After I posted this review of the Torker Unistar 20" to rec.sport.unicycling, UniBrier suggested that I repost it to this forum which I am now doing along with the replies. Enjoy, Amos
My Review of the Torker Unistar 20"
The Torker Unistar is an amazing unicycle for the price. The Torker is mass produced in China (which might be an ethical issue for you), but it approaches the quality of the better brands of unicycles. The Torker has a very similar design to the Semcycle XL, but only costs a fraction of the price. The Torker is a little heavier and the seat is not as comfortable as a Semcycle. After riding a while, I find that the seat tends to chafe the insides of my upper thighs. Still, I would recommend this unicycle for anyone who wants to learn to unicycle, but does not want to invest a lot of money. It is the best cheap unicycle that you can buy–sturdier and better than a Savage, CyclePro, Zephyr, or other Tiawanese or department store unicycle.
The Torker is designed to take a lot of falls, although the plastic on the seat and pedals is soft and will get scuffed up by the cement, so it won’t look as pretty after a couple months of use. Other types of seats such as Miyata are made of harder plastic which does not scratch as easily. The Torker seat has a little more padding than the United seats (which cost the same amount), but you might find the Torker seat to be a little small if you are a big person. I am 6’0" and can ride it OK, but I am really thin. You might consider buying a Viscount, Semcycle, or Miyata seat later if you find the Torker seat uncomfortable.
Although I would recommend the Torker for any beginner or casual unicycler, there are a couple things I don’t like about its design. The quick release for the seat post is bigger than it needs to be. It sticks out an inch on either side of the seat post, although this has never interfered with my riding, I think it looks ungainly. I also find the seat difficult to raise and lower. The seat stem tends to get stuck inside the frame and I have to tug on it a lot to adjust the height of the seat.
The plastic plug covering the nut securing the crank tends to fall out. This little piece of plastic is not important and is mostly cosmetic. I think it is designed to protect the nut and bolt from the rain. I noticed that the crank bolt on my Torker has developed a little rust because that plastic cover fell off.
The nubs on the Torker pedals are a little too big, so they dig into my chins when I misstep and drive the pedal into my shins. I recommend wearing shin guards if you are learning to ride or practicing jump mounts. I got so tired of the scrapes on my shins that I finally took an exacto knife and cut down the nubs (which is easy to do because the pedals are made of plastic) so they wouldn’t be able to puncture the skin. While on the subject of pedals, don’t expose the reflectors on the pedals to excessive heat. The reflectors on my Torker started shrinking and misshaping when sitting on the heater in my apartment.
The standard Torker comes with a cheap Kenda tire which is only rated for 45 pounds of pressure. At that pressure, the ride is a little mushy for my taste. I have been overinflating my Torker to 55 pounds and I have had no problems so far. But it is a good idea to buy a better tire rated for a higher pressure, if you value a firm ride or plan to do any serious tricks (like 2 foot drops) or offroading. Torker makes a black stealth muni which only costs 20 or 30 dollars more than the standard Unistar model. If you want to mountain unicycle, you might consider buying that model and get the optional 85 lb tire.