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Old 2006-01-26, 06:01 AM   #1
paco
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Portable Unicycle

In my apartment where I live with my wife, we have one closet where we leave our coats, vacuum, and unicycles. We have no garage, and nowhere else to put them, so into the closet they go. The unicycles fit, but unfortunately they are a pain to get in and out, especially if I want to get the second or third one back. Which led me to analyze the shape of unicycles, in terms of storageability.

The way I see it, all three dimensions of a unicycle (length, width, and height) could be problematic. The width problem can be solved by removing the pedals and/or crank arms. But from what I understand, it's not something that should be done every day after coming in from riding. The length is determined by the size of the wheel, which isn't going to change unless someone invents a magic taco wheel that can be folded up (on purpose).

Which leaves the height. When you buy a unicycle from UDC or anywhere else, they generally send the wheelset and frame disassembled. Why? It cuts the size in half, meaning easier transport, or storage in my case.

So I was thinking, would there be a way to quickly detach the entire or part of the frame for storage on a daily basis? Here are my thoughts on the subject.

One place the frame could be removed would be down at the bearing housings, ala lollipop style. This could be a solution, but I worry about the method of attachment causing another place to snag your shoelaces or scrape your ankles. Plus, on a 20”, you really wouldn't be shrinking the size very much, as you'd only be cutting off about a foot of the height, if you leave the seatpost and seat intact.

The place I thought offered the most promise is at the crown, where the neck attaches to the forks. This effectively splits the unicycle into the wheelset (which isn't going to change anyway) and the neck, seatpost, and seat (See diagram), which would drastically reduce the vertical space needed to store my uni, and I think would facilitate many types of storage (taking it into class with you, taking on an airplane, etc)

So the question becomes, how do I connect a detachable section of the unicycle? There are a few criteria that need to be taken into consideration here:

1.Be able to be done within a minute or two.
2.Require, at the most, one tool.
3.Create very few small parts that could be lost.
4.Can be repeated on a daily basis without destroying itself (e.g. Thread stripping)
5.Not sacrifice frame integrity.
6.Not effect ridability.
7.Use cheap, simple, easy to acquire parts (excluding the frame itself, obviously)

The basic idea I have would be a two-part crown that rests on top of itself (see diagram). Some sort of bolt would attach on both sides. This might raise the top of the crown about 1”, but other than that, it should remain a pretty standard shape.

Now this is the part where I want to hear from you. Is this realistic? Advisable? Is there a better idea out there? A thread that I didn't catch while I was searching for similar topics? It really would help if there were a way that I could store my unicycles easier. I might even be able to get another one!
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Old 2006-01-26, 06:04 AM   #2
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Here's the other picture. Sorry I don't know how to make the picture just show up (I'm in a hurry)
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Old 2006-01-26, 06:08 AM   #3
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that's a pretty smart concept
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Old 2006-01-26, 07:13 AM   #4
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You could make a normal frame with a very very short seat tube (long enough for a clamp), and clamp that around a foot long section of normal diameter seat tube which then clamps around a seatpost. Use a strong 3 bolt clamp for the seatpost/seattube connection and always leave that attached once you have it at the right hieght. Then use a larger salsa clamp to clamp the seat tube to the frames stubby seat tube. You could take this off in ~30 seconds.
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Old 2006-01-26, 07:37 AM   #5
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Interesting idea with the two piece crown.

Perhaps a folding joint there like what is used on folding bicycles or folding wheelchairs would work. Take a look at some folding bicycles and folding wheelchairs for ideas.
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Old 2006-01-26, 08:07 AM   #6
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Meh.
Convince the wife to let you hang the unicycle(s)
Reconfigure a piece of furniture so that you can store them (under).
That's of course if you are barring removing the wife and using her side of the bed.
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Old 2006-01-26, 10:58 AM   #7
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Keeping the idea of splitting at the crown (having two plates in contact with other) how about:

The upper crown plate has pegs which locate into matching holes in the top of the fork legs. The two halves are kept together by a sturdy version of that over-centring snap clamp/closure (one at the top of each fork leg) that's used on cases and so forth - it probably has a technical name, but I don't know it. They're also used for making machining jigs and fixtures, and with the right geometry they can exert a huge force, but come undone with a flip of the finger (a split ring could stop that happening at an awkward moment).

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Old 2006-01-26, 11:38 AM   #8
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PACO! Good to see you're still alive.
Interesting idea. So far I'm with JC on the foldable joint idea.
The tech exists in foldable b*cycles to make these joints easy to operate and not sacrifice the integrity of the frame in the process.
If you can get this concept to work on raffies, let me know.

