How about a fixed gear hub instead of a Schlump?

As I wait not so patiently for my geared hub, noting the recent "failed"hubs that continue to creep into the discussion, i began to wonder if maybe a fixed hub, i.e. one that doesn’t shift, might not be better for certain applications.

Humor me here, but wouldn’t a non shifting hub be stronger, lighter, less expensive, and easier to produce?

Mostly I’m thinking about certain uses such as xc, flatland or flat racing, or dh where you really only need the single speed, but where being geared higher would improve efficiency.

I do a fair amount of climbing, but I could see where I might just keep the hub in high gear and treat it like a single speed bike (or uni) and just walk when I can’t make the grade.

So, anyone else see the utility here?

I definitely see where that would be handy. I went for a 30 mile ride today with my parents (they were both on road bikes), and with my 1:1 36er I was really trucking to keep up with their 14-15 mph cadence. Granted, they don’t typically go that fast. They’re rather slow bikers. But on the slight downhills, it’s like they’re given new life. I can average quite highly for shorter distances (3-5 miles), but when you go 20+ miles… it gets tough.

You are definitely right though. A non-shifting 1.5:1 hub would definitely be easier to produce and therefore less expensive than the mind blowing Schlumpf.

I think that most of the unicyclist community would find beauty and utility in such a hub. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a company out there in the middle of production right now.
Kris may be open to something like this, if it hasn’t crossed his mind already (unlikely).

I like this idea! I would definitely go for a fixed gear hub if it were available, perhaps put it in a 26er or 29er (the idea of putting one in a Coker just does not appeal to me).

I will almost certainly never buy a shifting hub.

It’s relatively easy to make a jackshaft-based, non-shifting unicycle–way easier than making a shifting hub unicycle. But in practice it’s not a very practical unicycle, unless you’re doing something like going for a speed record attempt on a track. There’s no reason you’d want to be geared up for flatland, and if you think a single gear is appropriate for XC, you haven’t ridden a geared unicycle off-road.

“How about a fixed gear hub” why should it be “instead” of anything -especially a Schlumpf. Why would you suggest abandoning a unique and amazing piece of engineering that someone toils to produce in lieu of some other contraption? Do you understand such a thread title discourages others from considering a Schlumpf hub? Why would you do that?

I’d love to see a fixed gear system on the market, but how you put it just irks me. Reading your posts, it’s clear you like to question, more than just explore options. That’s not always a bad thing, but sometimes it seems inconsiderate and ungrateful. I have no place claiming any post is inappropriate, but I wonder if you are even aware of what the thread may be perceived as… not constructive, but critical of a good thing.

Other mechanical systems can brake down too, and Schlumpf is sophisticated and complex… perhaps the potential for failure is higher as a result, but overall the majority aren’t broken down and to dismiss their merit is lame dude. There already are threads on the subject… did you start this thread just to point out Schlumpf’s failings? a fixed gear is cool, but not necessarily at the expense of something else.

You can make a jack shaft with off the shelf Profile parts. Get the largest spindle they make with the unicycle hub spacers, slip on their mountain bike through axle front hub, add a cog that features a 6 bolt interface to the disc mount on the hub. Then, get Profile flatland 125mm cranks and chain ring. sister some cogs on a chain tensioner and run 2 shiny chains. You may need to plate the center of the profile spindle to shim the through axle bearings about half a mm.

Jogi and a few others have made planetary fixed gear unis to check out too.

I have no idea what you are suggesting. Maybe you need to read the supportive comments first, that might help you see how an upgeared fixed hub could have a place in unicycling, sorta like a crank mounted disc brake vs a hub mounted disc brake :roll_eyes: If you have a personal issue you wish to discuss with me, send me a PM.

Back on topic: My primary reservation on the Schlump; and note that I have already paid for mine though it has yet to arrive, is that they are prone to failure. Say what you will, but if your Schlump hub fails, your only option is going back to a fixed hub. So what if I’m on a vacation, do I bring a back up wheel? What if I’m on a multi day tour in Morocco?

I also think that many people find the cost of the Schlump hub to be a limiting factor in their ability to buy one, whereas a fixed upgeared hub at 1/4-1/3 the price would be much more affordable.

