How old is Coker?

How old is Coker?
Who built it first and where?

The first Cokers (aka The Big One unicycle) were sold in 1998 and were produced by the Coker Tire Co. Coker Tire is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee although I believe the unicycles are manufactured in Asia.

My understanding is that Guy Hansen, from Utah, made the first unicycle with a Coker wheel. He used the wheel that Coker was using on their Monster Cruiser bicycle. Guy, or someone else, then convinced Coker Tire Company that making a unicycle would be a good use for that tire. The tire was originally created for use with their Monster Cruiser bicycle. The unicycle idea came later.

I did a search on the forum, and the first mention of “Coker” was in March of 1998. When Mike Payne broke the news in this post.

Re: How old is Coker?

On Mon, 24 Jan 2005 11:16:32 -0600, “john_childs” wrote:

>I did a search on the forum, and the first mention of “Coker” was in
>March of 1998. When Mike Payne broke the news in ‘this post’

No (to pick a nit), the first mention was all of one day earlier in a
post by David Maxfield, as found on Google Groups (I hope the link
gets through):

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

It’s impossible to get old when you ride a unicycle - John (what’s in a name) Childs

Yes it was Guy who took a cruiser bike, stripped the wheel and converted it into a unicycle. Then persuaded them to produce it as a standard unicycle.
His initial design was as in the small person’s coker as it was designed for his son to ride it as well. (I borrowed his design when I produced our one).
What has always puzzled me is what he was doing with 2 cruiser Coker Bikes?


Re: Re: How old is Coker?

Well it didn’t and it seems you can’t repair it because part of it fell through the cracks. The correct link is here.

Klaas Bil

Re: Re: Re: How old is Coker?

How historic!

I also came across this from that link:

'It sounds absolutely fascinating. I’ve never heard of a Coker unicycle(?), or a
Coker 36" tire. Are they selling a unicycle, or the most expensive cycle tire
I’ve ever heard of?

I didn’t find any reference to unicycles on their web page.

John Foss’

JF didn’t know something back then!

Re: Re: Re: Re: How old is Coker?

Yes, it’s true! We all had to find out about it at some time. Now I remember that whole exchange.

Apparently Coker put their unicycle into their catalog many months before they had any to sell. The demoed them at the 1998 National Unicycle Convention in Monrovia, CA, at which time they still weren’t quite on the market yet, but I think they became available soon after. Gilby might have gone home with the demo model from that convention.

I remember riding it and thinking “This thing will never hold up.” It had a regular uni hub, not something built specially for such a large wheel, and was otherwise made of ordinary low-end uni parts.

Fortunately, I was wrong. They have held up fine, and spawned a whole new area of unicycling.

It would be interesting to learn more of the story of Guy Hansen and his communications with Coker. I wonder how much urging it took for them to decide to make a unicycle out of their giant tires. I’m glad they did!

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How old is Coker?

Yes, I’m the one that took it home. I think I still have the wheel, or part of it, from that one as it had a stripped axle. The nut for that hub did not go on very far and was only held on with a few threads. I think they used a different hub on the retail models, or at least the one I got a year later had a different hub in it.

Here’s a pic of Guy on what may be the first ever Coker:

And one of his sons:

You can see that he has the frame made with two tubes that go from the axle and directly to the seat, so the seat can be as close to the wheel as possible.