New unicycle project

Right, I’m thinking of sorting myself out a new uni for road use - building the bits up from the components myself primarily as I’ve always fancied building a wheel and this seems like an ideal way to learn how to.
The obvious choice is to build something on a 700c rim and probably use the wide cromo hub. The only worry I have about this whether I’ll spend my time wishing I’d gone for a coker instead.
I’ve read some of the threads about 29" versus cokers and just wondering whether anyone had an opinion on:
a) building your own unicycle(will buy a frame as I can’t weld) and whether it was a good experience.
b) Will I still want to move up to a coker due to being dissappointed by the 29" - I don’t want to go crazy on the cash so I’m looking at doing the whole thing at a reasonble cost.

As an asside I know that I could buy a coker rim and lace that myself but buying the coker frame hubs etc would make that rather expensive

All thoughts welcome



My experience as a n00b-uni-builder (well, putter-togetherer… :))

My last unicycle was the first one I’ve built from bits rather than ordered as a whole. It’s a 24" built because I had a Fireball tyre lying around doing nothing. I didn’t want another unicycle almost identical to the muni so I tried to find different bits for it, which turned out to be a DMR DV rim.

I have no complaints about the process or the result, but I slipped up by assuming that all rims of the same “size” take roughly the same size spokes; while the spokes from fit they are really too long, so I should replace them at some point.

Right now I’m building a 29" for cross country riding. This time I’m trying to keep an eye on the dimensions of the rim so I can get a tyre and spokes to fit! This is fairly tricky given that the dimensions of the things are often hard to find on the internet; this rim came from a pretty decent bike shop so that takes care of that problem.

I’ve built the wheels myself… I find this the most tedious bit as I’m far from any good at it, but with the aid of the sheldon brown website and squeezy stress-relievers they’ve turned out okay. The first two I just laced myself and had a bike shop finish them off; more recently I’ve finished them off myself. They won’t stand up to an examination with a micrometer, but they’re circular enough… :slight_smile:

It is nice in that it results in a unique unicycle, it’s not just another <insert name of mass-produced uni here>… you can call it “yours”, especially if you built it yourself.


Cheers phil,
certainly sounds like the plan is a goer, if I don’t get bored by the wheel building tedium. As I said above, it something that I fancy doing to combine seeing if I can do a good job of it and to give me a road machine that will be a bit more appropriate than my muni for doing miles on roads.

Anyone else got any thoughts on this? And also whether I’ll regret going for a 29" rather than a coker?


Building a unicycle up yourself is fun, but a little bit more expensive than buying a standard 29er from

However, you do get to choose the components straight away, rather than having to upgrade them later, so it can actually work out cheaper in the long term. Especially if you want to upgrade something like the hub or rim. I built up my 29er and it’s great.

As for 29er vs Coker, it depends a lot on how far you intend to ride and where. A coker lets you go that bit further, but a 29er is a bit more manouvrable for riding in traffic, personally I really like my 29er at the moment and haven’t ridden the coker much recently, but most of my rides are 10-20 miles in the city.

If you’re riding in big city traffic and through traffic jams, I’d recommend a 29er. If you’re aiming to ride over about 80 miles in a day, I’d recommend a coker. In between those two extremes either one is great fun and I’d get a 29er now rather than saving up more for a coker. If you get really really into very long distance road riding on the 29er you might want to save up for a posh upgraded coker later.

If you go for the 29er, get a frame that fits a Schwalbe big apple tyre, I can’t say enough how important that is, it’s the best tyre by far and makes the 29er ride somewhere between a standard 29er and a coker. Somehow it just seems to hit the sweet spot of turnyness vs. momentum. The Nimbus II or Yuni frames fit that tyre, a lot of the other ones don’t. Make sure the rim is a 700c size rim, any other rim size that is close to 28" won’t fit any of the tyres you’ll want to use.

If you’re building a wheel, use

to work out what length spokes you need for your rim. Spocalc has a list of pretty much all the possible rims you might buy and lists the ERD which you need for the spoke calculator which has the unicycle hub sizes in it.


Go for it…building your own uni is great! I was in a similar position with my muni. I didn’t know how to weld but I bought all the parts separately and had a frame made up and some bearing holders machined and then built the wheel myself. Wheel building is very satisfying and a lot of fun. I’m also planning to eventually build myself a 700c road uni but in quite a while. I’ve decided I’m going to learn to weld first. Then I’ll be able to build all sorts of crazy things like my seated hand-driven uni (which I’ve drawn up and thought out) and my two wheeler with two 12" wheels! Building your own uni (or at least piecing together the pieces) can be frustrating but it’s well worth it in my opinion.

Good luck, please keep us updated.


Re: New unicycle project

I don’t own a 29" (yet) so keep at in mind when reading my comments.

Currently, I own 4 uni’s (20" trials, 5’ giraffe, KH24, and a coker). I never ever get bored, because I’m always in the mood for at least one of these.

My feeling is that if you built the 29er, you might not be disappointed with it, but you still might want the coker.

If for space/financial/practical reasons, you will only ever have one, I would get the coker. There’s nothing quite like it. It’s great riding up high, making grand sweeping turns, keeping up with the bikes, turning heads, and having people say “you rode HOW FAR on that thing?!!” I LOVE my coker.

…still, there are days when I wish I had something faster than my KH24 and more manouverable than the coker. You know, something you can idle and hop up curbs with and still cover some distance…and yes, I know some people do this on a coker, but I can’t.

I’m planning on adding a 29er to my arsenal, but I sure as hell won’t sell my coker to do it.

…I guess what I’m really saying is: Get both. You NEED both.

Well I’m inspired - I’ve decided to go down the assembling a 29" myself path - the coker is tempting but I can’t see myself wanting to do really high mileages(20miles or so will be enough) and I really will appreciate that little extra manouverabiity - plus the idea of building/assembling it myself to make it “mine” is very appealing so thats going to be the plan.

Will keep you updated as to how its going and the part list once its finalised. So far its looking like a Sun CR18 rim, Schwalabe Big Apple Tyre, Nimbus 28" frame, wide Cro-Mo hub

Once again thanks for the ideas and thoughts it has been really rather helpfull. More to follow once construction starts


Re: New unicycle project

On Thu, 8 Apr 2004 04:59:17 -0500, “joemarshall” wrote:

>If you go for the 29er, get a frame that fits a Schwalbe big apple tyre,

Just to add to that: the Big Apple comes in two widths: 2.00" and
2.35". All the talk is about the widest of the two.

If’s funny how generally the widest tyres seem to be most appreciated.
It makes one wonder if there would be an advantage to even wider
tyres. 3" Big Apple? 4" Gazz?

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

Clearly a system of 1/14 and 1/16 is not decimal - Mikefule on the English weight system

Sun CR18 is quite a narrow rim, you might want something wider like the Sun Rhyno-lite or Mavic A2something or MAvic T261.

You possibly want Nimbus II rather than Nimbus to fit the big apple, I’m not sure.


Consider 4.33" cranks, for speed. They are definitely managable.

All the checking on figures that I managed to do suggested that the CR18 should be fine with 2.35" tyre - So I was assuming that it should be wide enough to run a big apple on it. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

On the frame I meant a Nimbus II not just Nimbus - will have to sort out my attention to details when posting.


It’s 22.5mm outer, 17.5mm inner.

Rhyno is 27.5 o 22 i

I think the rims most people are using are closer to the rhyno width. I’m not sure how much difference it makes, it might make the tyre a bit wobbly on the rim.