We unicycle riders are no longer living in a world entirely dominated by (outdated) BMX technology. Things have come a long way.
Specifically, these things, which represent some of the most impactful changes in the world of unicycling.
The ISIS Hub
The ISIS hub is probably the biggest (and most welcome) change that has occurred in terms of design and engineering.
Many unicycles are made with what is called a “square taper crank” in which both the crank arm spindle and the hub axle interface are square in cross-section. These are affordable to produce and relatively easy to replace – but not very strong.
ISIS cranks, unlike square taper cranks, are splined, which means they have many teeth or ridges running along the spindle that correspond to grooves in the hub axle. This creates greater surface contact area between the crank arm and hub axle when compared with a cotterless (square taper) design, making the ISIS crank design much stronger.
It is also much lighter, which is another bonus.
Disk brakes represent another substantial improvement in unicycling technology, especially when compared to hydraulic rim brakes.
Hydraulic rim brakes engage the wheel’s rim and are mounted higher on the frame. They get very hot when used aggressively, causing them to become “sticky” and to grab the rim in a pulsing fashion.
If they “stick” and “grab” the rim unexpectedly as a result of overheating, it can result in an unplanned dismount; moreover, these brakes lose substantial braking power in adverse conditions, such as when wet.
Conversely, disk brakes are mounted lower on the frame and offer much greater mechanical advantage to the rider while at the same time not exerting greater mechanical advantage over him or her.
In adverse conditions, their efficiency remains nearly the same (compared to a nearly 50% drop in braking power for rim brakes), and if they do stick, the rider will have more time to react without getting pitched forward.
The Adoption of the 32” Tire
The 32” tire also represents a unique position between the 29” and the 36” that has its own benefits.
To put it bluntly, the 32” handles like a 29” but rides like a 36”. It’s only a touch slower than the 36” but substantially more agile and responsive.
This is welcome news to distance riders that want a unicycle that, while suitable for long-distance, handles more like a passenger car than a flatbed.
Last but not least we have handle systems, which, while a low-tech innovation, carry a lot of value.
Handle systems give you a place to rest your arms when tired, which takes the pressure off your seat and redistributes some of your weight. This, in turn, helps you fight fatigue.
The addition of a handle system to a unicycle also gives the rider superior control over the machine – something nearly any rider can appreciate, Muni rider, commuter, or otherwise.
Interested in a Unicycle with Some (or All) of These Features?
Ready to take up the challenge of riding a unicycle? Already a rider but interested in exploring new unicycles with some of the features and technology mentioned here?
Visit Unicycle.com via the previous link. They are the authority in all things related to unicycling and carry many models that contain these features. Check out their website to learn more.