Who rides a Semcycle (Deluxe) and why?

I am a new rider (17+ hours of practice, spread over three weeks).

I chose as my first unicycle the Semcycle “Deluxe” 20 inch. I love it. It has a blue Primo The Wall tyre. It is a beautiful machine – quality, well-built, durable. It is surviving the learning process quite nicely. The seat can take an enormous amount of bashing, although I can catch the seat most of the time now.

As I learn more about the various styles of unicycling and unicycles, I am now confused as to the nature of the Semcycle (the “Deluxe”, NOT the XL family). Is it’s purpose just to be a good “all-around” unicycle? It’s a great one to learn on. But the crown does not lend itself to freestyle. How important is crown shape to freestyle? And clearly it’s not trials, muni, etc. So what category does it belong in? Who has a Semcycle and what do you use it for?

I’m not being critical of the Semcycle – I love mine – it’s just unclear to me what its raison d’etre is.

Thank you.

uni57 (Dave)

I ask myself the same question sometimes…and i have two of the Sem Deluxe’s. I’ve got a 26" , and my latest toy is a Sem with the 700c rim and 29" nanoraptor tire. I think for me it goes back to what i started on. My first uni was a 24" Schwinn back in the early 70", and of course the Sem Deluxe is a very similar design. I’m a real freak for quality, and the taiwan version of a “main cap” bearing holder so common on other cycles just doesn’t do it for me. I feel like the Deluxe is a fairly rugged, high quality all around uni, although i know a lot of people don’t really like the flex in the blade style of frame, or the fact that the seatpost is only adjustable in about 1" increments. Kind of rambling here, but thats my 2 cents worth on the Sem. Really love my 29er!

Chuck

Re: Who rides a Semcycle (Deluxe) and why?

On Sat, 9 Nov 2002 18:07:16 -0600, uni57
<uni57.dvlfb@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>I’m not being critical of the Semcycle – I love mine – it’s just
>unclear to me what its raison d’etre is.

Before I got my mean MUni machine “Het Beest” a few months ago, I’ve
ridden my Semcycle Deluxe 24" for almost two years. It was/is my first
unicycle. Why?

  1. I was riding at a club that is associated to Semcycle Netherlands,
    so we got them at a discount (XL too).
  2. I was told that the flex in the frame helped for smooth riding. I
    now think that if that is true, it does not help /much/.
  3. I was told that the sloping crown was actually BETTER for
    foot-on-frame than the square crown because it allows a more natural
    foot orientation. I now think this is nonsense but at the time I
    believed it - I was an absolute beginner.
  4. The seat post mounting system with the screws prevents the seat
    from inadvertently turning. Minor advantage I think. It also makes
    changing a tyre easier; again: minor advantage.
  5. My daughter got the XL at the same time, so surely I wanted
    something better / more expensive?

All in all, maybe not very compelling arguments. Still I love my
Semcycle!

Klaas Bil

All my posts are made with 100% recycled electrons.

without the legions of Sem owners opening fire on me,can i suggest that maybe just maybe they were copying Schwinn.

Or DM. Come on history buffs… who did it first

Re: Who rides a Semcycle (Deluxe) and why?

I believe the Sem deluxe was designed to be a quality freestyle unicycle. It was field tested by the likes of the Puerto Rico basketball team who had a reputation for trashing unicycles very quickly.

Remember that the deluxe is now quite an “old” design in terms of the unicycling world and freestyle skills have evolved significantly in the past 20 years. Stand up wheel walking and other skills REQUIRING a foot rest are now much more common than they once were. Note that their are very few freestyle skills which actually require a foot rest (although many are made easier by having one)

If you watch the USA skill level video you will notice several of the highly skilled riders demonstrating on the video are riding sem deluxe models. It is quite possible to do things like coasting, gliding and other advanced skills on a sem deluxe.

I happily learnt to ride one footed, wheel walk, one foot wheel walk and so on using a sem deluxe and for many years it was my favourite unicycle.

Now that freestyle unicycling has evolved and the availablity of trials unicycles has increased the sem deluxe has lost its niche in many respects. It still remains a strong, good quality, stylish unicycle. However there are a much wider range of quality choices out there now and it is possible to buy stronger unicycles or freestyle models more suited to todays advanced rider.

My sem deluxe eventually became a trials unicycle as it happily takes a Monty tyre. It is now living in Australia with a new owner who uses if for freestyle and enjoys it very much.

