit part with twelve-fold symmetry machined to very tight tolerances. He did some gorgeous design work and had some very elegant machining done to make a workable hub.

What, then, do you suggest I do with all this duct tape? Cold Fusion?


Re: Harper Hub Interest?

— rhysling <rhysling.3ts6y@timelimit.unicyclist.com>
> What, then, do you suggest I do with all this duct
> tape? Cold
> Fusion?
> Christopher
> –
> rhysling - Mack Daddy of the Delta Unicyclists

make a duct tape unicycle backpack/case


oh yeah

shizit, I hope that gets tiny url’d, if nto copy and
paste it, or get there from my site. “projects”


Nick Cegelka


NickLikesFire AIM

Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Health - your guide to health and wellness

You’z got skills, Nick- no doubt about it. I came close to biding on your bag back when you had it up for sale (just couldn’t find the cash). I don’t doubt that that thang sheds enough electrons to run at least one cyclist.