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Old 2017-05-07, 05:30 AM   #16
johnfoss
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Originally Posted by Engineer on a Unicycle View Post
An easy test would be to hold a unicycle by the frame and (being carefully of the pedals!) spin up the wheel.
You'd be surprised how much wobble you get, especially as the speed increases. If you're able to get it going fast with one hand, you'll have trouble holding onto it with the other.

Naturally this effect lessens as the wheel size gets bigger, so try it with a 19 or 20" Trials for best results.
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Old 2017-05-08, 01:25 PM   #17
Greasy
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Originally Posted by Biped View Post
It's easy to focus on the equipment (saddle, wheels, crank, etc) but in this case I would look a little more at self. Specifically, your undercarriage.
Yeah, this is absolutely something I need to consider before dropping money. Been getting after it lately, I feel like I am at least making small optimizations in my configuration. Just getting out there and doing it is making a big difference.

Always best to consider a problem somewhere between the seat and steering wheel before looking elsewhere.
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Old 2017-05-09, 09:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer on a Unicycle View Post
I'd wonder how much the passive mass of the cranks matters, vs the forces of feet pushing on them..
Quite a lot. It is something we must learn to account for in our dance with the wheel.

Straight versus offset cranks also makes a difference. Riding a range of Q factors helps us develop a better understanding of the out of line forces. Diversity of experience reaps benefits right across the spectrum.
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Old 2017-05-09, 07:53 PM   #19
Bradford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biped View Post
It's easy to focus on the equipment (saddle, wheels, crank, etc) but in this case I would look a little more at self. Specifically, your undercarriage.

When I take to the streets my limiting factor is not the distance, it is saddle sores. Since I still battle them when I start hitting the 25 mile range, I haven't figued them out yet, but I would focus on a good cycling cream and a good pair of cycling shorts.

I have a good sized tube of Chamois Butt'r that will last several years. Don't be stingy... put it on heavy. On long rides I reapply more.

I have several different makes of padded cycling shorts... they all seem to be about the same. I have no preferences and can't say one works better than the other. They all work better than regular shorts.

If you figure out the magic potion for this, let me know.
Ditto to this. I did a 25 mile race last summer on my 36er not long after I bought it, and it taught me a lot. While I was using cycling shorts, they weren't very good. I upgraded to better quality shorts with a much larger and thicker chamois, and I also starting using Chamois Butt'r. That alone made a world of difference. I also upgraded my saddle from a Nimbus Gel to a KH Fusion Street and shortened my cranks from 138s to 125s. It's like a completely different ride, and going longer distances isn't nearly as painful as it used to be. Whatever saddle you use, I'd go for something flat-ish.

As with any ride or race, I'd find out if there are any serious hills to climb, or anything else that will effect your ride. I do OK with 125s on some of the steeper hills, but it can wear you out, especially if you don't train for it. I like to use the shortest cranks I can get by with, but if things are really hilly, I might use 138s, or even 150s. There's a guy in our club that only uses 150s on his 36er, and he usually puts us all to shame, so it's just whatever works best for you. I like the 125s because my ride is smoother with less wobble, and it seems that since I move my legs less, I don't have as much saddle soreness.

Frequent but small breaks (like 10-30 seconds) can really help to manage saddle soreness, but when you get fatigued, it becomes increasingly harder to freemount. I take breaks when I need to and just deal with it. At one point I spent a lot of time freemounting on my 36er over and over. It pays off when trying to freemount when you're pretty worn out or in a less-than-ideal place to freemount.

Good luck, have fun, and make sure to tell us all about it after the 100k!
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Old 2017-05-09, 11:24 PM   #20
krjames
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Everybody got very technical very quickly... Nobody mentioned the basic 'play with the seat angle before spending money'. I rode my 29 for years working on the hardening the backside principle, didn't work. It made a big difference when I tilted the seat up with about 0.8mm of washers under the front seat bolts....
Got a 36 late last year and the Zero seems to work OK for me, longest ride only two and a half hours going slow
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Old 2017-05-12, 04:12 PM   #21
Engineer on a Unicycle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
You'd be surprised how much wobble you get, especially as the speed increases. If you're able to get it going fast with one hand, you'll have trouble holding onto it with the other.
I was a bit surprised yesterday to find that when doing some of my fastest sustained riding to date on a gently graded, perfectly paved rail trail, that I got the most wobble when "following" the wheel down gentle declines, but almost none at all when putting in just a bit more power than normal to spin up gentle climbs.

So your point about the rotating mass may indeed be more important than then pushing on the cranks which I had suspected.

Or possibly there's even a regime where the two effects perfectly cancel each other out? Though it's not intuitive why they would be opposite in direction.

Of course extreme climbs have the wheel twisting side to side on each "step".
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Old 2017-05-12, 07:38 PM   #22
johnfoss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer on a Unicycle View Post
...I got the most wobble when "following" the wheel down gentle declines, but almost none at all when putting in just a bit more power than normal to spin up gentle climbs.
When going downhill, assuming it's not a super-gentle slope, you will get a different input to your "wobble" from the back foot as it comes up. Now you're using your quadreceps to resist the pedal while the muscle is being extended rather than contracted. Unless you do this a lot, your skills/spin will not be developed to be as smooth with that kind of pedaling, resulting in more wobble.

On steep downhills it becomes very noticeable because that back foot has to make sure the wheel doesn't get going too fast. This is one of the places were brakes are most useful; to keep your speed under control while still being able to make fine adjustments to your direction of travel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer on a Unicycle
Or possibly there's even a regime where the two effects perfectly cancel each other out?
I don't think so. Even for people who develop a super-consistent spin, this is usually only at its best within a certain range of RPMs. Outside of that and the quality of your "foot circle" gets worse.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer on a Unicycle
Of course extreme climbs have the wheel twisting side to side on each "step".
They can, but with practice you can learn to keep a straight line even while pedaling hard. On dirt, sometimes you have to, or to make specific adjustments as you go. On paved steeps, I have learned to swing my arm to counteract the tendency of the power foot to make the wheel turn left and right. I think my arm swings back when the right foot pushes, and then toward the front when the left foot pushes (or I have that backward). It saves a little energy when climbing the hills.
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