Offroad - getting there

Greetings -

This morning I took my first “serious” ride offroad. The trail is a very popular
mountian biking trail network that I ride often on my bike. It’s got it all -
smooth flat, rocks, roots, short technical climbs etc. It’s what I would
consider an “intermediate” mountain bike trail but an “advanced” uni trail! I’ll
bet I’m the first person to ride (kind of) that trail on a unicycle.

I couldn’t climb very well but I was really suprised at how well I could ride
the rocky technical stuff. What a physical and mental workout!

Just for the record, I started riding in January. I’m riding a 26" Semcycle XL
that I’ve modified with 170 mm aluminum cranks and a Ritchey knobby tire that
has the side knods trimmed off for clearance. I’m still using the original
Semcycle seat but I’ve cut the center section out of the padding. I WON’T ride
without cycling shorts!

I’m used to high-end mountain bikes and components and the Semcycle seems like
the quality of a department store bike. In other words I’m not really pleased
with it. There’s barely enough clearance for a knobby tire. I’m sure as my
skills increase, the uni will break.

I can’t wait to see if I CAN break it though!

Steve Howard Pocatello, Idaho

Re: Offroad - getting there

In a message dated 98-07-03 17:24:11 EDT, Sarah writes:

<< This seems a little harsh, whats it done too you. My Sem is going strong
after 4 years >>

Hi Sarah - Yes you’re right. My comments about the Semcycle were a little
harsh. The only problem I’ve had is a seatpost that will twist no matter how
tight the binder bolt is. I may end up giving it a little tack weld just to
keep it in place.

You also commented that my 170 mm cranks seemed kind of long. I live in a
mountainous part of the country, so all trails lead UP! I think I need the extra
leverage of a longer crank and might even be inclined to get even longer, but I
know they won’t be a substitute for the skill and fitness I don’t have yet!

Steve Howard Pocatello, Idaho

RE: Offroad - getting there

Sarah wrote: << This seems a little harsh, whats it done too you. My Sem is
going strong after 4 years >>

The unfortunate fact is that some of us seem to be able to break any type of
unicycle that’s on the market. Not that we’re trying, mind you. But the
combination of long crank arms and mountainous terrain put tremendous forces on
the unicycle axle, and after accumulated time, even the superstrong Semcycle
(not XL) axle will give.

If you ride with shorter cranks, don’t have as much hills or nasty obstacles,
don’t hop much, don’t do lots of miles, and are generally lighter on your feet,
your axle (and other parts) stand a chance of lasting a lot longer.

Steve howard wrote:
>Hi Sarah - Yes you’re right. My comments about the Semcycle were a little
>harsh. The only problem I’ve had is a seatpost that will twist no matter how
>tight the binder bolt is. I may end up giving it a little tack weld just to
>keep it in place.

If you weld your seat into the post, you may end up hating yourself later.
You’ll be stuck with the seat height, and the choice of seat post from then on.

Most unicycle clamps weren’t designed for heavy use by adults. I always had the
same problem with my Miyatas. The best solution is to replace the clamp. If the
clamp is welded on, which is often the case, you have a bigger decision to make.

A welded clamp can be cut off, but this will make your unicycle effectively
about an inch shorter, so make sure you have enough seat post to cover this. You
can use a hacksaw to very carefully cut a new slot down the back of the tube,
about 2 cm below where the bottom of where the clamp will be.

BMX bike parts give an assortment of strong & light seat post clamps. One of my
favorites comes from GT, and has two bolts. The top one clamps onto your seat
post, and the bottom one clamps the seat tube. The seat on my freestyle unicycle
has never moved with one of those tightened in place!

>You also commented that my 170 mm cranks seemed kind of long. I live in a
>mountainous part of the country, so all trails lead UP! I think I need the
>extra leverage of a longer crank and might even be inclined to

That’s the leverage that’s hard on the axle. Don’t feel bad, a lot of us break
them. For those who don’t have the problem, rejoice in your good fortune (but be
prepared for it to happen someday)!

John Foss

RE: Offroad - getting there

John Foss wrote: Most unicycle clamps weren’t designed for heavy use by adults.
I always had the same problem with my Miyatas. The best solution is to replace
the clamp. If the clamp is welded on, which is often the case, you have a bigger
decision to make.

    A welded clamp can be cut off, but this will make your unicycle
    effectively about an inch shorter, so make sure you have enough seat
    post to cover this. You can use a hacksaw to very carefully cut a new
    slot down the back of the tube, about 2 cm below where the bottom of
    where the clamp will be.

    BMX bike parts give an assortment of strong & light seat post clamps.
    One of my favorites comes from GT, and has two bolts. The top one
    clamps onto your seat post, and the bottom one clamps the seat tube.
    The seat on my freestyle unicycle has never moved with one of those
    tightened in place!

Rather than cut off the post to remove the clamp, I just opened up the clamp and
kept bending it until it broke off. Then I ground off excess metal and spot
welds. I used the version of the GT clamp that clamps only on the seat tube and
it worked fine for me. I used a woodworkers clamp to pre-tighten the clamp
before I tighten the bolts.

In addition to being a really good clamp, the GT is smooth and doesn’t scarf up
your legs doing seat out skills.

Re: Offroad - getting there

Howastev@aol.com wrote:
>
> Greetings -
>
> This morning I took my first “serious” ride offroad. The trail is a very
> popular mountian biking trail network that I ride often on my bike. It’s got
> it all - smooth flat, rocks, roots, short technical climbs etc. It’s what I
> would consider an “intermediate” mountain bike trail but an “advanced” uni
> trail! I’ll bet I’m the first person to ride (kind of) that trail on a
> unicycle.
>
> I couldn’t climb very well but I was really suprised at how well I could ride
> the rocky technical stuff. What a physical and mental workout!
>
> Just for the record, I started riding in January. I’m riding a 26" Semcycle XL
> that I’ve modified with 170 mm aluminum cranks and a Ritchey knobby tire that
> has the side knods trimmed off for clearance. I’m still using the original
> Semcycle seat but I’ve cut the center section out of the padding. I WON’T ride
> without cycling shorts!
>
> I’m used to high-end mountain bikes and components and the Semcycle seems like
> the quality of a department store bike. In other words I’m not really pleased
> with it. There’s barely enough clearance for a knobby tire. I’m sure as my
> skills increase, the uni will break.
>
> I can’t wait to see if I CAN break it though!
>
> Steve Howard Pocatello, Idaho

you’ve got all the right stuff ! Keep going.

Re: Offroad - getting there

Howastev@aol.com wrote:
: Greetings -

: This morning I took my first “serious” ride offroad.

: I couldn’t climb very well but I was really suprised at how well I could ride
: the rocky technical stuff. What a physical and mental workout!

Welcome to MUNI , it is fun. And stops you thinking about much else while your
MUniing, what a fab way to relax and forget work.

: Just for the record, I started riding in January. I’m riding a 26" Semcycle XL
: that I’ve modified with 170 mm aluminum cranks and a Ritchey knobby tire that
: has the side knods trimmed off for clearance. I’m still using the original
: Semcycle seat but I’ve cut the center section out of the padding. I WON’T ride
: without cycling shorts!

I too started riding MUni on a sem, a 24 " as I played hockey first on it for
four years. Yor cranks sound very long.

: I’m used to high-end mountain bikes and components and the Semcycle seems
like
: the quality of a department store bike. In other words I’m not really
pleased
: with it. There’s barely enough clearance for a knobby tire. I’m sure as my
: skills increase, the uni will break.

: I can’t wait to see if I CAN break it though!

This seems a little harsh, whats it done too you. My Sem is going strong after 4
years hockey and 2 years MUni, I’ve taken it over the Lake District (UK mountain
area) and thrashed it on the N.York moors, raced on it , got it soaked on the
beach, holidayed on it and all it asked for was new bearings , cranks and pedels
last year. Unless you are V heavy or V tall ( I’m 5’7" and 10.5 stone) I think
Sems are OK.If your BIG something tougher like CF maybe better. Yes the
clearence is a little tight so care is needed chosing a tyre. Look after your
Uni and have fun.

PS I now have a 26" as well and thats a Pashley MUni, now I can try and keep up
with my partner speed wise, the clearence is rather better too.I’ve had it
since christmas and it needed a new saddle straight away and longer cranks
than came fitted.

Sarah