is my pashley toast?

I am more than a little afraid that my Pashley is toast. All the research I did about them before I bought it said that it was a strong design. I have read that eventually they can develop a little bit of play where the lollipop bearings go into the frame. Well…I’ve had mine about 5 months and one side seems to have two different positions that the bearing holder will slide into. For example, if I ride backwards a little ways and stop with a fair amount of pressure on the right pedal, I can feel a little shift and the tire will rub the frame (its a 29 so there is not a lot of room for error) until I impact it again the opposite way and then back to normal.
I drove myself crazy for an hour or so thinking my wheel was out of true but it is definitely the bearing holder. What to do? Can I shim this some how? Should I take it to my LBS? Am I in the market for a new muni frame?

Please advise…

I’m sure you could fix your uni in a cheaper and easier way but I reckon you should get your frame rebuilt, like chop of the lollipop bearing holders and weld on some normal ones.

Your Pashley and the bearing holders may be just fine. It is possible that the problem is due to the bearings sliding or moving on the hub. The bearings are just press fit on the hub. If that press fit is not tight enough the bearings can slide outward on the hub axle. That can cause the wheel to rub on the frame.

The fix is to pull the bearing off the hub. Clean off any grease, oil, and dirt from the area of the hub where the bearing fits. Then apply some Loctite Sleeve Retainer. Press the bearing back on. Allow the Loctite to cure for 6 to 12 hours. Then ride.

I’ve had to Loctite the bearings on several of my unicycles because they were slipping. It’s not an uncommon problem.

Press fits are just that. The part is fit by pressing it into place. It requires very tight tolerances. If the hub is slightly too small then when the bearing is pressed on the fit is going to be too loose. That’s where the Loctite Sleeve Retainer comes in. The Loctite “glues” the bearing in place and keeps it from slipping.

It is something that you can do yourself. You will need some special tools like a bearing puller. sells a bearing puller. You can buy the same bearing puller at an auto parts store. These unicycle bearing pullers are actually auto parts tools for pulling things like water pump pulleys and power steering pulleys off. You can also get the Loctite Sleeve Retainer at auto parts stores.

Pulling the bearing off the Pashley hub may require some handy work. There is not a lot of clearance behind the lollipop bearing holder and the hub flange. I had to grind down part of my bearing holder to get it to fit so I could pull off the bearing on my Pashley.

Overall it’s not a difficult fix. But it does require some specialized tools.

Thanks for the quick responses… How about if I can see the gap changing between the bearing holder and the fork? In one position there is a uniform space between the bottom of the fork and the ridge on the bearing holder. In the other position I can see that gap pinch on one side. Also, when I take the wheel off the frame, there is no play between the bearing holder and the bearing.

Even if the bearing is loose it still takes force to get it to move. You aren’t going to be able to get it to move with just your hands. Pedalling puts a lot of lateral force on the bearing and that’s why it is able to move.

Sometimes you’ll be able to see that bearing on one side of the hub is out of place compared to the other side. Other times the only way to know is to try to pull the bearing off with a bearing puller and note that it was easier to remove than it should have been. It’s not always an easy diagnosis.

Next time the wheel gets out of whack take a look at both bearings and try to see if one is in a different location than the other. The differences are going to be millimeters so it may not be all that easy to see.

The other possibility is that the bearings are actually pressed in to the Pashley lollipop bearing holder. The press fit for one of the bearing in one of the lollipop bearing holders could be loose. Symptoms would be similar, but that one is going to be harder to see by eye.


I stand corrected. I can feel that play now between the bearing holder and the axle with the wheel off the frame. I will try to screw up the courage to brave the repair myself. What a relief!

A bike shop can do the repair. The first time I had to replace the bearings on my Pashley I took it to a bike shop because I didn’t have the necessary tools to do it myself. The bike shop rather enjoyed the unique challenges of repairing a unicycle.

If you have a bike shop do it just let them know to use some Loctite Sleeve Retainer to keep the bearing from slipping again.

There is a neat FAQ by Brian MacKenzie (a.k.a. Sofa) on replacing bearings. Unicycle Bearing Overhaul Or Replacement FAQ. And here’s the old thread about the FAQ.