I’m a juggler who’s been playing with the idea of buying a unicycle.
A local seller on Craig’s List has a vintage 24" Schwinn uni with a relatively low price and I’m thinking about buying it. From the online research I’ve done, it seems like it’s around the right size for me. I’m about 6’ with a 34" inseam.
I’m wondering if anyone here with more personal experience can offer their thoughts on whether it would be a decent uni to start with or whether I’m overlooking something terrible.
I’m also wondering what kind of weight unicycles stand up to. I weigh about 230lbs; is that a reasonable load for a one-wheeled vehicle?
Thanks everyone! I’m glad I found this community; it seems really active.
That’s the unicycle I started with, but it was a more recent model with cotterless crank arms instead of the older cottered cranks. That uni now sits unused, since I ride Muni and 29" now. It worked OK as a trainer. The seat could be a little more comfortable, but you can upgrade the seat.
The Schwinn comes with at least (?) two different seatpost lengths. When I got mine it came with the shorter length, and I had to order a longer one. I’m 5’ 8" with a 30" inseam and the shorter post was way too short. I may be wrong, but I seem to recall the longer posts were not easy to find.
The seat height should be such that when you’re sitting on the seat your leg should be very slightly bent at the knee at its full extension. It’s important to get the seat height correct since it’s harder to learn if it’s too low.
I got a 26" torker off eBay for about 130$. I’m almost 6ft and was around 215-220 when I started.
Personally I wanted something “new” to learn on just so I knew it wouldn’t fall apart on me. It held up just find for learning, now I’m rolling around on all kinds of sizes.
But if its the right price, is in decent shape, and you think you can get close to straight leg with the pedal at 6 o’clock go for it. At least you won’t mind it getting banged up. (which it will)
Don’t spend much to start, so if you buy the Schwinn, be sure the tire is good and bearings spin free, it would be expensive to have to rebuild it and it’s historical value is not so great.
I recommend a Nimbus Club, Torker, Sun, something of decent quality, which you should be able to find used on Craigs list or ebay for $100 or so.
+1 on Ben’s comments.
If the tire is one of the older Schwinn proprietary sizes it can be difficult to find a replacement, and sometimes costly. If it is a standard size at least you can pick up a cheap tire at Target if you have to. The later (post 1986) Schwinn’s with the aluminum rims fit standard tires.
The seatpost size is 7/8", or 22.2mm. As luck would have it you can get a
in that size, and drill a hole at the right spot for your seat height. I had to do this on my first uni, a Schwinn 20", and it worked great.
The old Schwinns are classics, and they work. So the question is, do you want to learn to drive in a '57 Chevy or in a new Toyota?
The main problem with the 1983 and earlier Schwinns was the proprietary tire size; it might be really hard to find a replacement tire to fit. The upside is that many of the best seats on the market fit the Schwinn bolt pattern.
The other major problem with the Schwinn was the 1" increments of seat adjustment. Okay for learning, assuming you have the right length of post, but not realistic for serious riding later on.
Club and Torker are good choices in new unicycles.
Thanks for all the comments and advice. I’m waiting on my car to get fixed at the moment, and someone else got out there and bought the unicycle, so, regrettably, it’s moot now.
But your comments and advice are helpful in thinking about what I want to buy, so thank you.