The big ol’ box arrives at my door. I’m like a kid at Christmas, and the pine scent of the box is adding to that feeling. I get the uni.5 out and put it together, and mount it briefly in the house to check the seat height. Already it feels strange. I call up one of my riding buddies and arrange to meet him for a ride, and then head outside. I have to ride this thing. I jump on and OH MY GOD IT TAKES RIGHT OFF! I didn’t freemount it the first time, and just rode it around the parking lot for a minute. I met up with my friend a bit later, and we rode with him on his coker and he tried out the uni.5 for a bit as well. Fun stuff.
I had my friend take the uni.5 with him so the rest of the crew could ride. Apparently they really thought it was cool. I like how it accelerates more quickly than a Coker, but I like the flywheel effect of the large wheel on a Coker more. It definitely turns more easily than a Coker, which was a plus, and the smaller wheel accomodated my short legs much more easily.
I did notice marks on the frame from the tire rubbing, and after some thought, remembered that I had a Sem XL frame gathering dust. I thought, “this is the perfect solution, a wider frame!” I mentioned it to my riding buddies and one of them said he’d bring tools to the rendezvous point for our ride. We disassembled the uni.5 and positioned the frame tab, and drilled the XL frame. It was quite a site, tools and unicycle parts scattered all over the sidewalk in front of the old courthouse in downtown Fort Worth. We got it all put together successfully, and the new frame worked very well, with much clearance for the well-chosen IRC Duro Metro tire. Some of the newer riders got on it and took a few minutes to get the reaction of the wheel vs the pedals right in their heads. Everyone thought it was really cool as they went flying around the block on which the courthouse was.
There are pictures of the sidewalk southern-engineering escapades, so hopefully I’ll get the photographer to post them on the galleries here. There are also polaroids in the box, so once Harper gets the uni.5 back those could be scanned if he feels so inclined.
Overall, one COOL machine. I like how the gears were tight enough to not affect pedaling adversely, and how that little wheel kept right up with a Coker.
On Sheldon Brown’s site there are diagrams on how to take a 3-speed Sturmey-Archer coasting hub and make it into a 2-speed fixed-gear hub, with direct drive and the overdrive like the uni.5. I’d love to build something like that, or see it built, with 2 or 3 speeds. A 26" or 29" (tire selection and rim strength would dictate the choice, I imagine) with a 2 or 3 speed hub would really be useful. A 26" could gear down to a 22" or so, travel as a 26", or gear up to about 39 inches for really cruising on open roads with a 3-speed hub. Lots of strong rims are available, as well as tires for every occasion. Ah, the possibilities are endless.
Thanks VERY much for the opportunity to check out this fine machine, Greg.