Input for redesigned Coker

Let me introduce myself first. My name is Troy Watson and I have been hired by Coker to redesign The Big One.

Please let me know what you Guys would like to see changed or stay the same. I would also like to get feedback on how many would be interested in different models of The Big One. I am thinking about offering 2 to 3 different models with different options.

So please post anything and everything you have ever wanted on a Coker or wanted changed and then stay tuned for the new and improved Big one.



Anything to keep the price down.

You might want to check out the thread started by one of the guys from the coker tyre company, there were loads of suggestions in that for improvements and variations.

I think better tyre availability and possibly a couple of tyre options such as a 2.5" tyre for off road and a slick like the maxxis hookworm for road use.

hope this helps

I think the most important improvements would be a wide hub and a strong rim Stainless steel spokes would be nice as well.

Do you know how far off the production of these new beasts will be?

A light and cool looking aluminium frame with brake mounts.

i think a few different models with various levels of strength and performance is an incredibly good idea. a stronger hub is a must for all levels, a decent seat, and brake mounts would be things i’d suggest.

Make it even bigger !


Here is some of the changes that will be made so far.

  1. It will have a wider hub.
  2. Alloy rim that should be lighter then the Airfoil rim.
  3. stainless spokes and I might increase the spoke count to 40 or 48
  4. Some type of new saddle, I am looking into get a air saddle made

Here are some things that I am planning but don’t know if they will make it into production.

  1. New tire with rounder profile.
  2. Reinforced frame
  3. Brake and or mounts on the frame.
  4. offroad tire, but don’t hold your breath on this one.

I am also looking at making a 40 or 44 inch uni also. A few people have asked for a 48 inch but I think that might be to limited on who can ride it because of how tall you would have to be.

Keep the input coming, Thanks.

Welcome Troy! What is your background? Tell us a little about yourself and it might make it easier for us to explain where we’re coming from. For example, are you a Big One rider, and if so do you ride it a lot? Or are you a frame maker, product designer, etc?

I’ll repeat some of the stuff I probably wrote in that earlier thread.

The Big One (which we simply call a Coker) has created new categories of unicyclist. Road riding is now much more viable so people use Cokers to train for fitness, to get to work/school, to ride on trails, and to do big tours like the current Laos Tour for charity:

Before the advent of the Coker a few people did these things, but the unicycles were expensive, uncomfortable, trouble-prone, and did I mention expensive? The most important feature of the Coker is the very large pneumatic tire. I have a 45" big wheel from 1982. It’s great in parades and shows, but it runs on a solid rubber wheelchair tire. You feel every nuance of the road surface. Even though my Coker is only 36", it’s a no-brainer which one to use for a long ride. For my former 8-mile commute to work, I might ride my 45" once a year (on Bike to Work Day), but I tried to ride my Coker at least once a week, weather permitting.

So to stay the special vehicle it is, the Big One needs to stay affordable, and have a big, comfy air tire.

Assuming there will be more than one variant, the number one priority for the base, highest-selling model should be keeping the cost down. There is already one competitor in the marketplace, and more are likely to follow. That said, you could make improvements to the base model in a few areas, in order of what I think are importance to sales:

  1. Lose the Viscount seat:
    Yuck. Most of the Coker riders I know have upgraded their seats (and I know a lot of Coker riders). The KH is the best seat on the market, but I assume it costs more. It’s available in a range of versions. The seats on the Torker LX (same as Miyata) are also good. The Viscount seat was good for its day, as a replacement for the old-style Schwinn seats in 1986. But it was never more than a bridge between that old seat and the Miyata saddles of the day. I helped design it.

  2. Wider hub:
    This is probably the cheapest upgrade possible, and would make a major structural improvement to the wheel. My 45" Unicycle Factory wheel measures about 5.25" between the flanges, but it doesn’t feel wide when ridden. Look at old penny-farthing bikes. You need a wide hub to keep your wheel rigid. Stock Cokers are very prone to tacoing. I imagine an order of wider hubs, from the same manufacturer, would have very little cost difference than the usual ones.

  3. Better rim:
    That’s a pretty weak rim. Now there are at least two other rims on the market, the airfoil and the one that comes with what calls the Radial 360 ( The airfoil was a custom job for early Coker enthusiasts; the first major Coker-specific upgrade. I don’t know how much it would cost to upgrade the rim, so it’s #3 on my list.

