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Old 2018-09-15, 09:45 AM   #16
zack28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
1999: First splined hub on a unicycle, the DM ATU
Was that the first mass-produced Muni?

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Old 2018-09-15, 09:53 AM   #17
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Disc brakes were the biggest game changers that happened during my time of unicycling. Without them, all the top muni riders would be a lot slower. Any other improvement has been mostly a "lighter and stronger" improvement. Those make things better, but they don't enable new techniques and setup choices like disk brakes do.
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Old 2018-09-15, 01:48 PM   #18
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Some background history before I give my simple answer.

My first uni had a crude and uncomfortable seat: a rectangle of metal with rounded corners, and the ends curved up slightly. On top of this was an oblong block of cheap foam, not glued in place, but simply covered with thin nylon cloth — not even ripstop nylon. I improved it by binding it together with self adhesive handlebar tape.

My second and third unis had Viscount saddles which were heavy, but adequately comfortable. The plastic bumpers were poorly attached with self tapping screws and fell off regularly. Only my third uni had a built in grab handle on the seat. Now all my unis have built in grab handles.

My first uni had no quick release on the seat post clamp. I improvised with a levered nut (a one armed wingnut?) pirated from an old shopper bike.

My first uni had lollipop bearing holders held in place with self tapping screws, one of which sheared after a week or so and had to be drilled out. The bearing holders rattled in the frame as I rode. My second uni had lollipop bearing holders held firmly in place with through bolts and Nylock nuts. They took ages to remove. My third had cheap pressed steel bearing caps. I was on about my sixth uni before I had one with machined bearing caps.

My first uni had cottered cranks. That means that each end of the axle was round with only one flat ground into it. The cranks were wedged in place with a tapered cotter pin hammered through a hole in the fat end of the crank. The cotter pin was then held in place, at least temporarily, with a nut. My second uni had "cotterless cranks" which was an amazing thing at the time. Many of you now dismiss them as "only" square taper. My sixth uni was the first with a splined hub.

Those first cranks were steel. In fact, I was on about my 7th or 8th uni before I bought one that had light alloy cranks as standard — and, they had dual holes, which was luxury undreamed of.

My first uni had a heavy frame made of round section mild steel tubes brazed into lugs. The forks were round section and the "sticks" of the lollipops poked up the ends and rattled. My second uni had tapered Reynolds steel forks.

My third had a lighter steel frame and, to my great delight, it was chromed rather than painted. I was on my sixth uni before I had one that had an aluminium frame.

My first uni had a heavy steel rim crudely painted with what appeared to be enamel paint. My first 36 was a Coker Big One with a chromed steel rim. All of my 4 remaining unis now have light aluminium alloy rims.

My first "handle" other than the plastic seat handle, was a hand made steel thing that was extremely heavy, and bolted into one fixed position to the metal base of the Viscount seat. I burned out a drill bit drilling the holes. I now have KH and Nimbus handle set ups on my 29 and 36 that I can adjust or remove in a minute or two.

Tyres have improved. Foss tubes are a massive improvement. Pinned pedals are now readily available, including lightweight plastic pedals wit cro-molly spindles and metal pins.

My first computer had to be set up manually to the wheel size and gave very limited information. I can now map my ride in real time on my mobile phone and upload it and review it on my laptop, looking at split times, average speeds, changes of elevation and total distance.

Out of all of these changes and more, what one thing do I think has improved my enjoyment of unicycling the most? What single improvement, rather than the combined effect of improvements in weight, stiffness and design? What is the one thing that improves every ride that was not available on my first 3 or 4 unis?

The seat handle. Yes, seriously.

My second choice would be this forum, because in the east midlands of England, unicyclists are few and far between. This forum has encouraged and educated me as a rider, inspired me, and sometimes helped me in a crisis. This forum is the friendliest place on the internet. Thank you.
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Old 2018-09-15, 02:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zack28 View Post
Was that the first mass-produced Muni?
I guess that depends on one's definition of mass-produced. Let's call that "unicycles (or parts) you could order from a company and not have to wait for them to make it". That's not the best definition, as we used to have to wait many months to replace our Miyata seats or other parts which actually were mass-produced, but is hopefully adequate for this. Most high-end unicycles are not made in large batches. Schlumpf hubs, for example, also don't fit my definition well, at least not year-round. They are made in batches, which often sell out by the time they're done.

Pashley, a well-known bike maker in England, introduced the Pashley Muni in 1997. Not sure if it was on the market then, but one was donated to the California Mountain Unicycle Weekend, and brought by Roger Davies. It was won in a random drawing by Jonathan Young from Oregon.

The Pashley Muni addressed the infant "Muni market" but wasn't innovative beyond its mountain bike wheel. A 26" steel rim of typical width for MTBs at the time (not very wide). Steel, square taper cranks. They did have an improvement on the Taiwanese lolipop bearings that Mikefule described above (unless he had a Pashley), in that the bolts went all the way through and had nuts on the other side. But they were still pressing flat against the unicycle's tubular frame. The Pashley uni seat was something I described as an upside-down gravy boat; large and ungainly. But I did know one person who actually liked it. Only one person.

The DM ATU, with the splined axle, was also from England, made by David Mariner. I got mine in 1999, because nobody bought the one that the Drummonds brought to their first USA convention, in Washington state. It went immediately to the North Shore trails in Vancouver (Kris Holm's training ground), where I was chicken to ride the majority of the manmade structures there. I remember hauling it around by its heavy Viscount saddle (no handle) while holding a large video camera in the other hand! The ATU used the frame design from DM's "Ringmaster" uni, the deluxe model. It had a one-footing-friendly frame with a knurled surface for grip, and this frame was wide enough to fit a 2.4" tire.

BTW, wider tires on Munis were also an innovation that changed what unicycles could do offroad. It's not like you couldn't ride lots of really bumpy stuff, but wide tires made it possible to ride it faster, survive bigger hits without pinch flats, and otherwise have a much more pleasant ride.
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Old 2018-09-15, 06:36 PM   #20
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I remember the excitement of being in London for work in 2010 or 2011 and walking past OddBalls at the weekend - in Camden town. I had bought a uni from that juggling shop, a good 15 years before... one of those chrome thing with the worse seat ever and the white wall tire that became bald in a month. I went in out of curiosity, I hadn't been to Camden market tourist trap in years. And what a surprise! There were badass munis with big knobby tires, there were cool looking QU'AX, mat black with 48 spokes wheel and yellow hub, and so on. What a shock! How cool was that! It didn't take long to find unicycle.uk that same evening and order a 24"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
My second choice would be this forum, because in the east midlands of England, unicyclists are few and far between. This forum has encouraged and educated me as a rider, inspired me, and sometimes helped me in a crisis. This forum is the friendliest place on the internet. Thank you.
Totally nailed it Mike!
When I got the first unicycle in the mid nineties, the internet was just starting here in Europe. First cyber-café was Cyberia in London's Fitzrovia, circa 1993 or 94. The IUF already had a website and I downloaded a .doc with 150px photos of a "how to ride a unicycle" method, as well as the "levels". I printed those and read them over and over. I never became proficient on that uni then, and I'm sure if this forum had existed (or I found it as searching the internet was far from being an acquired reflex) I would have become better. Learning is a pretty lonely thing if you don't know another rider who can help, but thanks to this place we can find advice, ask questions, and ultimately get it!
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Old 2018-09-15, 08:07 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
1) I guess that depends on one's definition of mass-produced. Let's call that "unicycles (or parts) you could order from a company and not have to wait for them to make it".

2) Steel, square taper cranks. They did have an improvement on the Taiwanese lolipop bearings that Mikefule described above (unless he had a Pashley), in that the bolts went all the way through and had nuts on the other side. But they were still pressing flat against the unicycle's tubular frame.
1) I'd say mass produced is when large numbers of identical items are made for sale in anticipation of orders being received — as opposed to only being manufactured when a definite order from an individual customer has been received.

