After a long break from (pedal) unicycling, I have decided to become active in the sport again, mostly due to my desire to obtain a geared 36er. I still have my original steel rim Coker as well as a Coker with the first aluminum rim that was available. However, I plan to build my new geared Coker from scratch with all new components. I’m hoping to build my dream machine, within reason, but having been away from the sport for so long, I sure could use some help figuring out the exact set-up that would work best for me. I am already 99% sure that I will go with the Nimbus Stealth2 Rim and the Nimbus Air Saddle. All other components are still up in the air. I think the most important thing for me to determine first is whether or not I want brakes. If I do get them, I will want a disk brake, but at this point I’m far from certain as to whether I should get brakes or not. I’ve never had brakes on either of my Cokers, and of course, there was no brake on der uber Coker that I rode for a couple of months when it was on loan to me. However, I have read up a bit on brakes recently (and exchanged messages with a kind gentleman on the geared unicycle FB group) and I think my old knees could probably benefit from some help during downhill descents. On the other hand, I do like simplicity and usually everything has pros and cons, so my first question is what are the drawbacks of having a disk brake? Does it cause the wheel to be weaker? If so, how much weaker? Would it even matter if the unicycle is used entirely (or almost entirely) for road riding? What other drawbacks can you think of for a disk brake geared 36er vs. a no brakes geared 36er (other than disadvantage of added complexity and another thing that can break)? Another important question I have regarding the wheel relates to the choice of hubs. What are the pros and cons of a 100mm hub vs. the 125mm hub when used with a 36" rim? I believe these two questions will determine what kind of frame would be best. If I do decide to go with brakes, then I’d like to get the highest quality stock frame I can obtain that enables me to put the disk on the inside of the frame rather than on the outside, like the KH and Triton seem to have it. I think that would likely leave me with the Mad4one frame being my best option, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if I decide not to get brakes, then I guess the Triton would be my best frame option (as long as Florian is 100% certain that he has resolved some issue I read about them having with titanium frames). I’d be interested to hear any thoughts on that as well. Sorry to post such a long message. Any feedback is most appreciated. I’m hoping to get this figured out ASAP so that I can place my hub order with Florian. Thanks!
I’ve been commuting to work via a geared 36" for almost a year now, and while I don’t find brakes essential I see no real downside in having them on a unicycle. I’ve never gotten sore legs from riding downhill but I do get sore legs from mashing high gear when I really should be downshifting to low gear at times.
I like the idea of simplicity, but you have already decided for a complex geared hub. I would add a brake. It adds comfort (for your knees) and you can run shorter cranks as you don’t need same power for stopping/descending. Sure a brake can break but compared to a Schlumpf it’s a cheap part. And usually it would just be a new blade for the lever that is needed (so you could make sure to get a lever where it is easy to replace the blade when it happens).
The physics about what makes a stronger wheel (hub width, symmetrical/external disc vs asymmetrical/internal disc) is of course real, but there is also a question of what is “good enough”. I’m quite sure that unless you are a really big/heavy guy that a 100mm with internal disc (weakest possible wheel) would be just fine for your intended use (road riding).
Hi @HardcoreCokerRider, welcome back on the forum!
A few answers:
- IMHO (disc) brake is essential for geared 36er. It lets you rest your knees when you need to stop - really useful in town or when riding downhill. By the way, it’ll be great to have the inner disc as it’ll allow to downshift while braking - which is pure magic.
- 100 mm vs 125 mm hub: 125 mm is sure stronger, but it won’t allow you to run much frames. Nimbus Oracle and @jaco_flans’ custom frames would be the only choices. The inner disc is also a weakness regarding the wheel solidity as it’ll make it asymmetric. However, I don’t think there have ever been any breakage of 36er with inner disc and 100 mm hub, even though some people have done some hard Muni with them. So… Go with what you like, it should be strong enough.
In theory a wheel with a 125 mm hub will be stronger, and the same goes for a wheel without a brake compared to a wheel with an internal disc brake. Personally, I have 2 36" wheels with 100 mm hub and internal disc and I have no problem. I ride exclusively on roads.
That said, if you’re sure you’re going to start with a nimbus stealth 2 rim, your best bet is to use a magura HS33 pad brake. It’s really great on a G36. And then you can build a solid symmetrical wheel. The use of a disc brake with the schlumpf has become mandatory with the recent arrival of carbon rims.
By the way, if you really want to take advantage of the high speed of the schlumpf, riding without brake can be very dangerous.
I never though of that. That’s a really good point!
I assume (please correct me if I’m wrong…) this is because you are not putting pressure on the pedals/gearing with an internal disc on a Schlumpf. As pressure on the pedals (using your legs or an external disc) would prevent/delay shifting - similar to a regular bike with internal gears…
You’re absolutely right! That’s one of the ideas that led to the BrakeFast, by the way. It honestly is a pure blast and I don’t ever want to go back to external disc or rim brake now I’ve been used to the inner disc on Schlumpf hub
It is indeed when the braking force goes through the epicyclic train that it prevents the gear change. For me, this is one of the two main arguments against external disc brakes. The second one being that the braking force is divided by 1.55 on high speed. That’s why I (and others) were using a magura hs33 brake with a stealth 2 rim before switching to a carbon rim (and why Martin C. and Roger D. produced the brakefast!)
