Putting Together A Freestyle Machine

I want you peoples advice. I’m considering putting together a freestyle unicycle and I want to know if theres a general agreement on what the best parts are for this particular job. DO I want a miyata frame? what kind of seat? Platform pedals or good plastic ones? what kind of crank/wheelset?
What do you think would be the ideal if cost weren’t an issue?


Stick to p;astic pedals, my favorite are the odessey twisted PC beucase there cheap and they last.
personally, miyata frames are too much money for what you get.

Are they non-marking to your typical wood-gym floar?


Re: Putting Together A Freestyle Machine

As I understand, the best comercially available freestyle uni you could get would have a custom fitted frame(like the wyganowski), suzue hub with a doublewall 48-spoke rim and a high psi tire. I prefer the miyata-style rounded pedals because they’re small and they stay out of the way. And if money was no object, you’d probably want to build your own saddle from a carbon fiber base.
Hope that helps.


…and another thang!

With simmilar interest, I’m wanting to assemble a 24" free style fited with the 2.5 Hookworm. In considering frames, I’d favor the Sem XLW, but noticed that Uni.com only offers a ‘one size fits all’ 24/26 frame, and have concerns that crown-over-tyre height will be excessive. Anybody with an XLW have any comments?


Re: …and another thang!

Here’s a pic of my XLW with a 24x2.6 Gazzilla.


gazz 003.jpg

And here’s my XLW with a 24x1.75 tire. Lots of clearance. Maybe a 24 inch Yuni frame would give you less distance from tire to crown.


I love you MoJoe- if it turns out that you are just faking being a dude from the North-Mid-West, and are in fact a hot Asian chick, look me up.

The Sem crown is smooooth for foot on crown skills- me likes. The fork head on the Lucifer/Nimbus2/Yuni frame isn’t quite as sympathetic -and I susspect is a bit heavy by comparison. The narrower Sem frame wont accomodate the 2.5 tyre. So it my be that the Lucifer fork will be it, as the KH frames are priced out of range… (of my target, anyway).



my freestyle uni is even if i say it myself, beautiful.

after carefull consideration and consultation i got:

a sem xl (wide) frame its about the same size as a nimbuss ii /yuni frame.
but a bit neater.

a lovely primo “the wall” 2.1 tyre (red) which has a grippsurface that goes around to the sides of the tyre. and dosent mark the floor.

primo hula hoop rim which is rock solid and dosent seem to bend no matter how much i jump up and down on it

and a 48 spoke suzue hub, 48 spokes realy does make a diferece to how it rides, its much smoother and dosent twist as much as a 36 spoke wheel.

and a kh seat, which is verry nice and comfortable

i’ve still got cheapo cranks and pedals because i can’t afford to buy a set of dotek cranks and a set of twisted pc pedals yet.

The pc’s? Heck ya. They dont mark or damage anything but possibly your legs.

On the wheel, I dont think it’s worth going to a 48 holer unless you plan on doing drops and things, otherwise a good 36 hole rim works great. Remember, at least 3 of the people that have passed level ten, did so on a 36 holer.

i have often wondered whey they don’t make a profile hub with 48 holes?

theres not a huge diference, but you can notice it and it is a bit nicer.
i decided to go for a 48 spoke wheel because i could afford it and decided to go the whole hog, if monney had been an issuse then i’d have setled for a much lesser unicycle. (perhaps if i’d setled for fewer spokes i’d be able to buy some dotek cranks)

profile does make 48 hole hubs for bikes. I think the reason they dont make em for uni’s is mtb’s dont use 48’s, and trials bikes run 36 holes too, so a 48 hub would mean you’d be stuck with a rhynolite, or a halo for 24", a couple more options for 26", and nothing for 19".

i foolishly assumed that since bmxers are all using 48 spokes wheels that you could get trials rims in 48 too(poor logic i know)

it would add weight too i suppose.

i recently bent my monty rim, not badly, it’ll fix when i finaly find a spoke wrench that actually fits the spoke nipples properly, last time i trued the wheel i used a spokewrench that didn’t quite fit and it slipped off the nipple taking half my fingernail with it.

The majority of BMX riders use 36-spoke hub(s).
BMX stands for bicylce moto-cross, as in racing.
NBL- National Bicycle League

But more on topic… here’s what I think to be a hell of a freestyle setup.

20" Semcycle XL, powdercoated translucent red over chrome.
Red Miyata seat, 300mm high gloss powdercoated seatpost.
Chrome Sun Rhynolite, powdercoated translucent red.
36-spoke Suzue hub, powdercoated translucent red.
14ga Marwi spokes in black.
112mm Bicycle Euros, black, with indoor freestyle pedals.
Red Primo “The Wall.”

For sale, $250, will take trades.

A unicycle is built around the frame, so let’s start there.

The Wyganowski is, I think, the only frame out there that’s actually made with Freestyle in mind:
That’s the 48-spoke version, there is also a 36.

For a Freestyle frame, there are four major considerations, which I think are important in this order:

  1. 20" frame (if you’re using 20" wheel)! If you have a 2" gap above your tire, anything involving coasting, gliding, stand-up skills, will range from more difficult to nearly impossible.

  2. Foot platform: Bigger is generally better. The Wyganowski, Sem XL, Miyata Standard and similar fork crowns offer better foot support than the Miyata Deluxe, for instance.

The KH frames are made for seated one-footing, coasting, and gliding, but not for stand-up and other skills where you want a flat crown.

