Saturday, May 9, 2015

Stelber Unicycle

A friend of mine (and of Webster Trails) called me yesterday to say she saw a unicycle thrown to the curb not far from my home.  She didn't really know if it was worthy of picking up.  It wasn't much of an investment in time, so I drove there and found it.

It was a vintage uni made by "Stelber".  I've never heard of it and I'm not really into old unicycles but I took it before the scrap metal guy did.

The tire has no air in it and the wheel turned with a horrifying metal grinding squeak.  Being an old unicycle, it has lollipop style bearings.  I dismantled it enough to access the bearings.  I squirted some of my Schlumpf grease into them.   Using grease intended for a state of the art nearly $1500 unicycle hub on poorly engineered bearings of this cheap ancient unicycle kind of blew my mind.  I worked the grease into the bearings and reassembled.  The wheel turned about as good as I'd expect.  The tube still held air, so it was ready to ride.

It's basically built like a toy.  I think most old unicycles kind of were compared to today's standards.  Perhaps this one was especially because it has a thin one-piece crank that you'd only see on modern tricycle for a 3 year old.  How anyone could think that would be strong enough for even a 10 year old to put weight on is beyond me.  "They don't make 'em like they used to."  Good thing!  Even today's cheap unicycles are way stronger than this crap, but comparing this unicycle to something like a modern Kris Holm muni... again, mind blowing.   We've come a long way.

And then there's the saddle.  Sydney's first comment was, "Oh my god that seat looks like it would hurt!"  And since I thought of this as a toy, I asked Sydney to ride it in case my weight crushed it.  She found it too difficult and complained the seat wiggled too much.  After a few unsuccessful tries I rolled my eyes.  Come on, it can't be that bad.  I confirmed to seat was wobbly because of its poor engineering.  It was just riveted to its base.  But I was sure I could ride it.  Nope, not really.  It was wobbly and one of the cranks was bent in a bit.  I probably could with enough trying, but I didn't bother after a few attempts and only about three rotations.  I feel sorry for anyone trying to learn on such a turd.

I may try to sell it.  I picture it bolted to the wall of an interesting bar or restaurant.

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