Sqaure Tapered Hubs on Custom Munis

I’ve noticed that some experenced riders choose square tapered hubs for their top of the line Munis. I heard it mentioned that at CMW there was a fair # of High End Muni’s with square tapered hubs.

The conventional wisdom among we less experienced masses is, SPLINED INDESTRUCTABLE. Anyone here who does ride square tapered as their first choice want to share their thoughts on it?

I think some of the “experienced riders” simply have old MUnis.

My custom muni had a suzue hub in it originally simply because at the time it was built the only splined option was Profiles and to get a pair in NZ at that time was hideously expensive. The Suzue hub stood up to nearly three years of punishment and was replaced by a KH-Onza hub a while ago. You can see before and after photos here http://www.unicyclist.com/gallery/?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=101864

how’d you get the KH hub to fit? isn’t the suzue 40mm, and the KH 42?

You can use Torker DX bearings. I did it with my Rowing frame and Onza hub.

I guess it depends how you ride, and what you ride. Square tapered hubs will cope with all of the forces arising from pedalling hard over rough ground.

I don’t know enough about modern bicycles, but back in the time of Eddy Mercx (sp?) square tapers were a newish idea, and top cyclists were honking up the Alps for days on end in the Tour de France without wishing they had splined hubs. I remember cotterless cranks being a new-fangled idea.

I used to ride a tandem over the hills and off road with full camping gear and a slightly portly wife and was never worried about my square tapers.

However, if you drop off things, and land with your weight on the pedals at “9 and 3” then the hub will be subject to sudden loads that are different form those experienced in normal hard riding. Therefore, there is a good argument for splined hubs which will spread the load better, and be less likely to suffer damage.

My guess is that a minority of riders really need them, a bigger minority of riders like to think think they need them, and many more riders accept that the conventional wisdom that they need them. This would be consistent with experience in every other equipment-based sport I’ve been involved in, from fencing to scuba diving to motorcycling to kayaking to rock climbing.

Unlike many other sports, at least having unnecessarily technical equipment won’t make unicycling more dangerous.

If you ride mountain bike trails as opposed to doing off road trials, and don’t ride big drops then you don’t need splines, so people who’ve got munis from when splined hubs were super expensive don’t have them. It’s only if you do really big drops that you absolutely need them.

I think it may be more common outside the US because riders are more into trail riding and technical cross country than just riding the downhills.

Personally, if I was buying a muni now, I’d probably get splined, but I’ve got a muni that works and I don’t break cranks, so there’s no reason to upgrade.


Mikefule,Eddie Merckx, easily the greatest road cyclist ever is Belgium.

I think muni can be quite vague. To some it means going somewhere off road then jumping off really big rocks - like trials, but not in a city. Since I developed a healthy sense of fear I don’t do that anymore, so my muni rides are more flowing - I want to go for a ride and ride as much of it as possible. That instantly gets called ‘light’ or ‘non-technical’ muni, which can be a bit misleading. Some bits can be very technical, just with no single massive drops that will break cranks.

Square tapers can be reliable (can’t really remember when I last siginificantly tightened by cranks. I check them occasionally and haven’t had a problem). The hubs are cheaper, the cranks are cheap and there’s more choice of lengths, although I think the variety of splined cranks is getting better.

Splined munis seem fantastic, and I won’t deny their benefits, but square tapers aren’t obsolete by any means. I know that my rides have far more to gain from me becoming a better rider than from me buying shiny new toys.


Though you can still kill a square taper axle with steep uphill and downhill cranking, I basically agree there. Most of the square taper axles you saw on high-end MUnis at MUni Weekend probably meant they date back at least four years. My DM ATU was on the trail on Saturday, and it represents the first generation of splined unicycle axles, from 1999.

Others just opted for square taper either to save some money, and/or because they didn’t consider themselves destructive enough to need splined. As for me, I want a unicycle that won’t break. So my current MUnis are splined.

I knew he was Belgian - one of the few famous Belgians - but I just couldn’t spell his surname.

I only have a square taper hub because I have yet to upgrade… the cost to go to a splined setup was more than I could afford when first buying my muni and I’m planning to ride it until I reach complete failure.

