Should I get a Coker?

A Coker will for sure be my next purchase. I’ll probably buy from, that’s where I bought my 24" Schwin. The Coker website has it listed for $10 more and a couple dollars more for shipping. I saw a used one on eBay a while back. Is putting brakes on it something I should look into? I’m thinking I could ride it for a while and see if I even want brakes. Something else I’m wondering about is travelling with it. I fly often and with my 24" I’ve always just removed the seat and popped it all in a box. Some airlines have a charge of like $50 for any type of bicycle, even if it’s just a wheel and a seat.

Are there any downsides to a 36"? I know there’s more speed and you’re higher up. I ride a 6ft so the height shouldn’t bother me, as for speed- I’m hoping to get pulled over by the cops for speeding through residental neighborhoods. I read a post that said have a longer crank was better? On I think they offer 125 and 150.

While riding what are some mishaps that you could see happening, or that have happened?

Do you want to cover a lot of distance?

You can get a Coker, but there is more effort, and more reward on the 24" you have. Yesterday, I did about 16 miles on my 24". It took about 2.5 hours. There was at least one section that was simply too dangerous on a Coker (I dare any locals to try descending 2222 in the side gutters - sure you can ride on the highway with 75 mph cars, but it ain`t safe; especially once you learn that they will not yeild at all and pass 3 feet away).

Point: With a 24" you can always do more with less.

Master the 24" for distance, freestyle, MUni and urban - not just "play MUni, SUBurban, what`s freestyle and distance like on a Coker. And, last I recall, the most impressive cross country trips (including a man doing 40 and 60 miles per day!!!) was on a . . . . . …


Get a Coker - if you need the crutch.

/check the definition of crutch to understand what I mean.

Well if your riding in an urban environment (or elsewhere, too… but especially in the City), watch out for:

  1. Potholes or other depressions in the road (you want to see them first, even if you decide to ride over them), because if your frame isn’t upright and you go over them unexpectedly at high speed… you could very easily get thrown!

  2. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists, and pets (being walked by stupid owners)… but especially pedestrians… and especially if you make a habit of riding in the wrong direction down one-way streets! I am constantly amazed at how often pedestrians cross the street WITHOUT looking in both directions and without regard to looking out for bicyclists that could be zipping along (or Coker riders)! With regard to motorcyclists… be especially careful when riding the wrong way down a crowded one-way road because if a motorcyclist decides to zip around the cars (that are moving very slowly or not moving at all)… the situation could easily lead to a head-on with a motorcylcle… and the Coker won’t win! I’m taliking from experience… fortunately I’m quite meaneuverable on the Coker. While riding at near top speed, I also almost killed a terrier that ran out into the street from behind a parked car on a long (retractable) leash that the owner was holding… but he was talking to his buddy and wasn’t paying any attention to the dog.

  3. CAB DOORS! If you are riding in a crowded City, be especially careful of cab doors!!! Fairly early on in my aggressive, high-speed, urban Cokering, I (foolishly) decided to pass a cab that had pulled over through a narrow passage (between the cab and the curb) at near top speed. Unfortunately, the passenger decided to swing the door open the moment before I would have passed through… and I did about a fifteen foot “Superman” when my chin smashed into the top of the door… to the horror of all the people walking on the street nearby who saw me go sailing throught the air head first and slide underneath a parked car! Although that incident was my fault, I have narrowly avoided several similar such incidents, all of which weren’t my fault (a couple were… too many brews at the local watering hole)!

  4. In the winter… sheer ice.

There are other hazards to watch out for as well (that can bring about all sorts of mishaps)… but those are the big ones (in the metropolis, anyway)…

Andrew (HCR)

Re: Should I get a Coker?

If you plan on putting brakes on I would recommend going with the
airfoil rim that offers over the standard steel rim. You
can’t really put brakes on the standard steel rim because it will flex,
and is not smooth. Also upgrading the coker to the airfoil rim will
give you a much stronger unicycle. This is not to say that the stock
rim is not useable, I have a stock coker with the steel rim and have
been riding it everyday for about a year. I am now looking to upgrade
my wheel but that is because I want to push my riding further and begin
to take the coker off drops, on trails, hop, etc. Even Andrew (HCR) was
using the stock rim up until very recently i believe, and if you have
seen any of videos you can get an idea of how hard he pushes a coker.
Nevertheless, if you think that you are going to be really into this,
and don’t mind spending a bit more money to get a much stronger
unicycle, I would go for the upgraded wheel.

The only downside I can think of is that if you UPD and go off the back
of the unicycle and don’t manage to catch the seat, a coker will
sometimes continue riding by itself for a very long ways. Usually
though coming off the unicycle even accidently is manageable and
grabbing the seat on the way down isn’t a problem. In as much riding as
I have done i have only not landed on my feet a couple times on a UPD
during regular riding. Quite a few more when trying to learn new tricks
and such but even then you usually end up on your feet.