In my mind, the ultimate Freestyle frame is yet to be made. Someday I may experiment with a foot plate on the fork to improve foot support. This will be a challenge though, because you have to leave room for wheel walking and other skills, so the final result has to be a compromise.

  1. Strength: Some Freestyle skills put forces on the frame at odd angles. The one and only new trick I used in 1994, the last time I did a Freestyle competition, eventually broke my frame. I had to compete on a borrowed one.

  2. No protrusions: A Miyata frame, for instance, has a seat post clamp that’s welded on, and the bolt can cut up your legs. I dealt with this for years before finally getting a custom frame built with the clamp way up at the top. With a removeable clamp you will have more options.

  3. (In case you want a fatter tire) Tire clearance: I like the Primo The Wall tires for Freestyle. They fit perfectly in my Wyganowski frame. But if you want to use a wider tire, make sure your frame will fit it. Most Freestyle frames are just wide enough for the Primo.

If you’re riding indoors, they have to have plastic ends. This is also true if you intend to compete, because metal pedals are not likely to be allowed in the gym. Semcycle used to have the best Freestyle pedals, but the manufacturer (Sakae?) stopped making them many years ago. They were similar to these pedals:
but had a square cross section, not concave. But those United pedals are also very good, as well as cheap!

Most of the pedals on Unicycle.com are metal, therefore not good for indoors. If you never ride indoors, a grippy metal pedal will be okay, but will occasionally eat your legs. So I recommend plastic.

My favorite pedals at the moment are from MYS, that crazy Japanese Web site connected with the Japan Unicycling Association:
They are the first pedal listed on the pedals page. Soft rubber ends and very grippy! But I have no experience ordering from that site, so you’re on your own if you order those. I bought mine from Daiki Izumeda at UNICON.

You want it not to break, of course, while also not too heavy. But if you’re serious about Freestyle, strength is probably more important than lightness. 36 spokes is the common number, keeping your cost down and giving you more choice of parts. it should be plenty for most Freestyle applications.

But if you do stuff with the unicycle laying on its side, standing on it, swinging it around, those extra spokes are going to make a difference.

Rims aren’t as much of an issue as with larger wheels. A 20" wheel tends to be pretty strong because it’s not so big. As long as you don’t get cheap with your rim you should be fine.

Splined is probably overkill for Freestyle. Though I used to break a lot of axles, I was using the cycle for a combination of things, many of which will now be done by other unicycles that have come along since, like my Trials uni. If you use a splined axle you have very imited choices on cranks, and they are generally going to be both too long and too wide.

The old Semcycle axles were easily the strongest available, but today’s Sem axle is about equal to the Suzue. Both are good, and the Suzue costs less. Make sure the bearing width matches your frame.

Freestyle cranks will bend if you do lots of hopping, so don’t be cheap here either. The main question is length. At Unicycle.com, the Bicycle Euro and Dotek ones look good, but I don’t know the strength on them.

For Freestyle, 140mm is generally considered too long. I rode for many years with 125mm, which is also considered long by today’s standards. Right now I’m using 102mm and getting used to them. The other two main sizes are 110 and 89. 89 is very short, but they work well for UNICON X World Champion Kazuhiro Shimoyoza.

Long cranks offer more leverage and control. Short cranks smooth out the oscillations of pedaling, and improve high speed riding, spins, and one-foot skills. But the lack of leverage can make learning the skills a little harder.

Use what’s comfortable! If you don’t like your seat, you won’t ride the uni as much. I still prefer the Miyata seat with air, though I’m waiting for my first Velo to compare.

Seats with handles are cumbersome for Freestyle. Many expert riders have cut off the handle from their Miyata seats. This has the effect, on the newer Chinese-made ones, of fixing the problems with those things breaking. Some people also just take the front bumpers off, but I don’t recommend that as it will lead to a chewed-up front on your seat.

The best way to approximate all of this is to order a Wyganowski, if your budget allows. Otherwise, you can piece something together, but add up all the costs first, to make sure you don’t come out about the same in the end…:slight_smile:

Seeing that he’s 16, and most likely still growing at a rapid rate, I don’t think I would reccomend shelling out the cash to have a frame custom made to his size.

Actually being 16 the big problem is more likely to be budget rather than height. If he gets a custom frame, he can just have it made to fit. If he grows a few more inches it won’t make a performance difference on the cycle, just raise the seat up. My older custom frames had a few inches of seat post. As long as the clamp isn’t down where your knees are, you’ll be fine.

Max Dingemans’ dad makes a nice freestyle frame. He’s offered it for sale at the last two conventions. A flat square crown that is close enough to the tire for skills where you’re standing on the crown or gliding skills. A long seattube with the clamp up near the seat so your knees don’t get banged by the clamp. Stamped main cap bearing holders as on the Sem XL, Yuni, and other frames.

A custom DM Ringmaster Advanced would also be a nice frame.
I have a regular DM Ringmaster Advanced. I like it because it fits a 2.1" Primo The Wall tire and can fit some 2.25" tires. It’s one of the few freestyle frames that will fit a tire wider than 1.95" or 1.85". The custom version has a flat crown while the standard has a sloping crown. The custom would be better if you intend to do standup skills on the crown. It’s a nice unicycle, but gets to be rather expensive on this side of the pond. I don’t like the DM saddle that comes on the Ringmaster Advanced so add on an additional $50 to $70 for a new seatpost and saddle and shim.