# Really really stupid questions

Just got a new uni in the mail and I’m having trouble putting it together. So the cranks have labels, but they seem to be in opposite sides. For example, it says “L” is on the right when looking at the uni from be behind and it says that the right is on the left. Also, does it matter what side the pedals are on? If so, where does it say “L” and “R” on the pedals? I know these are really amateur questions but I don’t want to mess up something I spent a lot of money on.

Are you referring to a diagram? You may be misinterpreting what is meant by the diagram, or it might be a crappy diagram.

• Left and right are as viewed from the rear
• It doesn't matter which way the frame faces, though traditionally the seat post slot goes in the back
• The narrow part of the seat goes in front
• Pedals usually have a L and R stamped near the threads. Or you can just look at the threads. R is conventional threading, and L is reverse (lefty-tighty)
• Always be gentle when threading on the pedals so you don't damage the threads if you get the wrong side
We have lots of variations on how to learn to ride on here as well, but make sure you spend more time in the saddle and not too much time here reading. It's not easy, and there's no way around the learning curve without putting in the time. You can do it. :)

Also if you didn’t know, there is a New York Unicycle Club in Manhattan, which might be your closest available.

it does matter. The left crank and pedal a left-hand-threaded (lefty-tighty) and the right crank and pedal are right-hand-threaded (normal old righty-tighty)

This is so that the cranks stay tight while riding forward. You can easily flip the wheel within the frame. (the bearings are non-directional of course) or you can simply flip the seat around so that the front of the saddle is facing in the correct direction with relationship to the cranks.

If it says L and R anywhere on the pedals, it would be on the tip of the rod going through the pedals (the spindle). Look at the end where the threads are. Otherwise you can easily inspect the threads and figure out whether the threads are left or right handed.

Oh, maybe you were thinking the positioning of the pedals in relation to the threading was wrong based on how they should unscrew? It’s not. That’s how pedals have worked for over 100 years, and it especially matters on unicycles. The word you can look up, if you want to understand why, is precession.

I’d heard the reason for the threads being the ‘wrong’ way was because of the bearings. If pedals used a bushing the threads would be wrong. Add some bearings between the spindle and pedal and the rotation is reversed. The right pedal, viewed from the outside moves counter-clockwise in relation to the spindle when pedaling forward. That rotates the bearings ccw. Now the rotation of the bearings are acting to roll the spindle clock-wise. I’m not saying this is right, it’s just the way I’d read it somewhere. It might be the same as precession, I didn’t fully understand the definition when I looked it up. It’s too late in the day and it made my brain hurt.

Actually I’m not sure if precession is the correct word for what’s happening. The reason your pedals come loose if you ride the unicycle backwards (or ride it forward while sitting on it backward), and happens so relatively quickly, is because of the rotating torque that’s being applied to the pedals as you push them around and aroound. Has nothing to do with the bearings. As you pedal, the pressure of your power being applied is transferred to the crank in a circular way.

An analogy might be taking a tall bottle and tilting it slightly while making circles with the top. The bottom of the bottle “draws circles” on the ground as the contact point of the base goes around and around. The threads on your pedals have a little bit of play in them. I think if they didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to get them on (or off) if the threads had even the slightest amount of dirt on them. And that grease attracts dirt, so there’s basically always some grit on there no matter how anal you are. That little gap rotates around and around, and if this rotation is in the direction of unscrewing, the pedal will come loose pretty quickly.

I hope that made sense. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to explain my understanding of this before…

Do NOT ride it while it is like this, or you have a good chance of destroying your cranks!!! I’ve seen it happen many times, and I only know a few people who ride unicycles.

Easiest way I know to ride “backwards”…

No that is a common misunderstanding.

There is a good explanation on Wikipedia.

Cool. More crossover between two of my favorite hobbies. Precession is also what causes the stars to shift their apparent positions in the sky over time. Neat stuff!

Pedals without the L & R do exist.
In stead there’s one of two that has corrugations on the visible part of the axle.
If I’m right, then that would be the right one.

Cranks without L or at least R indication are very uncommon, but yes do also exist (I’m using some).

If there’s one thing unicycling has taught me, it’s that you’re never too old to learn new things.

By the way, the only way the original question would have been stupid is if you hadn’t asked it. I just hope that somewhere in here you found the answer you needed.

Precession is certainly the correct word - and a nice explanation of how it happens (I write as an engineer who got asked why pedals have different threads as part of my university entrance interview!)

Thanks for the response but what probably happened was the shipper put the seat on backwards for some reason

As we say in our Morris dance team, there are no stupid questions, only sarcastic answers.

Strangely, if you put your pedals on the wrong sides, they unscrew and damage your cranks in about 50 metres, if that. However, if you put them on the right sides, you can ride backwards quite a long way without them coming loose. This is a mystery of the universe.

Only if his pedals get loose and strip from the crank, right? It doesn’t magically ruin the cranks any other way.

Hope you don’t mind a thread jack.

Another question, this time about hubs.
I’m building up a 26” for when 57UniRider visits next month.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a wheel build, is there a left side and right side to put cranks on ? Or can they go on any side ?
I really can’t remember and I don’t want Martha doing a face plant 5 metres into a ride.

Cheers gang

Or is it all okay so long as L pedal is on the L crank etc ?
If the L pedal and L crank end up facing backwards, say I put seat on wrong way, the pedals won’t come undone will they.
So I’ll be going forwards but my unicycle will think it’s going backwards all the time, If you see what I mean ?

Wondering if I can put a KH frame on an Oracle wheel as well, not sure if I can…

Left pedal goes on left crank, on the left side of your unicycle, the pedal will spin into the crank counterclockwise. Right pedal goes on right crank, on the right side of the unicycle the pedal will spin into the crank clockwise.

If you (somehow) screw in you left pedal into your right crank, you have destroyed it, if the left crank/pedal end up on the right side of your unicycle, they will unscrew.

I have not personally tried the KH frame on oracle unicycle. The disk brake will definetely not work, but if you do not install a brake it should be fine (same bearing spacing, same bearing diameter.

Cranks can go on either side of the hub, if you have a hub with a diskmount you will have to keep the orientation of that in mind.