I think it was probably me that you spoke to on FB - never thought of myself as a gentleman but thanks, I’ll take it.
You’re getting already superb advice from the schlumpf pros - and my only area I can possible speak to is that 125 bearing pitch hub can I feel put you seated at a wider stance. It may not be noticeable with near zero Q factor cranks. But if you were to opt for say KH Spirits which do have a nice curve for the shifting button of the Schlumpf I find that make my feet feel too wide apart.
I built a fixed 36er with a 125 inboard disc hub and while it does feel like a super strong set up I need to change the KH cranks for something with zero Q on that so it feels narrower and more like the KH 100mm pitch I’m used to.
I’d probably opt myself for 100mm Schlumpf hub to allow for change in the future. Meaning I can move the hub to different wheel sizes and not worry that much about what frame width I’d need.
For the brakes - it’s great to hear all the positives and it’s making me even more excited to see the new hubs roll out the door and into our lives
As far as I remember, a 125 mm hub and zero-Q cranks is similar to a 100 mm hub and KH Spirit crank in width. So on this point it’ll come down to how far you want to be from the shift buttons
I want to add that a Triton frame is a choice of strenght, not of weight: I bought an RGB 36", compared it to my triton 36" and happily sold the Triton which was heavier and harder on my knees bashing on the fork crown. My new frame is lighter, solid for everykind of ride one can get from a 36" and has rounded crown fork (my knees agree). Maybe I will prefer a Triton if riding trials and with lots of drops
Not only strength but stiffness, too.
By the way, does anyone know whether Triton frames are still produced? If that’s the case, maybe we could ask them to add some left tab for inner disc.
I heard they are still being made (correct me if I’m wrong @jogi )
From what @Unikev told me they’re done in batches I think.
Definitely a nice option for the new rotor side if a tab can be fixed that side - which I presume it can.
I just want to know if you’re a helicopter pilot yet. Long time, no see.
Yes, they’re done in batches. And between the batches can be quite a bit of time.
Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. The information you all provided was extremely helpful and I am very grateful for you input. I am now convinced that I should indeed get disk brakes on my geared 36er. So now that I’ve got that figured out, the next thing I’d like to determine is the brand of frame I should get. From what I can tell, the stock frame options available for a 36er on which a disk brake can be placed on the inside of the frame are the:
• Nimbus Oracle 36"
• Mad4one 36"
I’m not sure where the disk mounts on the QU-AX QX 36" RGB.
I’m leaning toward to Mad4one frame, but I would most certainly appreciate any information regarding the pros and cons of the above listed frame models. Has Florian made any announcements as to which frames will be compatible with his disk brake hub or is it safe to assume that all the disk brake capable frames will work with his hub?
As far as cranks are concerned, I don’t know much about them because I’ve only ever had cotterless cranks, but I’ll definitely want to go with a better type of cranks for my geared 36er. Any information on the pros/cons of the various other crank options would be most appreciated. As far as crank length, I’m perfectly happy with the 150mm cranks that I’m used to and I don’t see any real compelling reason to change that for the time being.
Once I figure out the frame and cranks, I think the rest will be fairly easy.
Thanks again for all the excellent information.
Yes, I’m sure it must have been you. Nice to see you on this forum and thanks again for all your assistance. In my book, your willingness to be helpful and your graciousness qualifies you as a gentleman. I think the original Cokers that I’m used to may have had a 125mm hub, but I’m far from certain. If so, I didn’t notice the width of the hub causing me any issues. I’m not too familiar with the Q factor concept other than knowing that a wider leg/foot position is uncomfortable and/or causes strain for some (perhaps most?) people. Since I have no basis for comparison, I really have no idea whether a wider or narrower position would make a difference for me or not, but I guess it’s probably best to play it safe and go with a set-up that doesn’t have too much Q factor because that seems to be preferable for most riders.
Yes, I am a helicopter pilot. I earned my copter license in 2006, followed soon after by my fixed-wing SEL rating. I also have gyroplane hours. A gyroplane was the first type of powered aircraft I ever flew and I hope to resume my flight training and obtain my gyro add-on at some point. In the meantime, I returned to flying my solar-powered aircraft because the gas is free.
Yes, it’s been a long time. I’m happy to see that you’re still active on the forum. I still remember the photo of you doing some impressive riding on top of some impressive looking equipment at a rather impressive location. If that doesn’t make you a living legend in the world of unicycling, I don’t know what does! You should probably turn that photo into an NFT and sell it for a few million.
The only photo of a unicyclist that I have ever seen for sale is one of you riding a Coker in the snow in Manhattan. The photographer was selling a copy at an arts fair in Wichita, KS, a few years ago. I was able to tell the photographer, who didn’t know you, who you were.
The gyroplane; is that the same as a gyrocopter such as the old Igor Benson kits?
What kind of solar powered aircraft do you have and what do you think of it? I have always thought about buying a J-3 but not paying for gas might be enough incentive to look at solar power instead.