So what now? (Giraffe)

Okay, here goes another question.

I recently purchased a Savage giraffe for a hundred bucks. It isn’t perfect, but hey, it’s cheap and it’s mine. :smiley: Absolutely the cat’s meow!

I’ve learned to freemount it, but now I’m at a crossroads as for what to do next.

I’ve been searching on geared giraffes (hippo’s) and must admit that the idea of commuting on a giraffe intrigues me (handlebars anyone?). However, the lower sprocket has been welded to my hub (for good reason by the previous owner) and don’t think I can gear it without rebuilding an entirely new wheelset. Not cheap.

So would it even be worth it to throw the money into this for the wheel build and everything, just to stick it into a Savage frame? Or am I better off leaving it be and learning freestyle… :roll_eyes: Though I don’t have a regular uni to learn on at the moment…

I know geared giraffes have been covered before, just not sure if they’re worth the effort or money, especially with a lower end frame…

Anyway, thanks for any help. It’s much appreciated. You guys on this forum have helped me out a ton.

I’m not ready for giraffe muni yet…

A pic after learning to freemount:

Gimme that wheel and an angle grinder, and we can have that problem fixed in 10 minutes. Don’t let a silly weld stop you! :slight_smile:

If you’re worried about precision, bring your wheel by a local machine shop and ask to have the gear milled off… but it’ll cost you something comparable to the parts for your wheelset.

Yeah, Savage frames are made of soda cans. I’ve bent a couple of 'em and I don’t even ride giraffes that much. (Sorry Corbin!)

Think about building your giraffe from the ground up, literally. If you build a good enough wheel, it will outlast your frame… then all you have to upgrade is the frame!

Learn to juggle clubs while idling on it. When that gets too easy, learn to pick one of them up off the ground when you drop one. Parade crowds will love that! :slight_smile:

Doh! Didn’t even think of changing the top chainring. That’d be waaaaay cheaper at the moment and I can leave my bottom sprocket welded. (though I do want to rebuild my wheel someday).

So how difficult would it be to change that top chainring without messing something up too bad?

Thanks guys! A couple chain rings and a new tire and this puppy’s gonna roll. (hopefully)

BTW John, yeah, I saw the term Hipo on your website and liked the term. I thought it might be refrencing both the African nature of giraffes (hippo) as well as the fact that they are high performance. I’ve read quite a few different articles on this site about hipo’s. Most notably this thread, which is what really got me going on gearing…Gearing up the Torker TX

Hah, wish I’da thought of that sooner. Made my day. :smiley:

Where would a person go about finding big enough sprockets that would fit the bottom bracket? A quick internet search leads me to believe these are harder to come by than one would think? :thinking:

Or would I need to use one of those chainring spider things?

I know little about bikes…:o

The bicycle markrt has changed a bit in 30 years. I got my sprockets at the same shop where I got my Schwinn Giraffe. Now you only see that type on retro or specialty bikes, so they might be harder to track down.

If they can’t be located, you could go to a spider setup but it would kill the cheap-o budget of the old method. Also you’d need to make sure your replacement crankset would be compatible.

Bummer. Will regular square taper cranks work do you know? Or will I have to pull them and look?

I can do some Sinz cranks and found a 53 tooth chainring for a total of like 140 bucks which isn’t great, but it is cheaper than a whole new wheelset.

I’ll also check ebay…



Sorry to bring this back up but I’m hoping John or one of you guys could answer this.

Would using one of these 26" schwinn sprockets from ebay work for my giraffe? Seems like it might work, but I’m not sure…


Could you more simply use the old sprocket as a bolt-plate for a new, larger sprocket?

Not sure. The only issue I could see would be offsetting the chain too much, but I’m not sure if it’d be enough to be a problem. I thought it might screw onto the crank somehow like my current sprocket, but if not, bolting it on could be a great idea…

Anyone know if it’d be a problem?

My upper sprocket also has some offset too it I noticed. The center of the sprocket flares out from the teeth, but you may still be able to bold on the larger one with some spacers… :thinking:

My preferred wheel solution for giraffes is a converted disc-hub, with bolt on cogs. The Nimbus spare-sprocket (28t) will fit the 6 holes intended for the brakedisc, but there are allso a small marked for such on track.
Here is my favourite on this topic:

If you do have bike-front-wheel with such a disc-hub (or you build one), all you need is a proper bolt, to convert it to a giraffe wheel. Then you can add smaller cogs (from track) for speed, or a big Nimbus-28t for something more like 1:1.


I don’t have any bike wheels like that and don’t want to spend the money on a wheel build. The bigger sprocket is nice cause it’s 20 bucks, just want to know if it’ll work… :thinking: :frowning:

Sorry, but is there anyone with a real definitive answer as to whether I can make this sprocket work?


I’m not familiar enough with the Savage giraffe to know if it uses the same type sprocket. Not sure how it attaches to the bottom bracket. On the Schwinn, sprockets have a big hole in the middle, and a smaller hole that corresponds to a “pin” on the crank. If yours is like that, those old Schwinn ones will probably fit. But what would 26 teeth do for you? That’s the original size on the Schwinns. If it’s only a few teeth different than what you have, it’s not what you need. You probably want to go at least 30% more to get a meaningful difference. I think back in the day, a 32-tooth made the Schwinn ride like a 24". We also had a larger one, like 38 or 42, but mostly I used the big, 48-tooth one. Like riding a tall Schlumpf. And a great challenge for freemounting.

Sorry, the sprockets are for (I assume) bikes with 26" wheels. They have 52 teeth. My cranks don’t have the pin. Sounds like I could be SOL… :roll_eyes: