Now I'm Angry

So when I ordered Zach’s summit I thought “awesome, a unicycle with which I can start doing trials. It may need some maintenace but it won’t cost me $400 bucks, like a new KH20 would.”

I was wrong. I took it in to my LBS (because I have none of the tools or know-how to fix these problems, I ought to learn) to get everything tightened up because it was creaking all the time. I get a call this morning saying the nipples are rounded out so they can’t tighten the spokes and therefore can’t true the wheel. My shielded bearings are shot to hell, and apparently the fact that it’s 32-spoke is bad.

My thought would be to get new nipples and cut new spokes and then true the wheel and tighten everything from there. Also buy sealed bearing for 25 bucks or whatever it is. Please tell me if this is a legitimate solution.

Mike, my best LBS friend, says I ought to buy a whole new wheelset for 150 bucks.


I could use some advice on this matter.

get a new wheel, no doubt about it

Don’t give in too quickly. By removing the tire from the rim, you should be able to remove the spoke nipples from the backside using a screwdriver. Next, simply install new nipples and then have the wheel trued. I don’t see any reason to replace the spokes if they’re not bent or otherwise damaged. I wouldn’t worry about replacing the whole wheelset
(sorry, Sofa, but think this may be a good, cost effective alternative) :slight_smile:

it’s a crappy rim and hub if it only has 32 spokes, not worth the time undoing the spokes, methinks

Maybe not ‘crappy’, but certainly not trials-worthy…for long

edit: are multiple edits at work here?

I didn’t notice the “32 spokes” part :roll_eyes:

32 spokes?

What would you recomend for a good trials wheel? Dont all the off the shelf trials unis come with 32 spoke wheel?


The KH and Summit have a 36 spoke hub. I think your LBS needs to learn how to count.

If the rim isn’t badly bent or warped the sensible (cheap) way to go would be to replace the nipples and then have all the spokes retensioned.

yeah, if its a Summit then there is no way it only has 32 spokes.

if the nipples are rounded there is a good chance that the rim has been badly bent before and brought back to life in desparation.

I demanded a recount and there are, in fact, 36 spokes.

However, a point I forgot to mention which is most important, the rim has flat spots.

So I need to order a new rim, new nipples, new bearings, and then build the wheel.

This reminds of that other time I had to do more work than I should have needed to do on a unicycle. Am I an idiot or is it just bad luck?

Oh yeah!

36 spokes! My fault.

I think it was just bad luck, PopeSam.
Buying a used uni, like anything else that has been used, is a bit of a gamble. This time, looks like you lost.

At least it will have cost you less overall than buying a NEW trials? Right?


You purchased a used Trials unicycle from Zack Baldwin. Be proud to own some hardware formerly belonged to the world champion of Trials!

Be also realistic. I have a Trials unicycle I bought used from Chris Reeder. I expected it to be beat to crap. That’s what you do with a Trials unicycle. When buying a used something from someone, always ask yourself why the’re getting rid of it. Hmm?

You got a good deal. To keep your expenses low, you can replace the nipples, but remember you’ve got a wheel that’s been used and abused so it won’t last forever.

I know Zack. Your wheel was probably abused and abused, with a little bit of used. :slight_smile:

its not a great idea to rebuild the wheel with the same rim or spokes. they will be greatly weakened. but if you plan on upgrading in the somewhat near future, go for it.

Small flat spots in the rim are not going to ruin a trials wheel. The fat low pressure trials tire will make it so you won’t feel small flat spots. All of the trials riders who go big have flat spots in the rim. You can still ride with flat spots. As long as all of the spokes can be tightened the wheel will still be strong. If the flat spots are really obvious when you spin the wheel then it may be time for a new rim. has the Alex DX32 trials rim for $33. They’re based in California which will make shipping more convenient for you.

I don’t know how the LBS is getting a price of $150 for a wheel rebuild. They must be charging a lot for the rim and other materials. The wheel rebuild should be closer to $100.

Figure about $35-$40 for the rim
Figure about $25 for spokes and nipples
Figure about $30 for labor to build the wheel

$150 is too much.

There are two recent threads on bearings for the KH/Summit. Figure $20 for a pair of bearings.

I agree with Kenny and John, with the observation that “low on funds” is just another way of saying “tremendous opportunity to learn how to do your own repairs.” That’s how most of us who have knowledged of repairs got the knowledge of repairs.

If the rim is pretty badly dinged up get a new one when you get the new nipples and transfer the spokes. Slacken all the spokes (go around the rim several times undoing the spokes 1/4 to 1/2 turn at a time. Ken is right - a flat screwdriver from the tube side works fine, or you can gently use vice grips since you’re not going to re-use the nipples.), then tape the new rim alongside the old with the valve holes lined up. Then do the final undo of each nipple, transfer the spoke, and screw on the new nipple. Remember to use some sort of lubricant to make truing and tensioning easier. Then discard the old rim and learn to true and tension. It just takes time and observation. If you really screw up your LBS friend can help you out.

PS: Get a decent spoke wrench. They aren’t expensive and make a world of difference.

Yeah, I really ought to learn to build the wheel myself, and I think I’ll do that with this one.

The Plan: get new spokes and nipples, see how noticeable the flat spots are, build wheel.

Thanks for the help.

If you reuse the spokes, you don’t even have to relace the wheel (which is good to learn anyways). Just unscrew nipple, replace with new nipple, go on to the next spoke. Only do one at a time.

And put a drop or two of light oil on the threads of each spoke before threading the new nipple on.

Most likely all the spokes are still OK. I wouldn’t go replacing all of the spokes unless you opt for a new rim.

The thing you want to avoid when reusing spokes is putting them in a different location in the wheel. Once a spoke gets used to bending one way, and then you put it in a new location where it needs to bend a different way, well, the spoke isn’t going to like that. If you just replace all of the nipples the spokes will still be in the same locations and all will be good.

If you do rebuild the wheel, see if you can get some “spoke prep” from the your local bike shop. A few drops of this on the threads lubricates them and will also help to keep the spokes from loosening up on their own :smiley:

I saw the rim tire-less.

It has a trememndous flat spot.

I like the 30 some-odd dollar Alex DX-32 from the store John Childs showed me. New rim, new nipples, new bearings.

rim-35 bucks or so
bearings-25 bucks or something like that, I think.

I’ll get right on that.

Nice move, my friend, but you will also need a new hub because a 32 (crappy!) holed hub won’t work on a 36 hole rim.

If you spend a little extra now you will be happy for a very much longer time