For your first set of cranks I would get the 150’s, 125’s can be fun to
try, but I prefer 150’s for general riding

My “shin” smashed into the cab door, not my “chin”!

Re: Re: Should I get a Coker?

Excellent point, lebnjay! I was riding at a very high speed down Grand Street last year and I hit a depression in the road that I hadn’t seen because I wasn’t scanning properly and I was too busy looking out all over the place for the pedestrians (hidden from view behind cars and walking out into the street) and bikes that were all over the place (because the street was extremely active and I probably had no business going that fast in that environment, but hey I’m HCR :D!). Anyway, after I lost it, the Coker went rolling out from under me at a very high velocity (with the wheel perfectly straight up) and then veered of a bit to the left and nearly took out two couples (that were standing in the street) like a bowling ball takes down a set of bowling pins! It was horrifying! Once the wheel went flying out from under me, there was nothing I could do but pray! The Coker wound up just missing (it came about a foot or less) the woman on the outside of the group. When I went and picked up the Coker from the street (next to the car it smashed into that the two couples were standing right in front of…), all the woman said was, “That’s DANGEROUS!”) .

My son and I both ride 36"ers. A few seconds spent removing the pedals and seats and both wheels will fit easily in the boot of a Fiat Punto. I also have a simple clip-on rack which fits most cars on which I have transported 2x36", 24" muni, 26" muni & 2x20" freestyle unicycles - all at the same time. I also regularly use the same rack to carry both 36"ers on the back of my Fiat 2-seater softtop - “burden to carry around” ? Pah !

If you want to ride a distance and still get home for teatime, the big wheel is more likely to do it.

As for crank length, there must have been soooo many threads on this subject, but it is definitely at least in part a subjective thing and you will most likely change your crank length requirements as your skill, strength, distance and confidence increase, and you ride different terrains/gradients. I stuck with the stock 150mm cranks for a couple of years, but then the 125s were a revelation. When I have been riding regularly I crank down to 110s unless I am planning on off-roading or a road route with particularly severe inclines. I have even played with 102s, but that’s a bit short for my locale, strength and skill level.

Controlling stops is not a problem, except in emergency situations when you would probably just jump clear anyway. With a bit of practice you can learn to idle, stillstand and hop in place for those junctions/traffic lights/pedestrians etc.

HardcoreCokerRider sounds completely nuts to me, but if all that stunt stuff on a big wheel is what he’s into, respect ! Me, I’m just happy to pootle for hours on end on quiet country roads with me mates and have a few beers, and it’s easier on my 36" Coker than any other uni I own, and infinitely more enjoyable than a two-wheeled, geared, chain-driven contraption.

It’s a big world out there, so if you want to get to see much of it on a unicycle, my opinion is GO BIIIIIG.


I completely agree with Chris on all accounts, except two:

  1. In some types of emergency situations (getting cut off by a car when riding at high speed, for example), you can not jump clear… because if you do attempt to jump clear, you’re most likely to wind up on (or through) the car’s windshield. These are the types of situations that inspired my aggressively banked turns… a survival maneuver of sorts that saved my butt on more than one occasion… and probably the only maneuver or option that would have been succesful!

  2. I’m not completely nuts… just partially :D!

Lair! i damand visual proof that, that quote above will only take a “few” seconds.

Well, “few” is a relative term, and so is “seconds” :wink: - 3 people simultaneously dismantling each Coker, one per pedal and one for the seat, and you’re there.

What you may have found more difficult to believe is that a non-Italian actually chooses to drive not one, but two Fiats !!


In my opinion, the greatest thing about the coker is that you don’t have to carry it around much or travel with it regularly.

Everyone has good road based coker riding nearby and for a lot of people, they’re within 20 miles or so of some good off-road cokering(*), so you can do loads of riding from your doorstep.

It’s like a bike in that it has a great enough range that it’s a practical form of transport in itself, rather than something you take to places to ride.

A 29er+big apple+125 cranks is about as good as a coker with 150mm cranks. If you’re not going to ride with shorter cranks, you don’t gain much over a 29er by getting the coker. If you’re going for serious distance though you really want shorter cranks (125/110) on a coker.

The only negative I’d have about a coker is that if you don’t ride it regularly it’s hard to ride. It’s not for occasional riders, as they don’t have the leg strength or control to ride it well. I ride mine most days for at least 9 miles.


(*)Even when I was living in central London this was true.

Dogbowl, u’ve come a long way…

i dream of a coker though i really would like to have a strong wheel to start and UDC is out of stock on the tougher rims and has been for some time. :frowning: until then i will have to stick with my 26er.

