Schwinn Giraffe

howdy all,

I have the chance to purchase a schwinn giraffe for $125 Seems a little overpriced for how old it is but I thought I remember someone saying that these models were highly sought after. Is this true or did I make it up? I haven’t seen it yet and wanted to get some opinons before I wasted my time.


That’s a steal.

I paid $125 for my Schwinn Giraffe in 1983.

If it has the original metal seat and if the foam is worn out you can convert it to an air seat or get a Viscount seat for it. I converted a metal Schwinn seat to an air seat on the 40" big wheel and its much nicer. I have a yellow Viscount on the giraffe. :slight_smile:

Also check the sprocket, some of the spin on types have had slippage problems. Some discussion on slippage in this thread.

It probably has the S-7 rim, replacement tires aren’t that hard to find.

that’s an excellent giraffe, one of the most durable you’ll find anywhere… be sure to give it the once-over before riding it, and if you need work on it, or advice on how to work on one, I build, rebuild, and repair giraffes. (and if it does have the original foam seat, be sure to switch seats or put new foam in)

Re: Schwinn Giraffe

hopeful <> wrote:

>that’s an excellent giraffe, one of the most durable you’ll find
>anywhere… be sure to give it the once-over before riding it, and if
>you need work on it, or advice on how to work on one, I build, rebuild,
>and repair giraffes. (and if it does have the original foam seat, be
>sure to switch seats or put new foam in)

There’s nothing wrong with the original foam seat. My 1979 Schwinn
giraffe is still working fine with the original foam seat. Why fix
something if it isn’t broken?


Ken Fuchs <>

The Schwinn Giraffe is cool because it’s a Schwinn. It’s retro. It also happens to hold up fairly well (it’s not going to fall apart on you).

The Semcycle giraffe is similar in design to the Schwinn and is a better unicycle than the Schwinn. But you’re not going to find the Semcycle for $125.

What I don’t like about the Schwinn Giraffe is it’s use of the funky S7 rim, the 28 spoke hub/wheel, and it uses a one piece bottom bracket crank setup. I would like the Schwinn Giraffe better if it used a three piece crank like the Semcycle.

What I like about the Schwinn Giraffe is that it’s a Schwinn and I got it new way back when I was young and still a very novice unicyclist. That Giraffe also got me a big trophy in a small country town parade.

I recently upgraded my Schwinn Giraffe with a new wheel (Semcycle 32 spoke hub and a standard 20" rim) because I got annoyed at that S7 wheel size. One of these days I might upgrade the crank to a nicer three piece crank and bottom bracket.

I got my Schwinn Giraffe for Christmas in 1979. I still have the receipt. It was $132.95 way back in '79.

Uh, That’s a typo. It is a 36 spoke hub.

Re: Re: Schwinn Giraffe

You got better foam than me and Bradley. The foam in our old Schwinn seats crumbled away to dust. Later foam inserts were made out of a better quality foam, which apparently didn’t have such an adverse reaction to oxygen, or the passage of time, or whatever.

But I remember taking apart old Schwinn seats and having a handful of dust and a vastly deteriorated blob of foam come out!

My Schwinn Giraffe was the first unicycle I ever bought. Before that I only rode on borrowed ones. I believe I paid $109 or so, in early 1980. Its value to me today is priceless. The “retro Schwinn” aspect is not what makes it cool. It’s just a real solid, good-looking, professional-quality unicycle. Today’s closest equivalent is the Semcycle Giraffe, but it costs much more.

My Schwinn currently has a white Semcycle seat cover, and all original parts otherwise, except a quick-release. Most of the hardware on the cycle has been chromed or re-chromed, to make it more shiny than a regular Schwinn:

  • seatpost and seat nuts, washers
  • seat clamp
  • crankset
  • bottom bracket hardware (bearing races, nut, washer)
  • bottom sprocket
  • wheel nuts & washers
  • chain tighteners

I still have a whitewall Schwinn “Unicycle” tire on there, though it’s got cracks. I have one more of those tires waiting in the wings, but not sure how strong it is, having been manufactured in 1980 or earlier. My drivetrain has a one-tooth difference between top and bottom, so the tire wears evenly. But when my old Schwinn tires finally die, it’ll probably be time to move to a more up-to-date wheel.

But, being the collector I am, I’ll probably try to keep as much of the original hardware as possible.

Matt -

Make sure the cycle you are bidding on isn’t a destroyed piece of junk before closing the sale. It could be bent, rusty, etc. Jacquie bought me a “spare” giraffe a few years ago, and I have it in the garage in pieces, waiting to be restored. You probably didn’t see that one, or the Excessory Cycle, which is mostly in a couple of tupperware containers, also waiting for restoration and reassembly.

Also, older Schwinn Giraffes have track hubs with threaded-on bottom sprockets. This design does not have the three bolts holding the bottom sprocket to the hub, which is how you can tell the difference. If it’s one of those older ones, make sure the drivetrain is good and tight. If it comes loose, the fall can be sudden and very dangerous. Best to have it removed, clean the threads, then put it on as tight as possible with red Loctite.

If you have the three-bolt design, check the bolts every once in while for tightness. If you don’t, you’ll eventually lose them.

If you don’t buy that Schwinn, somebody else will. Go check it out!

The Schwinn chrome in those days was so tough, the original chrome on the frame still looks great

Thanks everyone for the comments. I rode a giraffe for the first time a couple weeks ago and loved it. Luckily the seller is local so I get to check it out before shelling out the cash. From what I hear this guy used to ride it all over town and did some long distance stuff on it too. So unless he took care of it, I maybe looking at a pile of junk.

Again thanks for all the comments and suggestions. If I’m not sure about some stuff I might send pictures to the forum before I buy.


I worked a summer in a bike shop. I loved old Schwinns. They could always be restored. Quit messing around and buy it.