If you leave rider skill out of it and just look at the gear, perhaps one way to look at it is to ask what parts would limit you the most, if they weren’t as good.
Ten years ago, the biggest factor holding back the agressive parts of the sport (muni/street/trials) was the lack of a commercially available strong splined hub and crankset. For myself, I think that once I had a custom-made setup (in 1998), that is really what changed a lot of the riding styles and what made possible a lot of things that before that would have just broken the unicycle. A couple of years later, the development of the Profile hub with shorter splined cranks was the main factor that kick-started the move towards a 19" wheelset.
So while a lot of factors go into a good uni, I’d say the most basic would be the hub/crankset.
A super strong rim that can withstand massive drops without tacoing is probably right up there.
I was going to also give Phlegm’s trick-question answer and say the rider, but the rider isn’t part of the unicycle.
Then I’ll have to go with Kris’ answer, the hub. It’s the hardest part of the unicycle to replace (got to rebuild the wheel) and if it breaks it causes the most hassle. Also, for those of us that have been around since before “strong” hubs were available, we know how important it is to have a hub that can take abuse. I used to break two or three hubs a year, and that was just doing Freestyle on flat ground!
Beyond that, there are many essential parts that you can’t unicycle without. The one with the most personality is the frame which can have different shapes and colors and give identity to a unicycle. The seat is also important, as unikid mentioned at the top of the thread. Nothing takes the fun out of riding like an uncomfortable seat…
to me, the hub is somewhat analogous with a heart. it is central to the wheel and all stresses relate to it. cranks are like arms/limbs, with pedals as hands. pins are the fingers which grip and hold. rim is like an ankle or something similar. tyres are like shoes. frame is like a skeletal structure to hold everything together. seatpost is like neck and brainstem. saddlecover is like hair. Rider is like the mind of the unicycle.
Well, in my opinion, the most important part of the unicycle is the small little sticker that says left/right for the pedals.
There’s only one part of a unicycle which could be ridden without any of the rest of the parts; the rim.
The spokes/rim, well pretty much the whole wheelset because you can still ride it without the frame or seat. But I guess pedals would be important to.
This is a stupid topic because there really isn’t ONE part that is more important then the rest. Someone could say “hub/cranks” but even thought they are important, without spokes, a rim, tyre, pedals, ect… they are pointless.
Spokes can be replaced by a disc like an ultimate wheel. Its arguable as to what is the most important part but here’s something to think about.
Maybe its the frame. Without a frame you’ve got an ultimate wheel (not exactly a unicycle). But without the wheelset/seatpost, its still a UNICYCLE frame. Can’t do anything else with it but make a unicycle. Granted you can’t ride it by itself, but you can’t ride one without it.
I change my decision! Poptarts! you cant unicycle without poptarts!
hmmmmm how can u put a number of greatness for anyone aprt of a uni…
you cant have a uni with out all the parts…so they are all equally important IMO…hmmmmmm
the paint job!
seriously though, the wheel, or more specifically the tire or rim, that’s all you need to “ride”
This is a good philosophical discussion and an interesting insight into the view of modern humanoids: If cave people had unicycles they would probably view the importance of any one uni part as they would the importance of any one cave dude with his or her mastery of certain skills… If all parts work together aren’t they all important. But we’re modern folk who have a need to make one thing or person better than the next even though we’re pulling different parts of the same load.