United brand cranks

Hey all, just curious what the general opinion of United cotterless cranks is.

All my uni’s right now are ISIS, and in the past my cotterless ones had Ventures. However, I’m planning a new project that will have a square taper hub, but I want chrome/silver cranks. It’ll be strictly for road (pavement and probably some gravel/double track).

Kind of funny since they seem to be a staple on the UDC US site, spec’d on just about every cotterless unicycle as standard.


I have a couple of sets of them. The best feature is their price – cheap! They allow you to try different lengths to see how you’ll like them without spending a lot of money.
Other features:

  • they weigh a ton.
  • they’re pretty much bullet-proof (you’re just as likely to strip your pedal out as the crank if you cross thread it).
  • the build quality is so-so. On one set I can tell one of them is a slightly non-square, because you can feel the difference when it goes around in a circle. (Interestingly enough, though, I got used to it real fast. After a couple revolutions I didn’t notice it. But if I changed to a different set and then back again, I could feel it again.)

All-in-all, if you know what size you want, I would recommend getting a better-quality aluminum set. But as always, YMMV.

edit: you can get aluminum polished so it looks shiny like chrome. Just a suggestion.

Yeah, I had thought about trying to polish some Ventures, but I recall them having a rough black finish on them that’d be tough to get off possibly.

I recall seeing some decent polished Qu ax ones once upon a time, but it seems like cotterless cranks are getting quite a bit more scarce in general.

I’ve pretty much settled on the 137-140 mm length.

At that size, United is probably the only game in town (that I’m aware of).
But at $15, you really can’t lose by trying them. (http://www.compulsioncycles.com/Cranks/Cotterless-Cranks?product_id=202)

On the polishing thing, yes, the Ventures (and most other colored cranks) are anodized, which makes it a difficult finish to remove. But if you take them to a metal polisher, they’ll have it off in pretty short order (polishing is a metal removing process). On the other hand, they have a chrome-like powdercoat now that may be worth investigating. Just a thought.

Maybe I’ll just learn to like black… I’m sure I can find a metal polisher around here, but I don’t know if it’s important enough to warrant the cost.

Funny, I had to polish a small section on my 82 Schwinn’s handlebars, and would definitely not want to do much more than that! :smiley:

I wrecked a few pairs back when I was using square taper cranks. It might have been the hub on my cheep “trials” unicycle but even with proper seating techniques I would eventually develop slop with any steel cranks I tried. I bent a few as well. I have since come to the conclusion that the cheep steel cranks are good for figuring out what crank length you want to run and not much more.

I would learn to like black or get a polishing wheel and pick up a pair of ventures. I don’t know why they don’t seem to make them in your preferred size but the longer ones could potentially be re-drilled and shortened, but by the time you do that you could have bought multiple pairs of United cranks and just replaced them as they broke.

Oh hell, I didn’t even look if they had Ventures in that length. I may have to rethink this a bit then. I could probably deal with 125’s.

There are Schlumpf cranks available, but then you’re dealing with international shipping…

I have some 125’s


I run a pair of those (Qu-ax) on my 36r. I like them, and they’re pretty reasonably priced (from Goudurix).

So no problems with the qu ax alloy cranks developing slop?

I’ve had QuAx alloy cranks, and United steel, as well as Sugino steel, and another Japanese steel crank that I can’t recall the brand (HJC?).

In my opinion the QuAx are decent quality, and stay secure without any problem considering that they are properly installed. The United cranks are certainly the poorest out if the lot, and yet I haven’t had any problems with the loosening. The bigger problem with them is that they bend easily. For the riding you’re describing it probably won’t be an issue. It’s not that steel cranks are bad, it’s just that no one makes good quality ones anymore.

The generic Japanese cranks I have are very nicely made 140’s, and I scavenged them from a beat up old 70’s “10 speed” bike. It was a youth bike with 24" wheels.

And therein lies one of the beautiful things about square taper. It was the standard for high quality bikes for 40 years, so there are a lot of them around, and many can easily be remade into unicycle cranks. The three pairs that I have converted all had the chain wheels swaged on, and only needed to have the swaged metal ground off to remove. One pair I did with my Dremel, the other two I used an angle grinder.

+1, I was also fairly happy with the prowheel cranks, they held up very well for cotter less cranks. They have quite a bit of offset which I was not used to coming from the United cranks. I haven’t used a crank of worse quality than the United cranks.