26" Giraffe...Questions!

Ok, so I have a Norco 5 1/2 foot Giraffe. It has a craappy 27 spoke steel rim on it now and there is about 3 1/2" of clearance between the top of the tire and the top of the frame opening. I was going to upgrade to a 24" rim, but seeing as how I need to change the hub to a 36 hole anyway, what would happen if I just swapped it out for a 26" mountainbike rim. I would have to change the axle length, I am sure, but other than that, it saves me finding parts and lacing a rim.
How would this effect performance?
What would be a good crank length?

Going bigger than 24" on a giraffe doesn’t do much, unless you use the giraffe for transportation. It makes the ride a little more sluggish due to the heavier wheel, and handling less precise because the wheel is bigger. A 24" gives you a nice speed boost with minimal change in those other two areas.

Crank length? Depends on what you’re doing with it. My Schwinn Giraffe came with 5.5" cranks (one piece), which have always been fine for me, even when I had it set up with a nearly 2:1 gear ratio.

Sweet, your exactly the person that I wanted to answer. So, I could go to the 26" rim and save myself a lot of work and there wouldn’t really be much difference other than speed and the impending damage to myself. Perfect. Thanks, that helps me out alot.

What was the 2:1 gearing like. I would imagine much faster, but harder to balance?

More accurately I would describe it as faster, but much harder to balance. I think my actual ratio was 48:28, so less than 2:1. Something less than that might be more user-friendly.