I don’t have any issues with the tire. Yes, it’s heavy. But it’s a specialty tire and it’s supposed to have a long life. Most buyers will want it to be heavy duty, and long life is more important than weight. I like the “classic” tread pattern. I like seeing old cars in museums with the same tread. It works well on the road and on dirt as well. That tire is what makes the Coker a Coker, and I see no need to change the original (as long as you add variations; read on).

There are many ways to go with this, so I’ll campaign for my favorite, and let others suggest their own. The purpose of my “enthusiast” model is to address the Coker’s main useful quality and build upon it. That quality is the large pneumatic tire. Make it bigger, and slant it more toward the enthusiast unicyclist with a deeper pocket.

  • Wheel diameter around 42". This should be big enough to make a substantial difference over the current 36" version, yet small enough to still fit most adults. Lots of people can fit on my 45" wheel, and the seat doesn’t even go very low!

  • Narrower tire. The current 36" tire is like a giant cruiser tire, heavy and cushy. It rides really nice, as long as you’re going straight, but it’s quite heavy. If you have a bike background, you know that rotational weight is the most useful area to make savings, especially when it comprises the majority of the cycle. But not too skinny. As you approach road bike dimensions, your ride quality will start to approach that of my 45", which takes a lot of the fun out of the ride. Also it will increase the risk of pinch flats. As I learned with my 45" wheel, the larger the diameter, the more prone the rim is to getting flat spots from hitting bumps or going down curbs. So the tire needs to protect the rim as well as the rider. I think a good compromise would be roughly a 1.5" tire. This should make it lighter than the 36" tire, even at its larger size, and yet still a comfortable ride with enough “gap” between road and rim to help protect it. Maybe 1.75". Also such a tire should steer a lot better, because it would be run at higher pressure. I find the 36" to be very sluggish for turning, compared to my 45" which I can literally spin on a dime. Sorry about the long paragraph!

  • Rigid rim. As wheels get bigger they get weaker, so strength should be the primary concern. Light is good, but not at the cost of integrity over the long haul. People will use wheels like this to ride to work, to tour, to train, and to race. As this is an enthusiast model, the rim should be alloy. Something like the Airfoil might be the way to go for strength.

  • Wide hub (see above).

  • Possibly shorter cranks. 150mm is a good “starter” size for today’s Coker, but most enthusiasts, save those who ride offroad, use shorter cranks. 125s live on mine, and they even work on easy trails. For myself, I think I’d use 125 on a 42" wheel also. But a new one should maybe come with 140s. This will will not be intended for offroad use.

  • Rigid frame. Today’s Coker uses the least expensive form of decent unicycle frame technology. There’s room for improvement. But I’ll save that for another post.

  • KH or equivalent saddle.

  • Consider a saddle mounting scheme that allows for a very low seat height. One possiblity would be a horizontal seat post. Move the seat farther back to increase the effective height. The front end of such a post could be used as a handlebar/brake/computer mount. Again, I’ll save details for a later post.

For any Coker model, options or upgrades would be nice:

  • My enthusiast design above ignores the trail riders. I don’t know how big a segment of the market that is, but I did not forget them. My thought is that they would stick with 36" and campaign for a MUni (Mountain Unicycling)-specific tire. Something chunkier and maybe wider.

  • Brake. Great for the downhills! I don’t use mine (on my Deluxe model from much, but it’s very handy on those long, steep descents.

  • Bolt-on handlebar, rack mounts, computer stubs, etc. This goes along with the frame ideas to be written later. But for owners of basic frames, bolt-on accessories would probably be a lot cheaper! Check out the web site as a starting place to look at road Cokers.

Okay, I’m out of time. Please hire me to help you design the next generation of Cokers. I have a lot of free time these days, and have been riding big wheel since 1981. You can reach me at the email address below, or give me a call at 916-359-7876.

Me and Cokers:
And I was there in 1998 when David Coker brought a prototype to our National Unicycling Convention.

Hello new_coker,

Thank you for asking what we’d like, good luck with this project.

If your making it lighter, A ligher 36" tube is necessary.

