I figure since I both ride and build/design custom comoonents, I think there’s some stuff to say.
Firstly, hopping only trials is pointless, as is riding only trials. Going into that mush specialization for the sake of better unicycles is pointless. If you need the weight savings of a handle-only seat badly enough to sacrifice your normal riding ability, then you should re-examine your riding philosophies. Others have thought of handle-only seats, and it has been done. It doesn’t work as well, and most people you ask who have tried it will say that it doesn’t work as well as one would think.
Unicycles honestly don’t need to get any lighter, and strength is not a problem for 99% of the trials unicycling population. Ryan Atkins is riding a relatively heavy uni, yet he’s still insanely good. At a muni weekend you’ll inevtiably see the hardcore riders doing insane trials on 16 pound munis. A good rider has very little to do with their unicycle.
I have the try-all rim, and I’ll be riding it by the end of the week. I’ll post a writeup and pics when I do. It’s worthy of mentioning that it’s the most expensive rim on the market, with the lowest price being around $65. It is around 12-15mm wider than a 32mm DX-32, and is about 60-90 grams lighter. It is also pinned. I’m quite sure it’s weaker, but that’s not a problem is you keep your spokes tensioned correctly. The arrow rim is about 50-100 grams heavier than the DX-32. It is of comparable width. There is also a 38mm dx-32 out there.
Frames won’t neccessarily be getting phrohibitively expensive to those who need them and those who look around. I have designed a trials frame that will weigh about 1.7lbs (for comparison the KH pro frame is 2.24lbs), and I will be making the first one soon. This won’t be for sale, per se, but I won’t be the only one riding it. It will be mostly mostly work, costing me nearly nothing. The materials for it have only cost me about $35 (enough aluminum for more than 8 frames). I am building this frame not out of need, since my current trials uni, with a steel frame, will weigh in somewhere between 11 and 12 lbs if my calculations are correct.
Ben PS and I have discused a little bit about a direct connect frame (no seatpost). I decided that I wouldn’t try making one until I stopped growing. It is worth of mention that at least .5, and as much as 1 pound can be cut from current trials frame weights without much sacrifice in strength.
Seats can quickly be made lighter by losing the padding. It isn’t as bad as it sounds, as long as you are careful. It’s also more comfortable for seat out.
Thomson seatposts, even with rail adapters are still lighter than others, and the strength improvement is well worth it, even if it gets heavier. Ryan Atkins rides a thomsopn without at rail adapter, how I can’t completely explain. Scott Wallis’ seat isn’t for sale yet, as far as I have heard. The price, as of CMW, was said to be around the price of a cf base and rail adapter combined.
Hubs are ripe for weight loss. One of the projects I may undertake in the far future is making a profile hub out of a solid bar of chromoly steel. Cut the general profile of the flanges and axle on a lathe, and then mill (or roll, if I can find the machinery) out the splines. THis would cut around .5-1 pound, and still keep the strength. Aonther method would be to cut splines on most of the axle and then have aluminum flanges that mate to the splines. This would cut a teeny bit of weight over the above design, but it could be weaker, and would be far harder to make.
Cranks seem to be about as light as they’ll get. Profile cranks are plenty adaquate for 99% of the unicyclists out there, and don’t need improvement. If they aren’t strong enough for you, check out danscomp or the profile website, since profile cranks can be found in much stronger (and much more expensive) variations.
I’ll be trying the try-all or creepy crawler tire for my next trie, and I’ll post reviews. If the sidewalls are to thin, you can always get a thicker innertube, which will make up for the weight.
Overall, I think the bottom end weight limit for a good, strong trials unicycle for the average rider is about 10 lbs. My current uni should be approaching that number. The last half pound will be the most work (or costly) to cut. Small savings like mag pedals, drilling out the seatpost, drilling the seatbase, cutting out padding, and drilling out other components can be done, and they will add up after a while. There are spots on lots of stock bike components that can be custom drilled to cut weight. It’s not done in production because it dramatically increases cost with minor savings in weight.
Finally it’s worth of mention that trials uni’s don’t really need to be any lighter. My uni is light because the components I chose for other reasons happened to be light. I chose the try-all rim for its width. I chose the lighter SH hub because it was the only profile hub. I will be using a light aluminum frame because it’s an interesting fabrication project and I may as well make something useful. I am usign a cf base because it’s stronger, and I’ll be using a tthomson seatrpost eventually because it’ll fit the seattube on my frame without a shim. Also, my current miyata seatpost wil eventually break, and a thomson won’t. THe only case when I’ll be getting a component for it’s weight savings is the Jim C mag pedals. But that’s the very bottom of my list. Someday, as an experiment, I’ll try and cut as much weight from my uni as possible, but that day is a long way off.