Definition of Unicycle, StandardThis discussion has an associated proposal. View Proposal Details here.
Comments about this discussion:
The term "standard unicycle" has two different meanings:
1. The official meaning in 1D.1, which I quote in full:
A Standard Unicycle has only one wheel. It is driven by crank arms directly attached to the wheel’s axle/hub, with no gearing or additional drive system. Pedals and cranks rotate to power the wheel. Is balanced and controlled by the rider only, with no additional support devices. Brakes and extended handles/handlebars are permitted. For some events, such as track racing, standard unicycles have restrictions on wheel size and/or crank arm length. Other events may specify other restrictions. When not noted otherwise, there are no size limitations.
2. The colloquial meaning: any unicycle that permits the rider to start in most track races, and in the Standard Class (versus Unlimited Class) in Road Races.
(Strictly speaking, "Standard Class" is not a thing. But everyone uses that word.)
These two meanings are conflicting. A 36 inch unicycle with direct drive conforms to the definition of standard unicycle in 1D.1, yet cannot compete in the usual standard class in your typical road race, but must compete in unlimited.
We as seasoned organisers or riders are not really confused (anymore?) by these inconsistencies, but still I would like to clear up the definitions, if only to make it easier for new riders. I have often noticed that new riders struggle to find out what the different disciplines in conventions involve, and our vague use of terms does not help.
I think we should in 1D.1 only define a unicycle as such, and leave distinguishing various types of unicycles to the Chapters which describe the rules for certain events.
The latter is for the most part in place already. I think only Chapters 14 and 15 rely on the definition for 24+ Class unicycle in 1D.1, but I don't see a problem to move the relevant requirements (640 mm wheel, direct drive) to those chapters (except the deadline for proposals, maybe).
So I suggest to replace the current definitions of
Unicycle, Wheel Size Classes
by the following:
Unicycle: A Unicycle has typically only one wheel. Multiple wheels are permitted, but it must not be possible to ride the unicycle when more than one wheel touches the ground. It is driven by pedals and cranks which rotate to power the wheel. It is powered, balanced and controlled by the rider only, with no additional support devices. Brakes and extended handles/handlebars are permitted. When not noted otherwise, there are no gearing, wheel size and/or crank arm length limitations.
I must admit that this definition leaves a little loophole. Someone could use a three-wheel unicycle or a giraffe in e.g. track racing. I don't see this as a problem.
In olden times, when we said Standard Unicycle we basically meant a "normal" unicycle; not a giraffe or something. We also had "Standard Class" Trick/Artistic Riding as a category, basically what we now call X-Style. Then we had Standard Skill, which applied to the skills, but had to be done on a Standard unicycle also. Not confusing at all, right?
So I think getting rid of Standard is a good starting point. However that multi-wheel part is a reminder that this definition is trying to be global. That is, applying to Freestyle and all other forms of competition. We should, perhaps, separate the global definition of what a unicycle is, from what we race with. Even in that narrower range, there's still a lot to deal with. Gah, that turns this into a bigger rewrite... let me try:
Unicycle: A Unicycle typically has only one wheel. It can have Multiple wheels, but it must not be possible to ride the unicycle when more than one wheel touches the ground. It is driven by pedals and cranks which rotate to power the wheel. It is powered, balanced and controlled by the rider only, with no additional support devices.
Regular Unicycle: A regular unicycle has only one wheel. It is driven by pedals and cranks which attach directly to the wheel's axle. It is powered, balanced and controlled by the rider only, with no additional support devices. Unless noted otherwise, there are no wheel size and/or crank arm length limitations.
Geared Unicycle: Differs from the definition above in that the cranks need not attach directly to the wheel's axle, and may use a gear ratio other than 1:1.
I have changed "Standard" to "Regular, which is for the most part what we allow for racing. Regular has cranks that attach to the hub (no gearing). The nice thing about this label is that it doesn't imply things that conflict with what we want it for. Then the one other major category of unicycle is simply "Geared", which is described to allow for chain gearing, or in-hub gearing. Also I said "may" on the gear ratio, so it doesn't get hung up on unicycles that can also run in 1:1 mode. What do you think?
Klaas you are correct that this is terribly confusing in the rulebook and has long been on my mental list of "things that are wrong in the rulebook but that don't really create immediate problems". Thanks for bringing it forward.
In general, I like John's definitions. However, there is the confusing fact that a unicycle with a motor is still a unicycle, just one that we do not allow in any of our events. The definitions above exclude motors via "powered ... by the rider only". I'm not sure if we need a different term than just "unicycle", or if it's okay but I wanted to bring this point up.
The "Unicycle" definition makes clear that no other power source can be used. For competition, I don't see this being an issue.
That "Unicycle" definition is intended to cover the entire scope of the Rulebook, as to what is a unicycle. While you can ride whatever you want in a Freestyle competition, in my belief a powered uni should put a serious dent in any Technical scoring you get while riding it, if that unicycle's technology is doing any part of the balancing. I'm not on the Freestyle Committee to bring this up (fortunately for them)...
Didn't mean to open a can of worms with that; but it occurs to me you could do a few tricks on a self-balancing unicycle and possibly score some Technical and/or Presentation points if it's difficult/pretty enough. If you used it for your whole performance though, you should probably come in last. Not my problem.
Anyway, I separated out "Regular Unicycle" to cover the vast majority of racing situations. Regular is hopefully a good word, as it doesn't imply some larger "Standardized" thing. When I worked at Intel Folsom in the 90s (Web marketing stuff), we were coached not to use the word "standard" for anything that wasn't absolutely a known, recognized international standard, with standards organizations, technology companies and lawyers all on the same page with agreed-upon details. Anything else was a "specification". For example, much of the research and development of USB happened at Intel's Folsom campus. USB is a recognized standard, but something only one company uses would likely be a specification. They can change it whenever they want.
If your eyes haven't glazed over yet, I didn't want to complicate the Regular Unicycle definition with gears; they only play a role (so far) in Muni and Road events, so I gave them their own definition (or sub-definition, if you will).
Building on John's definitions, what about:
Unicycle: A Unicycle typically has only one wheel. It mayhave multiple wheels, but it must not be possible to ride the unicycle when more than one wheel touches the ground. It is driven by pedals and cranks which rotate to power the wheel. It is powered, balanced and controlled by the rider only, with no additional support devices.
Regular Unicycle: A regular unicycle has only one wheel. The cranks are fixed directly to the wheel's axle. Unless noted otherwise, there are no wheel size and/or crank arm length limitations.
Geared Unicycle: In a geared unicycle, the cranks are not directly fixed to the wheel's axle. It may use a gear ratio other than 1:1.
Note how the second and third definition build on the definition of Unicycle, and so don't have to repeat some of the requirements.
I changed "attached" for "fixed", because of the notion of fixed as non-geared and direct-drive.
1. Is a Schlumpf in low gear a geared unicycle?
2. Is every giraffe a geared unicycle, even if it has 1:1 ratio?
3. Is a freewheel unicycle a geared unicycle?
If any of these three is a "no", we need more or extended definitions.
Quote: "However, there is the confusing fact that a unicycle with a motor is still a unicycle, just one that we do not allow in any of our events."
A motorised contraption with one wheel may be called a unicycle by the general public (or by the manufacturer etc). But it is not something that the IUF has anything to do with. The word "unicycle" as we use it, excludes motorised things. This also implies that if someone would use a motorised thing in a freestyle routine, it is a prop rather than a unicycle.
1. Some referees have allowed a Schlumpf “stuck” in first gear as a regular unicycle. I tend to agree with this.
2. That’s a harder question. What if the giraffe allows a smaller rider to ride a 36 inch wheel? I tend to be generous and think that anything with 1:1, no freewheel, and a single wheel is a regular unicycle.
3. A freewheel unicycle is definitely not a geared unicycle, nor is it a regular unicycle, but it is and should be a unicycle per our definition. But it does it into the unlimited class.
On second thought, we may want to decrease the number of definitions.
What if we only recognise Unicycle and Regular Unicycle? Then any unicycle that is not Regular is something we don't have to define beyond it being a Unicycle. If some event is open to Unlimited Class unicycles, then the unicycles used must conform to the definition of Unicycles and for the remainder have no limitations.
Another issue with the definition of Regular Unicycle is that it is not referenced from anywhere in the Rulebook as it is. I think we need to change all occurrences of standard unicycle into regular unicycle.
As to a Schlumpf in first gear being a regular unicycle: I would only agree if the Unicycle is technically stuck in first gear, e.g. by removing the shirft buttons. A promise by a rider to not use high gear would not be enough for me. Even if I (as a referee) would believe him, it can lead to protests from other riders.
On 2.: I think that any giraffe, 1:1 or not, is NOT a regular unicycle. This has been discussed in the past (can't find it back now) with the same outcome. A smaller rider could still ride a 36 inch wheel in giraffe form together with regular 36 inch wheels in the unlimited class, so it doesn't really matter.
I tend not to agree with the Schlumpf part. Only taking off the shift buttons doesn't mean you cannot shift anymore - you just need a small tool that fits and then you can still shift (also when it is not by riding).
You are right, Mirjam.
If we stick to my latest thought to define only Unicycle and Regular Unicycle, then perhaps we should add "permanently" to "fixed directly to the wheel's axle". That would fix it (pun intended).
