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  • Building a custom unicycle

    I am total newbie in the unicycling world. So far, I had only been bicycling and have a good idea on building custom bikes. However, recently unicycle has caught my attention and I looked up a few unicycles online. The mountain unicycles by Nimbus look very expensive for the kind of components they have.

    I am pretty sure building a custom bike might be a better option. However, I am finding difficulty in sourcing the components online. Any clues on good sources for the components. I understand ISIS standards for hub and cranks are important aspects. Any other sizing, mating or component related inputs are welcome.

    I am looking to build a 26" or 27.5" or 29" bike as the tire availability for other sizes is a bit of a concern in India.

    Any of you who have built a custom unicycle, please share your experiences too.

  • #2
    Going custom will most likely be more expensive in the end, but this is partialy because you always choose what you want. It's usualy cheaper for the dealer to sell a ''package deal''.

    My unis are all custom, but I work in a bike shop, so I have access to all the parts fairly easily at cheaper than retail prices.

    You'll need to find your closest unicycle dealer for the uni parts like hub, cranks, frame, seat and seatpost. The rest can all be bought at a local bike shop by deciding whatever you want depending on what you'll be riding the uni for.
    Jakob F.

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    • #3
      You're almost always going to spend more on a custom wheel, unless you have plenty of the components already. I wouldn't go into it with the mindset that you're going to save money. Build custom for something special. I would say on average, I have spent about double on a custom build vs just buying off the shelf. (bikes and unicycles)

      There simply aren't that many places to source unicycle parts. They are very niche. I'm not familiar with who all supplies India. There are a few places in the US to get parts, but they aren't any cheaper than unicycle.com, and the shipping would be ridiculous.

      You don't need to get an expensive Nimbus. The steel 26"/29" Nimbus muni is a workhorse that will last you many years of abuse! If you want to save some cash, don't bother with the brake or aluminum frame. It baffles me how many wheels come standard with a brake. You really don't need it outside of extreme circumstances, or just like it as a luxury. Note that the base, steel-framed Nimbus has mostly the same components as the upper-end Oracle lineup.
      Steel is real! => I ride a Nimbus!

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      • #4
        Welcome to the world of unicycling! It's a great sport!

        For anyone who is just starting out to learn how to ride a uni, I always recommend starting with a basic no-frills model to learn with. I totally understand wanting to do things correctly, with high-quality equipment, but in the basic learning stage, you generally can't tell the difference. Here in the USA, one can find inexpensive, used low-end models very easily. (I don't know what the situation is in Inda, but there are forum members there that may be able to advise.)
        A 20" wheel is the most common wheel size to start with, and I recommend it. You never "outgrow" it, it will always be useful for learning new tricks and skills, and for loaning to other new riders to learn on. (It's also the most common freestyle size.) Likely manufacturers to look for are Torker and Sun (but there are several others).

        Good luck!
        "I'm a unicyclist. I make my own reality."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by go4sunny View Post
          I am pretty sure building a custom bike might be a better option. However, I am finding difficulty in sourcing the components online.
          A custom bike? I guess you meant unicycle.
          Unless you used methods from before the internet era, these two sentences sound somewhat contradictional to me.
          Originally posted by go4sunny View Post
          Any of you who have built a custom unicycle, please share your experiences too.
          If price is the reason to go custom; do truly expect being able to build your own mouldings AND a frame for less than the costs of a frame you're now looking up against to?

          And in case you're just talking about assembling a unicycle from custom picked parts... then mind all the separate shipping costs plus maybe import fees at customs (before finding out you selected something incompatible).
          Last edited by leo; 2017-12-03, 07:19 PM.
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          • #6
            Welcome to a great sport.

            Ask yourself this: on what basis would you design a custom unicycle? What is it about your experience as a unicyclist that tells you that you can design a better unicycle than already exists on the market?

            Now ask yourself this: on what basis do you think that you can make or source specialist unicycle parts more cheaply than people who have spent years as riders and working in the industry to design and bring the current range of products to the market?

            Buy a unicycle. Learn to ride it. Tweak it: pedals, saddle, clamp, bars, lights, drill a few bits if you want, but buy one and ride it.

            If you enjoy riding it then in a year or two, you may have a good idea of what you want from a custom unicycle. If you don't enjoy it, then thank goodness you didn't waste time and money building a custom uni.
            My first novel, Bridge of Otherwhere, Michael Wilkinson, on Kindle. A tale of subtle magic, mystery, friendship and love. Tinyurl.com/Bridge-of-Otherwhere For US$ page: TinyURL.com/OtherwhereBridge

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            • #7
              Custom made, or Custom assembled!

              Originally posted by jaco_flans View Post
              My unis are all custom, but I work in a bike shop, so I have access to all the parts fairly easily at cheaper than retail prices.

              You'll need to find your closest unicycle dealer for the uni parts like hub, cranks, frame, seat and seatpost. The rest can all be bought at a local bike shop by deciding whatever you want depending on what you'll be riding the uni for.
              He is so right, I do not work at a bike shop. I do make my own muni's and uni's in my garage shop. But to even assemble your own version will be expensive or very economical if you know your expectations of your needs. There are some very well made unicycles availabe and not always new, check the trading post.

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              • #8
                Unicycles have come a long way in what's available. Unless you want something very specific like a 22" wheel you are probably better off getting a stock unicycle.


                I built up a sturdy 26" MUni wheel before 26" MUnis became standard. It was fantastic, but you can get a compatible wheel for cheaper now with less hassle.

                I built up a 26x80mm fat wheel before the fat thing caught on. It cost only a bit more than what you would pay now but was a major PITA and not as strong, light, or well thought out as todays stock options.

                I had a frame built for a 29x3.5 tire before the plus craze. Probably cost me $500 more than it would now to just buy a Hatchet, and I had major knee bashing issues. The tire isn't as good as what's commercially available now.

                I built a 32" unicycle before there were even 32" bikes. I will not bring it on a trip since if anything goes wrong with the tire I would have to build a new one as replacements are not available. I plan on buying a 32" wheel to replace my custom one to make it compatible with stock parts.

                I don't regret getting any of my custom unicycles as they filled a want and there was nothing commercially available that could do the same thing. That's changed. The Unicycle industry is maturing. I still swap out parts and tweak my unicycles to my liking but there is much less need to go out and build a unicycle from parts anymore.


                If you want something very specific by all means go for it, but if you think you are going to build up a unicycle that is functionally better than a Nimbus for less money you are mistaken.

                EDIT: It just occurred to me that you are probably looking at the Nimbus Oracle line, Yup they are expensive but they are premium unicycles built with premium unicycle parts. If you want a more budget friendly unicycle look at the Nimbus II unicycles. A bit heavier but bombproof at half the cost. Unicycle.com is a good starting point for looking for unicycles depending on what country you are in.
                Last edited by saskatchewanian; 2017-12-04, 01:23 AM.
                My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

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