Offer with the Coker name on the frame, as point of pride for the rider.

Always use double sealed bearings.

Ok, I will give you some of my background.

I have been riding bikes since right before I turned 3 years old. My mom always tells a story about how she was taliking with of friend about how she was thinking about getting me a bike for my third birthday. Her concern was that I would not be able to ride it. As she was talking I rode by the kitchen window on a neighbor kids bike which had no training wheels and was way to big.

Since then I have worked in the bike industry for various frame companies and wheel companies. I myself am a Dt certified wheel builder and have built over 6000 wheels. I have my own custom wheel business which is currently being done part time to concentrate on the new Coker.

I can ride a unicycle and I do have a Big One but I do not ride it that often. To me it is more of something to do ocasionally for fun.

Would there be a interest for colors or what about a all black one?

Thanks for the background check. You definitely learned to ride a bike earlier than most of us! I think I was five, but I still remember the day I rode without training wheels. I’m sure I could have learned earlier, but my parents and I didn’t know about my future with cycling at the time. :slight_smile:

Sounds like you know more about wheels than most of us put together. That’s great! Knowledge of large wheels is what we need here. You probably have to talk with Wheelmen or similar to get more background in that area.

Expect the majority of people here to not have a good picture of the market. We are mostly enthusiasts and hardcore hobbyists/athletes/inventors. I don’t know the numbers, but I expect the vast majority of Coker owners ride them occasionally, for novelty purposes. So most upgrades may be irrelevant to them (hence keeping the low-priced base model).

As for me, I love my chrome. Unicycles tend to get loaded in cars much more than bikes do, and I believe many will have a tendency to be loaded with other unicycles. This is where much of the wear and tear to a frame’s finish occurs. Bikes seem to get better treatment, on racks or loaded with less other sets of pedals or other scratchy things. My 45" wheel has a Schwinn-style, painted frame, which has been repainted several times. It looks like hell, all chipped up.

So I hope you will keep a chrome version, whether or not painted ones are available. And black would be my least likely choice for a color. I do like anodized aluminum though. :slight_smile:

Plus you wrote some more while I was working on my “novel”:

Cool. Unicycle frames are very prone to twisting, as they are only supported by the wheel bearings. I suspect future unicycles will someday address this with larger bearings, or fatter hubs that allow for more rigid bearings. As we put more torque onto our frames, with powerful pedaling, handlebars, racks, etc., we continue to pile more and more twisting force onto those bearings. Uh, so use good bearings; sealed on both sides!

Correct, though this can be somewhat mitigated by thinking outside the box of the usual, vertical seat post.

I like the other items you listed as well!

No matter the shape of the seat post, the radius of the wheel is constant, if the radius of the wheel is longer than your leg then you are out of luck. Unless theres a special trick im unaware of or im misunderstanding you how would something other than a vertical seat post help?

(EDIT)By radius im actually referring to the distance to the pedals(/EDIT)

It could be done in a similar way to a giraffe, I think someone mentioned that a while ago in one of the giraffe topics.

yuo could have one peddle like3/4 way up the wheel at boath side, and small chains on both sides going down to the axel or somthing…

probaly a lot of effort for little result though

I think the biggest practical uni is probably 36. If you want it faster just gear it up.

I think the most important things are:
1)KH or equlivant saddle
2)make it affordable
3)more options like crank size and colors
4)offer a handle option
5)make it affordable
6)by the way… i still cant afford one… :stuck_out_tongue:

Do something radical that will whip the shit out of your competitors on the 36" market and the geared unicycles: Build an even bigger wheel! As long as the rider can reach the pedals he will have more of that nice floating Coker feeling the bigger the wheel becomes.

The forerunners in the early days of unicycling didn’t content with 36" - they had discovered how soft and fast you can ride on a wheel that is 46" or even 56". At that time they only had massive tyres which probably gave bad road-holding ability plus lousy comfort. Imagine a modern built unicycle of that size! If anyone can make unicycles with such big pneumatic tyres it is the Coker company. With these unicycles you would once again spearhead the unicycle market.


for a deluxe
water bottle carrier

bycicle co:)

strong arms that dont bend mine do

maybe you could have options for some
and have to s deluxe and not so deluxe