Ultimate Wheel Questions

I know little about the device - especially because previous questions have gone unanswered.

. What is the “range” of an Ultimate Wheel?
I’d like to know how far riders who own them generally go. Has anyone done 10 miles on one? I know that the distance is based on the skill and fitness of the rider and terrain, etc., but I just want to get a general idea of how long one is typically ridden.

. How much better is a true Ultimate Wheel?
I have seen people ride just a crankset and wheel - at least that’s what I think I’m seeing in the Peck pictures. Is that more difficult because of the Q-factor? Should I purchase an Ultimate wheel, or just use the wheel from my uni?

. How hard is it to idle?
The type of riding that I will do will require 1-3 minutes of idling. Do legs “burn up” too quickly for that?

. What size should I purchase?
Please give a general overview of what the different sizes’ benefits are.

. Is there an ultimate wheel sold that has no vertical spokes?
I think I’d want one with “1 spoke” like the 20" version on unicycle.com, BUT, I’m guessing that I’d want to go with a 24" or 28" version. Has anyone seen a design that will give me 3" of space between the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions on the wheel (in 24 or 28)?

. How durable are they?
I have decided against doing drops more than 12", but, I am heavy and always have problems with equipment breakage. Has anyone broken an Ultimate Wheel?

. Does anyone have one they want to sell?

Answers to these questions and any other information would be greatly appreciated. I am considering using an Ultimate Wheel in highly stressful situations - like extreme idling and I want to get an idea whether or not I should even go that route.

Ok, I have one and I ride it sometimes, so I will do my best to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge.

.What is the “range” of an Ultimate Wheel?

I am not quite sure what the range of an avid ultimate wheeler is, but my range is as of now usually about 50 feet before my shinpads mess up the wheels rotation or the wheel hurts me.

. How much better is a true Ultimate Wheel?

Extremely better. Having the pedals right near the wheel allows the wheel to stay close to your legs and offers more stability. Hve you ever tried a seat drag on your unicycle. Terrbly hard. So ultimate wheel is the way to go over cranks and wheel.

. How hard is it to idle?

It is not too difficult to idle, provided you have the proper leg protection and lubrication. The wheel is basically resting on one of your legs while you idle.

. What size should I purchase?

Can’t help you much here, but I have a 24 inch one. According to unicycle.com, the larger ones are easier to ride.

. Is there an ultimate wheel sold that has no vertical spokes?

I do not know the answer to this one. Most ultimate wheels are solid, spoked, or like the Nimbus’s on unicycle.com.

. How durable are they?
Mine seems very durable. It is very light weight, but I have fallen over and actually stepped on the metal reletivly hard, and nothing has happened. Homebuilt ones like the one i tried to build arent too durable.

. Does anyone have one they want to sell?
I wouldn’t sell mine. They are nice to have just for fun and to show to other people and unicyclists. Having other unicyclists try them is fun to watch.

.Other Information

First of all, learning an ultimate wheel is very painful on the legs. Proper shin guards are very important. I have scars on each leg in the exact same place, where the wheel rubs. Silicone spray also relieves some of the friction.

I do not know how well the ultimate wheel would hold up in the extreme condidtions you speak of, but they are fun to ride, so I reccomend getting one.

Your back will be sore from chasing the wheel, bending over and getting it, and restarting the process.

I hope that helped.

UW info.

I’ll qualify what I have to say by admitting that I don’t yet ride the ultimate wheel.

I have, however, built one and own two. I’ve watched four of my kids learn how to ride it. One of them is riding off of drops higher than 12" and hopping up curbs, etc.

He can ride in stretches up to 1/4 mile perhaps between rests. I don’t doubt that with practice, one could go much farther than that.

Ours are both 24" models. The one I built is a disc of 3/4" plywood. The other is steel, with a central “spoke” of box-section steel about 1 1/2" x 1/2", and two other thinner spokes(it looks like six spokes). This one was constructed by Morgan Hansen, and gifted to us at Moab this year. My son likes it because he can grab the wheel easily with a full grip for jumping, rather than needing to pinch it for grip. Both wheels have a plain street tire with smooth sidewalls, which have been further sanded so that friction on the calves is kept to a minimum. Silicon spray further asists in this effort. Both were made to accept standard 9/16" pedals instead of the 1/2" variety(which is what you’ll find at unicyle dot com). Neither of ours will break easily, but falls where you land on the wheel can put tremendous stresses on the pedals, and I’ve seen and heard about pedals bent in this manner.

As for the other questions. Easy to idle. A true ultimate wheel is exponentially better than a frameless unicyle wheel and cranks. 24" is best to start, I think, though they can be done in any size, including Coker.

You can build one. All you really need is sufficient desire!