As for the picture issue.
If you attach only one pic per post, it will show up in your post.
As soon as you attach two pics, they will be shown as links (as in your first post).
A short-cut past this (that I picked up from Joe Marshall) is to attach as per normal and then to use the addy where the forum stores them in an IMG link in your post. That way you can have the pics where you want them in the text of your post and you won't only have to have the single pic at the end of your post.

Last edited by GILD; 2006-01-26 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 2006-01-26, 05:15 PM   #9
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Although the split crown would probably work, it might be much weaker since it's not a solid structure?? Maybe not..... Anyways, I like Obieone's idea on having like a 1-2 inch post coming out of the crown with a seat clamp on it. It will be 2-3 inches longer than the split crown idea but think it's a better idea.... One bolt vs. two bolts so it's quicker and easier. One drawback is that the seat clamp was down by the crown might get in the way for some tricks...

Guess it also depends on how tall your seat post is. Cause if I split mine in half at the crown, my seat and seat post would be much higher than the wheel/fork assembly. But if it were split in half an inch or two above the crown, it'd be much closer in height to the wheel/fork assembly.

Those are my opinions on this....
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Old 2006-01-26, 07:08 PM   #10
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I'm going to try thinking outside the box here...

I think you need a bigger apartment.

When I moved out of my parents house many years ago, I already had too many unicycles to fit into a closet. In the first place I lived (one of many bachelor pads), we parked some unicycles in the living room. It didn't help that two of my roomates also had multiple unicycles, including big wheels up to 56".

Any room under the bed, or in other alternate locations? In an apt. with such limited space, it might be useful to raise your bed, creating a larger storage area underneath. Useful, even if not for the unicycles.

Taking off pedals isn't such a bad thng, and can be done in 1-2 minutes with a single tool. Also it will make the unis much easier to stack than splitting the frame with the pedals still on. I know this from years of flying, and fitting lots of unicycles into cars. The key thing with the pedals is to thread them on carefully, so you don't damage the threads. Your fingers will get greasy every time you do this though.

The split frame idea is fascinating. If you don't want to design and build your own, consider getting some Pichler unicycle frames. I found this picture with a little Google search:
http://www.diecircuskiste.de/cgi-bin...280031&t=index

These are essentially modular frames that clamp together. Seems like a great way to use multiple fork/wheel sizes, but so far nobody else uses it.

Another approach could be quick-release bearing holders. Design a quick-release system to take the wheels off, and your resulting seat+frame can fit almost anywhere. But wheels with pedals on will still be space hogs. The easiest way to fit them together is to start by removing the pedals.
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Old 2006-01-26, 07:50 PM   #11
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Yeah I agree with John. The best way to go is to just remove your peadles and then possibly seat and seat post with a good quality quick realease. the folding crown or removable crown will only gain you a few inches at best and will require building new frames for all of your unicycles.

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Old 2006-01-26, 08:03 PM   #12
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Didn't a guy post on here quite recently about QR bearing holders he had invented?
As far as I recall he had a list of the components he used and how much it cost, and photos of the finished article.
I tried searching for the thread but can't find it, does anyone else remember it? (Or is it all in my head? )
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Old 2006-01-26, 08:09 PM   #13
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The problem with using quick release bearing holders is that there is grease down there. It's a dirty area of the unicycle. If you removed the wheel like that to be able to store the unicycle more compactly indoors you'd end up with grease and greasy dirt getting smeared on the floor, walls, and other objects in the closet. Not to mention getting grease on your hands and possibly your clothes.

Same problem with removing the pedals, or removing the seatpost. There's grease in all those areas.

The folding joint as used on folding bicycles makes a nice clean (clean as in not greasy) way to make the frame smaller.
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Old 2006-01-26, 08:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_childs
Same problem with removing the pedals, or removing the seatpost. There's grease in all those areas.
True. The next "easy" thing to do is pull the seats. Assuming they're not Schwinns (I know you had one before), use quick-releases and pull the seats out. This may help a little, but doesn't do much with the pedal/width problem.
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Old 2006-01-26, 08:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_childs
The folding joint as used on folding bicycles makes a nice clean (clean as in not greasy) way to make the frame smaller.
My first thought was to make a folding crown, and it pretty much would serve as far as I can tell. I'm just wondering how well the folding systems would hold up to the forces unicycling would put on the joints (I really am wondering, as I have no experience with them). Also, does anyone know if I could buy the joint separately and then weld it into a frame?

I also noticed on a folding bike website that they have folding pedals. That would take care of the width problem (if they are strong enough to withstand uni forces). I still want to do something at the crown area, to shorten the thing overall without dealing with a lot of grease.

Thanks for everyone's input. If I come up with a working design/prototype, I'll be glad to share the information as I have no interest in manufacturing these things; I just want to be able to stick a unicycle in my trunk, in a suitcase, or in a closet without much effort!
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