Ultimate Wheel

If you’ve never tried one, you probably think an ultimate wheel (wheel with
pedals - no frame, no seat), would be nearly impossible. Hey, you’re a
unicyclist, you should know by now that nothing is impossible to ride. In
fact, an ultimate is as easy to learn as the unicycle was. I had one friend
who had never ridden a unicycle, but he was able to ride the ultimate about
30 meters within his first ten tries. But, it is kind of a clunky thing,
unless you get really good. Wear long pants, or you’ll know right away why
you were advised ot wear long pants! The way you more or less control the
ultimate is by letting the tire rub on your leg. Your inner shins become
the bearings that keep the wheel upright. Sure, with lots of practice, you
can reduce, maybe even eliminate the amount of rubbing. With practice you
can even idle, go backward, make tight turns, and all that sort of thing.
For best results (IMHO), use a large diameter, thin wheel, like 26 x
1-3/8 or 27 x 1-1/4. The pedals must be close to the plane of the wheel, so
no spokes or hub. Many are made from an ordinary bike wheel rim (the outer
metal ring), and a disk cut from plywood. I’ve made a few with an old
Schwinn steel rim, and a tube, approx 1" diameter, welded across the
diameter of the rim. Then, pedal threading was cut off the ends of bike
cranks and brazed to the cross tube. (some details about welding, brazing,
and other bike/uni repair/construction arts can be found at
www.bikewebsite.com) For best results, use a 6-1/2" radius for the pedals.
I mean, mount them 6.5" from the center of the wheel, same as a typical
bicycle crank.
Make sure to use a smooth-sided tire, and even coat the sidewall of the
tire with a length of electrical tape.
Be very careful about falling off the wheel and getting your foot caught
around the crossbar. Don’t sue me if it happens:)
Oh, and another danger thing that doesn’t happen with unicycles: If you
fall off, the wheel may keep rolling. I saw one rider let one go across a
busy road. Fortunately, no one hit it.
Have fun!

Why can’t you find a picture of someone (George Peck?) doing MUni on an ultimate wheel when you really need one? Aaargh! :wink:

I had a go on an ultimate wheel the other week, actually. I found it was getting started that was the hard bit, because you’re having to put more weight on the pedals, and it falls over easier. When you’ve got going it’s surprisingly easier than I thought it would be…

Phil, just me

Just for my clarification,
Riding an ultimate wheel is easier then riding a regular unicycle in a seat drag right? I am assuming this because in the ultimate wheel the pedals are usually closer to the center plane, and therefore should be more stable. Please correct me if I’m wrong.


Well that’s a releif. I’ve only tried for about 10 minutes on my unicycle (minus the seat post and seat) but I had a lot of trouble. Trying to ride ultimate wheel style on a normal unicycle minus the frame will keep me occupied between when the wheel of my custom unicycle is done and when the frame is done.


Re: Ultimate Wheel

I noticed that the “Big Wheel” child’s toy
is available again this year in toy stores.
This is one of those tricycles with a unicycle
type crank on the front wheel.

I don’t know if the wheel & cranks could
take the weight, but one could conceivably
grab the handlebars (sit on them??), ride the
thing as a unicycle, and ignore the back