Serious Coker Riders I have questions???

I have the Odyssey A Brake on my Coker. Is it possible to adjust it to prevent your thighs from hitting it?

At what point do you feel comfortable riding. I feel like I am precuriously balanced on top and any wrong move that bad boy is flying out from under me.

I read of some of you riding to work, up huge mountains, in and around town in traffic. It seems to me one wrong move and that big tire full of momentum is flying 30 feet from you, or you come off the front at full run with no control. Like to know at what point you gained the confidence to commute/tour on these huge beasts. How many miles under your belt? Do you ever get as comfortable with your control as on something smaller like a 24"?

I am really interested in your experiences.


Too much info!:o

I’ve had my Coker for about a year and a half, I ride it almost every day for about 6 to 8 miles with 110 cranks. Last winter while I was unemployed I rode the Coker in the hills outside of town for about 3-5 hours a day. Thinking back to when I first got it I remember the feeling you describe and marvel at how much progress I have made. Keep at it, it will get easier or at least you will feel more at home after a few miles under your belt.

control & A brakes

I guess I probably had a couple of hundred miles in on the Coker before I was comfortable enough to ride into work. At first it was definitely an effort just to stay up, as that got easier the effort went into keeping up the pace.

As for the A-brake, I havn’t had any problems with it hitting my legs. There is a little trick to getting the very end of the wire wrapped back under the spring that the A-brake uses to function. I’ll try to attach a picture of my brake.

And, no I don’t think I’ll ever be able to control the Coker quite the same as my 20" unicycle. Even the really serious guys don’t idle on a Coker the same way as it’s done on a smaller uni. I’ve seen them get similiar results, but it’s done differently.


For a while after I got my Coker I wasn’t very well balanced on it. I’d be riding along and then suddenly need to apply backpressure to the pedals to regain balance. Then I’d continue on again and then suddenly need to apply backpressure to the pedals to regain balance. It was constantly like that and would happen at random times.

It wasn’t just my Coker riding that suffered from that. My regular uni riding and my muni riding also suffered from that lack of balance and control, but the Coker accentuated it.

Then I started practicing freestyle skills and my balance improved. I practiced one foot riding (with either foot), backwards, wheel walking, spins, and basic freestyle stuff in the level 1-5 range. My balance and pedaling improved for all the different types of unicycling that I did. But most noticeably my Coker riding improved dramatically. My pedaling on the Coker got much more smooth. I no longer had those sudden out of balance moments that required backpressure on the pedals to regain balance. I was riding in the balance zone all the time.

I don’t think that just regular riding around does a lot to improve your balance and pedaling. I had been just riding around for 15 years or so and was still having those out of balance moments. It wasn’t until I started working on freestyle skills that forced me to have good balance and smooth pedaling that I improved and made it over that hump. When I was just riding around for fun it was too easy to be sloppy and I was never forced to improve my balance and riding.

So work your way up to level 5 and level 6 freestyle skills. Your Coker riding will improve. :slight_smile:

Of course that doesn’t explain how people who do not do freestyle, like Lars Clausen, are so good on the Coker. There may be a slight flaw in my theory. :thinking:

Never a boring time with Uni. Always something new to learn. I defenitely know what you mean about seemingly unrelated skills being improved by working on a new skill. That makes sense to me.

Some good input so far. Still curious about the brake. Do I just have unusually close thighs? Or have others had this issue? I might mention that occasionally I would rub the crown w/o the brake. That didn’t really bother me since the surface is smooth.

I’ve been having this problem (rubbing the crown, not the brake) with my new 36 frame which has a flat crown. I didn’t really notice it on my original Coker with its sloped crown. Haven’t figured out what to do about it yet.

The condition John Childs describes in his first paragraph I also had, and to a certain extent still have. I don’t practice freestyle, so perhaps I’ll be a good “control group”. I’ll just keep adding the coker miles, and see if I ever get any better.