What’s the physical difference pedaling the various lengths?

Re: Should I get a Coker?

The question is, “should I get a Coker?” The answer is yes. The reason is given in your initial post which I have quoted above.

I have done some moderate distance rides with the Seattle group and the Vancouver, BC group, some with people on 29ers. The 29ers have to spin like crazy to keep up. We have had as many as nine Cokers on a distance ride before.

Cokers are elegant machines, even the ones with the clunker steel rims. They roll over irregularities better than smaller wheels just because of their diameter and cross section. They are more comfortable than bigger wheels because they have pneumatic tires, not hard rubber tires.

As has been already mentioned they are transportation in and of themselves. You can usually ride a Coker a short distance to get to the startpoint of a desirable distance ride. By short distance for a Coker I mean five miles or eight kilometers.

We did a forty or fifty kilometer ride (depending on who you talk to) with four Cokers last weekend. We met, rode to downtown Seattle, got on a ferry, went to Bainbridge Island where we did our actual ride, got back on the ferry, and rode from downtown back to the meeting point. The meeting point to downtown distance was about five miles or so, I guess. Most of that is a visually pleasing ride.

Re: Should I get a Coker?

On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 08:48:08 -0600, “joemarshall” wrote:

>The only negative I’d have about a coker is that if you don’t ride it
>regularly it’s hard to ride. It’s not for occasional riders, as they
>don’t have the leg strength or control to ride it well.

Is that true?

Are there any occasional Coker riders on the forum that can comment on
that? A Coker is on my wishlist but I would be an occasional rider -
or at least that’s what I think now.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

It’s impossible to get old when you ride a unicycle - John (what’s in a name) Childs

Re: Re: Should I get a Coker?

Don’t let that all that heresay distract you; it’s white noise. Get a 36-er, and ride it when you can. You THINK that will be only occassionaly, but the 36-er has a way of calling to you…a sweet-voiced, wide-hipped Siren calling from your garage. Do not resist her call!

I bought a standard Coker as an “occasional rider”, and had a great time with it, despite not being even remotely skilled. Then I put in more miles, and more miles, and more miles. Then I bought a custom 36" rig for no great reason, and the miles followed. While I’m still a “middle of the road” rider, I’ve done many many rides of 10+ miles, more than 10 rides of 20+ miles, a couple of 30+, and one of 55. That’s nothing compared to what the hardcore uni-tour riders do, but my point is I’m an Occassional Rider, and the 36-er is a GREAT uni. I can’t imagine not having one.

Re: Re: Should I get a Coker?

How far do you live from your work? If it’s 10 miles or less, you’ve got no excuse for being an occasional rider. Buy a coker and save on transport costs. Just decide that any journey less than 10 miles will be done by coker. That way the coker pays for itself pretty quick and you get good at riding it.

I stopped riding my coker for about a year for various reasons and almost sold it. Then I had loads of people over to ride cokers and got interested in it again. When I got back on, it took a week or two of riding 10 miles every day to really feel back in control.

Like Tom says though, even if you think you’re an occasional rider, you’ll find yourself doing miles on it anyway, they’re addictive.

I think the thing about riding cokers is that anyone who can unicycle ride a coker, but to reach the zen point where you’re able to ride it smoothly without thinking and without wasted effort really takes some strength and skill that you need to put in a lot of training to get.

The other thing that riding it a lot gains you is the chance to ride with short cranks. That really requires some extra leg strength which you only gain by riding. It’s so different riding with short cranks, it becomes almost as fast as a bike.


Lets examine the absolute worst case scenario.

You buy a Coker and hate it, can’t ride it, wish you’d never bought it. I have an exellent immagination…these concepts are so far-fetched…But for the sake of argument, lets pretend this happens.

What do you do? You sell it for $100 less than you paid. It will sell in minutes. You’re out $100 for the education. That’s cheap for education. Its not the end of the world. Move on with your life.

Now lets examine the likely scenario. You’ll love it.

I’m not going to start a poll, but if I did how many Coker purchasers love the beast and how many hate the d*$n thing. I’d guess 98/100 (love/hate). Good odds. Get it. Be patient with it. You get better quick.

If you want to lose that $100 with little or no hassle, PM me.

Re: Re: Should I get a Coker?

I’ve used to ride my as often as I could during the summer because it was just TOO HOT to Muni. Now, that the weather has cooled off, I spend most of my uni time riding my 24x3 MUni in the woods. I took the Coker (with my new frame) out for a ride last week and was surprised how comfortable I was on it considering I hadn’t Cokered for at least a couple of months. So basically, if your unicycling skills are decent, it’s not hard to get re-aqquainted to the Big One :smiley: