Pimp My Giraffe

Poor thing.
Rode hard and put away wet.
Of all the material possesions I own; my Giraffe is the most beloved.

Time to fix it up again. It’s been rebuilt twice over the years.

What are my options?
I need to straighten the frame,
I would like a new wheelset that isn’t the stock steel wheel.
I would like to find a white tire, pedals and seat.
I would like to rebuild the bottom (crank) Bracket
I have an extra long seat post that may need replaced.

Any tips on what to use? Doesn’t have to be bomber…I’m not doing drops or hops much…

Mostly I am curios how to rebuild a new wheel.


Regarding the wheel, it looks like 28-hole rims are quite common on BMXs, so if your hub is still good you could find a cool looking BMX rim and rebuild the wheel with that and new spokes.

How long’s the seatpost? If it’s a standard diameter (22.2 or 25.4mm) then UDC sell them up to 700mm long.

Should be easy enough to find a white BMX tyre (Primo Wall?) and pedals. Not so sure about the seat - might have to make your own cover.

The bottom bracket is probably a standard bike one, although it looks like a one-piece crankset (BMX or child’s bike) so you might not be able to replace it with a proper one with separate cranks (the bottom bracket shell for one-piece cranksets is ususally bigger than normal to allow room to thread the crank through).


Cool. good to know.

Not sure actually…figured UDC could help.

Must be, I’ve had it rebuilt before at my LBS. Maybe they have something now that would allow me to put on some after-market lightweight cranks…?
Otherwise I guess I would just keep the BB as is with some tuning.


You got me wondering how easy it would be to make an adaptor to fit a normal BB into a “one-piece” shell, and it seems that the very things are already commercially available.

See the Truvativ one about half way down this page. With one of those you could stick a normal BB in and fit whatever bike cranks you like.


You could do what I did, which was to have all the non-chromed parts chrome plated. In other words, the (new) seat post, clamp, cranks and crank hardware, sprockets, chain tighteners and wheel bolts/washers. They’re all small parts, and the hardest part about doing that should be finding a company that does custom plating.

Then look for a chrome chain (you might need two).

For wheel replacement, if you keep the original hub you just need to choose a 28 hole rim you like, and match tires accordingly. My Giraffe still runs a Schwinn whitewall, which hasn’t worn out yet due to a combination of low mileage and 28:27 gear ratio.

I think it’s 28:27. Toward the end of production, Schwinn started making the bottom sprockets with one tooth less than the top one. This kept the wheel from wearing always on one spot. You might be able to get one of those from Tommy Miller (The Unicycle Factory) if there are any left. 765-452-2692

Then chrome it. :slight_smile:

For seats, all the KH seat variations fit the Schwinn bolt pattern. For white, check with Semcycle. They used to have white covers (there’s one on mine). Or Tommy Miller to see if he has old stock.

For posts, I think the Schwinns were either 7/8" or 1". It’s a well known size in any case. The original equipment post was 13" (with no holes). My Giraffe came with a 13" post with adjustment holes. I later replaced it.

For bent frame, try bike shops that do that sort of thing. The danger is in making it weaker by unbending. You’ll want somone who’s a professional at at that, and I assume they heat things up before trying to unbend. If this doesn’t work and you need to get it re-welded, I highly recommend adding some gussets there so it won’t bend in the future. Then add it to your custom chrome order!

Or seek a replacement frame on eBay. Used Schwinn Giraffes still turn up there on a fairly regular basis.

For bottom bracket, usually cleaning and re-greasing is all you need. The parts in there are probably findable through older bike shops or online, but they probably just need a good cleaning and re-greasing.

Thanks John!
Thanks Rob!

Great info. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I liked this old thread so I thought I’d add to it. Bondo, what’s the update on your upgrades?

I bought a 2nd generation (bolt-on hub) Schwinn Giraffe that needs work. The tire was shot and it of course is Schwinn’s proprietary style tire. By that I mean only Schwinn style tires mate properly to Schwinn rims. The rim is rusted too much cosmetically so I decided to go with a different rim and tire altogether. Tom Miller (The Unicycle Factory) sold me a chrome 28 spoke rim compatible with the 28 spoke giraffe hub. He also hooked me up with chrome spokes and nipples. I asked if he would teach me how to build a wheel and he obliged.

First I disassembled the original wheel and took pictures of the hub and bolt on sprocket. They looked nasty so I used Tom’s buffing wheel to clean them both. See the pics below to see the difference with the hub!

Next Tom showed me how to assemble the wheel but I relied on his expertise to true it. There’s a lot to truing a wheel!

