Talk me out of buying a Coker Big One 36er

I am really getting close to pulling the trigger on a 36" Uni and I want to get a handle and brakes.

I like the Coker Big one because it has the lowest price point with everything I want. My only concern is that with anything I buy the upgrades later could rally jack the price up buying things like a new seat. This Unit is over $150 cheaper than a Nimbus Nightrider equipped the same way (on sale) with the upgraded T7-2 handle and brakes, and far less than a Nimbus Nightrider pro Isis on sale.

The Coker seems like a good value. Any big issues with it based on experienced folks who have ridden them?

If a few bucks will buy a vastly superior Uni I am all for it, but so far I don’t see compelling reasons to pay more for my first 36. I am planning on doing all street cruising with it.


Even after having gravel embedded in a kneecap after a high-speed dismount, I won’t talk you out of a Big One. It is an absolute joy to be able to cruise comfortably at 10-15 mph and cover great distances on such a simple machine.

All the bells and whistles you see on the newer models are just what one would expect from any product that’s been on the market this long. Innovate or die, it’s what marketing people do. But it doesn’t always make a product better; sometimes it just sells more units to the hardcore enthusiasts.

Get yourself on a Big One, with some gloves, kneepads and a helmet, and get comfortable with it. Don’t worry about upgrades at first! You’ll be plenty entertained just trying to handle the beast. Even after years of 36er riding I still mess up my mounts, especially at traffic lights where everyone’s staring at me. :slight_smile:

When you want to ride further, consider getting a slimmer saddle and handlebars. Play with different crank lengths; start with 150s, then graduate to 125s or 110s when you’re solid on the 150s. If you want to cruise lots of hills, consider adding a rim brake off an old 10 speed.

Talk you out of a 36er? You’re going to bleed. You’re going to bruise. You may even sprain something. But you’ll be smiling the whole time.


Tell us how it goes.

I think you can get the Nightrider on sale for less money than the Coker. It comes with a handle and you can buy brakes later for ~$90 from the forums.

I’ve done some research before pulling the trigger on the Nightrider Pro and the bottomline is that the Nightrider tire is much better than any of the Coker tires, the handle/seat are about the same and if you get ISIS you can easily swap components with your other unis in the future.

I’ve got several uni’s, including a KH29/Schlumpf. But for a quick cruise around town, or a casual ride with my family, I still often pick my Coker Big One out of the stable. Simple and oh so much fun. If you like it (which you will), an easy upgrade you might want is a KH seat.

What don’t you like about the coker seat compared to others?

I thought the new coker XLR tire was pretty nice better than the coker button tire for street, and doesn’t attract stones like the Nightrider tire?

The KH seat has the nice groove down the middle. The Coker seat (at least mine) doesn’t, so you feel a bit more pressure on the taint over a long ride.

Can you put regular cheapo brakes on the Nightrider or do you have to use the Magura HS33’s?

You can cheaply make an adapter to mount a cheap V-brake:

I have a Nightrider frame, and I used to have an old steel Big One frame (much like the Nimbus Titan). between the two the Nighrider frame is more flexy side to side, and with a brake the flex was immediately apparent. I had an Odyssey Pit Bull brake on my Coker frame and it was great with no rubbing. I can only imagine that the aluminum frame is stiffer than the old steel one.

I had V brakes on my Nightrider, and I used a simple hardware store adapter that cost me under $6 to put together. That brake worked very well. If I hadn’t put a disc brake on that uni it would certainly still be happily sporting the V’s.

The saddle on the Coker is the same as the Nimbus Hi-Top or the old KH Fusion. I have one that I pulled the cover off of, and cut a groove in the foam through the middle. It’s very comfortable now, and truthfully, I find it more-so than the Fusion Freeride. I have been reading very good things about the new Fusion Street saddle for long distance, and I think it may be my next move, or maybe the Nimbus Gel.

I have a Wheel TA tire that is very (very) similar to the Coker XLR. It is a very nice road tire, and fairly light as compared to the weights of Nightrider tires that people have posted in the past. I have read that the Coker version doesn’t wear as well as the TA, but otherwise it should be similar. I can’t speak to the Nightrider tire and picking up rocks, but the TA certainly picks up its fair share. Nothing too problematic, but don’t expect it to be clean after a stint on a crushed limestone bike path.

I really like my Coker Pi-Bar. The T7 doesn’t have any adjustability, and so the Pi is a real winner between the two for me.

