Return of the Uni.5: problems

The eagle has landed. I received a crate with a plethora of paraphenalia and an injured, geared unicycle inside. I have taken several photos of the crate and its contents and I have several photos to scan so I will post all of that stuff later.

The box was filled with seats and posts and pedals and cranks. I know that the dial indicator setup belongs to Doug Massey. There was also a nice crank puller in the box (sans Allen wrench) but I do not know who the owner is. Please identify yourself so that I may return your crank puller.

I did eat a mushy Idaho spud right away. Obviously someone had been to have sushi after their ride because there were Japanese candies and soy sauce in the treat box. My daughter will smoke the cigarettes and I’ve already used all of the condoms. The room freshener went directly into the trash can, however. The log was a treat to read.

The sad news is the twisted axle. Somewhere along the line some steel cranks got put onto the soft steel axle which is kind of a no-no. I had requested that only aluminum cranks be used so they would always be weaker than the axle. The left side was twisted under the crank. I tried some filing and fitting and then looked at the cranks while they were on loose in all four positions and picked the best. I still can’t get them on perfectly straight (180 degrees opposing) but they’re close. After two iterations I was able to get the pedal wobble (eccentricity) ironed out so at least the cranks (aluminum cranks) go straight on (hub axle and pedal axle are parallel). I can’t help but think that, given the impact that twisted the axle, an aluminum crank would have rounded out and saved the axle but I could be wrong.

The entire axle assembly had slid about 0.2" out of the hub toward the frametab side. This could be due to many crank changes, many spills, many miles, the new frame spacing, or any of a number of other things. It is somewhat evident in Carl Costas’ picture of the reassembly of the frametab shoulder bolt assembly. I was able to tap the axle back in easily with some judicious blocking. With that in place the tire is perfectly centered in the new Sem frame that the Texas boys put on.

As it is, the Uni.5 is still ridable and with the pedal eccentricity removed the misalignment of the cranks isn’t noticeable. It will still be available with three different seat post lengths for all size riders to try at NAUCC/UNICON. It does throw a curve into the UNICON auction. I would like to auction the Uni.5 so that I can keep the remaining hub (which I will have available to be partially disassembled for viewing) because it is still perfect. That means that I will be auctioning a slightly imperfect unicycle. Please let me know publicly (through this forum thread) or privately through e-mail if anyone has any objections to that.

Thank you to all of the hosts that went to the trouble to make arrangements for all the riders in your areas and for taking care of the shipping hassles. I hope it was as much fun for all of you as it was for me. I would highly recommend this form of testing within our unicycling community. I sent out a new invention with cheap components and, with only one mishap, received one back with all new high end components. In how many groups could this be accomplished so successfully after thirteen stops with uncountable riders and hundreds of riding miles?

Keep the dial indicator gooseneck and high tech clamp.

What balloon animals did you make with the condoms?


I made a Doug Massey animal with only ONE condom. I’m so proud.

I posted all of the photos in a album entitled, “return of the Uni.5”

The inspiration of slumber:

I will, as I said before, have the Uni.5 available for all to ride at NAUCC/UNICON. I will not have time to disassemble the wheel and hub and machine a new axle, planet cage, etc. before then. At the end of UNICON, the auction will take place as originally planned. The winning bid may select either the assembled Uni.5 as is with the Kovachi wheel and high pressure road tire, SemCycle XLW frame, 5" and 6" aluminum cranks, Odessey platform pedals, and Viscount seat with choice of seatpost length -OR- the other hub which is brand new but doesn’t come with a unicycle attached to it.

If the winning bidder selects the Uni.5 unicycle, at any time the owner wishes, they may disassemble the wheel, ship the hub to me, and I will remove the axle, recess the tapered flats, and face off the axle ends. There is plenty of material in the axle length to do this. The axle and tapers will be good as new after this. I will clean the gear assembly and install all new bearings also.

If the winning bid selects the new hub, I will keep the used hub and perform the treatment I described above because I am going to put it on a 700c wheel anyway. I’m also going to put on a custom Steve Howard blue anodized aluminum 29er road frame and a 29" tire that David Maxfield gave me. And a blue airseat. And blue platform pedals. And I’ll wear one of Gilby’s blue shirts when I ride it. I’m going with an azure theme here.

Thanks again to all who participated. Especially David Stone who thought of the tour. Please consider doing this for any unicycle related item you develop. In particular, airseats other than the commercially available kits, handlebars and grips, variable length cranks, seat tilt adapters, the list goes on…

I’m hoping for the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile back to keep me company during my long months of recovery at home.

Broken neck or not, the Oscar Meyer wiener mobile STAYS. It is a prized possession now.

I saw the real Oscar Meyer mobile in front of a grocery store in Wichita, KS in 1968. I was in awe. At the time I was Chief Weenie of the Weenie Club, an exclusive, high-brow, elitist organization.

Five years ago I had the grad students and staff paint the van de Graaff. They voted on the color scheme. One of the choices was to paint it reddish-brown and paint “Oscar Meyer” on the side.

Oscar Meyer and I go WAAAYYYY back.

Hope your neck heals quickly, correctly, and without incident.

The picture on the 3rd page of the album is I! This was the 48-inch Ridable Replica that someone stole a couple of years ago. Thanks for posting it Greg!

Notice the free mount technique. I would step down on the right pedal, and throw the wheel underneath with my left hand. I was successful with this method most of the time. I remember while first learning to ride it; I would climb on top of my house (at the time the roof was fairly low) and climb on. All the neighbors sat outside and gave encouraging shouts. When I finally rode down the street, it felt like I was in a parade by the sound of all the neighbors cheering.

The picture was taken about 1995. At the time, I had the motivation, time, and conditioning, to do some real exciting stuff. My dream was to attempt to break the 100-mile record along with some touring. I soon found out that this was not the vehicle to do either with. I had a lot of fun with it regardless, but was not that upset when I found it missing. I was much more upset with having to give up on a dream. Cokers were not even available then! Hence, the writing at the bottom of the picture that says “good-bye to cumbersome big wheels”

Needless to say, Harpers Hub hits home with me. Not so much to set records anymore, but to enjoy a more efficient form of unicycling. Harper and many other innovators are making unicycling much more exciting with their generous contributions. The future is exciting!

Thanks again Greg—and where were you 10 years ago?


Re: Return of the Uni.5: problems

I enjoyed every minute of it. When I got it, I believe the aluminum cranks were on it, and I didn’t remove them during its stay here.

Ours is a tight community indeed. It’s part of what makes me enjoy being a uni rider. I really appreciate your generosity with sending it around and to us.


I’m glad to see the wandering child has finally found it’s way home.

While I can take responsibility for some of the falls, I must say that I was way too eager to ride the thing to make any crank changes.

Thanks again Greg.



Awesome return package. Thanks for the loaner. The photo gallery is great, and your dog rocks! He seems like the embodiment of synergistic lethargy. Or, something.