Speculation: Coker giraffe

I have a 26" wheel on my old Schwinn giraffe (converted by Tom Miller back in the late 1980’s) and its pretty good for parades & distance riding compared to the stock 20" wheel.

With all the talent on the forum (both as riders & framebuilders), I’m surprised no one has taken a Coker wheel and made a giraffe out of it. Or maybe someone has, & I just missed that thread. If so, that’s my next unicycle.


Are you thinking 1/1 gearing for Coker speeds or dropping it down to a 24 or 26 equivalent?

I think it would make an impressive parade machine. The bottom bracket on a standard six footer is at about 40 inches so it doesn’t have to be much taller than a standard giraffe.

Our club as a TUF 40" Big Wheel. The hub had sheared at one of the cranks and at one time I had an idea to attach a cottered crank and sprocket so it could be converted to a giraffe. As luck would have it, Tommy sold us a spare hub and we got the old Big Blue functional as a standard big wheel uni again so the giraffe idea never came to fruition.

What a cool idea. Don’t forget the photos, especially those of the maiden voyage. Giraffes are quite a bit easier to idle than standard unis. I wonder if a Coker giraffe (Coraffe? girker?) would be easy to idle.

Definately 1/1 gearing, or you’d lose the Coker aspect.

My 26" giraffe is definately easier to idle, but I wonder where the weight of the wheel would be a detriment.

As far as photos, I just planted the seed. I’m hoping you (Harper) or one of the other prolific fabricators will make this a reality.


I would think it would be a bit harder due to the high wheel inertia. Dave says the tire, tube and rim weigh more than 9 lbs, and since this is rolling weight near the circumference it counts for double. With the frame and hub the equivalent mass has got to be close to 25 lbs.

My physics model suggests that for something tall like a giraffe there may not be much benefit with having weight in the wheel. Low down, as with a conventional unicycle, there is some benefit because it gives a mass to react against. As a unicycle gets taller the need for fast reactions goes down, which means that the wheel’s resistance to movement is less important for balance, however the contact patch has to translate more so it takes more energy to start and stop the wheel. At some point the extra work offsets the extra inertia and the wheel weight becomes counterproductive.

Don’t know where the break even point is for human riders, so it isn’t clear which effect would dominate with a “Giroker.” Would be very interested in some real-world feedback.

Also agree that it would look really cool.

I hope that the test pilot for the new Coker Giraffe will wear a full-face helmet and a good pair of running shoes.

I imagine that it would be really tough to freemount a ciraffe. From my experience, the bigger the wheel, the harder it is to mount. Whenever I freemount my giraffe with a 20" wheel, I have to do a couple of rotations forward or a couple of idles before I can stabilize the beast. Each rotation of the pedals would be much harder and there would be a lot more time to fall over when just getting started.


What a crazy idea…having a human ride this. I was thinking I’d try instead.

ooh! ooh! me! me! I want to build this one! anyone have an extra coker rim and spokes just laying around somewhere that you want to ship me so I can get right to work on this???

If not… I guess it’ll have to wait until I have the money…

I can be a crashtest-dummy too. I’ve never tried a Coker or a giraffe. So this would solve both the problems at once :slight_smile:

All we have to do now is get NOKIAN to make us a 36 inch Gazzolodi and we will have a monster-truck giraffe!! :smiley:

Maybe I could go talk to them :roll_eyes: . The factories are only about 30 miles away in a town called Nokia. They sure would be interested in what a single unicyclist wants to tell them.

anybody, anybody? coker rims, spokes. maybe you upgraded to an airfoil and still have the original rim laying around somewhere?

Im all about a 3 wheeled coker stack. 9 feet tall, 3 wheels.

At one stage i semi-considered making a two wheeler with a 36" wheel on top and a 12" wheel on the bottom. In the end I went for 12" on top and bottom though.