Ultimate wheel (the hub, cranks & spokes type)

After searching the forum I still have some questions.

If some of you have experience with this kind of UW your advice will be very appreciated.

At the moment I only go a few meters on average, and hopping is the only trick I do. I can get from riding to hopping but not the other way around yet.

But I’m making slow and steady progress on the wheel of my 20" with a hard skinny tire. As far as I can see from my search this is close to the worst possible combination, so I’m looking to upgrade.

I like having the cranks since I still want to be able to hop. Plus I hope, some day, I’ll be able to ride without the tire touching my legs.

Someone wrote that you can do almost anything on a UW that you can on a uni, so my goal is to get an all round UW. I’m likely to use it most here in the city, but I’d like to be able to take it off-road too when I get a better at riding it.

I read that a wide rim and fat tire gives more stability.
Is there a noticable difference from skinny rims and tires?
I’m on a budget so I don’t want to spend more than I need to, but I don’t want to replace too many broken parts either.
What parts (if any) will usually break?
My intuition tells me that rim, spokes and pedals are important while hub and cranks don’t need to be high quality. Is this correct?
I’m also having trouble choosing between 24" and 26" rims. The 24" is stronger and lighter, and hope to get better at hopping, but there are more tires for 26" and being nearly 2 meters tall the bigger wheel might suit me best.

If anyone have comments on these subjects I’d really like to hear them.


Do you mean an UW that is basically a unicycle without the frame? A 20" wheel? Stop torturing yourself.

Make a wooden disk style UW.

26" tyre is a good size. Smooth walled as it will rub for a while yet. A reasonably narrow tyre is better for turning, a wider tyre is better off-road (not too knobbly, though). I use a 1.8" ish.

You can still hop on wooden UW. Cut a few holes in it to reduce the weight and give yourself a handhold.

The cost is pretty cheap. All you need: An old MTB wheel for the rim, a bit of 3/4" plywood, some pedal plates (buy or make) and a pair of pedals, a bag of screws.

You wont break the wood (unless you over lighten it) and you wont bend the rim. The only things I have broken are pedal plates (some of my early ones were too thin) and pedal axles, both from hopping. Oh, and I’ve mashed a few tyres and tubes too.

Thanks for the input on the tyre and wheel size. If that setup hold up for you it probably will for me too.

I have a 28"/700c plywood type UW out of a bike wreck I found(the frame and rear wheel was broken, so I don’t think anyone will be looking for it).
It was HEAVY and hard to control, and I didn’t get that good at riding it. It didn’t work well in the small practice area I have, so when my seatpost on my uni broke I started using that wheel instead.
In retrospect I see I should have made it with holes in the plywood and “longer cranks”. I wish I had gotten your advice before I built it, but done is done.

Now that I’m getting used to the regular uni wheel i think I’ll stick to that. The two main reasons:
First: A lot of people on the forum said it would eventually be the best (Lutkus, George Peck, Jagur, Kris Holm). Now I have you counting against that, but it’s still 4 to 1.

Second: I don’t like having to bend down grab the rim when hopping. It feels really awkward on a small 20" wheel.

With cranks you can move your feet onto the hub & cranks and hold on to the wheel with your feet. I like this way of hopping. It is much easier than riding. I’m not good at the transitions between “feet on pedals” and “feet on cranks/hub”, but I haven’t practised much yet. Right now i concentrate on riding.

I’d also like to rebuild my disc style UW, but the way I made it (lots of irreversible stuff like rivets and glue) it is a bit of a project, and I won’t like messing up the paint on it.

Thanks for the help

PS: That’s one COOL looking UW you have in your… That picture beside your post. Do you have a bigger picture of it somewhere?

If you are happy with your cranked wheel I wont force you off it :slight_smile: Just a few thoughts… You can hop a wooden wheel without grabbing it by hooking one foot under one of the pedals and hopping on the other foot. You could add a couple of bits of wood to the wheel to act like fake cranks, might work. I might try this on mine. I find hopping really tiring and I haven’t practiced for ages. I used to be able to juggle on it fairly solidly but now I can’t do more than 20 seconds :frowning:

I found the heaviness of a wooden wheel a little easier when learning as it wasn’t so lively. I still find the spoked wheel (in the picture) a bit too light weight.

I’ve put a few unicycle pics in an album:



PS the little picture in a forum is called an ‘avatar’

PPS if you want to go racing properly then you need a 24" tyre to be within the rules, although some smaller 26" tyres just about squeeze in under the max size. If you are just playing around then the 26" is better.

Where exactly does one find, from what I can count, a 60+ spoke rim? Did you drill it yourself? Impressive construction all around, I must say.


You can buy undrilled rims and drill them to your own spec. I didn’t though.

The rim on my UW is a standard 36 hole rim with an extra hole between each pair of holes, making a 72 hole rim. The downside of cheating like this is that the holes are in pairs around the rim (two left, two right, etc).

No need, I’ll fall off by myself :slight_smile:

Great! Now I want to make TWO new UW, so I can compare.
I’ll add that to my ever-expanding list of uni-wish-list.

Two years ago, before I saw any unicycling on the net, all I wanted was a new tire for my beat up old JUNO.


How about a 144 spoked rim?

note the double layer of eye holes in the hub

try truing that sucker!