Jerry Gruss (goes by jerryg here on the forums) has ridden an ultimate wheel for an entire parade. That wasn’t without stops. George Peck rode a cranky muni UW for a parade. Beau Hoover rode a 20" UW to school at least once (that includes hills).

Doing long rides on an UW is not easy. Especially when you have to deal with hills and other unevenness. An UW is much easier when it’s all perfectly flat. I sometimes try to ride a short loop that goes through the parking lot, down to the sidewalk, along the sidewalk, and then back up to the parking lot. It’s about a 1/4 loop or less. I have never made it the entire way. My legs completely give out. Going uphill (even a slight hill) is not easy on an ultimate wheel.

Riding an ultimate wheel is a leg workout. As you get better and smoother it will become easier on the legs. I’m still a bit sloppy so I don’t know how easy it can get. I do hope it gets easier on the legs otherwise I’m not going to be able to get far with the thing.

A true UW is easier to ride than a cranky UW. A cranky UW is a unicycle wheel with the cranks and pedals. There is much less wheel flop with a true UW. I can ride a regular UW a bit, but I can’t get anywhere trying to ride a muni wheel as an ultimate wheel. It’s totally different. But George Peck says that the wider Q-factor of the cranky muni UW gives him more control. I’m a long ways away from being able to ride the thing and finding out if that is true. I’m probably just going to stick to the standard UW.

Idling is kind of possible on a UW, but the wheel is going to be rubbing one of your legs almost the entire time. You’ll need to be wearing something that will allow the wheel to rub your leg like that without getting hung up or getting uncomfortable. I’ve done a few idles, never more. Idling for more than a few cycles would not be easy.

Pedals with good grip help, but bear trap style pedals won’t last very long.
In the beginning I often landed on top of the wheel when I fell. The metal strips around the pedals where broken after the second practice session.

The UW36 is great…well…‘great’…for going distances. I have so far gone about 3km in one standing.

It’s an incredible leg workout, but the large diameter of the wheel makes it great for control, speed, and bump absorbtion.

TWNR features the UW36, and captures how fun it can be, and opens the door to alot of possiblities of tricks, etc. that can be figured out with it.

It’s a great toy

I did a lap of the track on mine (400 metres) on grass. I couldn’ have ridden any further. Technique makes a big difference, I don’t doubt people can ride much further.

The tyre makes a big difference. Some are stickier than others. The one I have at the moment makes idling a lot easier. On a good day I can get three clubs going as well.

I’d say go for a 26". It is easier to ride than a 20 or 24 and there is a much better tyre choice.

If my ankles are weak from Muni, is an ultimate wheel something I should avoid? It intrigues me though.

I just use an old uni minus the frame.It wobbles back and forth beetwen your legs a lot more.I rode sombodys real UW(i.e. no cranks)at moab,and for me at first it was very hard to get on,i guess becuase i wasnt used to the pedals being in so close.but i got the hang of it and I think that a true UW is much easier,'cept i had trouble mounting.Its also MUCH easier to idle on.Idling doesnt burn your legs as much as regular riding,and i was idling for several minutes at a time.(untill i got bored)Idling is not that hard.In my opion,true UW’s are hareder to rolling mount,jump mount,etc.

THe farthest i’ve ridden is probally 1/2 mile,with hills,with many dismounts and rests.It does burn your calves prettty good.THis is on a 24".

I’ve done about 12" drops aswell

The ankle forces from riding an ultimate wheel would be similar to trying to idle a regular unicycle seat out front. If your ankles can manage the idling seat out front then you should be OK for the actual UW riding. But then there is the issue of some possibly clumsy dismounts from the UW while learning. Those clumsy dismounts could possibly injure an ankle.

While learning the UW I had problems with my ankles rubbing very uncomfortably against the wheel and the rim. I had to wear ankle guards (like my 661 ankle biters) while riding. Now that I’m past the beginner stage I don’t need the ankle protection as much.

The clumsy ankle benders happen WAY more than a typical ‘clumsy dismount’ (from a normal uni) as I have seen.

I find the ungraceful dismount to be far more common, and at a much weirder angle.

I can still feel the part of my ankle i sprained from UW’ing over a year ago

I agree totally. Ultimate wheels look and feel far more dangerous when you fall off them than when you fall off a normal unicycle.

There is a reasonably high chance your foot will land on the falling ultimate wheel rather than the ground, resulting in a sprained ankle.

Also the chance of landing on your back, butt or worse is siginicantly higher. I own an ultimate wheel because the original owner sold it after falling backwards on to his head and sustaining a concusion.

I would recommend wearing gloves, leg armour and a helmet for learning to ride an ultimate wheel. The leg armour is the most critical ingredient. After my first try I had to wait two weeks for my skin to heal before I could try again.

36" coker ultimate wheels are fun but hard to get going. A rolling mount seems to work the best on the bigger ultimate wheels.