1. Is a Schlumpf in low gear a geared unicycle? -- Yes, according to the definition I posted above.
2. Is every giraffe a geared unicycle, even if it has 1:1 ratio? -- No. Not geared, but not "regular" either.
3. Is a freewheel unicycle a geared unicycle? -- No. More of an anti-geared unicycle but that's another story.
But Klaas' updated definitions need to include allowance for handlebars and brakes, or people will ask lots of questions. Or we can address those in the Racing sections, but we would be repeating the same info in different places, which is better to avoid whenever possible.
Motoriized unicycles: I agree with Klaas that they are disqualified from our definitions because of the motor. What their value in a Freestyle routine might be, is yet to be litigated. Generally, unless the Freestyle rules have changed, Technical scoring is only based on "unicycling skills", which involve weight bearing on only one spot (the wheel), but don't preclude a motor so that will get interesting some time in the future.
Freewheel unicycles might need a separate definition, as they would need to be regulated differently for Coasting competitions. I would not allow a Freewheel uni to compete with people doing it "the old way".
Rest of the Rulebook: Yes, it would have to be updated to get rid of "Standard", which was the problem, and replace it with Regular; not sure what other edits might have to go with that.
Schlumpf in first gear: I think we've talked about this before. It would have to be "locked" into first gear to be allowed to race that way. Ultimately with some form of tamper-proof "seal" that would still have to be in place at the end of the race, and that would have to be inspected by a race official afterward to certify that it was not tampered with. Until we figure that out, it's a "no" for racing Schlumpfs as ungeared. But if it's an unlimited category, non-shiftable giraffes should be allowed, as long as they don't have some kind of quick-release technology that allows the rider to change the ratio during the race...
We are not defining Geared Unicycle, so your 1 2 and 3 don't matter.
Handlebars and brakes are always allowed. We could explicitly state that in the definition but it's not really needed IMHO.
Everything that is not a unicycle being ridden on in a freestyle routine, is a Prop. Defined in 1D.1. That would include a motorised "thing" that looks like a unicycle. Problem solved.
Freewheel and Coasting: you have a point there. I think we should add to 3B.6.2 that Coasting for the coasting disciplines is defined as riding without touching pedals, cranks or any part of the wheel.
The Schlumpf issue would be solved by adding "permanently". This may disadvantage a very small number of riders who only have a Schlumpf at their disposal, WITH some tamper-free lock mechanism that is not really permanent, AND want to use this unicycle in a "standard" race. This would be so rare that I don't care.
Klaas, I think you're correct on motorized vs. Freestyle. The motor makes it "not a unicycle" so then it's just for show.
Your solution on Freewheel unicycles in Coasting competitions is also blissfully simple.
And I agree with the locking out of Schlumpfs thing. Until someone figures out a way to do that, we can't trust people.
One of the two proposed definitions is
Unicycle: A Unicycle typically has only one wheel. It may have multiple wheels, but it must not be possible to ride the unicycle when more than one wheel touches the ground. It is driven by pedals and cranks which rotate to power the wheel. It is powered, balanced and controlled by the rider only, with no additional support devices. A unicycle may be fitted with handlebars and/or a brake.
I don't like the first sentence about a typical unicycle. I think we should define a unicycle in terms that are universally valid. Such as:
A unicycle is a vehicle that has a single rolling contact with the riding surface.
Proposal: It's a yes from me.
In the previous revision, I had not changed
"A Unicycle typically has only one wheel"
"A Unicycle is a vehicle that has a single rolling contact with the riding surface",
although I mentioned in the Change description that I had done so.
Sorry, that was an oversight. I have changed it as yet.
This sets the proposal to three days more review time, I think.
I'm happy with the wording.
What are people's thoughts on monowheels? As in the wheels where the rider sits inside the rotating rim/tyre?
It would fall under the definition of unicycle. I have no issues with this, but I don't think people typically think of them as unicycles.
Yes, with the proposed definition a monowheel is a Unicycle (provided it is human-powered only which the pictured monowheel doesn't seem to be), but not a Regular Unicycle. In racing, it could only compete in Unlimited Class, and I don't think it would be competitive against unicycles in the stricter sense of the word.
What about non-racing, e.g. Freestyle. What if someone performs their routine on a monowheel... do we need to exclude that?
re: Freestyle - A fair question. Basically for Difficulty/Technical scoring, it has to be "unicycle tricks", which might be included within the current definition of that. A (human powered) monocycle has one wheel, and in my limited experience, is not easy to ride, so have at it! If somebody does a whole bunch of tricks on one, I just hope I'm there to witness it. :-)
If there are no other opinions given, the proposal will not be edited and probably be set to voting soon. Thuis, a monowheel will stay within the IUF definition of Unicycle (it was in there with the old rule as well).
I'm okay with that.