On the weekend I sat down with a performer giraffe, a bunch of tools and parts and figured out how to convert it from a 7ft giraffe (6ft 10) into an 8ft giraffe (8ft 2).
I was wondering how high people have extended their performer? Has anyone taken them up to 9ft?
My experiences when extending it to 8ft mode are recorded below, they may be of use if you want to try this yourself.
I already had a 16" extension post so I just needed some 8ft chains. I decided that it was best to extend the 7ft chains rather than assemble a separate set of 8ft chains. My logic was that if I used connector links I could still shorten them back down to 7ft length fairly easily, without the need for a chain tool. Also I didn’t want to have to cart around 3 sets of chains when travelling. In retrospect I could probably have used one of the 5ft length of chains as my source of extra links, as in 5ft mode I could probably get by with using only 1 chain.
It turned out that it was not too hard to buy the extra chain I needed to extend each 7ft chain. Two standard bmx chains (1/2" x 1/8") from my local bike shop did the trick. I used about 2/3rds of each chain. The bike shop could have added the extra chain in for me but I figured I might be experimenting a bit more so I bought a park chain tool: Model CT-5, mini chain brute: http://www.parktool.com/products/detail.asp?cat=5&item=CT-5
The first thing I discovered was that not all chain tools fit all chains. BMX and single speed chains are fatter than normal MTB or road bike chains. The chain didn’t really fit in the tool I purchased , although with a bit of creativity I got it to work. I would have been better off buying something designed to work with the fatter 1/8" chain, eg a CT-2: http://www.parktool.com/products/detail.asp?cat=5&item=CT-2
I don’t think many bike shops would stock this product though.
It took a couple of goes before I put together two chains of the right length. It turned out that after I removed 1 outer link to break the 7ft chain, I needed to add in a length of 63 links (plus an additional two connector links). Mounting the longer chains was a bit fiddlier as it was hard to keep them from twisting. Putting the chains on would probably be a lot easier if you had two people to do the job. I got it sorted in the end after dropping the uni on my head a few times.
It rides nicely and feels good and solid. It idles smoothly although dismouting puts a lot of force on your feet! I will try and get some photos of it this weekend.
Thanks for the write-up. Here’s a comment about extending giraffes, which applies to any other model capable of doing this as well. How much you can extend depends entirely on the strength of the frame and extensions. The manufacturer may recommend only one extension, and tell you not to add more. What you don’t want is too much frame flex.
The rigidity of your frame is what keeps your chain on. Too much flex, the chain makes the shape of the letter D, and it can come off at any moment, which can lead to serious injury if you’re not expecting it. So keep it rigid!
For chain, you generally want the beefiest chains you can find. Avoid road bike chains! Those are made ever-skinnier to fit rear cogs with ever-more gears on them. Stick with the BMX or other heavy duty stuff.
I own a five foot Torker, and to me the performer looks really wimpy. The unicrown looks like it’d bend if you did a running mount on it. Do you have to do a ‘standard’ giraffe mount to mount it? How much flex is in the frame?
That said, very cool. I’d love to try an eight or nine foot giraffe, they look really fun (and hard to get off safely!)
i got on my performer 8foot extended for the first time today.
scared CRAPLESS up there. by a wall in a gym i was too scared to ride then i realised - hold on, i can idle - so i did. and that was a lil scary but cool. then after a few minutes of that i was riding. cranks seemed HUGE. well scared.
then it came to getting off… “i’m scared but theres only one way down, ok…drop now”. bad idea. i fell and waited for the landing which was incredibly hard. i got too used to 5 foot drops.
i slightly sprained my right ankle and couldnt get up for about 30 seconds. i definately landed wrong. tried again a while later and same thing happened. can anyone gimme some advice on how to fall safe®??