Loose crank--what to do?

I’m 5,000 miles away from my full stash of unicycles, and my 24" Torker is now having issues. The right crank is substantially loose. I banged it on with a hammer and then tightened the nut (which wasn’t particularly loose) but after going around the block the crank is loose again.

The nut is still tight so there is something more fundamentally wrong. I’m sure the abuse from playing hockey with the Lunis have stressed it in some permanently damaging way.

Is this likely to be a problem with the crank, or with the axle? Is it worth swapping to a different set of cranks? Is this sort of problem even worth fixing, given that this is an inexpensive three year old Torker?

I eagerly await the massed wisdom of the unicycling community.

This reminds me of the old axiom for automobiles: The part that causes the most accidents is the nut that holds the wheel.

But seriously folks…

Bruce, have you taken the crank off to inspect? If the nut is tight it my have bottomed out and can’t get any tighter. Perhaps the crank has cracked or otherwise widenned.

Inspect the crank and the axle sides for wear. Perhaps rotating your cranks will give you some temporary relief but it may be time to use the services of Uni.Com.UK. Hopefully all you need is a new set of cranks.

The other alternative is you can fly one of us out with one of your other unis.

What kind of torker is it. If it is the lx then I could see the damage happening but if it is a dx that probably shouldn’t have happened.

We’re riding today, are you going to show? We can all bring you new cranks.

What Steve says is true, the nut (bolt) could be bottomed out. As I remember, your Torker has those black painted aluminum cranks. The square taper broached hole is probably worn beyond its useful life. I would move back to the states where that is much less likely to happen. Or buy new cranks from Roger.

my DX does it.
it really sucks.
im figuring out ways to correct it though.
like using REAL duct tape, the metal kind, its a real pain, and im afraid it will become permanent on my cranks.
plastic bags worked for about 5 hours of nothing big or TOO hard on the cranks at all.
im thinking about squirting some epoxy in there and letting it cure before trying it. i know i have to be VERY careful doing it, but my cranks fit on my friend’s qu-ax so perfectly that I may buy new ones and sell him mine.(his cranks DO NOT work well on mine at all) i dont know how its possible, but its like my cranks are stretched and the hole is larger than it used to be.

I’ll fly over!

I’ll hop on the next flight to Seattle and join you for a ride through the woods. If I leave a few hours ago I’ll be there in time.

Failing that, if the nut is bottomed out (sounds plausible, given the cranks ability to loosen when the nut is fully tightened) can I buy myself some time by inserting a washer? Or is that too cheap a solution?

Maybe I’ll try stealing some cranks from my daughters’ unicycles when they aren’t looking and see if that helps.

It would be nice if new cranks are all that is needed. Although, if the unicycle were to suddenly have a terrible accident (oops–run over by a double-decker bus, how did that happen?) then I’d have an excuse to buy a replacement or two.

I’m sure that hockey is very hard on the cranks.

Not to over react, but perhaps this is the answer to your problem.

The ID of the washer would have to be large enough to allow the square taper to pass through and the OD would have to be small enough to fit into the crank. That would work but I don’t think you’ll find a washer with that ID/OD ratio easily.


Finally somebody gets my subtext and gives me the advice that I want to hear! Now I can do what I wanted to do and claim that I’m just following independent advice.

Alternately I’ll try Harper’s advice from four years ago:

That will let me confirm whether new cranks will fix the problem. But instead of turning the seat around I’ll just ride backwards–very handy when on defense.

for hockey and such, the koxx signature is looking pretty nice right now…

It’s all better now?

The 2003 model Harper was much smarter than the 2007 model Harper. As he suggested I swapped the cranks from left to right in an effort to find out whether the cranks or the axle were the problem, and I found it actually seems to have solved the problem. To play it safe I’ve ordered replacement cranks, but I think I’m sorted.

I’m gonna bet that your crank is rounded out. Just go ahead and get a new set of cranks. Any local bike shop will be able to inspect them for you if you wish. Are you going to be using it for anything other than hockey?

Problem solved?

I got new cranks and it seems to be working well. I suspect that one axle is slightly rounded (I kept playing hockey last week for a while before realizing my crank was very loose) but things are holding together much better now.

I switched from 150s to 125s. It’s a bit of an adjustment, and I can’t start and stop quite as quickly, but I sure can go fast now on my 24".