I’m at the point now where I need to replace my cranks, as I have to tighten my crank bolts every mile on the trail (thanks for the wrench, John!). I have a collection of old cranks I got from the flea mkt. which should last me until I snap the axle. Despite my best efforts at CMW, no snappage occurred, but I’ll continue to work on it. :smiley:

I plan to purchase a Profile hub and crankset for my Muni because I do a lot of abusive riding, including large drops, and the square taper design has not proven sufficient to endure my punishment. I have heard a lot of comments that one should improve their style if they’re plagued by equipment failure, but no amount of style can compensate for sheer abuse. After all, in order to improve one must make many attempts and survive many failures.

I like square tapers; I don’t do drops and don’t need to use splined hubs.

One factor that no one has mentioned yet is the fact that, once you understand them, square tapers are pretty maintainance free, and, with a few tools, easy to tighten, loosen and change cranks etc.

From seeing the multitude of posts on this board which ask about problems with splines involving maintainance and repair, keyway slop, loosening cranks, cranks too tight to loosen etc- I personally, even if I had the option of a splined set-up at the same price as a square taper hub, would decline it in favour of the square taper.

I realise that, to an extent, it comes down to what you’re accustomed to, but I happen to be accustomed to dealing with square tapers- the stuff I’ve seen posted about splned hub problems really do put me off.

The problems with the splined hubs were mostly with the older designs. The early Profiles and some of the KHs had problems with the keyways. That’s been addressed in the later designs. Profile has changed things with their hub so it shouldn’t be slipping now. KH/Onza made a big change that should hopefully eliminate that problem. Some of that is due to the fact that splined hubs are new and still have/had bugs to be worked out of the designs.

Maintenance-wise you just grease the splines and then keep the bolts tight. You might also run into problems pulling the crank off the hub but that can be done with a bearing puller. Now that people are getting more familiar with splined setups we are getting a lot fewer questions about how to deal with splined cranks and hubs.

Even if you’re not the kind of rider who will break a hub or bend a crank the splined setup can be worth it just for the added reliability of keeping the crank on the hub during every ride. Some people have problems with square taper cranks getting loose. The can be fussy to deal with some hub and crank combinations.

But if that’s due to metal fatigue from smaller loads repeatedly for several years, are splined cranks immune to that?


You can do everything possible with my splined cranks with one allen key and some grease, my old square tapers required a 15mm socket, torque wrench, crank extractor, 2p coin and locktite to swap them over. Also in favour of splined is you can swap them as much as you like, square taper cranks deform every time they’re fitted and can only be re-fitted a very limited number of times. No big you say, but i swap my Muni cranks alot (140mm to 170mm and back). That’s just not possible with square taper.

Markf - there’s a thread about how I fit the KH-Onza into 40mm bearing holders here.

Onewheeldave - though splined hubs are a little more complex than square tapers, maintainence is not difficult. Like you, I thought servicing my Profile crankset would be an arduous task judging by all the ‘I’ve got problems with my splined cranks’ posts on this forum, but with the right tools and a little time anyone can do it.

I agree with Kington99 - multiple crank changes can damage/deform square tapers easily. In fact this is what finally killed the Suzue hub in my Muni and also in my freestyle uni - the axle threads simply aren’t strong enough to withstand massive torque and started to break off.

I opted for square taper on the 29 I recently built. My very limited research into the subject revealed what seems to me to be a lack of standardization with splines and a consequent limitation to crank arm choices. There are a million choices when it comes to the standard cotterless crank design. As a still relative noob I’m not doing any significant drops and as an old guy who fears broken bones I’m not planning to starting.

If you use the right material, a square taper hub can be very strong.

Take a look at the older Race Face bike cranks, they use square taper, pair that with a titanium spindle… just as good as most splined setups, except… it costs more with the titanium spindle… so you might as well go splined anyways…

Did you realize this thread is over two years old?

Lol. There was a guy who held the outright track record at Sears Point (now Infinion Raceway) on an older air cooled 500cc twin until the national superbikes came here, w/ bikes running over $200K.

This is making me think of getting a 26" LX for Very bumpy XC (no drops over a foot). Partly because it’s cheep, to expiriment on the idea of a 26" for these trails. What would be the strongest cotterless cranks? I’ve heard Prowheels are pretty strong for cotterless.