You asked this question after asking about your loose cranks. Your cranks will probably tighten right up, at least for a while, but cotterless wheels are less than optimum for hopping and similar skills.
The old Schwinns will take quite a lot, but something will eventually give. At the least, your cranks will come loose a lot quicker if you hop a lot. In fact they’re probably loose now because of your hopping practice. Remember you only have 28 spokes, where most unicycles have 36.
But don’t be afraid to ride the thing. Back around 1980, that’s all we had and we did all sorts of things with and to them. I only weighed about 150 lbs. then, but I know the Schwinns can take a beating. Bear in mind we got real good at working with cottered cranks at this time as well…
Hop with the cranks horizontal. Get a unicycling video to show you tons of stuff that’s hard for us to write down. One Wheel No Limit is best for tricks, and Universe is best for showing offroad and Trials.
Replacement tires may be hard to find, as Schwinn no longer uses the S-7 rim specification. But you should be able to find some “plain black” tires somewhere. Try Schwinn dealers, and tell them it’s an S-7 rim. That’s 1 3/4" instead of 1.75". In Schwinn math, those are not the same!
Another place to look is eBay, but if you find old Schwinn unicycle tires, remember to make sure they’re S-7 type (not newer), and be aware that they will almost always be over 20 years old.
I used to have three Schwinn unicycles that used the S7 tire. I had a 20" and 24" and I still have a Schwinn giraffe. All three used the funky S7 tire size. The 20" and 24" also had cottered cranks. I got tired of messing with the cotter pins in the 20" and 24" and got tired of looking around for replacement S7 tires so I trashed those two unicycles. I had the wheel for my giraffe rebuilt using a standard sized 20" BMX rim so now my giraffe uses a normal tire.
i didn’t realize that Unicycle.com had the tires. My family and I are going to drive to Atlanta on Thursday to get the 11 year old a new unicycle (and so I can ride a Coker, and maybe a Muni, and a trials, and… :D)
I will pick up a new tire and new cotter keys for my Schwinn. Thanks for all the info. --chirokid–
I did thousands of steps (diagonally) and curbs when I was 160 lbs and the 28 spokes held up well. When I tried riding off anything higher than 12" I broke spokes and rode with three broken for about 20 years.
The old grey mare would probably not stand a lot of hopping or dropping abuse. Keep it as a cruiser and trainer but upgrade when it comes time to abuse your uni. I can’t bring myself to taco my first uni.