I’m not the greatest unicylist yet, but my favorite part of trials was the initial learning period in which I could go to sleep every night feeling as though I had accomplished something new. As with any developed skill, I eventually reached a plateau. Now I go to bed knowing that I may have refined an old skill but it bums me out that I’m running out of new possibilities. Not that there is no more room for improvement, but without an intense training routine it will be nearly impossible for me to break through this little glass ceiling hovering over my head.
Then out comes my old unicycle. A rusty 24 inch schwinn that my father bought when he was a lad. When I was 12 I learned to ride it in laps around my basement one winter and hadn’t touched the thing since. I’d worked at a few bike shops that sold them and would occasionally take one for a lap or two around the shop. Prior to my knowledge of uni trials, I began hopping on these shop unicycles and trying to jump onto the stores benches using what I now know to be pedal and crank grabs. After bending a crank and putting flat spots in numerous wheels I was sternly instructed to discontinue these shenanigans.
For those in the know concerning bike trials, Brisa may be a familiar name. Roger Rodriguez, brisa’s owner offered me the opportunity to work at his bike shop and assist him in the final preparations of his now very successful brand of trials specific bikes. This year long experience gave me a chance to see the bicycle industry from a manufacturers point of view. I was greatly involved in the development of his second generation frames, responsible for redesigning the drop outs to accept two different styles of disk brake calipers as well as designing a built in chain tensioner that was never added to the production frames due to high costs. But it was a great design that would have been very successful. This combined with years of experience in the retail side of the industry has prompted me to put all I have into taking on my own little project.
As I have said in a previous post, I have access to many metal working machines and experienced operators that are happy to assist me in my endeavors. I plan on debuting my products in April at the convention in Indiana (Illinois maybe, I forget…) and showcasing them at interbike next October. The products will be sold under the name ALPHA CYLING INNOVATIONS, INC.
Other random stuff you probably don’t care to know….
I am in my junior year at Kettering university in flint, Michigan. I am studying mechanical engineering with a concentration on mechanical systems design. My access to such knowledgeable professors along with my connections in the cycling and manufacturing industries should hopefully help in boosting the quality and economy of my product.
I plan on offering a top quality frame, of which I feel will be the best available (or else I wouldn’t waste my time making it) for under three hundred dollars. Since manufacturing will be fairly small scale custom alterations will be available at a very small additional cost.
Any suggestions anyone might have would be very much appreciated. I look forward to becoming an accepted member of your circle and hopefully someday soon, a loyal supplier and promoter of your and my sport.
Like I was saying in another post recently, build high-end Muni that takes a 3.0 Gazz, has a good handle, strong hub/crankset, the best pedals, air seat with rigid seat base, etc… and weighs 13lbs or less, and rides as well as all the rest, in other words it needs to be rock solid. That will be an accomplishment
Members of the unicycling community always look forward to new and innovative products. Folks on this news group have had opportunities to test pre-market products and they are a scrutinizing lot. A rough lot, too. Frames, saddles, handles, axles, accessories, all have been abused and then rejected or approved. My only suggestion to you is that you refrain from touting a frame that does not yet exist as being the best ever.
true, true. calling an incomplete project a success won’t get me anywhere, but i am very confident that it will rank up there with the best of them.
as the subject stated, the frames are on their way, as in clamped to a welding bench in my garage. i’m totaly stoked and cannot wait to put it all together.
i wish i had a digital camera so icould display some pics for everyone, but i don’t.
as soon as possible (once i am satisfied with the quality of the frame) i will be looking for riders to “sponsor” or to at least ride a free frame and tell me and everyone else what they think. my experience at brisa has enfoced the importance of rider input and feedback and i am very willing to offer a frame to any riders that would properly represent (and of course abuse the hell out of) my product.
i’m looking for oppertunities early next season to sponsor events and offer frames and components as prizes. again, i’ve seen this method of promoting the sport as well as your product prove to be quite successful and i beleive there is no greater form of promoting a competitive product than to have it ridden by the best. although it’s not likely that Kris Holmes would ditch his signature frames to ride one made by some college kid from a pissant town in michigan, i’d be honored to have my product ridden by any of you who prove worthy.
I’m not in this for the money, if i sell fifty frames over the course of five years i’ll be stoked. i plan on offering the frames for just enough to cover their cost to me and the cost of the frames that will be given away.
and again, anyone interested in custom bearing holders or seat tubes let me know, i’d be very willing to make and ship anything you need. i’ll even throw in a fellow unicyclist discount.
You certainly have given us a lot more information on your background and experience. It sounds to me like you have a hell of a plan. It sounds well thought out. Your frame design is intriguing with the flush brake mounts and brake levers.
I am looking forward to see what you produce and I just want to send you some encouragement, not that you need it. I wish I could be one of your testers, but I haven’t even broken my miyata(old) handle nor the seat base. I just don’t have the experience:(
Send us pix when you feel it’s appropriate and feel free to share your trials and tribulations as you please.
Best of luck.
BTW, Scott Bridgeman had built an alluminum MUni frame a few years ago that eventually got totalled in a car accident, but there might be some info at the below link that might help out. Maybe it’s stuff you already know.
Your right, I am good at abusing equipment for hte purpose of testing. I actually bent my frame, side to side, and I’m very suprised that happened. it’s a heavy duty job, none of this light flexable crap.
plus, what can test a frame better than repeated 4’ drops and gaps and dropping it off that, hitting at strange angles, and somethings landing on the thing!
Your commitment to the sport is an example of why we are all so fortunate to be riding in an era with so much enthusiasm. 10 years ago high tech unicycle components were unheard of. Now we are experiencing the beginning stages of a technology explosion. There are a few things helping drive the sport that we did’nt have before such as the Internet and mountain unicyling. But whatever the reason, not too long ago innovators like you were not around to make our sport better. My appreciation comes form many failed hours trying to build faster more efficient unicycles. Unicycling is about to become REAL fun!
I can remember a time, not too long ago, when home made big wheeled unicycles were the only form of fast over the road travel. Only a few of us owned one. These were not only expensive but also very hard to obtain. Some endured the battle of traveling great distances on them. Floyd Bettie and Wally Watts were two of just a handful. Those few that did so, along with their unicycles need to be remembered somewhere somehow because this ancient form of riding will never happen again.
Now we have the Coker, which is not as large as most of the old big wheels but much more efficient over long distances. The pneumatic tire made a world of difference. More people than ever before are enjoying over the road unicycling at an affordable price. Organized tours like Ragbri, Europe, and Tasmania would not take place if it were not for the Coker. Because of new technology I predict that the Cokers popularity will be short lived but long remembered as the unicycle that gave birth to enjoyable affordable over the road travel.
Until now all efforts toward gaining inches of travel per revolution were directed at increasing the size of the wheel rather than by gearing. All past reports of geared unicycles were not favorable. One-person did’nt listen. Harper not only designed and built an internally geared hub, but also proved its value by erecting UNI.5 so it could be easily compared to the Coker. A 24-inch wheel internally geared to 36, virtually having the same characteristics as the Coker, was shipped all over the country for all interested to try, and compare. This rest is history, literally.
A high-end bicycle wheel and tire combination, no matter the size, is FAR superior to that of the Coker. The difference in quality when comparing the unicycle wheel to the bicycle is simply due to a greater demand for two wheeled machines. The bicycle wheel and tire are light, true, both radialy and latterly strong, and designed to travel at high speeds efficiently. The beauty of Harper’s hub is that a superior bicycle wheel and tire can be used to travel at high speeds rather than big cumbersome low-end big wheels.
If and when Harper and other innovators like yourself find ways to market products at an affordable prices we are in for a world of fun!
By all means: I’ve long thought that we lack good, quality root-beer at a resonable price. Ideally it would bair the smiling leprachaon himself on the label and feature a pronounced sasparilla flavor. We’ve been waiting for this moment ever since Bark’s got bought out by Coca-Cola. Price should be someplace between IBC and Hole Milk. If it could be formulated so that my CamelBack rinsed clean afterword, all the better.
I am always up for testing stuff. I’ve never done much to a frame but I’ve done moderate damage to lots of other things. Incidentally, my dad went to Kettering(acutally GMI before it was called Kettering) and got a degree in ME.
I’m not really sure on what improvements can be made to frames. I didn’t know it was actually possible to break one. It just doesn’t seem like it takes that much stress. Perhaps I’m not doing crazy enough stuff.
I do kinda think that having to bend a wide frame to put it around a fat tire might be a bad thing. I don’t really have any knowledge to back this up besides gut feeling. Perhaps a frame built to an exact wheel’s width of tire and hub would be better. Who knows? Clearly not me, as I’ve said the same thing in the last 3 sentences.