Uni.5 Jackson / Memphis experiences here


I’m just going ahead and starting this thread so that Chris and I can post our experiences with the Uni.5 (Thanks Harper!), as we have them and think about them. We hope to drive up to Memphis this Sunday as well, so that Tommy can give it a go. So, I added Memphis in the title.

Anyway, my first comments are as follows:

I rode it for maybe a total of 10 minutes after work yesterday. Chris brought it over, and we didnt want to ride it overly, because the tire was very very close to the frame. It may have even been barely touching it. I think Chris may try to true it or whatever you call that.

Anyway, I rode it for about 10 minutes and Chris rode it for about 20 I think … I lost track of time so maybe it was more. Hopefully more today, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

It behaved exactly as I expected. It is hard to get it to start rolling, but once it does, it is zippy! Making it stop (resisting) is just as hard. However, knowing this didn’t make it easier to ride. Still, I managed to ride it down the road a bit, and into the street, and such. It is pretty cool, and fast, once you get on it. I didnt ride that fast, though. I will try.

Also, I didn’t even try to free mount it more than a time or two. I realized that my only stable freemount is made much more difficult on the Uni.5 than a normal forward freemount. All my freemounts are rollback mounts. As you can imagine, the trickiness of starting and stopping the wheel (because it resists and then speeds up, and the doesnt want to slow down) is increased. I normally step on the pedal, expect it to easily roll back a little, then a little more, then I put my foot on the top pedal also, then I start rolling back a bit more, then I swing the wheel the other way and go forward. That is a lot harder on the Uni.5.

I may try to freemount more later but I think my rollback mount will be frustrating to do. On the other hand, .5’s resistance for the first second or so may let me do a forward mount easier than I can do it on a normal unicycle.

It was a lot of fun, and I must say Chris got the hang of it quickly … after a brief time, I couldnt tell that he was having any trouble with it at all.

But, I will let him relate his own experience.

Thanks Harper!


Re: Uni.5 Jackson / Memphis experiences here

On Thu, 18 Apr 2002 09:05:03 -0500, Animation
<Animation.3b6za@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>It behaved exactly as I expected. It is hard to get it to start rolling,
>but once it does, it is zippy! Making it stop (resisting) is just as
>hard. However, knowing this didn’t make it easier to ride. Still, I
>managed to ride it down the road a bit, and into the street, and such.
>It is pretty cool, and zippy, once you get on it.

You mentioned starting and stopping. How about maintaining
forward/backward balance while on the go? All of your corrective
actions are divided by 1.5 (torque-wise) so you must have to apply
more force - or earlier. Or is that hardly noticed? I am curious to
know your “beginner” experience with that aspect.

>I may try to freemount later but I think my rollback mount will be
>frustrating to do. On the other hand, its resistance for the first
>second or so may let me do a forward mount.

I see what you mean but if you’ve never successfully forward-mounted I
dare to doubt that you can do it rightaway on the uni.5. Why don’t you
try the curb/kerb mount that you had so much success with a few months

Klaas Bil

“To trigger/fool/saturate/overload Echelon, the following has been picked automagically from a database:”
“JCE, AC, mole”

Re: Re: Uni.5 Jackson / Memphis experiences here


While the unicycle was moving (once I got the hang of it), it felt totally like a normal unicycle, except that I had to lean ahead a bit more, or so it seemed. I mean, it was faster, but I seemed to be able to just go with it. However, in situations where I had to slow down or speed up suddenly, it was kind of tricky. I mean, once it starts slowing down a lot, it is hard to make it go again, and stay balanced (for me). Basically, speed changes seemed to take a lot of effort in keeping the pedal motion going (trying to avoid a stall; or trying to avoid it shooting out in front of me).

Also, by comparison to the Coker, I felt that the .5 was harder to deal with in moments where I would stall or the resistance was quickly changing. The Coker is bigger, and it has more mass, so while I might find myself too far forward or behind or having some other correction needs, it somehow seemed easier to recover on the Coker, because it was so big. I mean, I could almost always yank my body around to a better place, or plow into it with force (legs or hips). Stalling wasnt usually a problem, I could just dig in. However on the Uni.5, once I lose sync with what I should be doing, plop off I went.