2) My first two unis were Pashley.

The 20 was a UMX: a 20" x 1.75" (from memory) tyre. The lollipop bearings were held in place with short self-tapping screws. They rattled in the fork ends.

The 26 had the improved system with the bolts passing all the way through and being backed with a Nylock nut. These were well enough made and snug enough that there was no rattle or wobble.

Pashley have become a very niche retro manufacturer. The Muni was more modern and advanced than many of their bikes! It was made with Reynold's tubing (lightweight tubing, but so much of it that it was heavy). The frame had braze on bottle bosses which were not yet standard on reasonable quality bikes. It had cotterless cranks which were still not universal on bikes. It had an aluminium alloy rim, whereas many bikes still had chromed steel. It lasted me well and I had many fine adventures on it.

Here's a link to the company website:
https://www.pashley.co.uk/bikes/bicycles.php

Pashley are now owned by Moulton. Moulton pioneered good quality small wheeled bikes and back in the 1960s/70s introduced a simple but effective form of suspension. Sadly (in my opinion) Pashley have now gone full on for the retro market, and Moulton are apparently aiming for the rather specialised market of rich people who want to appear different and a bit quirky.

Images below of

1) The current Pashley Guvnor (super retro expensive gimmick)
2) A modern Moulton (nicely engineered but a far too fancy expensive gimmick)
3) A 24" Pashley uni with the cheap lollipop bearings and a crummy saddle
4) A rare photo of me on my Pashley UMX taken in 1989.
Attached Images
    
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Old 2018-09-16, 03:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
My second choice would be this forum, because in the east midlands of England, unicyclists are few and far between. This forum has encouraged and educated me as a rider, inspired me, and sometimes helped me in a crisis. This forum is the friendliest place on the internet. Thank you.
Indeed. Thank you, Gilby, for making this user-friendly home port of the old newsgroup, making it accessible to a much larger audience than existed during the Usenet years.

Before the Unicyclist.com Forums, this was the Usenet newsgroup "rec.sport.unicycling". By the time Gilby created the Forums and ported the newsgroup over, it had become pretty cumbersome. This was because users would receive all the messages, and there were plenty of users and topics in those days. It could overwhelm your inbox, even if you were uni-obsessed.

Before the "Usenet official status" and rec.sport.unicycling, it was the "unicycle newsgroup", a simple email mailing list. I can't remember now who originally started that; it was before I joined. I got connected to the online community in the early-mid 90s, and Beirne Konarski was the administrator of the group. I think he also started the unicycling.org website, which was probably what Pierrox was referring to above. An official IUF website only came along much later. Now it's replaced the old content at unicycling.org, which used to include things like the "Been There, Done That" page, of unicycling feats and endeavors.

I would credit "The Internet" in general as a very important component in creating our current unicycle environment and market. The fact that we have so many choices of quality unicycles and parts is directly connected to the ability of the Internet to connect people with specialized interests. If you can figure out how to sell unicycles online, you can reach a large enough audience to be able to afford to make new seats, for example, every year. This is huge!
Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrox View Post
...and I'm sure if this forum had existed (or I found it as searching the internet was far from being an acquired reflex) I would have become better. Learning is a pretty lonely thing if you don't know another rider who can help, but thanks to this place we can find advice, ask questions, and ultimately get it!
Yup. And it did exist then, but was not nearly as easy to find.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
1) I'd say mass produced is when large numbers of identical items are made for sale in anticipation of orders being received — as opposed to only being manufactured when a definite order from an individual customer has been received.
That might be a fair way to define it for the small unicycle market. I don't think any of the high end unicycles or parts out there are made in very large numbers, rather in batches.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule
The 26 had the improved system with the bolts passing all the way through and being backed with a Nylock nut. These were well enough made and snug enough that there was no rattle or wobble.
Brett Bymaster, one of the early Muni pioneers, got a Pashley Muni when they were new. He corrected the flat vs. round problem with the bearing bolts with a set of spacers that were curved on one side and flat on the other, which probably helped his Pashley survive as long as it did under his use. He was always trying things that punished a wheel! I may be wrong about the rim being steel on the Muni.

