New 36: Setup and First Ride!

The parts I ordered for my 36 build came in today.

I had UDC UK build me a wheel, since the service is no longer available from UDC:(. Fortunately, Roger was very helpful answering my questions. Given the discontinued status of the Impulse frame and the February special on the green Stealth2 rim, I thought that I would go with this setup and a “Superwide” ISIS hub. I also purchased a green Nimbus quick-release clamp to compliment the color scheme. The order wasn’t placed until last weekend. As someone who has never placed an international order for anything, I’m genuinely shocked at how quickly these items were shipped.

Because Coker is currently offering free shipping, I decided to go with a button tire. I would have preferred a Nightrider (based on the reviews), but the current price difference after shipping made it difficult to justify at this point. Most likely the Nightrider will be my second tire. Had I ordered everything from UDC, it would definitely have been my first. While trying to install the Coker tube, I realized that the valve stem hole was too small to accommodate the tapered, over-sized Schrader valve. After calling a couple of local bike shops, I quickly found that not many people want to work on an over-sized rim. Luckily, I had my drill at work, so I carefully bore out the hole. The tire and tube seated easily afterwards.

I scavenged the seat and seatpost from my muni and the cranks from my 29er to finish outfitting the build. The cranks were 165mm Nimbus Venture 2s and they had served me well since December. Given the long crank arms, mounting and riding were surprising easy to pickup. I took multiple trips around our parking lot at work while the other employees were out. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of it, tragedy struck :astonished: ! My left pedal separated from the crank.

I’ve contacted UDC to see if they might consider this a warranty issue and to solicit advice. Since I changed both cranks and pedals together without separating components, I think it’s possible that either A) this actually was a manufacturing defect or B) I’m just too fat to be riding a unicycle:p. I really like the Ventures, but I may consider moving to some higher-end cranks in the future if an upgrade is recommended.

Once I got home, I installed a spare set of 125mm Qu-ax cranks. This was a nightmare. The significant loss of length coupled with access only to a poorly lit gravel driveway proved very difficult. I found that I could still free mount (although much less frequently); however, my lack of experience with the big wheel made it very difficult to get the cranks moving on the loose gravel. After a couple of 20-30’ trips, I decided to call it a night.

Hopefully, I’ll hear back from UDC soon and I can make a decision on what cranks to use long-term. As things stand now, I’ve spent significantly less than my intended budget, so an upgrade is not out of the question. For now, however, I guess that I’m stuck learning how to use this thing on tarmac only. Not that that’s a bad thing… :smiley:

P.S. I’ll post pics later. It’s late, and we’ve gotta get the baby to bed.

I noticed that this option was no longer available on UDC US. Did you ask them about it?

So you ordered the wheel from the UK? Wow, was the shipping expensive? I’ve gotten cranks from them when UDC US was out of stock. The dollar is so strong these days that it was slightly cheeper for me to get cranks from the UK instead of the US, even with shipping.

Sorry to hear about your cranks. I hope it you’re able to resolve it.

Well it seems like you made decent progress for your first day with it anyway. I’m also impressed at how quickly it arrived. They must have jumped right onto building your wheel.

Did you actually break the crank? Ventures aren’t advertised as being super duper tough I guess, but just riding along like that really shouldn’t be a problem.

Thanks for the early write-up and good luck getting it finished and resolved the rest of the way. It sounds like you’ll have a really neat ride really soon.

I sent UDC an email requesting the cost of a wheel build. The reply simply stated that “we no longer offer wheelbuilds here in the USA” The email was prompt and polite, but no additional information was provided other than that they could supply the parts and that I could have someone local complete the build. Unfortunately, my experience with the local bike shops hasn’t been completely positive, so I opted for the alternative.

The frame, the seatpost clamp, and the wheel build cost me approximately $330 shipped from the UK. Honestly, I would have preferred to spend the money with UDC as they’ve been good to me in the past, but the low cost coupled with the wheelbuild service offered by UDC UK was too good to pass up.

Thanks! Hopefully, we can work something out. My purchase history is fairly limited, but I appreciate the level of service that they’ve provided so far. If we can’t reach a resolution, UDC UK has 165/137mm Spirit cranks in stock for about $90 shipped, so I may end up placing another order with them.

The crank did not break. The pedal hole threads stripped out as I was riding. I’m really not sure what happened as the pedals have been attached to the cranks for several months without a problem. Perhaps the threads had been slowly weakening over time and it was just unfortunate timing. I don’t know.


My goal was to spend less than $500 on a 36" with a wide ISIS hub and an external disc brake. With scavenged parts, I should actually be slightly under this once I order my brake. Of course, this does not include a touring handle, saddle bags, etc., so the total end cost might be somewhat higher. Now that I’ve got something I can actually ride, I’ll add the remainder a piece at a time.

Pics of the stripped out crank and pedal?