Regarding the mounting, the closest I came was the forward mount, because I just about stood up on it with pedals horizontal before it started to finally roll too fast backwards. :slight_smile: I think otherwise, if I could get on top fast, it would be about like I feel when I mount it using the sign (the .5). Still, you are right, the sign and curb mounting is the way to go.

I cant wait to try again … should be friday (Chris is having the wheel made true but it is gonna knock a day out of our useage. Ah well.).



thanx for those thoughts.hey was the uni.5 rim damaged in shipping or did the last uni.5er spank the cranks to much?

and to follow this soap opera to the tee,i need to know if the lasco’s and crank puller got there without needing to trued


You’d really have to let Chris answer all that, since right now, it is all beyond me (tool stuff and mechanical stuff). He has the knowledge and experience to tell you the shape it is in.

All I know is that the tire was so close to the frame that it was essentially touching (barely), or very close.


ok ,i can wait.

The original tire I put on the uni.5 is the Kenda 24 x 2.125 that is on there now. It is a tight fit in the Torker frame. It was a bit close and rubbed on one side after a few miles so I had to true the wheel once before it left. I think I went 20 or 30 miles more and it was OK when it left Seattle.

Nathan had to true it again for the same reason when he had it in Los Gatos. If it gives you guys too much trouble (and taking it to a bike shop to be trued is too much trouble) I would recommend putting on a 24x1.75 tire.


Well, Chris already took it in, so that is a done deal. He should get it back this afternoon, right after work. So, we will have 3 days of riding on it still. Not too bad!

Oh, how in the heck are we supposed to use that backlash measuring tool? Chris seemed to have an idea, but he didn’t seem 100% sure. Anybody willing to explain?


At first, I thought the Uni.5 should be renamed “The Humiliator” or perhaps “The Humbelizer”; after prying open the crate,
removing all the lingerie (thanx, Doug), and inspecting the beast, I spirited it out to the street. A crowed of Good-Old-Boys in
buisness suits formed up like a blood clot to whitness my folly. 7, 8, 9 attempts later, I was hobbling for a few paces. “Keep try’n
son- you’s git 'et”. A bruised ego made pathetic attempts to explain my plight. A few minutes later, I teater-tottered off ; building
up a good head of speed, I raced 3/4 the way around the block before breaking behind a truck parked in the street and getting
pitched. Recovering, I retreated to the safty of my Cube.


The Uni.5 is not a Coker. This is a good thing, as there are plenty of Cokers around. My initial difficulty stemed from attempting
to ride it like a Coker and reflexes developed on 24" wheels. On the big wheel, I leep into the air and bair down on the chocolate
pedal. Uneven foot pressure on the .5 sent me for a ride- without the wheel. As has been mentioned, roll back isn’t an option
(unless you plan on riding it that way); staying over the axel with even foot pressure was key. The first few moments are at such slow
speed that carefull pressure is required, and I found my arms streached out on either side for balance (and was much better off for
it). After some repition, mounting issues faded. Contrary to my initial curses, the .5 IS easyer to mount than the Coker- but
requires diffirent muscles. On the 36" wheel I’ll stand well out of the sadle and use my weight to motivate the wheel; the .5 requires
that force to come from your muscle- muscles that I was not used to exerting in this fasion at this speed.

The .5 calls for a much more civilized mount, free of acrobatics- just step up. People of deminutive size, and those that would like
the extra speed without intimidation will warm to it quickly. It struck me as remarably casual- and that’s good.

The Bubble:

On the Coker, I ride in a “bubble” that exists in a wedge above the axel. As long as I stay within this bubble, all I have to worry
about is how much energy I want to pump in or bleed off. At speed, this feels wonderfull, sailing along on top, feeling slightly
disconnected from the wheel- relaxed. Slowing down, I’ll slide to the back of that bubble and apose forces that want to pitch me
forward, a position that would otherwise leave one on the ground. Riding the front of the bubble is more critical, but if you commit
to it, can be done; staying forward of the axel requires constant effort- anything less will have you on the ground in front of the

The .5 also has this bubble. It may even describe the same arc- but it is much smaller. When you mount, you step into this bubble
of force, but because you’re so close to the axel, it’s easy to pass right through it. On the Coker, your height puts you further out at a
wider section of the wedge and is harder to miss. To some extent, you supplant the exertion of the Coker with controll on the Uni.5

Low-Mid Speed Peformance:

Although we haven’t done a side by side with the Coker, the lower mass of the .5’s wheel seems to accelerate better at low speed
(under 12mph?). While it might require a bit more force to maintain this speed, it is crisp and responsive where the Coker is
slugish. Dismounting feels less threatening around pedestrians since the time and distance airborn is minimal, lending more to the
charm of the wheel as a civil vehicle. The mass of the .5 is also easyer to controll.

The comfort felt in this speed range lead me to underestimate my rate; so accustomed had I become to the casual nature of pumping
along at this speed that it did not feel fast- rather, other cyclists seemed slow.

As you might expect, the .5 blows away the Coker on low speed turns; the ability to easly perform sharp turns or spins to navigate
sidewalks or pedestrian add a layer of convience and safty.

At the higher end of the mid-range turns can be less forgiving, and required a conciencous change of technique. The cycle seems to
pull tword the outside of the turn, and if allowed to go unchecked would try to deverge.- a strange gyroscopic effect that I wouldn’t
normaly enocounter in a wheel of this size. Compared to the Coker, the reduced bubble size was disconcerting as speed increased,
since pitch controll on the wheel was reduced. Accelerating, breaking, and maintaining pace all felt strained as I left this speed
envelope. At speeds that I normaly find the Coker increasing in comfort, the .5 began to suffer. As others have said, there is some
noteworth wheel wobble. The critical nature of the narrow bubble- of being pitched off- would prohibite me from using the .5 at
the high end of the speed range; the extra effort needed to stay in that margine would eat up my energy and … well… scare me. It
felt threatening. With the Coker, the speed ceiling is marked by wheel wobble and outragous foot speed. That said, the wheel
should be back from the shop and trued, and I’v got my armour with me today… so, whe will see just how scarry it can be!

My initial assessment is that a 24" Uni.5 has merrit unto itself, indipendant of speed records or being mated to a large wheel, and
might be well suited for mid range trips in an urban setting (It’s bigger than the Internet… someday it will replace something that is
big and expensive and durty… cities will be redesigned around it, etc). An excelent essay was writen by a previous journalist who
thought that the Uni.5’s real potential would be relized when mated to a larger (say, 29") wheel. For me this is true.

I’m confident in my ability to apply the device Doug included… and would hate to ruin the next blokes fun. I’ll let them discover it, for themselves.

The shorter cranks and puller came with the crate. The wheel was out of true- but not by much, and wouldn’t have been an issue on a narrower tyre or if a frame like the Sem Extra Wide had been employed.

Most of my performance descriptions relate to the Coker- Lewis’ description of how it FEELS probably paints a better picture. Keeping this in mind, the .5 forced me to correct some bad habbits learned on other 24" wheels- like pivoting off the down foot in a turn; it forced me to maintain an even gate throughout.

More later (‘OH NO!’),


I wanted to add to this, just to say that I agree here. I feel so much safer dismounting the Uni.5 than I did the Coker. With the Coker, I always felt like I had to be ready to grab the seat and hold back the flying force of the Coker as I got off (however, I must say that the only thing weaker in my technique than my mount is my dismount). With the Uni.5, it had such low mass that there was never any worry of grabbing the cycle and keeping it under control when near pedestrians or obstacles (such as grass or dips … riding the .5 was almost like re-learning, for a few minutes).

However, when riding, I almost find the mass of the .5 harder to control, because it is so quick to change states, whereas the mass of the Coker gives me time to react (other than dismounting).

Then again, I’ve clocked 10-15 minutes tops on each, so my observations are less useful.


In Lewis’s defence, I have never known him to not dismount.


For those of you who did not read Dan’s comments on the 1.5 (which I refered to above), you may find them here.