Questions about large-wheel unicycles

This is a great newsgroup!

I’ve been contemplating buying a Coker. It bothers me that they cost so much
($330 USD), and they seem to have a monopoly. I read somewhere about poor
quality. Anyway, I’ve seen 28" Sun Uni’s on ebay for under $100 USD. I’m
thinking that size would be easier to store and haul around. I’ve also seen
posts here that say a 28" uni with short cranks is almost as fast as a
Coker. Also talk about 3" wide tires, which may not fit all uni frames. I’m
thinking it would be a big advantage to have a uni that uses bicycle tires.
Can you buy 28" bicycle tires? doesn’t seem to have any 28"
tires. I’ve seen 700mm tires somewhere. Are they the same thing? Any
opinions about the Sun unicyle?

Thanks a lot!

Re: Questions about large-wheel unicycles

There isn’t much of a marked for 36" tires. With small quantities prices go up.

On a 28" unicycle you need to pedal about 25% faster than on a Coker to stay at the same speed.

28" tires, 29" tires and 700c are not exactly the same, but they all fit standard bicycle rim size. (Mountain bikes use 26" wheels)

Re: Questions about large-wheel unicycles

I think with the original Coker rim that might be the case, but the Airfoil Coker rim is pretty strong and robust. And if you get Dave Stockton (U-turn) to build you a super coker wheel it will be almost bombproof.

The Coker is disadvantaged in having only one tyre choice, but because it is such a big tyre that it works well on and off-road. It doesn’t handle slippery mud very well, but rolls over a lot of things a smaller wheel would not. Steep hillclimbs are more difficult, but if you are riding on road you are seldom overgeared.

If you are intending on travelling then a 29er is a much more versatile unicycle. Throw it in the boot of your car, pack it into a wheelbag for the plane, carry it up a mountain etc etc. It is so easy you could take it with you everywhere you go. The extra tyre choices are a bonus. For trips less than 8-10km you probably won’t notice too much time difference between a Coker and a 29er, but I estimate that a Coker is about 10-15min faster for every hour of pedalling on-road.

The 29’er is my MUni of choice. It’s is one of the most fun machines to ride singletrack with. And it is so light it will climb up almost anything.

The Coker is my road machine- I use it for most of my road rides and some of the faster/less technical MTB races.

If cost is a factor spare a thought for us down under- I spent $1500 NZD on my Coker. The NZ$ has gone from US $0.38 to $0.65 in the last 18-24 months! :roll_eyes:

Re: Re: Questions about large-wheel unicycles

Tire size is all about bead diameter and width:
If the bead diameter is different, the tire will not fit on the rim.
If the rim/tire width is too different, then either it won’t seal or will roll off at the first opportunity

To flnd out if your new 28 inch tire (tyre) will fit your rim, check the -622 part of the chart section of this information (link). The example given in the paragraph “Tire Size Table” is relevant to the above quote. Note that one of the 28 inch tires is not the same bead diameter as the rest.

A big wheel will always cruise faster than a smaller wheel. You can compensate for the difference by fitting shorter cranks, which allows you to pedal at a higher cadence (more rpm), but that can make the ride feel frantic.

On a Coker with standard 150 mm cranks, you can easily ride at 10 mph, and speeds of over 15mph can be achieved. I once rode 12.95 miles in an hour, and once rode 20.05 miles in just under 2 hours on a standard Coker with 150mm cranks.

By comparison, a 28 with 110 mm cranks will be approximately as fast (top speed) but will average something nearer to 8 - 10 mph over a distance (with me riding).

On the other hand, idling a 28 on 110s is easy; idling a Coker on 150s is a challenge. The 28 is more portable, more manoeuvreable, safer in traffic, less intimidating for pedestrians on narrow tracks, and easier to mount when you’re tired.

The standard road bicycle wheel over here is 700c, which is, as near as makes no odds, 28 inches. A fatter tyre gives an effective rolling diameter of 29 inches. You have a massive choice of 700c tyres, optimised for road use, speed, off road use, or whatever floats your boat. On a Coker, you have only one tyre option - and it is a heavy tyre with a primitive tread pattern.

A well ridden Coker is versatile, fast, and barnstorming fun.

If I had only one unicycle, it MIGHT be a 28, but it wouldn’t be a Coker.

If I had only 2 unicycles, one of them would definitely be a Coker.

Does that help?

At $330, the Coker is cheap. The next cheapest big wheels cost at least $500 or more. The Coker’s quality is commensurate with price. Though made of (relatively) inexpensive parts, Cokers seem to hold up very well as long as they’re not abused.

But as the others have replied, there are many advantages to having a more standard wheel size. You can get tires at the local bike shop, fit it in the car more easily, carry it around, etc. But for road riding, the Coker will be faster. I ride one to work (not much this time of year). Now I have to get me a 700c unicycle, because we’re going to race them at UNICON next year…

Stock Cokers are a hit and miss sort of thing. I have heard of wheels tacoing very easily. I have a stock Coker with an air-seat conversion. I put pinned platform pedals on it for $20. All in all then I’ve got about $360 into it. Cokers are cheap. I hop on mine and ride off curbs, not excessive abuse but my wheel hasn’t done anything fishy in 2000 miles.

A 28 or 29 is not comparable to a Coker. Nothing is quite like riding one of the big boys. Find out if someone near you has one and try it out for a few miles. Don’t fret about the fact that they are initially difficult to freemount. If you like Cokering you will learn to freemount it with a near 100% success rate.

There is a guy who frequents this forum who actually learned to ride on a Coker. Weird, huh? As Mike says, a Coker is not the ideal single unicycle to own but as the SECOND purchase it is the FIRST choice.

Here’s a review of the Sun unicycle: sells the Nanoraptor tire, which I use on my 29" Pashley unicycle:

I like my Pashley, but it costs four times the price of the Sun. I think you would probably pay at least $250 for a quality-built 28/29" unicycle.

Get a Coker if you have a good place to ride the fastest unicycle on the planet. You will love it. You will fix it. You will cuss it. You will loan it out. You will get a very sore keister from it. You will get bicycle shorts and Udder Butter. You will get on this forum and jabber about it. You will get better pedals. You will get in shape.