Unicycle Upkeep

Hey everyone,

I just go my first trials uni and was wondering if there is an any upkeep needed for my unicycle. I’m sure there are others out there that would appreciate any information anyone can give.

check peddles and spokes tire cranks arm ect for cracks or defects

Thanks. I’ll make sure I do that.

The big three:

  1. Keep the bolts properly tightened; loose bolts lead to replacing parts.
  2. Keep the tire at the proper pressure so you don’t ruin the rim. I’ve found that I wear the tire unevenly, so I occasionally let the air out and rotate it along the rim. You also need to make sure to keep the stem of the tube at a right angle to the rim.
  3. Keep the wheel trued. If the wheel is out of true, it is more likely to pretzel.

You bearings should last a long time, but check them every now and then. Don’t forget the bearings in your pedals. Check the frame for cracks occasionally. There isn’t much to a unicycle, so there isn’t much to do, but all the force is concentrated in small areas, so once something starts to go wrong, it’ll probably go wrong quickly if you don’t fix it right away.

Rotate the tire
Replace spokes if you break them, and tighten occasionally
Don’t leave it in the rain

Thats all I do and my uni is still good after like a year and a half.

thanks man. that was really helpful!

What is “truing the wheel”???

Truing the wheel is making sure it is round and not wobbling. This is done by setting the spoke tension by adjusting the spoke nipples with a spoke wrench. Ideally, every spoke will be at the exact same high tension, but they may need be at different tensions to make up for a bent rim. Spokes sometimes come loose and have to be tightened. A well trued wheel rolls better and is much stronger than a wobbly wheel. For more: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/truing.html and http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#tensioning

Checking that the wheel is true, or really tightening or untightening spokes so that it becomes true if it isn’t.

To make this answer more helpful, I’ll also tell you what “true” is. It basically means that there is no wobble in the wheel. That holds to both sideways wobble or up-down wobble. So if you stand your unicycle upside down on the seat, or possibly hang it from the seat somehow, then when you let the wheel rotate the rim will be steady. I hope that’s clear.

There’s a lot to properly truing a wheel. The late Sheldon Brown has a good tutorial on his website. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/truing.html

Edit: Ha, I see someone beat me. It’s reassuring though that the same website is mentioned.

Oh oh oh…I have a question now. When you check bearings, what are you looking for? How do you know if they are bad or need attention??? I don’t have any issues at the moment (knock wood), so how will I know if I develop bearing issues?

If you stand the unicycle on its seat and spin the wheel, it should spin smoothly, with no sound and little friction. When the spinning wheel finally comes to a stop, if the bearings are working well it should rock backwards slightly.

If it’s not spinning freely, or if it’s clicking as it goes around with no weight on it, you have a bearing issue; either the bearing holders are too tight or there’s gunk in the bearings. Take the pedals off so you can be sure it’s the wheel bearings and not the pedal bearings making noise. Loosen the bearing holders all the way to test if over-tightening is the problem.

Bad bearings usually aren’t that much of a problem on a uni. I did a whole Moab weekend where my wheel sounded like a pachinko machine because the bearings were shot, but it didn’t affect my riding much. It’s pretty rare for uni bearings to become non-functional; they’ll become annoying long before then.

Pedal bearings tend to get a lot of abuse. You can maintain them (if they’re loose bearings) by taking your pedals apart, degreasing everything, regreasing everything, messing around trying to get the right number of tiny bearings back into the bearing races, and putting them back together. Or you can buy Odyssey Twisted PC pedals for $12, ride them until they seize, and buy another pair.

Hahah, I was just thinking today how lazy I am. I have a bike pump in the car and still rode with too low of pressure.

Kevin M and I rode last year and sessioned a rail. Neither of us took out the allen wrench to take off our rollos.

I’d rotate my tire as to not have threads at 6 o’clock, but then I have to deflate the tire even more… forget taking out the crank puller.

Spokes are creaking and my wheel is not so ture…

…I still love every minute of it.