You know, something we’ve learned, being intimate with the sport in general and the world of unicycle sports, is that unicycles are not particularly cheap.
Unicycles may be simple machines but taking care of what you have no matter the price is very important. They are made up of some unicycle-specific parts and the rest come from the bigger bicycle industry. This goes for mountain unicycles, trials unicycles, touring unicycles - pretty much any one-wheeler, even beginner unicycles, can command a premium. The other odd bikes we sell here, including minibikes and clown bikes, are in the same camp.
So you want to make sure what to do, or rather, what not to do, in order to protect your investment, right?
With that said, we put our heads together and came up with the 8 easiest ways to ruin your brand-new unicycle.
Skip All Reasonable Routine Maintenance
As stated, unicycles are simple machines. But they are still machines, and being such, they have moving parts. Like anything with moving parts, some periodic maintenance is in order.
This is pretty simple with unicycles. There’s genuinely not very much you need to remember; only these basic best practices.
Keep the pedals tight, tighten the bearing caps, and keep all the other nuts and bolts tight. There aren’t that many of them.
Unsure of what to tighten? Pick your unicycle up by the saddle, raise it about two inches, and let it drop on the tire. Did you hear something rattle?
Do it again, pinpoint the source of the rattle, and find it. It’s a loose fastener somewhere. Tighten it. Problem solved.
Never Fill Your Tire
By all means, if you want to fast-track the destruction of your unicycle, never fill your tire.
On the other hand, if you value your investment, you’ll keep it properly filled.
Have you ever heard of a pinch flat? They’re nasty little things that occur when the tire’s too low and the edge of the rim gets pinched against the tire. This can create not one but two flats, ruining the tire.
Set your pressure and check it periodically. Also, remember, extremely cold temperatures can drop your tire pressure so don’t just leave the house on a crisp, -10℉ day and assume you don’t need to check the pressure.
If you have a minibike with non-pneumatic tires, we begrudgingly exonerate you from this charge.
Ride with Your Pedals Loose
How else to say this: if you ride with the pedals loose, you might actually destroy the crank arms themselves, or even the crank-hub interface. You could just strip the threads right out.
This is self-explanatory. Perform the drop test (above) if you must. Just don’t ride with the pedals loose.
Put Your Seat on Backwards
Alright, so, the problem here is actually not riding with the seat on backwards. It’s the fact that if you put the seat on backwards and ride whole unicycle the wrong way, you are also cranking the crank arms in reverse.
Therein lies the problem. It’s the same as riding with loose pedals. You will strip out the crank arm threads and might even deform the hub axle interface (particularly a problem with square taper crank models).
So don’t do it. Look at the frame. The relief (slit) where the seatpost clamp goes is at the back of the unicycle. Double-check this. Make sure your saddle is mounted the right way. Consult pictures. Call us. Just make sure it’s on right.
Or else you will ruin your unicycle.
Drop Your Saddle While Riding on Concrete (or Any Rough Ground)
Dropping the saddle is a beloved trick that some intermediate and advanced riders like to do to show off.
It’s more or less exactly what it sounds like. A rider stands on the pedals, often bouncing, dropping the saddle forward and catching it when it rebounds.
Some slicksters even like to ride with the saddle in this lower position, dragging it along the ground. Except some of them do it on paved surfaces and concrete.
That’s a quick way to ruin your unicycle’s saddle. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Explore the Ocean Deep
Who hasn’t? One moment you’re on the beach, the next you’re exploring the mid ocean ridge in your favorite unicycle.
Once you’re back at the garage, you’re all tired out from all that pedaling, you know, and you forget to wash off the unicycle.
Many unicycle components are made of corrosion-resistant alloys, but not all of them are, and corrosion-resistance goes only so far. Saltwater exposure will overrun must corrosion-resistance pretty quickly.
(A more likely scenario is you were riding on the beach or along a bay and didn’t rinse off the cycle. We won’t tell on you but don’t forget to rinse it off or you’re going to deal with rust.)
Same problem here, except freshwater environments are not as extreme as marine ones.
Still, chlorine in high enough concentrations does dissolve rubber and cause premature plastic degradation.
Or maybe you weren’t in the pool but near it. Whatever the case, hose off the unicycle and let it dry somewhere before storing it.
Leave It in a Blast Furnace (Darn, We’ve All Been There)
We’ve all left the blast furnace door ajar; I’m sure many of you reading this have accidentally left your unicycle in the furnace once or twice before firing it up.
It’s a real bummer if you forget to remove your unicycle before firing the furnace. Those things can reach 3,000℉. Your unicycle doesn’t stand a chance.
Honestly, though, much lower temperatures can be a problem, too. More realistically, some of you have played unicycle hockey, maybe even played with a flaming puck, right?
Yeah, don’t leave the puck burning against the tire. It will ruin your tire and if left there long enough, exposure to the flame will ruin the heat treatment of the wheel rim.
Actually, it’s best if you don’t expose any part of your unicycle to open flame at all.
Need a New One (Or Another One, Or Unicycle Tools)? We Have You Covered
We’ve all been there. Who hasn’t taken their unicycle on a 12,000-foot plunge in the North Atlantic and forgotten to rinse it off?
(Or ridden on the beach and not hosed off the salt spray. Close enough, your secret is safe with us.)
Whether it’s time for a new unicycle, minibike, or just some unicycle tools so you can fix your problem, we have you covered.
Just don’t do it again.