Lefty Giraffe

After searching through old posts on this topic, I didn’t see that anyone had tackled building a Gifaffe Lefty. So, here you go.


Well that’s certainly unique! Also solves the issue of adding cranks to that hub. How does the chain stay tensioned when the suspension is squished, or has that been locked out?

Has that ended up being a freewheel as well ?

Thanks! I removed the internal damping part and replaced it with an assembly that uses the telescoping of the lower section to tension the chain.

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No, it functions like a regular giraffe.

That looks really well made, thanks for sharing, it is really good to see someone building something nice like that :smiley:

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By leftie do you mean the chain is on the left side instead of the right which is usually the case?

Definitely a unique and cool design. Curious how durable it is as I would think the frame would want to bend towards the side of the wheel without a connection…

Thank you for your comment about the build! I feel if it’s worth doing, it’s worth over- doing. :wink:

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By Lefty, it’s a reference to it using a Cannondale Lefty, which did dictate moving the chain to the left side.

I’m not worried about the frame bending. My thought is if it’s worth doing it’s worth over-doing. The factory clamps that hold the fork to the steer tube on their bikes are less beefy than the clamps I made. I also used tubing with double the wall thickness as a standard Chromoly bike frame and the bottom bracket shell is 1/4" thick. Plenty strong.

This fork originally included a factory lockout that made it rigid and the axles hold up to being ridden off road. In recent years Cannondale have even made rigid Lefty’s for city bikes. My constant weight plus the frame is no where near the impact forces these forks are designed and do take without failing.

During the, unfortunately limited, times I’ve had to ride it since getting it to this point it has been solid. It rides smoother than any giraffe or standard unicycle I’ve used and there is zero noticable flex or bending. I guess time will tell how it holds up.

I’m intending to be at Unicon for part of the time this year with it, if anyone wants to try it out.

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Awesome! Would love to look at it and ride it at Unicon.

I’m actually organizing a Unicycle Museum at Unicon and would love it if it was part of it. More info can be found here: Unicon 21 Convention Website - Google Docs

Where are you located? I might be able to pickup/drop off if you aren’t at Unicon for the entire time.

I would love to include it in the museum!
I live in Eastern Pennsylvania and will be driving to Unicon.

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Being Old School and building my own 8’6" unicycle in high school metal shop back in the 60’s, had I flipped the seat 180 degrees, I could have had a Lefty.

Has it been ridden yet ?

Gregory, how did you do the axle and hub? If you have any pictures that would be awesome to see.

m00ms I have ridden it a couple times. Here is one of the times. Lefty Giraffe. We’ve had a couple snowstorms this last week, so I haven’t had occasion to get out much. I am still working on an elegant solution to make freemounting easier as there is no frame near the top of the wheel to wedge your foot against. I’m trying to keep the possibility of using a larger diameter wheel an option without a lot of hassle.

Well done with riding it :+1: I have a 6ft giraffe which I’ve not ridden yet , I got it just before covid and put it in the loft and haven’t tried it yet , I must either ride it or sell it. Times been in short supply so ive either been learning freewheel or doing fixed wheel rides.

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That was 58 years ago. I do remember that it was quite simple. Straight fork with a 20" bicycle rear wheel - don’t remember how I locked the sprocket. I had a freewheeling larger sprocket about half way up the chain to keep tension and to prevent the chain from flailing around. Keep in mind, this was a 16 year old kid’s personal design. I rode it in several local parades in San Diego, and it was the tallest unicycle in the San Diego Unicycle Club that had 200 riding members (now defunct).

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My fork came with a 26" wheel so I re-dished it and used a bigger sprocket to maintain a similar pedal ratio to the other wheel which is a 20". Which do you guys prefer?

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