> John Foss enlightend us all on the performance differences between a
> pnuematic Cocker and a hard rubber 45’’. The shear size of the tire on
> the Cocker makes it much more controlable (and enjoyable) than the
> narrow hard rubber on his 45. This may or may not be the case with
> high-wheelers. If anyone has any insight on performance/comfort
> differences between high wheeled bike tires and unicyle tires please
> let me know.
That’s easy. There is no such thing as a unicycle tire. That is not 100%
true (Schwinn used to make them, for instance), but is definitely accurate
above the 24" size.
I have a little bit of experience riding high-wheeled bikes, but not
extensive. I would imagine that for the most part they are used for
display or exhibition riding more than anything else, and people who take
them on long rides are a small minority of owners. But this still should
leave a larger pool of potential customers than big-wheel unicycle
For bikes, if you want to go fast or far there are bikes designed for
this. For unicycles, we are still using some pretty ancient technology.
Though wheels can be geared up, they do not provide as nice a ride as a
big wheel with lots of gyroscopic stability and rolling inertia. They
don’t fit in the back of a Mini but we’re willing to live with that.
The only drawback I can think of in the high-wheeled bike arena is that
those bikes are either antiques, or meant to look like they are. An air
tire would ruin the look. So this would cut that market down to only
people who aren’t worried about what the bike looks like. But that may
still leave more of them than us, if I imagine correctly.
The high-wheeled bikes I’ve ridden have the same road feel as my 45" hard
tire big wheel. Harsh! There is an advantage in that you’re sitting down
more normally, with more of your butt and less of your crotch on the seat.
But it’s still a bumpy ride, and a bicycle would benefit from an air tire
the same as a unicycle. It would also help the bike in that high-wheelers
are heavy, and the air would smooth the ride.
To join up with the bikers it might be necessary to work toward a narrower
tire though. This should not be a big problem, as the Coker tire is
probably wider than what you need for serious road riding anyway. The
Coker 36" tire I believe was meant as a giant cruiser bike tire, and its
large width is part of achieving that look.
A skinnier tire would still absorb the shocks of the road, and yet be
lighter and cheaper to make. I would shoot for 1.5" or less. For tread
design or tire profile, I highly recommend a round cross section rather
than a pointed one. This may not be as important as it is on smaller
wheels, but tires with center ridges or points are definitely annoying (to
me) on 20" and 24" wheels.
So who makes unusual tires? I already knew about the Coker Tire company
before they made a unicycle because my dad is a model car collector and
all-around car enthusiast. Go to any car museum and you are likely to see
Coker tires on some of the oldest cars in there. Coker makes all sorts of
rare and unusual tires. But they have already said they are not
interested. They may still be working on paying for their investment in
the original 36" tire. So who else? I don’t know.
Good luck on your quest for the ultimate big wheel,
John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone email@example.com www.unicycling.com
“Our time is a most precious commodity, but it’s how we spend it that
makes us rich.” - John Foss