In terms of riding an upgeared hub vs a standard hub off road, I don’t see how it would be much different than riding a 36er, which folks are doing now, but in this case you could do it on a smaller wheel.

Before I rode unicycles I was an avid single speed mountain biker. I changed my gearing to suit the terrain, conditions, and my level of fitness. It is not unreasonable to do the same on a uni.

Don’t let yourself get stuck in a biker mentality, gears certainly offer a mechanical advantage, but like many people (biker and unicyclists) already realize, one gear can be quite satisfying. All I’m suggesting is that having a choice of which gear you bring to the trail/road would allow more opportunity.

I wish that to be true, it would be an exciting new product.

Single Speed mountain biking is much different than fixed gear mountain biking, which is what would make a better comparison. Having the high gear for downhills is quite fun on a muni.

I have tried a fixed gear 36er (der uber coker, harpers hub), and it was quite fun, but the schlumpf is many times better. There was also Pete’s design with the purple phaze, he uploaded details and sketches, so maybe you can make your own if you are mechanically inclined (I wouldn’t be able to).

I’ve never ridden a single-speed mountain bike but I did ride a fixed gear mountain bike for a couple years before I discovered off road unicycling. In many ways the two activities are very similar. I had to worry about crank position, hitting rocks with my cranks, etc… However I rarely changed gearing, probably only like I would with my KH/Schlumpf hub. I had a Surly flip-flop rear hub which allowed me to have a different sized rear cog on either side of the hub and to “switch gears” all I had to do was take the wheel out, flip it over and reattach the wheel (and adjust the chain tension of course). So I had a gear for riding trails and one for the road; kind of like my GUni! So really, shifting on the fly is so much more practical than having to stop and flip a wheel around!

FWIW, if I was on a long MUni epic I’d certainly pack with me a spare hub, spokes, etc… because ANY component can fail on a long trip, not just a complicated geared hub!

As I said, you clearly haven’t done it. Even a geared-up 29er (44" equivalent) is a lot harder than riding a 36er off-road. If the trail isn’t entirely smooth, it can be just as fast to ride it in low gear, because recovering from slow-downs is so expensive. And uphills are pretty much a loss. It would not be feasible to ride an unshiftable geared 29er on non-trivial XC terrain.

I’ve seen the different geared uni’s that people have made, and I’ve thought about what Ben is suggesting. I have also wondered if it wouldn’t be easier to make a two speed uni, where you have external gears like the “purple phaze,”, but could alternately lock the geared drive, or the spindle to the hub shell. That would give you a 1:1, and whatever your geared ratio is as a second gear. I don’t imagine that you could shift it, but if you were stopped you could change the gear. You could have a road gear to get to the trail, and a trail gear.

I’m pretty sure I am not talking about a 29er geared up for trails. Maybe a 29er geared up for road, but for trails it would be a 24/26. And you’ll never convince me that a 24 gun in high gear is harder to ride than a fixed gear 36er, that’s just silly talk. I mean really, why would I invest $2000 in a Schlump if I couldn’t ride it in high gear on trails?

Don’t be so negative, we’re talking about different applications here, this is not going to be for everyone, just as a guni is not for everyone.

For me, a geared up hub will allow me to navigate “36er” terrain at the same pace, but with a more manageable wheel size and with a larger selection of tires (ie 2.5-3"). Also, you gotta admit the potential for decreased weight and increased durability benefit would be nice.

In addition, consider the folks who would like to ride muni, but due to short inseams are not able to manage a 26/29, so they’re stuck on slow 24" muni or worse 20" trials. What if they could upgear their uni just enough to make it fast like a bigger muni and do that at a reasonable cost?

I’m not an engineer (notice the Nurse in front of my name), so you won’t see me submitting plans for such a hub, but I am a consumer and if I could buy hubs with upgeared rations like a 1:1.25, 1:1.5, etc… then I would buy them.

I’m telling ya, there’s a market out there…

Now, who’s gonna convince UDC to build these things?

I’d buy a geared up smaller wheel if the price was right. It would save me getting branches in the face on my 29er! I think its a great idea.

Ask Corbin, who has extensive experience both on an off-road 36 and on an off-road geared 24. The 36 is definitely easier. Louise, another seasoned 36" off-road rider, hated her geared 24.

