How much to tighten cranks, pedals, bearings, etc ???

Tyler’s current bearing problem brought something to mind. (Tyler thinks his LBS overtightened a bearing and broke it.) It looks to me that many people over-tighten EVERYTHING on their unicycles.

I see people who tighten cranks as tight as they will go then they tighten them some more. I have seen unicycles with bent bearing caps, stripped seatpost clamps, stripped pedal threads, etc. All caused by overtightening.

Could the experts (and non-experts) out there provide some guidelines for tightening stuff?


There is a difference between tightening as far as possible and tightening as far as possible, getting a long metal extender bar and tightening till the threads strip off.

Use your common sense, and if its still loose when you’ve tightened it as far as you can, then it needs loctiting or shimming. If you strip the threads you ruin 2 bits of kit (e.g pedal & crank) not just 1.

Bearings are very tempromental (sp?), if they’re stressed or deformed they wear differently to the design and strange things happen. Don’t squeeze them to death, don’t stress them laterally along the hub, and try to keep them clean. Then they might last a decent amount of time.

On a final note (sorry about the rantish nature of the post, its just stuff from personal experience) ALWAYS check everything on your uni after purchase. I found (and its nobodys fault, not even the Romans) that my seat nuts were loose and my cranks not fully tightened after being shipped. This is probably to reduce stress during storage so be warned! Your unicycle may not be as ready to ride as you think.


I’m not an expert either, but I tighten my cranks as tightly as I can with a typical 8" ratchet. I keep the pedals and seat post bolt snug. And the bearing cups, I put on pretty loosely - tight enough that there’s no noticeable play, but loose enough that the wheel spins freely.

Also, I second double checking a new uni. Whoever assembled mine hardly used any lube, so it was creaky the second time I rode it. Once I took it apart and rebuilt it with plenty of lube, everything works great and doesn’t make noise.

Phlegm, although riding at Euler’s skill level, describes the correct tightening of all these components at level ten. As he says, tighten really firmly except bearings. Tighten bearings until your wheel no longer coasts slowly to a stop. All of this information is available using the search facility.

Bring your uni and tools to my house and I’ll tighten everything for $20. My tools $40. Shipping and handling $20 extra. I’ll throw in the lube for free, it comes in small plastic packets marked “Catsup”… don’t worry, that just mean’s it’s Catboy approved :slight_smile: