I consider the Wilder/Lyte Ryder frame to be ideal also. I have never heard anyone that owned one say they didn’t like the way they ride. I did hear one person on the forum who has never ridden one say he heard of “some people” disliking them because they are “too stiff”. For the life of me I can’t figure that one out.
I have been riding mine for 3 years, and I like them enough that I set up to do brake mount installations on them. Brake installation gallery
There have been a very few (only 3 I know of) instances of the crowns cracking from hard climbing, but the builder has long since beefed up the welds in the problem area. At only 1.45 pounds, it is on the edge of the strength/weight envelope but is very well designed.
I also have not heard any complaints about the Wilder frame. These may have trickled down brom the bicycling community, where there is a lot more experience with different frame materials.
All other things being equal, an aluminum frame is stiffer than a steel frame. This can be a minus on a bike because a bike frame can flex in multiple directions, robbing you of some of your control and handling. Other forms of flex are good, as they provide a light form of suspension.
A unicycle frame can only really flex one way, which is twisting to the left and right. In this area, less flex is best. Based on those assumptions, a unicycle frame can never be too stiff.
I chose the Wilder because I liked the way it looks, wanted something other than steel, and especially because I know Scott Bridgeman is a perfectionist. He did extensive testing on his frames before making them for public consumption. You want a light, stiff, solid frame? That’s a great example of one.
If making your own, the thing to remember about aluminum is its lower tolerance to flex, which can cause it to crack. So you have to balance the weight/strength thing appropriately for the material. I don’t know what this translates out to, other than keeping your eyes out for cracks after you build and ride it.
Scott: That was me who has heard of folks not liking them. I’m not really a picky enough rider to care, although from what I hear, there’s a few people who are.
As for building a frame, I’m currently working an a frame, and something I’ve been having to think lots about is heat treating vs. cost, ease of design, and strength. I designed mine so it didn’t need any welding, but at the crown I had to enlare it enough that it was becoming excessive, when a simple weld would suffice. The only problem with welding is that it’s very difficult on aluminum, and you need to heat treat it afterwards.
Things I considered in my design were, in order of importance, strength, weight, crown profile, cost and looks. I wanted it to be strong enough that it wouldn’t break (of course). I wanted to make it as light as possible, while retaining adaquate strength. I decided that cutting half and ounce here and a half ounce there would eventually add up, so there is very little extranneous material on my frame. I wanted a low profile crown for seat out. My ideal situation would be a 4" wide crown, but the best I could do, with 1/4" clearance on both sides, was 4.5". I assumed that costs would be low since I’m doing all the work, and that was accurate, although if I had someone else do this things would quickly reach and break $150. The looks aren’t a worry, since aluminum frames look super cool already, and I have enouygh troubles satisfying all the other requirements. And, of course, it wouldn’t be an aluminum frame without pins in the crown.
If you are going to make your own frame and can build it in aluminium yourself, then you probably have enough knowledge about the material’s properties already to go ahead and build it. If, like I have done, you are about to enlist the services of a bike builder then most likely your frame will be made in steel. There are many more bike builders around who build in steel than aluminium.
General considerations for frame building:
-Find the best bike builder in your area (ask cyclists and the local bike shops) who you trust. You want to be sure that you’re going to end up with the unicycle you want, rather than a costly mistake. Oh yes, custom building is not cheap but you will end up with a unicycle exactly as you want it.
-Don’t overbuild! A well designed frame will be very strong yet still light in weight. It is very uncommon for frames to break. They don’t need to be built like tanks.
-In my experience the hardest part of a unicycle to build is the bearing holders. You need a design which will prevent side-to-side movement of the frame on the bearings and one which doesn’t allow the frame to flex through the bearing. ie enclose those bearings on both sides, top and bottom.
-Try and assemble all the components of your new uni-to-be before starting building as you will need to take dimensions off the hub and the width of the tyre (the same tyre will have a different width on different rims)
-Think of the diameter of seatpost you want to use - you have more choice in 25.4mm and 27.2mm posts. (I have 22.2mm posts in my custom unicycles and getting good seatposts is difficult.)
Make sure tyre clearance is adequate if you ever go to a bigger tyre (ie up to a 3" Gazz)
You can use a 24" wheel in your frame designed for a 26" (provided the tyre is not too wide) but not the other way round - something to think about should you ever want to change wheel size.
-Try and plan for all eventualities - do you want to be able to do one-foot riding with this frame? Will you ever want to add brakes? (its much easier and cheaper to get brake bosses added when the frame is first built.)
That’s enough for now, but as you can see, there is a lot to think about when you’re building a frame!
I think that it is unneccessary to enclose the bearings from the inside. It is prefferable, but rather redundant. I have flexed the beeariong caps off an old SH frame, but that was to the inside. It seems that every pedal stoke pushes the fork inward, meaning that there is plenty of force to keep the frame on there, as long as you have an outer lip.
BTW, I know this is off topic and I’m sorry, but Total is the first and only person ever on my ignore list. I guess he now has an achievement that’s almost worth something.