How much overinflating needed? And a plethora of other hardware/clothing questions

Hi, I’m wondering what I should overinflate my 35 PSI tire to. It’s a 24 inch freestyle unicycle that I use for commuting. When I got it new from Darren Bedford, the tire was much harder than what I’ve reinflated it up to. It’s at about 50 PSI right now, and my gut instinct tells me that I can put more air into it, but just wanted some input.

Next question: changing a tire (which is how I got into the aforementioned situation in the first place). Darren Bedford sold me an offroad tire that I can interchange with the street tire. (forgive my layman’s terms from here on). After realizing that I couldn’t do it with the tools that I had around the house, I tried putting it back together. I couldn’t quite get the piece of metal that clamps onto the base of each pedal (held in place at two places) perfectly even. Is this ok? How tight does this need to be?

And on that note, how on earth do I change the tire? I went to a bike shop for advice, and someone there seemed to imply that one doesn’t need any special tools to do it. I uninflated the tire, but couldn’t get it to come off, even after using two screwdrivers for leverage.

Finally, can someone recommend some good and inexpensive padded bike shorts? I was rather unpleasantly surprised when I found that all the bike shorts there were above $60 CAD. I was hoping to pay around half that… Or is my budget only fuelling a pipe dream?..

Can I wear normal pants on top of bike shorts and get the same effect? Like, would I be able to wear jeans on top of padded bike shorts with comfort?


I have no experience with jeans on top, but whenever I’m wearing bike shorts I wear ordinary shorts over the top. That’s really comfortable.


Firstly, welcome to a fun and challenging sport. You’ll have lots of questions. You’ll get most of the theoretical answers here if you want, but you’ll find the real answers out on the trail, or in the practice hall. It’s only a technical sport if you want it to be! :0)

Tyre pressure: a hard tyre rolls more easily. You can go faster with less effort; you can idle more easily. A soft tyre absorbs minor bumps in the ground more easiliy; you can hop and bounce more easily. If the tyre’s too soft, then you can damage your wheel rim.

So the correct pressure is the one which keeps your rim off the ground, and keeps you reasonably comfortable without wearing you out on a long ride. It’s that simple! :0)

Roughly: I’d pump the tyre up until it is difficult to squash it at all with firm pressure between forefinger and thumb. Then see how you go. Let a bit of air out if you’re riding on rough ground, or if the weather is really hot. Remember, it’s not a life changing decision. A car footpump may make the job easier. If you want a rough guesstimate, I’d say a normal average sized tyre for general use should be at around 30 - 40 psi. 20 other unicyclists will give you 21 different answers!

This bit about the clamps: I’m not sure if I’ve understood you, but I guess you mean the bearing clamps. At the bottom of the forks are two identical clamps which nestle around the bearings.

The pedals are attached to the cranks.
The cranks are attached to the axle.
The axle passes through the bearings to the hub.
The spokes are attached to the hub, and the rim is attached to the spokes.

So the only clamps I can think of anywhere near the pedals are the main bearings at the bottom of the forks.

These MUST NOT be too tight. Tip the unicycle upside down and stand it on its seat. Use a 10mm or 11mm spanner (varies from model to model of uni) and tighten the nuts, a turn on this one, a turn on that one, and so on. Don’t just tighten one nut then tighten the other. Do them a bit each, and alternate.

Ideally, the clamps should be just tight enough to hold the bearings snugly, but without squashing the bearings. If you think you’ve done them up too tight, loosen them straight away, and start again. A squashed bearing could be permanently damaged, if you’re unlucky.

And if you can’t get them even (count the exposed threads, or just gauge by eye) then loosen one by a half turn and tighten the other, and repeat as necessary.

Tight enough is this: finger tight, then very gently tightened with the spanner by about 1/4 to 1/2 turn. Ride the uni for a bit, then you may need to nip them up a tiny bit tighter. Gently does it.

Cycling shorts? I buy padded shorts for under £10 (about US$15) and it’s just a case of shopping around.

Never never never ride any appreciable distance in jeans. It will hurt. You don’t need padded shorts (although they do help) but you DO need shorts or trousers which don’t have thick seams in the er… sitting area.

Are you using the screwdrivers directly on the tire? If you are…STOP! you are going to pucture the tube. What you need is a set of tire levers. For example:

They are available at any bike shop and they are about the same price. Some tires are very hard to remove and people have broken plastic levers trying. For those tires, some people on this forum have suggested using metal tire levers available at moped shops. I have never had a tire I couldn’t remove with my plastic set.

I’m sure some of the more experienced rider will give you better information.


Most cycling shorts are gonna be around $60. That’s a fair price as they last for a very long time.

Mountain Equipment Co-op has these for $36

Don’t use a screwdriver or other sharp object to remove the tire. You’ll puncture the tube or damage the tire or possibly bend the rim. Use plastic tire levers available at any bike shop.

Sheldon Brown had a great page describing how to remove a tire, and repair a flat. It doesn’t have any pictures (and pictures would really help) but the text descriptions are good.
Sheldon Brown on flat tires

Here is a partial quote from the web page:

The trick to removing a tire is to move the tire bead on the opposite side of the wheel down into the valley in the middle of the rim. The middle of the rim has a smaller diameter than the edges. Now the bead on the opposite side of the wheel (180 degrees away) will be looser and you should be able to get it up and over the side of the rim with the aid of the tire levers.