I have made some more modifications to my Coker handle. It’s now up to what I’m calling revision Beta 3. I first described my handle in the thread JC Coker Handle (revision Beta 2). Read my post in the “JC Coker Handle (revision Beta 2)” thread for the background on the handle design. The big changes since Beta 2 are the rear rack and a longer boom.
I’ll attach a picture of the setup to this post, and I’ve also got more pictures in my Miscellaneous Stuff gallery.
My goal with this setup was to have a way to carry my water and my gear on the unicycle rather than carrying it all in a hydration pack on my back. I want to be able to go on a reasonable length Coker ride without carrying a hydration pack. Right now I only have a single water bottle mounted. My plan is to have two water bottles on the boom. I just haven’t figured out the best way to do that yet. I have some ideas for that and I’ll try them out this week.
The boom is a 2 foot length of 1-1/8 inch (28.6 mm) aluminum tubing. I wasn’t planning on having the boom that long. I was planning on cutting it shorter. But with the water bottle mounted where it is, the extra long boom protects the water bottle and cage in the event the unicycle takes a nose dive.
The boom is now fit in the stoker stem with a 1.2 mm seatpost shim. The seatpost shim works much better than the Coke can shim I was using in revision Beta 2.
The water bottle is mounted on the boom using a Minoura BH-95 bottle cage holder. It works well and can clamp to any tube from 22.2 mm to 28.6 mm. I have a second Minoura water bottle mount and I’m just trying to figure out how and where to put it.
The big modification for this round was the rear rack. The rack is an Axiom Journey seatpost rack. $20 at Alfred E. Bike. In addition to being only $20, it has a big flat area on the mounting clamp so it can be easily cut and welded so it sticks out at 90 degrees. It was $30 at a local welding shop to have the clamp cut off and welded back on at a 90 degree angle. There is a picture in my gallery showing the clamp and the new weld. It was quite a search to find a rack that could be easily modified to stick out at 90 degrees. Most racks have a more complicated clamp on the seatpost and would require a more complicated weld to modify.
The only complaint I have with the rack is that it uses four bolts to attach the clamp on the seatpost. It takes some fiddling to completely remove the rack from the unicycle. It’s definitely not a quick release. But the rack does have an interesting quick release on the rack platform. You can remove the rack platform by undoing two quick release clamps. That still leaves the rear boom on the unicycle, but the bulk of the rack platform is gone.
The rear bag is a Top Trunk Bag by Delta Cycle Corporation. It’s a fairly small bag for a trunk bag. Most trunk bags use large size as a selling feature. I was looking for one that was smaller and narrower. The Delta bag works well for me, but may still be a bit too tall for shorter riders. I have seen some trunk bags that are smaller and shorter, but I couldn’t find any in the stores, or online. The Delta bag works just fine for me.
On my first ride with the trunk bag I did a little experiment to see how the unicycle would behave with a lot of weight in the trunk bag. I stuffed it with two extra water bottles, more tools than I would ever need on the road, a spare Coker tube, a bike lock, and more. All that weight in the rear bag made the Coker handle poorly. Precision maneuvering was more difficult. Sharp turns were more difficult because the extra weight made it more difficult to initiate the turn and more difficult to pull out of the turn. Steep climbs are also more difficult with the extra weight in the rear bag. The extra weight on back made the unicycle want to fall backwards when I stood up on the pedals. The extra weight also made it so the unicycle didn’t flow through the dead spot of the pedal stroke so it was more difficult to keep the unicycle going up the hill. On the flats the extra weight wasn’t too much bother. The lesson learned is that for hilly rides I need to make sure the rear bag is not stuffed with too much weight. Typically what I’ve been putting in the rear bag is just a minimal set of tools, camera, some energy bars, maybe a bike lock, and maybe a wind breaker or other extra layer of clothing. Keep the weight down and it works great.
All in all, I like the setup. All the bulky parts are easily removable so I can turn it in to a basically normal looking Coker fairly easily. When I take the Coker for a single track trail ride I’ll remove the front handle and boom and remove the rear rack. I still want to play around with hand position on the front handle. Maybe some sort of modified aerobar instead of the two bar ends. I’ll see. There is very likely going to be a revision Beta 4 in the future as I play with more ideas.