Semcycle hardware troubles (fwd)

Semcycle hardware troubles (fwd)

Post by Beirne Konarsk » Sun, 10 Sep 1995 04:00:00

Forwarded message:


> Everyone who owns a Semcycle, please raise your hand.

        |  |?
        \  /


> Everyone who does NOT need to carry along a toolkit with you anytime
> you ride more than a mile, put your hand down.

        /  \
        |  |?

Well, not anymore.


> How many of you still have your hands up?

> I'm more than a little frustrated over two mechanical problems I have
> been having with my recently aquired 20" Semcycle.  After having been
> away from the sport for several years following the theft of my
> Schwinn back around 1989 (who the hell steals a unicycle?!), I bought
> the Semcycle in August from the Juggling Capitol in Washington, DC.
> It was delightful to discover that I still knew how to ride, and
> nostalgic to remind myself how much my crotch hates unicycle seats.

> So what are the hardware problems I am having?

> Number one is a slow leak.  Over a two mile ride I can lose as much as
> 3 PSI in the tyre.  It also loses air when I am not riding, but I do
> not know at what rate.  As much as 10psi over two days of not using it
> has been observed.  It basically means that I have to inflate the tyre
> every single time I am going to use it, even for the return commute
> home in the evening when I'd just ridden it in ten hours earlier.

This one is easy.  Go to a bike shop and get a new inner tube.  I'll admit
that one would normally expect a good one to come with the uni, though.

- Show quoted text -


> The other problem, much more frustrating, is with the left crank.  The
> retainer nut loosens up, eventually enough so that the crank loosens
> up on the axel and gets progressively worse, the point where it can
> just be pulled off.  I thought I had this problem***ed when I really
> tightened down the nut so much that I was afraid of stripping the
> threads.  It was further down (ie, tighter) on the bolt than the right
> crank.  This worked fine for maybe a dozen miles, but just two nights
> ago, in the middle of my commute, it went from rock solid to
> completely off in less than half a mile.  This was especially annoying
> as I couldn't even put it back on and tighten it up because not only
> had the dust/retainer cap fallen off, but the nut had also come
> completely off the axel and was lost.

> This weekend I intend to get to hardware store and find a new nut, and
> probably thread lock it as a prophylactic against this happening
> again.  But still, even with such a solution at hand, it bothers me
> that I have been having these problems.  What are your opinions?

The crank came loose on my 28" XL.  It took a while before I figured this
out.  I tried tightening it, and bought a new nut to see if it would work
better, but it still came loose.  I finally sent it back to the vendor
(the Unicycle Factory), and Tom Miller put on a new crank, and I've no
problems since.  Two things could have happened:

The crank arm wasn't tight enough, and it got damaged when loose, which is
why I couldn't tighten it enough.

The crank arm was off spec, and things were hopeless.

I don't know which was the case.  Miller made it right, though.

To get to the point, you might try taking it back to the store and see what
they can do for you.


Beirne "Bern" Konarski        | Unicycling Web Page:

Kent State University   |
"Untouched by Scandal"        |


Semcycle hardware troubles (fwd)

Post by David Winsto » Fri, 15 Sep 1995 04:00:00

I think the key thing to make of all this discussion is:

1. Unicycle wheels and cranks are essentially bicycle-grade items

2. Unicycling exerts significantly more stress on cranks/spokes/etc.
   than bicycling ever will

Conclusion: we should be suprised that unicycles work as well as they do
considering what we put them through!!!  I think if we all spent a little
time to learn what to do to keep our uni's ticking we wouldn't have to
spend pages and pages making one vendor's product appear bad when it
really isn't any different in the industry (bicycles included).

If you purchase a bicycle at a store, chances are the brakes aren't going
to be adjusted quite right, the spokes won't be super tight/true/etc.
That's why after you've selected your dream ride off the showroom floor,
they always whisk it away to the back room and "dial" everything in
before they hand over to you (If they don't, you better remind them to,
or else they are a questionable operation).

The same is _very_ true for unicycles.  Most bike shops don't know what
the hell a unicycle is, or take consideration that you are going to
pound the hell out of it.  I doubt _very_ highly that they do the same
"whisk" away and "dial" in procedure for your uni--they're just glad to
get that thing off the floor so they can replace it with a bigger profit
item like a mountain bike or something.  However, you now know that you
deserve (and should demand) the free adjustment up front before taking
possession.  This should eliminate some of the frustration some of the
newbies out there have reported.

The other thing is (and this is very true if you received your unicycle
in a box in the mail): why not just do your own "dial" in procedure,
just to make sure everything meets your needs?  Follow these steps, and
I think you should be in good form.

1.  Let the air out of the tire before adjusting _any_ spokes.
    Failure to do this will eventually create pinholes in the rim strip
    and eventually the inner tube--major cause of slow leaks (see posts
    from earlier...)

2.  Keep the spokes adjusted _tightly_.  Check spoke tension as often
    as possible.  Wobbly spokes cause other ones to snap.  Never ride
    a unicycle with broken or missing spokes... They are relatively
    simple to replace, and the wrench to tighten them is cheap.

3.  Ensure the crank arms are secured to the axle.  Check these
    almost as often as the spokes.  Remove the dust cap and attempt to
    tighten the nut with a wrench.   If it moves _at all_, use ***
    hammer or wood block strike with hammer to seat the crank first.
    Then tighten nut with wrench.  If this process is followed from
    DAY 1 of owning a unicycle, you should be able to avoid the
    problems described in the earlier postings...Again, this is not
    difficult mechanic-type work we're suggesting here.

Enough for now, just thought I'd wrap things up in one post.  I've
worked in a bike shop and been on both sides of these issues, so I know
how everybody feels--let's get back to riding and talking about the
great experiences we're having on one wheel!