16" wheel on Nimbus performer giraffe

I’m a 66 year old recycled teenager/pensioner

I have a Nimbus performer giraffe (20" wheel) and love it

I was looking at the UDC site and they do a 16" wheel - anyone tried it or can offer advice on how different it would be?

I should add that my main problem is that it hurts my knees when I dismount - I’ve already shortened the frame to lower it and was hoping that another couple of inches lower would help - but also less effort/slower speed/more control

Thanks in advance for any replies

I have the nimbus performer giraffe too and I’ve seen that smaller wheel on the site. My basic understanding is smaller wheel equals more control and less speed. It even states as such on the site that this wheel can help you ride on cobblestones.

I find I have excellent control on 20" wheels already and I can ride giraffes over grass and some rough terrain. As such I don’t see a need for a smaller wheel for myself. I do ride bigger wheels regularly (29/36) though so that does increase my leg strength which has a flow on effect with the smaller wheels regarding control.

As for your knee issue that’s unfortunate and there isn’t too much you can do about it aside from looking for something to climb down every time you dismount. Problem with the Nimbus Performer it’s actually about 5 and a half feet high as I have another giraffe that’s marketed as 5 foot and it’s noticeably shorter then the performer by at least half a foot. Maybe try and borrow a cheaper giraffe and see if the lower height helps?

Unfortunately dismounting giraffes is going to stress your knees there’s not much you can do to avoid that and you even get that problem on 29/36 uni’s if you regularly dismount off the front too which is why it’s advised to do rear dismounts for those uni’s.

Are you dismounting a lot due to UPD’s? or does this stress your knees a bit with just one dismount after a ride? If it’s the former then sure the extra control will be well worth it and the slightly shorter height could work in your favour.

Having tried 16" unis (not giraffe though), I have to say it’s way less stable than the 20". And the 20" is nothing like stable. Also it has 0 momentum and is very light.
I’d like to be wrong but I think it wouldn’t be great on a giraffe.

Hi, thanks for you comments

I try to ride my 26" muni 10-20 miles a week & rarely UPD

The Giraffe tends to get used for short runs as a keep fit option when conditions don’t allow my regular runs - once again, I rarely UPD on it

In terms of fitness, although I’m 66 years old, I am not overweight, do between 10-20 miles a week on my skateboard, snowboard, walk a minimum of 2 miles a day, mountain bike and ride a 200+ bhp sportsbike along with my other motorbikes

I started out with a cheap ‘reflex’ giraffe which, as posted above was a fair bit shorter, which was one of the reasons I cut down the frame on my current one (that & knowing a really good welder!)

I think I may spend £100 of my pension to give the 16" wheel a try, I was hoping that someone on here had already tried it

As an aside, a number of years ago I replaced the bottom bracket of my unicycle with a sealed unit shimano one - an absolutely brilliant improvement that now comes as standard on the new ones - well worth doing. It helped me do a 10 mile ride on my giraffe whilst in my 60’s

Do you dismount off the front or the back? It seems to make a considerable difference to my knees.

You might search for some penguin pictures. A 24 or 26 inch penguin may be the perfect answer for your knee issues. Smoother ride and not very high. Flansberrium Penguin Unicycle

Keep the knees happy!

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I was taught that on a giraffe you should always dismount to the rear.

The reason for this is that you can see what is in front of you and judge where the unicycle is going to go as you dismount. I have seen several really bad accidents where people have dismounted to the front. They have jumped forwards, the unicycle goes off backwards and it snags and hits them in the back so throwing them forwards very dangerously.

As you drop downwards you absorb the landing by bending your knees.

The 16" wheel kit was designed for working at Covent Garden in London where the pitches are quite often very small. So by placing a smaller wheel in the idles are smaller while still looking impressive.

Yes, that’s probably the main advantage to using 16" vs. 20". Height-wise, you are only saving 2 inches, which is not much of a difference. Roger is right about the rear dismounts; I speak from experience. Once, on a very shallow, accordion-folding type at an elementary school, I misjudged the space behind me, the wheel hit the wall behind me and ejected me forward. I landed half on, half off the stage, which the kids thought was pretty funny which, in a show, is a good thing! :slight_smile: Very embarrassing for me though!

Dismounting to the rear also allows for a more vertical landing, instead of landing with forward motion, which should be a little easier on the knees. But if you really want to be nice to your knees, find a smaller frame. :slight_smile:

I found a video on youtube of a person using the 16" wheelset maybe you could ask him? https://youtu.be/jRzjY2B4eDg

Thanks for all the replies - what I really need is my brain to be transplanted into a younger (better looking) body🙂