Semcycle hardware troubles (fwd)

Forwarded message:
> Reply-To: (David C Lawrence)

> Everyone who owns a Semcycle, please raise your hand.

    |  |?
    \ /

> Everyone who does NOT need to carry along a toolkit with you anytime you ride
> more than a mile, put your hand down.

    / \
    |  |?

Well, not anymore.

> How many of you still have your hands up?
> I’m more than a little frustrated over two mechanical problems I have been
> having with my recently aquired 20" Semcycle. After having been away from the
> sport for several years following the theft of my Schwinn back around 1989
> (who the hell steals a unicycle?!), I bought the Semcycle in August from the
> Juggling Capitol in Washington, DC. It was delightful to discover that I still
> knew how to ride, and nostalgic to remind myself how much my crotch hates
> unicycle seats.
> So what are the hardware problems I am having?
> Number one is a slow leak. Over a two mile ride I can lose as much as 3 PSI in
> the tyre. It also loses air when I am not riding, but I do not know at what
> rate. As much as 10psi over two days of not using it has been observed. It
> basically means that I have to inflate the tyre every single time I am going
> to use it, even for the return commute home in the evening when I’d just
> ridden it in ten hours earlier.

This one is easy. Go to a bike shop and get a new inner tube. I’ll admit that
one would normally expect a good one to come with the uni, though.

> The other problem, much more frustrating, is with the left crank. The retainer
> nut loosens up, eventually enough so that the crank loosens up on the axel and
> gets progressively worse, the point where it can just be pulled off. I thought
> I had this problem licked when I really tightened down the nut so much that I
> was afraid of stripping the threads. It was further down (ie, tighter) on the
> bolt than the right crank. This worked fine for maybe a dozen miles, but just
> two nights ago, in the middle of my commute, it went from rock solid to
> completely off in less than half a mile. This was especially annoying as I
> couldn’t even put it back on and tighten it up because not only had the
> dust/retainer cap fallen off, but the nut had also come completely off the
> axel and was lost.
> This weekend I intend to get to hardware store and find a new nut, and
> probably thread lock it as a prophylactic against this happening again. But
> still, even with such a solution at hand, it bothers me that I have been
> having these problems. What are your opinions?

The crank came loose on my 28" XL. It took a while before I figured this out. I
tried tightening it, and bought a new nut to see if it would work better, but it
still came loose. I finally sent it back to the vendor (the Unicycle Factory),
and Tom Miller put on a new crank, and I’ve no problems since. Two things could
have happened:

The crank arm wasn’t tight enough, and it got damaged when loose, which is why I
couldn’t tighten it enough.

The crank arm was off spec, and things were hopeless.

I don’t know which was the case. Miller made it right, though.

To get to the point, you might try taking it back to the store and see what they
can do for you.


Beirne “Bern” Konarski | Unicycling Web Page: | Kent State University | “Untouched by
Scandal” |

Re: Semcycle hardware troubles (fwd)

I think the key thing to make of all this discussion is:

  1. Unicycle wheels and cranks are essentially bicycle-grade items

  2. Unicycling exerts significantly more stress on cranks/spokes/etc. than
    bicycling ever will

Conclusion: we should be suprised that unicycles work as well as they do
considering what we put them through!!! I think if we all spent a little time to
learn what to do to keep our uni’s ticking we wouldn’t have to spend pages and
pages making one vendor’s product appear bad when it really isn’t any different
in the industry (bicycles included).

If you purchase a bicycle at a store, chances are the brakes aren’t going to be
adjusted quite right, the spokes won’t be super tight/true/etc. That’s why after
you’ve selected your dream ride off the showroom floor, they always whisk it
away to the back room and “dial” everything in before they hand over to you (If
they don’t, you better remind them to, or else they are a questionable

The same is very true for unicycles. Most bike shops don’t know what the hell
a unicycle is, or take consideration that you are going to pound the hell out of
it. I doubt very highly that they do the same “whisk” away and “dial” in
procedure for your uni–they’re just glad to get that thing off the floor so
they can replace it with a bigger profit item like a mountain bike or something.
However, you now know that you deserve (and should demand) the free adjustment
up front before taking possession. This should eliminate some of the frustration
some of the newbies out there have reported.

The other thing is (and this is very true if you received your unicycle in a box
in the mail): why not just do your own “dial” in procedure, just to make sure
everything meets your needs? Follow these steps, and I think you should be in
good form.

  1. Let the air out of the tire before adjusting any spokes. Failure to do
    this will eventually create pinholes in the rim strip and eventually the
    inner tube–major cause of slow leaks (see posts from earlier…)

  2. Keep the spokes adjusted tightly. Check spoke tension as often as
    possible. Wobbly spokes cause other ones to snap. Never ride a unicycle with
    broken or missing spokes… They are relatively simple to replace, and the
    wrench to tighten them is cheap.

  3. Ensure the crank arms are secured to the axle. Check these almost as often
    as the spokes. Remove the dust cap and attempt to tighten the nut with a
    wrench. If it moves at all, use rubber hammer or wood block strike with
    hammer to seat the crank first. Then tighten nut with wrench. If this
    process is followed from DAY 1 of owning a unicycle, you should be able to
    avoid the problems described in the earlier postings…Again, this is not
    difficult mechanic-type work we’re suggesting here.

Enough for now, just thought I’d wrap things up in one post. I’ve worked in a
bike shop and been on both sides of these issues, so I know how everybody
feels–let’s get back to riding and talking about the great experiences we’re
having on one wheel!

David Winston