To the mileage question, I’m probably at close to 500 total on the 36" wheel. I would say only for the last 200 have I started to really feel comfortable. Even though I did some 20 mile plus rides during the first couple hundred, I always felt about one good sneeze away from a complete train wreck. Not feeling that way so much any more, but I still pay MUCH more attention to my riding on the big wheel. There is no autopilot for me yet.

I’ll try to find a thread from Milefule which discussed the ways in which the Coker will always keep you humble, regardless of miles. Or maybe Mike will see this and do it for me…it was a classic bit of prose.

I can do three freestyle skills (side mount, spin and pirouette) all rather badly and am definately not a freestyle rider. But I do have a good pedalling style.

I think I learn’t spinning the coker by riding it loads. I had an alright spin on a bike beforehand, I’ve ridden road bikes as transport since I was about 7 or so. I also did lots of flowing muni, which helps as riding smoothly is very important for riding trails, it really helps you hit drops and roots right. I think I was also helped by having commuted to work on my 24 for a bit and having tried to ride that faster and faster, which requires you to improve your spin.

I think the key thing is to do something that forces you to ride smoothly or fall off, which both muni and freestyle do. I don’t think most trials really does, except riding rails and on a small wheel just riding around you can get away with riding really jerkily without many problems.

As for when it becomes controllable, I reckon about 500 miles is where you really start riding the coker rather than it riding you. Whilst it’ll never control quite the same as a 24, you can get it to the point where you can idle, ride forwards + backwards, stop almost instantly, do tight 180 degree turns etc. It takes a bit more effort to do these things, but you can do them almost as quickly.


I have an idea. Or rather, Gus has an idea. The problem could be in the spacer setup you have for the brake pads. The brake pads have two spacers, one thin and one think on each side, and stock they have the thicker spacers on the inside (the rim side). this causes the brake arms to stick out a bit farther than disired. Try switching so that the thin spacers are on the inside (the brake pad side) and the thick spacers are on the outside (the nut side). This should help move the arms in a bit, reducing the knee hitting problem.

Max, THanks for the heads up, unfortunately I have already done that. I am begining to think the problen is the brake adaptor. The posts that the brake arms slide on are closer in than if the posts were mounted on the frame. I am not sure but if the bottom of the arm was further out would the top come in more?

Another thought is to move the seat forward. I was talking to Reid and he mentioned that some people have their seat further forward and that might help.

Here is a couple of pictures I found out on the web. I can take one of my Coker later and maybe someone will see something that will help.

Re: Serious Coker Riders I have questions???

ok, as long as you’re all answering questions about the Coker, I have a
few. I have been thinking about getting one for awhile now, but have never
seen or tried a real one (just online). Anyone know if anyplace in
Baltimore or DC sells them and has one in the store? I have not yet found
anyplace. I see that a brake is an option. I have never thought of putting
a break on a unicycle. So just exactly how does the brake work? I get it,
its like a bicycle brake, sort of. But since its clamped to the seat
tube/post wouldn’t using it just tend to tip the rider forward?


dan six [at] po box [dot] com

hey i ride my coker all the time. i am sometimes more comfortable on the coker BECAUSE of its big momentum! it is very maneuverable and i like the way it rides. i can ride backwards, and even idle mine, so i guess you can say its just a larger wheel.

Re: Re: Serious Coker Riders I have questions???

Use it gingerly on downhills and it should save your legs for the uphills. When I say gingerly I mean like a feather rubbing your rim. It is extremely important to continue pedaling even while breaking.:smiley: Kind of hard to get used to if you ride a bike much. The first (many, many) time I used it I came off on a down hill. Keep in mind I have used a break on my muni many times as well. If the wheel is out of true it makes for an interesting ride as well.

Here are a few crappy shots.

Re: Re: Serious Coker Riders I have questions???

Many LBS will stock one model of cheepo unicycle just in case some customer decides they want to give it a try or buy one for their kid. You will almost never find an LBS that caters to more advanced riders, and I can’t imagine a bike shop stocking a Coker. There just isn’t the demand, and it’s not something that would make sense for a beginner to buy.

Best bet to get into a coker cheap is to watch these fora for postings of a sale, or else try the rebuilt ones at