Quick release bearing caps - here it is again

It looks like it’s been a lot of years since this topic came up again. So what’s the deal… I left for a long time and I really expected there to be QR bearing caps already!

I like things quick and easy, let’s do it.

Nate Bernstein has the design. But they’re a little fiddly to use; I wouldn’t expect them to replace bolted caps for the main production lines. Nate will probably send you a pair if you ask.

Fiddly as in not necessarily quicker than a bolt to remove, reinstall and adjust?

It’s still a bit quicker, and it doesn’t require tools, but the way it works is that the lever is a separate piece from the clamp, and that piece tends to come out when you open and close the clamp, which means you have to fiddle with them to get them back in at the right tension.

its Not really timely to undo four Allen bolts is it!

It’s hard to tell when people are being ironic on the forum.

We are talking about < 1 minute to loosen four hex bolts. If someone don’t have the patience to do that, then I am amazed they learned to unicycle in the first place.

No, it isn’t really a lot of effort to switch wheels with the 4 bolts. I’d guess I can do it in 2 minutes.

It also isn’t really a lot of effort to undo a bicycle front wheel, but still, people who put their bicycle in their car a lot absolutely love quick releases on the front wheels. You can heat water for tea with a pot on the stove, and it would probably just take a minute more then using an electric kettle. Yet almost every household I know has an electric kettle. Adding convenience may be uneccessary, but you shouldn’t look at is as pointless.

I can see a few use cases where a well working quick release bearing holder would be great, fitting 36" unicycles in cars and using one frame for two different wheelsets.

I have thought about designs that would use the existing half of the bearing holder on the frame, and nothing I could come up with was really satisfying. (Secure, easy to use, adjustable, small enough, and reasonably cheap to manufacture) The fact that there is axial load on the fasteners really is what makes it tricky I think.

I’d use a 1/4 electric nut driver if I was in a hurry. Besides changing a flat, why would one want to remove the wheel?

Hex bolts require a tool, which you may or may not have with you. And, they require getting them back at the right tension, which is also fiddly. It’s entirely natural to want to have a quick release; no decent bike comes without them, despite the fact that a bolted bike wheel is even easier to remove and reinstall than a bolted unicycle wheel.

You mean “besides fixing the by far most common mechanical failure”?

My most common mechanical failure has been tires. Other than than I’ve replaced 2 sets of bearings. One set I broke the race, the other I prematurely wore out due to riding it in the salt water.

Replacing a tire is a timely process as is replacing the bearings… Am I missing something here?

Either way, I wouldn’t be buying any of these, dohickeys…

Absolutely. It seems like a pretty good idea to me. It would probably allow me to quickly and easily get my 29" and 32" in the back of my car without folding the seats down.

There are lots of of posts on here about folk wondering how hard to tighten the bearing screws so, depending on the design, once set it should be fine. Also you are probably less likely to over tighten a quick release compared to racking down Allen screws. Moreover it seems some folk have problems with the screws slackening and needing to Loctite them or put in washers/shims, that problem hopefully goes away too.

From the less practical viewpoint, it also seems quite a cool thing to have :slight_smile:

If you’re tight for space, I’m sure it would be a great part to have. If you need to get the hex wrench out each time you drive somewhere, let’s be honest: you fold the back seat and don’t bother. If you can remove the wheel in a pinch, you do remove it!

Yes, seems like a good idea with the advantages being:

  1. you set the right tension just right once (e.g. with a screw with locktight) and then just open/close and the tension is correct (on my Schlumpf I use a torque wrench to get it just right)
  2. fast & easy to open/close

As mentioned, the bike industry has had lots and lots of tries before the multiple standards have developed. I think I remember a system from Marzocchi or some fork company around 2005 or so that had something lke that: on both sides of the fork there was a quick release where one end was a pivot, the other a forked section that the quick-release fit into. I think the bike industry didn’t like it because it was “heavy” when counting 10s of grams (other systems only had one clamp with fewer parts).

If you don’t need it then you don’t need it. But some of us live lives or ride in ways that it would be very beneficial, whether it be for transport, easy flat repair in the field, wheelset and tire changes, easy torque adjustments, no small parts to fiddle with or get lost, weight savings (hopefully) because of needing less tool, etc etc etc.

Without innovation you’d still be riding unicycles that broke a hub on every 1ft drop, I don’t understand the resistance to improvement of designs. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is old fashioned and out of date. I believe in the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen, or constant improvement. That’s what we do as humans, we constantly improve and streamline our lives. Do you want to go back to churning your own butter? Would you rather light candles every night or turn on a light switch? I don’t own a car, I ride a motorcycle every day, whether it’s 20 degrees or 111. If I borrow a car and it has AC and seat heaters… ooooh those are nice. Do I absolutely them? No I don’t, but I sure appreciate it.

Yes, I can undo 4 allen bolts, yes I carry all my tools on me every ride, no I don’t need it, yes I do want it.

Why, when I was young, we didn’t even have bearing caps. If you pulled up on the seat, the wheel fell off. If that was good enough for me, then I don’t know what these young people are complaining about.

Seriously, I’ve never had problems with bearing cap screws coming loose. Between the short and long end of an “L” shaped hex tool, I think a precise enough tolerance can be gotten while hand tightening. I can not imagine how a quick release could be lighter. Using the word “simpler” is not really accurate. Maybe “more convenient”. The tab on the quick release could be broken if the bottom of the unicycle struck something. And if there were any deformation over time of the cap or the base of the frame, then the quick release would not engage with a the same torque without further adjustment.

I will leave it to the fan boys to experiment with this immature technology. Until then I will keep using old world methods to secure my wheel, such as wrapping the bearing caps with twine and beeswax.

Uh, yes, to fix the most common mechanical failure, the tube, it is convenient to be able to quickly remove the wheel without tools. Which is why every decent bike comes with quick-release wheels.

I have had a quick-release bearing holder unicycle for some 14 years and none of the things you are worried about have been an issue. And it’s been in conditions more extreme than most unicycles ever experience, such as being repeatedly immersed in salt water for periods of over an hour.

And I have problems with bearing cap screws coming loose all the time. On beat up, dirty MUnis with crap all over the threads, the range of tolerance between “too tight for the wheel to spin freely” and “too loose to stay fastened during hard riding” is quite small.

Step one to fixing a tyre, remove the bearing caps (a.k.a. bearing clamps).