General Unicycle maintenance

1178 views  April 3, 2019

Unicycles are not complicated but they do take a little bit of maintaining. Here are some of the key points:

Creaking Cranks

Stop riding immediately and tighten! If these are left they will destroy the cranks and hub. The creak comes with downward pressure of the pedal and is often confused with loose spokes. Cotterless cranks: remove the caps from the end of the cranks and tighten with a 14mm socket spanner (or 8mm allen key). ISIS Cranks: tighten bolt with 8mm Allen Key

Creaking Spokes

After some time spokes stretch and slacken, this is not normally terminal for the wheel but does weaken it. Tightening a wheel is a job that is normally considered to be a job for an expert, but if approached carefully, it is not difficult for the lay-person. If the wheel is just loose, but central, tighten each spoke using a spoke key by a quarter turn, being careful not to miss any, repeat until spokes are tight.

Loose Pedals

Stop! Check that you have the seat facing forward and you have the right pedal on the right-hand side of the unicycle. This can also happen when riding backwards for prolonged periods. If your pedals come loose it is almost certain that you have the right-hand pedal on the left side and vice-versa. If this is left for any length of time then the crank and pedal will be destroyed. Tighten with a 15mm spanner. If you have damaged your pedals and cranks we do sell replacements. To remove the cranks you need to use a crank extractor.

Loose Seat Bolts

When learning, the constant dropping of the unicycle can cause the bolts that hold the seat to its post to come loose. Check and tighten these regularly. Different saddles have different fastenings, some will require a 10 or 11mm socket, while others will require a 4 or 5mm Allen key to tighten.

Loose Frame Bolts

If you feel or hear the frame clicking or moving then stop and check the bolts. If left loose the bearings can become damaged and in extreme cases the frame cracks and will be destroyed. Different frames will require different tools to tighten these frame bolts. Generally if your unicycle has cotterless cranks it will have 40mm bearings and therefor you will need to Use a 10mm spanner or socket to tighten. If your unicycle has ISIS cranks you will most likely have 42mm bearings and will require either a 5 or 6mm Allen key. These bolts need to be done up tight enough to hold the bearing securely in the frame but not so tight that when the wheel is spun it isn’t smooth. If the bearings are over-tightened, they will wear prematurely and require replacing.

Under Inflated Tyre

It is bad practice to ride a unicycle with a flat or an under-inflated tyre, because all your weight is on a single tyre. For different types of riding different tyre pressures need to be discovered. As a rule if the surface you are riding on is smooth and hard then a higher pressure is advisable, if the terrain is rough then a softer pressure will work better. When using lower pressures avoid being able to feel the rim hit the floor or squirm about when you load the unicycleAn under-inflated tyre can also cause the wheel to buckle under rapid turning or bouncing.

Worn Tyres

When a unicycle has been ridden for a bit you will notice that there is one or possibly two areas of the tyre that are getting considerably more wear than any other. This is due to idling and turning. This can be remedied by letting the air out of the tyre and then rotating the tyre through 90 degrees. If you can see the canvass of the tyre instead of rubber it is definitely time to get a new tyre

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Brakes

Brakes are a great addition to most unicycles. Brakes are a must for riding on roads when running 125mm cranks or shorter for control when going downhills to save your legs and stay on the unicycle. For mountain riding they are beneficial to have for technical terrain and downhills technical or not. When using the brake, you use it for drag only. It's not like using them on bikes. There are a couple options out there when considering what to ride with. The Magura hydraulic rim brake is a classic that has been used for years on unicycles which require Magura direct mounts welded to the frame. Disc brakes are also a great option that can be added to most unicycles with adaptors easily bolted on. If you choose to upgrade your frame the Nimbus Muni and Kris Holm frames will fit both style of brakes, the Nimbus Oracle and Oregon frames are disc only with using the Nimbus D-Brake mount. 

Saddles

When you are learning, you can destroy your saddle with the constant dropping. We sell a wide range of saddles from the top companies: Hoppley, Club, Trainer, Nimbus, Impact and Kris Holm. You can also change your saddle bumpers if there the only part of your saddle damaged. If your looking for a more comfortable saddle there are many options, a thing to remember is saddles are a personal preference. So trying out a saddle for the type of riding your looking to do can be a challenge but will be well worth it when you find one that works well for you.

Seatpost

Have you outgrown your existing unicycle? Have you broke your seatpost? Do your want to adjust the tilt of your saddle more? We have seatpost to fix all those issues. Older seatposts tend to be 22.0mm, 22.2mm or 25.4mm. The current unicycles tend to be 25.4mm or 27.2mm.

Seatpost Clamps

It can be very annoying to be constantly straightening your seat, so one of the most common upgrade is to add a double bolt or double quick release seat clamp to your frame. These clamp more area on the frame and help keep your seat in position you want even under the worst conditions. Beginners though are the other way round they need to be able to move their seat position regularly until they find the optimum height for their riding style, and to reposition your saddle if it moves.

Frames

We carry frames for people that want to replace, update, upgrade and or custom build their unicycle. When you are looking to buy a new frame be sure to make note of your bearing size and hub width, this is important to make sure the new frame will fit your wheelset.


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