Unicycle Quality

Hey techie minded folk,

What are the quality issues to consider between different brands of unicycles? There is Torker, Jugglebug or Savage at the “low end” and ??? at the high end. What banishes a uni to the low end ranks while others attain mid or high quality status? A few of the issues I’ve heard to date are main cap vs. lollipop bearing holders, flat crowned vs. rounded (of course that depends on the application), crushing the lollipop post holes, Pashley seems to have an issue with bearing holder bolts, some brands may not have the main cap bearing holders welded on straight, etc. To answer my own questions, I suppose how the uni is accessorized makes the biggest overall statement of quality. But I was wondering more specifically like, “Are there any differences between weld quality on frames?” and “Do some unis use better quality or thicker gauge metal tubing?” What else should be considered?

Wondering in Wichita
(actually Rochelle…but that doesn’t rhyme with Wondering)

On 13/7/01 10:25 pm, yoopers posted:

>
> Wondering in Wichita (actually Rochelle…but that doesn’t rhyme with
> Wondering)
>
Neither does Wichita. Or does it?


Trevor Coultart

“Rabbit is clever. Rabbit has brain. I suppose that’s why he never
understands anything” (Winnie the Pooh.)

> What are the quality issues to consider between different brands of
> unicycles?

Ok, I’ll start this one. Hopefully others will add their comments as well.

Axles: Cheap unis have weak axles. Suzue is a good strong axle to look
for. Taiwanese, Schwinn, and Semcycle axles are not as strong as the
Suzue, so avoid them if you’re going to do any hopping on it. For the
insane, go for something splined.

Frames: All good freestyle frames and some off-road frames have a nice
foot rest. Good MUni frames need to have lots of room for fat tires, and
as these are mostly low production custom jobs they are $$$. Lightweight
is much sought after, as is stiffness and strength.

Bearing holders: The cheap lollipops that come on a lot of Tai unicycles
do have the problem of cracking the tubing at the bottom of the frame.
This can be avoided if you can get some curved washers to spread out the
load from the bolts. Cheap bearing holders made from stamped steel are
common on Semcycle, United, and other brands of unis. These work fine as
long as you don’t overtighten the bolts, in which case the wheel doesn’t
turn freely. Precision bearing holders are found on high end unis. These
support the bearings nicely, but may be heavier than the stamped steel
kind. Ease of disassembly varies greatly from one type of bearing holder
to another. Someday we’ll have quick release. But not today.

Seats: Comfort, durability, and a good handle are all sought after.
Ability to upgrade to an airseat is a plus.

Crank arms: If we had this problem solved we’d all be a lot richer.

Weld quality: Will vary, but is generally more of an aesthetic issue than
a strength issue, since frames don’t fail very often.

Tubing thickness: Thickness is probably about the same, but nicer frames
are made of stronger material. Thicker would mean heavier, of which most
of us are not fans.

Bearings: Sealed are better than shielded, and cheap ones don’t turn as
freely as better ones.

Tire: For indoor, a non-marking is preferred. Outdoor, anything goes.

Powder Coat: Stronger than paint.

Quick release: Low end unis generally have ineffective quick releases that
are difficult to clamp down tight enough to prevent the seat from moving.

Spokes: Stainless steel are the good ones, galvanized are the cheap ones.

Rims: Double wall aluminum rims are lighter and stronger than single wall
steel rims that come on lower end unis.

Chris

yoopers wrote:
>
> Hey techie minded folk,
>
> What are the quality issues to consider between different brands of
> unicycles? There is Torker, Jugglebug or Savage at the “low end” and
> ??? at the high end. What banishes a uni to the low end ranks while
> others attain mid or high quality status? A few of the issues I’ve heard
> to date are main cap vs. lollipop bearing holders, flat crowned vs.
> rounded (of course that depends on the application), crushing the
> lollipop post holes, Pashley seems to have an issue with bearing holder
> bolts, some brands may not have the main cap bearing holders welded on
> straight, etc. To answer my own questions, I suppose how the uni is
> accessorized makes the biggest overall statement of quality. But I was
> wondering more specifically like, "Are there any differences between
> weld quality on frames?" and "Do some unis use better quality or thicker
> gauge metal tubing?" What else should be considered?
>
> Wondering in Wichita (actually Rochelle…but that doesn’t rhyme with
> Wondering)
>
> –
> Posted via the Unicyclist Community - http://unicyclist.com/forums

Chris,

Great start, a few comments from me.

> Bearing holders: The cheap lollipops that come on a lot of Tai unicycles
> do have the problem of cracking the tubing at the bottom of the frame.
> This can be avoided if you can get some curved washers to spread out the
> load from the bolts. Cheap bearing holders made from stamped steel are
> common on Semcycle, United, and other brands of unis. These work fine as
> long as you don’t overtighten the bolts, in which case the wheel doesn’t
> turn freely. Precision bearing holders are found on high end unis. These
> support the bearings nicely, but may be heavier than the stamped steel
> kind. Ease of disassembly varies greatly from one type of bearing holder
> to another. Someday we’ll have quick release. But not today.

The inportant thing about bearings is that they are held properly. You
might have noticed that the bearings in lollypop bearing holders last
longer, next best are precision bearing holders the next is the pressed
steel kind. There are quite a few types of pressed steel bearing
holders going about, they vary in qualty from OK to crap depending on
how well they hold the bearings… Coker ones are the worst I have
seen, DM ringmaster are the best. Precision machined bearing holders
like the DM’s are superb, but even these can overtighten the bearings
making them ovelise.

> Bearings: Sealed are better than shielded, and cheap ones don’t turn as
> freely as better ones.

There are several things to look out for here. Read the codes on the
bearings… here are some examples: 6203 - No sheilding 6203-z - Steel
dust sheild on one side only 6203-zz - Dust sheild on both sides 6203-rs -
Rubber sheild on one side only 6203-2rs - Rubber sheild on both sides

Personally I would only consider -2rs as they help keep moister out - but
I do live in the UK! For most inside things -zz are ok. would never
consider using any of the others.

> Quick release: Low end unis generally have ineffective quick releases
> that are difficult to clamp down tight enough to prevent the seat
> from moving.

If you are not going to move your seat height then the best about are the
double bolt BMX clamps. They are a pain at workshops.

> Spokes: Stainless steel are the good ones, galvanized are the
> cheap ones.

…I will leave this for others like Leo to answer, because the answer as
to what is best is not as simple as Chris has suggested.

Cheers

Roger

> > Spokes: Stainless steel are the good ones, galvanized are the
> > cheap ones.
>
> …I will leave this for others like Leo to answer, because the answer
> as to what is best is not as simple as Chris has suggested.

I would be interested in this. I’ve just heard that galvies get real hard
to true after they’ve been through a winter.

Chris