You can ride it in high gear on smooth trails, and you can use it to get to the trails, and you can also ride it in low gear on technical trails, which gives you a real MUni.

But frankly, if trail riding is your interest, the Schlumpf is a questionable investment. I got mine first for road racing, and then as a MUni/road hybrid. I would not build up a Schlumpf for purely off-road riding, and I certainly wouldn’t consider a geared-up uni of any wheel size to be desirable for general off-road riding.

What I’m telling you is that the actual experience of people who’ve ridden both is that a 24" geared up to 36" is less manageable than a 36".

Riding a 29" uni requires an inseam of something like 20". I don’t see big demand in the 10 year old demographic for a unicycle that’s heavier, more complicated, more prone to failure, and harder to handle than a 24" MUni.

And Martin Charrier won the XC races both at UNICON and U Games on a 24" MUni (racing against bigger wheels and geared unis).

I would want a fixed hub for road riding, not off-road. The Schlumpf shifting hub is more or less permanently out of my price range; I’ve got a kid to feed and clothe and shelter and I really can’t afford to spend more than two months’ rent on a single unicycle hub. If a crapload of money ever falls into my lap, I might consider it, but right now and for the foreseeable future, it’s just not an option.

I own a KH24 GUni and a ungeared 36er. I can tell you quite easily that riding the same benign, flatish XC trails is totally a different experience on the KH24 in high gear vs. the same trails on the 36er. It’s MUCH easier to ride these trails on the 36er! I know a lot of this has to do with my lack of regular riding and skill level, but only so much. You see the 36er naturally rolls over stuff that I have to be a bit more careful with when on the 24" wheel. In addition there is the added difficulty on the geared uni of “delayed reaction pedaling” (for lack of a good phrase), basically you don’t get immediate response in high-gear like you would on a fixed gear, this is something you’ll experience once you get your KH/Schlumpf Hub; hard to explain. These two factors make it more difficult to ride at 36er speeds on the same XC trails. However this isn’t to say it isn’t doable or isn’t fun; on the contrary it’s quite fun to zoom along the roads and easier XC trails in high gear. It’s an absolute blast! But it’s also fun to approach that next trail section that is highly technical and be able to down shift and continue on your merry way!!

In a nut shell, 36er riding is a totally different experience than geared 24er riding!

Something like this?

I’d be interested in the concept of a fixed geared hub too, if it was cheaper than a Schlumpf. I love my 36 and I expect it’s a nicer ride than a small uni geared up. However, there’s less choice in tyres (can’t go for a super lightweight 36er tyre without shaving an existing model) and everything else. And I can’t easily transport it, either in small cars, or on public transport.

For that matter, it might be quite cool to have a slight up-gearing on a 36er. Combined with 170mm cranks and maybe one of the frames allowing bicycle-like posture which various people here have been experimenting with, it could be quite a nice machine for eating up distance in a relaxed way.

Maybe what you’re trying to describe has to do with the fact that if you pedal forward on an upgeared unicycle like a Schlumpf in high gear, there is a reaction force from the gear system that tries to rotate the unicycle frame forward. So if you encounter, say, a bump and tend to fall forward, and your natural reaction is to push harder on the front pedal, then part of this force results in the uni initially rotating forward even more. Therefore you need even more force on the pedal, and if you’re not yet used to this effect, you will exert this additional force after a short while, i.e. once you notice that your initial reaction is not enough. This may indeed come across as a delay.
With experience you will learn to anticipate this and give the right amount of correction force right away, but it’s never as intuitive as it is on a fixed unicycle. Or at least that’s true in my case, and I’ve been riding Schlumpf since 2005.

I don’t think I would like a high fixed gear. I did not really like my Schlumpf until I could shift while riding. I have a hard time free mounting and starting in high gear (unless going downhill). I have a 26" GUni and it’s much harder to get going in high gear than on my ungeared 36". The “play” or “knockiness” with the hub doesn’t bother me at all. It’s just difficult to gain momentum from a dead stop. Maybe other Schlumpfers don’t share that difficulty.

Whilst we’re on this, a down gearing system would also be nice. Cool if it’s shiftable but even if not, it’d be quite interesting doing muni on a geared down 36, for instance…