I’m happy with my 36er, and I’m not inclined to change it. If I was getting a new ride and choosing between a Nightrider and a Coker Big One I would get the Coker in a heartbeat.

The T7 is handle is definitely not great. One option I considered is a Nimbus Uni with a KH seat and KH touring Handle upgrade which seems like a good combination as it goes higher than the PI bar, although the Pibar looks really solid as well.

It’s definitely not my preferred uni but I wouldnt talk you out of it because it is still amazing. So fun to get on when I feel like doing a nice relaxing cruiser ride. I would recommend handlebars for distances.

Hey Bluesman, thanks for starting this thread! :sunglasses: I am still struggling with the decision myself, though I really don’t need to make it until next year sometime. Here are 2 sites that sell the Big One for pretty cheap;
($450, Free shipping!)
($400, Shipping calculated at $75 to Utah)

Another option is that UDC has the Nimbus Titan on sale right now for only $350, and it looks very similar to to the Big One. Steel frame instead of Alu, different wheel, tire, saddle, but still an elegant design.
(Free shipping available)

I really appreciate all the positive posts on this thread. Some of the older posts I have read do a fair amount of Coker bashing.

Let us know what you go with Bluesman!

Big One with Pi Bar ftw! Stiffer frame than the Nimbus, and a handle with all sorts of adjustability. Nimbus Titan is a good choice also, for a great price.

Main difference between the two is the wheel; 48 spokes on the Coker and 36 on all the others. This adds some weight to the wheel, which is heavy enough already, and most would probably argue that 36 seems like enough on 36" unicycles. Unless you plan to beat on it.

TA is an awesome road tire, and goes forever. All 36" tires are heavy, with the Coker Button being a little lighter than all the others. But the downside of that is a shorter tread life (though still very long). As the buttons wear down they get more and more sensitive to road camber, which matters a lot if you’re a roadie.

Don’t bother unless you know you’ll be riding very steep hills, or long mountain descents. You don’t need one for “regular” terrain. And ignore the Coker web site’s suggestion that the brake is a safety feature. Though it can help you stay in control on steep descents, mostly it’s there to preserve your knees.

The titan looks like a decent option to get started for cheap money. The rim and tire are both pretty nice for the money and the overall weight is actually pretty light. Even though it’s steel cranks, I wonder what they are and how you would replace them, are they just standard bycycle cranks. Because they are steel. After lots of UPD’s instead of the softer aluminum cranks bending would the hub possibly have a problem??

Nimbus Venture aluminum cranks are an option on the UDC site when you configure this one for purchasing. I seriously doubt you would bend the aluminum cranks or the square taper hub. If you are doing big drops then the ISIS hub is what you want, otherwise the square taper is plenty strong. My old Mt b*ke in college took an awful lot of abuse with no problems. I finally bent the crank arm doing a 4’ drop that landed on flat ground (ouch!), but the bottom bracket/spindle were just fine, it was just the crank arm that bent.

I am seriously considering buying this one today while it is still on sale. The only thing I don’t like is the club saddle - so if I make the purchase I will do it over the phone and upgrade to the Nimbus Gel. Later I will probably buy a PI bar from Coker.

I will report back if I do buy it :slight_smile:

That Titan on UDC is a great deal.

The United Steel cranks are pretty soft. I would definitely get the Ventures over those. For only $15 more it is a nice upgrade. It’s too bad they don’t have the Qu-Ax cranks anymore. Those would be lighter and plenty strong.

The club saddle hasn’t had very many reviews, but the ones that I can remember weren’t bad. Still, getting a nice saddle will make a big difference on a uni like this. If you get the club saddle maybe we can get an idea about how it will fair on a distance uni.

You can easily drill a hole in the crown and install a BMX brake like I had on my old Big One frame and you would have a great brake.

For the price I don’t think you can go wrong with this one.

Would it be possible to ugrade the Titan to a KH seat?

That Titan on UDC is a very good deal. I would jump on that if I were looking for a new 36.
You could certainly buy a KH seat separately if you want to, but you should try the one that comes with it for a while to see if it’s good enough. When you’re first starting, you’ll have some saddle soreness and numbness on long rides either way. It’s good to know what you have before you upgrade otherwise you can’t tell if it’s an improvement.

Yes, the seatpost is compatible with KH saddles. While the Club saddle it comes with isn’t the most comfortable (I have one on my learner uni), one thing it has going for it is that it is narrow in the center so rubbing is less of an issue.

Would it be possible to ugrade the Titan to a KH seat?