A unicycle is a one-wheeled, pedal-powered cycle. In the past, unicycles were associated mostly with acrobats and clowns in the circus. In recent years unicycles have become increasingly popular among a larger demographic. Most bike shops even carry at least one unicycle in stock. Unicycles are fairly simple machines and can be built by hobbyists with basic tools and mechanical skills. The most difficult aspect of building a unicycle may be finding unicycle-specific components. Most likely, a portion of the parts you use will be purchased from an online dealer.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Unicycle frame
- Seat post
- Unicycle wheel
- Adjustable wrench
- Allen wrench set
- Pedal wrench
Purchase a unicycle frame. A unicycle frame looks similar to a bike fork but has essential differences, such as a seat tube at the top and a bearing housing at the bottom. Buy a frame that suits the style of riding you plan to do. Light, 20-inch frames are most common among performers. Heavy-duty, 20-inch frames appeal to trials riders. Choose a 26-inch frame for covering long distances.
Obtain a seat post and unicycle saddle. The seat post must be the same diameter as the seat tube on your frame and be long enough for your height. Although a bike saddle could be mounted in place of a unicycle saddle, it would be uncomfortable and can break easily. Stick with a unicycle-specific saddle for best results.
Buy a wheel, cranks and pedals. The wheel size must be matched to the frame size. Purchase a pre-built wheel with a unicycle hub; or buy a rim, spokes and a hub and have the wheel built by a bike mechanic. BMX style cranks and pedals are the best choice for unicycles. Ensure the cranks fit the hub and the pedals fit the cranks.
Mount the wheel to the frame. Place the bearing housing onto the wheel hub and secure it from the bottom with the bearing housing clamps that came with the frame. Tighten the clamps with an adjustable wrench.
Insert the post into the seat tube on the unicycle frame with the seat facing forward. Clamp the seat tube by tightening the bolt on the seat tube collar, either by quick release or with an adjustable wrench.
Install the cranks to the hub and tighten with an Allen wrench. Screw the pedals into the cranks and tighten them with a pedal wrench. Ensure the pedals and cranks are mounted on the proper side, as they are side-specific.
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