Gotta ask, just because it’s so easy to do and it happens so often and you must have had a million things on your mind: Might you have installed the cranks reversed left-for-right? That’s what would happen, and you’d see some thread damage from when the pedal finally unscrewed itself far enough. But with a little luck, the threads would still be ok most of the way through, just cleanup needed. Thread insert will fix otherwise.

I like that strategy! You can watch for items on sale, things being offered on the trading post, etc. And you get to enjoy each little present one at a time.

I sent a pic to UDC earlier today, but I took it at work on my cell phone. The quality is not all that great. I’ll post a better pic for you guys on Sunday after I get back from Gatlinburg. My wife is a teacher, so we get to sample the Ripley’s attractions for free this weekend.:stuck_out_tongue:

That’s a good question! When the treads stripped, the pedal remained attached. It was loose within the socket, but I was unable to pull it free. At this point, I returned to my office to do some research on the forum. Since the damage that you describe above was covered on several threads, I double checked my pedal and cranks. Both still had the UDC stickers present, so I was able to confirm that the left crank was attached to the left pedal on the left side.

In retrospect, I should have taken a picture at this point. Instead, I went ahead and separated the components to assess the damage. The threads are almost non-existent. It almost looks like I bored out the crank it’s so clean. I’ve got a set of set of 170mm Brontrager cranks that I may use for the short-term as I continue to learn to ride the larger wheel.

I haven’t priced thread inserts. Is this something that is normally fairly cost-effective?

It’s great that you can free-mount with the 125s, but that’s really short to be learning the 36 (I had to practice a while with 150s first before moving down to 127s). If you already have some riding experience and an mount, think ideal would be 150s for road riding and 165/170 for off road. So yes, definitely if you already have them, the 170s sound like a good idea. You have SO much more control with >150 and (compared to other wheel sizes) SO much less control with short cranks. It takes gettig used to.

OK, I had to ask! And that doesn’t sound like something that should have happened.

I haven’t ridden a 36" myself but I’d go with MUCFreerider’s advice. 125mm might be more of a challenge than you need–for now anyway.

Depends on what the service goes for these days and in your area. You mentioned not always being happy with your local shops, so there’s that too. Wild guess is less than a new pair of Ventures but maybe/maybe not more than those particular ones are worth to you, depending on how much you want that length and model. Best outcome is UDC making good on them, of course.

Hi ya anotherjohn :slight_smile:

Congrats on getting your new unicycle. :smiley:
Looking forward to seeing your pics.

Once I was putting my 36er back together and I could not be sure which crank was right or left - the stickers were gone. So I put them on the way I thought was correct. I was thinking that I was triple protected:

  1. I think I got them on the correct sides
  2. I put the peddles real tight so that even if they were backwards, they souldn’t fall off.
  3. If they were backwards and if they did loosen, I would feel the peddle wobble before it fell out.

Well…during my next ride, I discovered that:

  1. I had the cranks backwards.
  2. The peddles were not tight enough to prevent them from loosening.
  3. There was no noticeable wobble before the left peddle fell out.

No thread damage (or personal damage). Just switched the cranks and everything was fine.

Even though it appears that I did everything right in this situation, it has still been a good learning experience. I normally check my toys out of habit, but I now feel somewhat hyper-vigilante about my unicycles. It seems that a small error could potentially cause a very big problem!

Thanks for sharing!

Sorry for not providing an update sooner.

Work has been somewhat hectic, and I haven’t had time available during daylight hours to take any pictures. Josh at UDC and I had a nice email conversation, and they have graciously provided me with an opportunity to purchase replacement cranks at a discounted price. Because I’ll be driving through Atlanta in May on my way to a graduation, I plan to just stop by and make the purchase then. Hopefully, I can refrain from spending money on anything else that I don’t actually need!

I’m on my way to a late afternoon work function, but if I have time afterwards, I’ll post a couple of pics tonight. I did take the 36" out on the Asheville Greenway yesterday. My little 2.5 mile jaunt definitely solidified the belief that I made a worthwhile purchase. As I’m sure many of you already know, riding the 36" is a completely different experience than riding a smaller wheel.:smiley:

Thanks for taking the time to update, anotherjohn. It sounds like things are working themselves out pretty well. I’ll be joining you as a 36" novice soon and I look forward to the pics and further details.

Aye, Thanks for the updates anotherjohn :slight_smile:
I bet you leave UDC with more than just cranks :wink: :roll_eyes: :smiley:

That’s an interesting info, you took the plunge and got one?

Delivered expected on Friday, although flooding between here and there from the sudden thaw might affect that. I don’t want to jack this thread but I’ll have plenty to say and show then, fear not. :slight_smile:

Ok, anotherjohn and LargeEddie we northcarolinians :slight_smile: need to meet up some where for a ride!

Hey Eddie, Congratulations on the "up"grade. What did you get? Look forward to hearing how it compares to your 700.