I found a scan of a photo from the '97 Muni Weekend, where Roger Davies is trying to help Brett tighten his crank bolts. He's weilding a hammer, and apparently has a non-metric socket that he's about to whack to get it to fit the crank nut. Or he's goofing around for the picture, as I realize it's my hammer and my toolbox off to the side. The cranks appear to be alloy, but I'm not sure if it came with those, or that Brett had swapped them out. his Muni also has a Miyata saddle on it. The rim looks more silver than chrome. And he has some nice, sharp rat trap pedals on it! We all did.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule
...Moulton are apparently aiming for the rather specialised market of rich people who want to appear different and a bit quirky.
I saw a few of those people on our recent trip around Ireland. Isn't Moulton famous for his folding bikes? I assume the small wheels are part of the overall design of a bike that's designed to be compact for travel on bus, train or plane.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule
A rare photo of me on my Pashley UMX taken in 1989.
Was that uni really called UMX? Was that the official model name? That was what we called offroad (or rough terrain) unicycling before around 1995, when people in England started calling it Muni. The UMX title came from an article I did for the USA Newsletter in 1981. I called it that because at the time, BMX was at a height of popularity, before mountain biking had become huge. We never really did do anything like moto-type racing with unicycles that I know of, but we called it UMX before the "MUni" name came into regular use.

Here's that Muni Weekend 1997 phot. Brett Bymaster is wearing his "Bloodman" shirt, and Roger is wearing the Muni Weekend shirt, which I think was the first Mountain unicycling T-shirt ever made. At left is Roger's carbon fiber Muni, and you can see the seat and post of my jerry-rigged 26" Schwinn "Muni", with its Chinese knock-off red Miyata-ish saddle.

That was the second California Mountain Unicycle Weekend (we didn't do T-shirts for the first one). Several people attended that as their very first uni convention: Bruce Bundy, Nathan Hoover, Dan Heaton, Beirne Konarski, John Childs, Scot Cooper. Where was George Peck? He came in '96, and again in '98 when we had another new guy, Kris Holm.
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Old 2018-09-16, 04:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
1)
1) The current Pashley Guvnor (super retro expensive gimmick)
You know you're old when ...

... you look to see the kind of goofy fun something "retro" might be is ... and are disconcerted to find it's the bog-standard you grew up with ...

... and that you still don't find to be exceptional in the least ...

*sigh*
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Old 2018-09-16, 07:30 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
1) I saw a few of those people on our recent trip around Ireland. Isn't Moulton famous for his folding bikes? I assume the small wheels are part of the overall design of a bike that's designed to be compact for travel on bus, train or plane.

2) Was that uni really called UMX? Was that the official model name?
Moulton's big thing was the small wheels: small wheels and a novel suspension. Yes, they have always had at least one folding bike in their range, but that is not their core product.

You may be thinking of Brompton, who make one of the best designed quality folding commuters, or possibly Bickerton. The Brompton is one of the most successful and iconic folding designs, beloved of trendy commuters. The Bickerton was a thing of its time, and dreadfully ugly.

Yes, my Pashley was officially called the "UMX" just as they officially called their 26 the "Muni". These days we'd call that "cultural appropriation" and start a Twitter storm.

I remember the brochure saying choose the 24 for speed or the UMX if you wanted to "go unicycle yomping". Yomping was a buzzword at the time as it was used by the soldiers who fought in the Falklands conflict to describe a rapid advance over rough terrain.