Loyd Wicker Smith. I don’t know much of thei history, but Schwinn bought the design from him in the mid to late 60s. Loyd (one L) had been making his unicycles in Arizona for many years before this, but undoubtedly not in the kinds of numbers Schwinn could sell. I own a Loyd, which I purchased on eBay. It looks pretty much like a Schwinn, with an almost identical frame. The one glaring difference is the seat. Schwinn designed their own seat. My Loyd, though it might not have its original saddle on it, sports a skinny, painful-looking bike seat!

More about why Sem chose the Schwinn/Loyd frame in my next post…

Re: Re: Who rides a Semcycle (Deluxe) and why?

I have to agree with that. But the flex probably assists in reducing chafing along the legs, especially from the front part of the seat.

I agree that this is nonsense as well. But it all depends on your point of view. Some of us learned to ride one foot on sloping Schwinn crowns. A lot of us, me included. It is unclear whether Sem actually prefers the sloping crown for one-footing, but it clearly works fine for him. I, however, learned to ride one foot in 1980 and got my first Miyata in early 1981. Once I got the squared-off fork, for freesyle, I’ll never go back.

The simplicity of the Sem/Schwinn/Loyd frame is its strongest point. It is far less complex to manufacture than any form of tubular frame. But that means a unicycle bearing this type of frame should be less expensive. But the Schwinn will remain at least a little more expensive because it bears the Schwinn name. The Sem Deluxe is intended as a high-end unicycle, and has other high-end features that also keep it from being a cheaper one.

The single bolt design is a piece of cake. On the other hand, it means your whole frame is held together by a single bolt. The fact that it keeps the seat from twisting is great, but unicycling has grown way beyond the acceptability of 1" increments on seat height. I wonder if there’s a way to combine an infinitely adjustable seat post with a locking bolt to keep it from twisting? With the advent of better clamps, however, this is not such a big problem.

Sem grew up riding Schwinns. My guess is that it was the only unicycle available in Suriname, if his dad even found it there. But the Schwinn was the trusty unicycle of the day.

Before there was Semcycle, there was the Sem axle/hub. This was a handmade, heat-treated axle/hub that was much stronger than any unicycle axle on the market. But I think it was cottered only. That should give you an idea of the era (early 80s). Semcycles were introduced in 1985.

I believe Semcycle chose the Schwinn design because it is easy to manufacture. They took a design that worked well, and made a number of improvements. They improved on the (old style) Schwinn seat, the seat post bolt, the axle (much stronger), the bearing area, and had the best Freestyle pedals I’ve used.

The original Semcycles also had radially spoked wheels. This made for a really cool looking wheel, with spokes that would break all the time if you didn’t true it weekly. Raise your hands if you true your wheel weekly? Okay. So after a few years they went to a 1-cross pattern, which retains most of the lateral stiffness of the radial wheel, but improves on the glaring weakness of the radial design.

Back to the original question: What type of unicycle is a Semcycle Deluxe? That’s an interesting question. The design dates from the previous era. In other words, it was designed to ba a “good” unicycle instead of a “cheap” unicycle. Those were the two basic types then.

In today’s market, a freestyle unicycle with sloping crown and no seat bumpers will have problems competing with other, possibly much cheaper, ones that do. It’s all a matter of your tastes.

Re: Who rides a Semcycle (Deluxe) and why?

> My sem deluxe eventually became a trials unicycle as it happily takes a
> Monty tyre. It is now living in Australia with a new owner who uses if
> for freestyle and enjoys it very much.

Yes, I do enjoy it very much, but to say that I use it for freestyle is a
bit of an exaggeration. I use it mostly to impress teenagers who are always
blown away by the monty wheel. It seems that many people believe that if you
have hardcore gear you become hardcore by default.

Peter’s unicycle brought my Semcycle count up to 4.

XL 28
XL 20
Deluxe 20 -Monty
Deluxe 24 -Muni

Personally I like the deluxe because of the smooth lines that it has been
designed with.

Wayne van Wijk
wayne@jester.com.au

I have learned to ride on my semcycle 24’’ deluxe (my first unicycle). I recieved it around christmas last year, and I am able to free mount, turn, and ride forward. It has held together well as I weigh almost 250#. I like it.

…as a newbie I’d love to see some piccies of one…

um… this thread is from 2002, haha… the semcycle is an older design. if you wish to see one (i’m too lazy to do this for you) search unicycle.com … if you can’t find it there google it.

Try semcycle.com, they still have the 29" for sale, with a decent picture. Or imagine a Schwinn from the early 80s, with a bump down the side of the frame. :slight_smile: