How much longer will this rusty unicycle last?

I’ve ridden this unicycle for years, often caught in the rain, and also often enough through a snowy winter, with whatever road salt they put on the road. I do keep it inside when I’m not riding it at least. I weigh 170 lbs and almost exclusively ride this one on pavement, running errands, the hardest impact it sees is when I ride off a curb. If I don’t address the rust in any way, and continue not doing anything to dry this unicycle after rides, what’s the order of magnitude of its life left before some of the metal fails? Months, years, tens of years? Random thoughts, educated or entertaining guesses welcome. Thanks!

Based on the photos I’d say it would be serviceable for tens of years. Mostly an aesthetic issue and not a structural issue.

Cleaning once and awhile and a little wax would make it look better longer.


Looks like just some surface rust, it will probably last a few decades. A little bit of time with a wire brush and some rust converter would probably make it slightly better looking and stop the existing rust spots from expanding, but it’s mostly cosmetic in my opinion.
Functionally, I’d just make sure that there is some grease/assembly paste/threadlocker at all the interfaces (bearings, bolts, seatpost in seatpost) so that nothing gets welded together with rust.

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I’ve ridden a Lloyd unicycle, basically the standard flat steel frame like a Schwinn, that was entirely rust. It rode crooked due to some misaligned cranks but was solid and didn’t feel like it was going to give out due to the rust.

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You guys win!

Thank you! And taking the wheel off was a good excuse to practice cranky ultimate wheel anyway.


I really like this outcome!

@dreamisdestiny ,

You did a great job!

I don’t know what you used, but I was prepared to recommend rubbing the frame with a folded up piece of aluminum foil after dipping it in vinegar. The aluminum/vinegar works very well (almost magical, since the rust wants to stick to the aluminum more than it wants to stick to the chrome), but your results look great!

Thanks! I cheated. I used a wire brush attachment on an electric drill. I got a little too greedy at one point and I think I lost more good chrome than I had to, but I’m still happy overall. The aluminum and vinegar I’ve read about one other place also. It sounds interesting and I’ve added it to my list of things to try for these situations.

My before/after photos are attached. My frame and rim were covered in rust. The unicycle had an orange tinge. That is why it was $50, I think. :blush:

Remember to wear gloves! The rust turns black as it sticks to the aluminum, and will stain your hands.


I recently did the same style of cleaning for my uni. The feel goods that come from cleaning it up are worth it. A little TLC is well worth it. Well done.