Attached:
  1. Picture of Brompton folding bike, folded.
  2. Picture of Bickerton.
  3. Picture of me riding the Pashley UMX at the top of one of the main towers of Warwick Castle.
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Old 2018-09-17, 09:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
Meaningful innovations during my time in unicycling:
  • 1980: Plastic bumpers on saddles! (Miyata) Before that they were metal or non-existent
  • 1983(?): 1-less-tooth bottom sprocket for Schwinn Giraffe; tire doesn't wear in one spot
  • 1984: Bike shorts! They already existed, but few unicyclists wore them yet (I discovered them)
  • 1984: Unicon: Unicycling World Championships
  • 1990s: Paul Wyganowski, Rick Hunter, Chris Reeder and other custom builders who made great parts for us
  • 1995: Schlumpf hub introduced
  • 1998(?): Unicyclesource.com (later Unicycle.com)
  • 1998: Coker introduced; a revolution in long distance riding/racing to follow
  • 1999: First splined hub on a unicycle, the DM ATU
  • Early 2000s: KH and Nimbus, working separately and together, to develop better saddles, frames, hubs, etc.
Not all of those are engineering innovations, but many are pivotal to our sport being where it is today. And I'm sure I'm leaving out a ton of stuff...
->> I remember Miyata being the top saddle and also breaking a ton...

->>[*]1990s: Paul Wyganowski, Rick Hunter, Chris Reeder and other custom builders who made great parts for us

This makes me melancholy, now its hard to find pictures to show the great work of those guys!

What about the UNIVERSE VHS? (I know it is not a unicycle part)
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Old 2018-09-17, 09:23 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
My second choice would be this forum, because in the east midlands of England, unicyclists are few and far between. This forum has encouraged and educated me as a rider, inspired me, and sometimes helped me in a crisis. This forum is the friendliest place on the internet. Thank you.
This forum changed my life too.

Thanks @Mikefule for reminding the true fun besides riding the lonely wheel... the unicyclist comunity!!
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Old 2018-09-18, 05:00 AM   #27
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->> I remember Miyata being the top saddle and also breaking a ton...
I have one on my 28. It's still my most comfortable saddle, although rather flimsy. It needs a special seat post or I might consider transferring it to one of my other unis.

I remember when this forum seemed to be full of posts about how to convert Miyata saddles to air saddles, but I was always happy with mine.
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Old 2018-09-18, 12:45 PM   #28
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I think, saddles are really the most game chaning parts for me. The first saddles I used, were as uncomfortable, that I could not ride more than 5 minutes on it. Without better saddles I could not have even imagined to sit on it for more than the typical duration of our performances (3 to 5 mins) or even do multi hour tours on a unicycle.

The old unicycle that Mikefule describes, seems to have been in the same "quality range" as the one I learned on...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
My first uni had a crude and uncomfortable seat: a rectangle of metal with rounded corners, and the ends curved up slightly. On top of this was an oblong block of cheap foam, not glued in place, ...
The one i learned on, was a 1" steel tube, bend to banana shape and welded onto the seatpost. It was wrapped with an inch of very firm felt and a layer of leather that was sewed on the bottom. So it was around 2 inch thick. The ends - front and back - were open. So I had to sit with my whole weight on the middle line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
... My first uni had no quick release on the seat post clamp. I improvised with a levered nut (a one armed wingnut?) pirated from an old shopper bike. ...
The frame had one hole going from the front to the back, the seatpost had several. Then a bolt was put through the holes and secured by a nut. It could not prevent the seatpost from turning a few degrees.

Quote:
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My first uni had lollipop bearing holders [...] The bearing holders rattled in the frame as I rode. [...] My first uni had cottered cranks. [...] Those first cranks were steel. [...] My first uni had a heavy frame made of round section mild steel tubes [...] The forks were round section and the "sticks" of the lollipops poked up the ends and rattled ...
Same here ... plus heavy block pedals ...
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Old 2018-09-18, 01:51 PM   #29
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The frame had one hole going from the front to the back, the seatpost had several. Then a bolt was put through the holes and secured by a nut. It could not prevent the seatpost from turning a few degrees.
Ah, yes, I never owned one, but I rode one once. Almost a Meccano frame and seat post. Horrible. And the seat on the one I rode was literally hard moulded plastic, and brittle.
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Old 2018-09-18, 04:46 PM   #30
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What about the KH rail adaptor???

-> Brake lever mount + bike seatpost compatibility (Like 7 Kg weight) but It was a incledible part...
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