Giraffe Crank Lengths

I am finally starting to ride the giraffe I bought years ago, but was never brave enough to get up on. It has ceased to be just an ornament. A 5 foot giraffe grows in height as you climb up on it. To a spectator it may only be 5 foot. To me, perched on top of it, it has to be double figure height. So it still scares the hell out of me, but…

It is a DM twin chain, a heavy, solid beast. I hope to be able, eventually, to do simple riding forwards, maybe backwards, idle and juggle three clubs on it. Freemounting is not on the immediate wish list. Tricks also are not essential. So a question for the experienced giraffe riders here. What would you consider to be an ideal crank length for comfort when doing this sort of riding, on a 5 foot DM?
Any tips on seat type? I don’t want to keep the T bar seat if I can find something more friendly.

And what is the safest way to get off a DM giraffe? Other than the parachute?

Thanks Nao

125-140mm cranks should do the job…it all boils down to personal preference, riding style and types of riding you’ll be doing.

As for dismounting: Exit to the rear of your aircraft…hold onto the front of the seat and step off/drop to the back allowing the unicycle to move forward. This way you can dismount safely when you know the unicycle isn’t going to shoot out and hit someone or something.

I agree with what everyone else says. Dismounting on the back side is so much nicer than on the front side. I don’t feel hardly any impact compared to dismounting on the front side of the uni. When you are learning and/or getting used to riding on the giraffe (it’s a bit different feel cause of the chain drive and the height) you’ll probably dismount/upd off the front side at first. This will hurt a little bit because your not used to it but as you get more experienced you will learn how to absorb the impact.

P. S. If you ever decide to try learning rolling giraffe mounts, check out the tutorial in my sig :).


You guys should give it a try. I’ve only ridden a giraffe twice. I was able to freemount within about 10 tries.

Once you start riding it regularly, you will eventually get tired of having to find a wall/steps/ladder to mount the thing.

A handy ‘cheat’ in the meantime is to mimic the freemount while holding onto something like a lamppost.
That makes it much easier to get on, and especially when trying to mount while holding three clubs.

If the giraffe scares you, remember to think of its height not in terms of where the top of your head is, but where your feet are. On a 5-footer, that’s less than 3’ off the ground. No big deal at all.

Essential skills:
You really want to learn to idle and go at least a little bit backward on your giraffe. Without those skills there are many more ways to hurt yourself, others, or the giraffe itself if you get into a pinch. Consider those the basic skills of entry.

The ones on there should be fine. Short or long, unless you plan on taking it offroad or something, crank length isn’t really relevant. The old Schwinns were made with 140mm or 5.5" (one piece) cranks.

Find out your post diameter and then work from there. If it’s an odd size, you might have to hire someone to either make you a post to fit your new seat, or just cut the top off the old one and weld on a seat plate for the appropriate seat. That’s what I did with my DM ATU, where the original post is now topped with a gusseted Miyata mount.

What Dustin said. Always check for bumps or other obstacles before letting your wheel roll out. Never let you wheel roll out to the rear unless you’re absolutely sure there’s nothing there. If it hits a curb, for example, it could cause a back injury. You can also hold the pedals steady and come down in a arc. This arguably softens the blow because you start slower, though you then come down at an angle. When you get more comfortable up there, a good-looking dismount is to make a sudden stop while popping the seat out in front of you, then jumping straight down to land next to the unicycle, holding it up. That’s my “show” dismount. :slight_smile: