At the Cali MUni weekend, Ryan Atkins was once again willing to risk bodily harm to test equipment. In this case it is the splined axle made by Steve Howard from 17-4PH stainless steel. The interesting property of this alloy is that it can be hardened to the strength and toughness of CroMoly with an air quench so no oil is involved in the tempering process.
The picture included (Tom Blackwood’s shot) shows the drop to be of order 7-8 feet to flat with me as the height scale reference. Ryan did three drops from this height, the first one was a bounce and the second two he landed successfully. The photos from John Childs in his gallery indicate the damage. They are on the last page.
The wheel is slightly tacoed, probably due to the fact that the rim had a flat spot in it last time it was laced. The cranks are no longer parallel. Visual inspection revealed nothing. Replacing the Kooka cranks (which Steve broached for me) with KH cranks showed the same lack of parallelicity. Clearly the axle twisted uniformly along its length.
I have done several 5 foot drops with this unicycle and I bounce and land like a pig more often than not. I thought this might be a better test of the rig than Ryan’s because I’m heavier and more awkward. Clearly that’s not the case and the height makes a big difference. Kris has done five foot drops on the same unicycle but he is quite light and lands like a cat so there is really little comparison there.
The test results show that I can’t possibly destroy the setup because I can’t go as big as Ryan. But the material, which is the same as the artistic axle, flange, crank combo that Lloyd received as a prize, is probably not a good choice over CroMoly especially because it is somewhat expensive. Producing an expensive, inferior product is not one of Steve Howard’s goals so don’t plan on seeing a variation of this setup in the future.
Steve and I would both like to thank Ryan Atkins and Kris Holm for participating in the drop tests. Also thanks go to John Childs and Tom Blackwood who provided the photos.