The next day I aquired rim tape, a tube, and a tire of my liking. I’ll be putting it together later tonight. For now, please enjoy the teaser pics of how well the hub cleaned up. More to come…

Wow SuperG…Thats nice, great job.

Sadly I took my frame into a friend at the LBS to have straightened and checked out. It is confirmed as dead, too dangerous and broken for riding.

I am sad. too bad, that uni has been all over the world with me.
But I am getting a bigger, better 7’ Tom Miller Uni at a good price…

So I guess I will pimp that out when I get it.

Sorry guys I did not have time to read the whole thread but I have one question how can I fix a bent frame neck? haha my friend says it looks like a limp dick. :smiley:


I’m very sorry to hear about the death of your beloved Schwinn. Hopefully it is on display as a memorial to all the good times it helped create. If I were you, I’d display it in my shop with a map of the world next to it. The map would have markers showing all the places it has been. Pictures of you performing with it would complete the effect.

You are the only person I’ve ever heard of that actually wore one out. I’m glad to hear you are getting a Unicycle Factory 7 footer. I got to ride one of those this spring and it was a blast. I’d never ridden a 7 footer before.

If you dont want to make your own seat cover you could use a naomi from impact. If you do make your own cover I know there is a pattern for a kh cover in the custom kh unicycles thread.

Tom Miller Giraffes…

This is my Tom Miller giraffe from 1991. It works great, it’s been upgraded with Profile racing cranks, a Kris Holm Fusion Freeride seat, plated chain, etc. It had clipless pedals for a short while, but that was scary on a 6 ft giraffe.

It feels really weird to ride it now though, because I’m doing so many miles on my 36er. The giraffe only has a 20" tire, plus the long cranks, and different height. Maybe I just need to get back on it more.

Anyway, hello to all my fellow giraffe riders out there!

I know lots of professional performers who didn’t let that stop them. In other words, if the sentimental value is high enough; rebuild! My guess is that the problem is either in the seat tube, or in the joint where it attaches to the bottom bracket. You could have the seat tube replaced, with some gussets to make it stronger than the original. You just need someone who’s an artist with weld fillets, and a good chrome job.

I noticed in your original post that you were looking to put on lighter components. You can do this for fun if you want, but don’t expect to make a dent in the weight of a Unicycle Factory frame. They’re built to withstand nuclear fission, not to be light. :slight_smile:

i need to get one

if someone is selling or knows someone thats selling there giraffe pm me and let me now thanks

You can often find Schwinn Giraffes for sale on eBay. Be patient…

ok i will look into that

Wo… look what I found on Craigslist:

$200 and it’s now mine.

Still has the Giraffe sticker (under drink holder) And how about that groovey puple chain/pedals/ bottle holder!?

The serial # starts with 77. that is 1977 model yes? Is this the right hub set-up for that year…it’s different than my other. Seller told me it was custom.
I like the white wheel rim.

Schwinn Quality! (stock sticker??)

I changed out that weird Miyata seat, and pedals for now. But the quest for pimpage is back! I’m thinkinhg taking it back to it’s original parts. White-walls and all…? WWUD?

Anyway I am happy guy today…whodda thunk, Craigslist…wow.

I wonder if you can reach the water bottle cage when you’re sitting on the saddle of that thing. Maybe you’re just supposed to get a drink on the way up when you’re freemounting.

Great news Bondo! Yes the first 2 digits indicate the year of manufacture. Therefore you own a first year Schwinn Giraffe. (They were made from 77-83.) Yes that is the correct hub (track hub) for that year. That makes it a first generation hub. My hub is the 2nd generation bolt-on hub.

I do like the white rim. What would I do? Well my Schwinn restoration/upgrade project has 2 phases:

Phase 1.

Build a new wheel with a conventional rim instead of the Schwinn S7 proprietary rim. Now I have a conventional rim and a conventional tire mounted to it.

Replace the chain.

Replace the seat with a KH Fusion Freeride.

Remove all the tattered decals.

Clean the frame and other parts.

Assemble, enjoy.

Phase 2:

Chrome the bottom sprocket and the seat post.

Have reproduction decals made from copies I have of the originals.

Assemble, enjoy.

I would suggest disassembling your lock ring on the hub, cleaning it, then re-installing it with medium grade locktite.

Also, in appreciation of your love for Schwinn giraffe’s, I would give you (Bondo) my used original Schwinn Giraffe S7 rim. If you would pay the shipping, I would send it to you. On the plus side, it is original and double walled for strength. On the negative side, it was rusted to the point that it would require re-chroming. I cleaned it up and determined it is structurally sound but cosmetically shot. Let me know if you are interested.