Suspension unicycle frame and folding giraffe frame


A few days ago I recieved a couple samples I ordered a while ago. One is a suspension trials unicycle and the other is a folding giraffe frame.

The suspension trials unicycle doesn’t work properly because the wheel can move over and touch the fork if pressure isn’t applied to both sides at the same time. The torque from pedaling twists the forks. Carl Hoyer tried it a couple times with out any luck riding it.

It would work well if it had a brace put on to hold the two sides from moving like the brake booster on Magura brake. I forgot the proper name of that device. They are used on motorcycle forks as well.

The giraffe frame has the folding device welded on at an angle. Not sure if it would catch your leg but I would like to see it welded straight instead of on a angle.

Both need some work. I don’t think either are going to be in big demand.

I will have the suspension unicycle at NAUCC for people to check out. I will have a brace mounted on by then so it is ridable.

Check out the pictures here thanks to Carl.

Let me know what you think of them. Thanks.


Why not just a suspension seatpost? It allows travel between the seat and the axle without the chance of non-uniform compression. The only difference is that the seat moves with respect to the crown in that case. The axle moves with respect to the crown in the one you show.

I also think reflexive cranks are the way to eliminate shock on a trials uni, not a compressive seatpost or frame. That’s a different weird problem, though.

I like the folding giraffe but, like you, would also be worried about ankle-boning on the fold joint. You haven’t ridden that one yet, I take it? The big flange you have on there looks as though it would not flex too much. The quick release clamp is a nice touch but I would REALLY hate to snag that on my shoe or pant leg.

Daniel Hopkins had similar problems with his Rock Shox muni even with the arch installed on the fork. Even with the arch, hard pedaling generates so much torque that each leg is going to move independently causing the wheel to flop back and forth. Each leg of the fork will not be working in sync under hard pedaling. I’m going to have to give it a try at nationals just to see what it’s like. Way cool!

Here’s a link to Daniel’s Rock Shox muni

For the folding giraffe, what about using S&S couplers instead? S&S couplers would be more expensive, but I think they would work better.

A Portland Oregon or Seattle Washington area juggler had a giraffe customized with the S&S couplers so he could more easily travel with his giraffe to shows. The giraffe frame customizations were done by Ti Cycles here in Seattle. It wasn’t cheap, but none of the custom work at Ti Cycles is low cost. I saw the giraffe with the S&S couplers at the Portland Juggling Festival.

S&S couplers for folding bikes:

ah yes,but then it would’nt be a folding frame now would it?

the folding part on that giraffe looks like the front end of a Dahon folder.

So true! :slight_smile:

surely a suspension trials unicycle might let you do bigger drops, but would reduce your upwards ability as the suspension would go right out when you jump?


Cool prototypes! :slight_smile:

Except they were clearly put together by people who don’t know unicycling. :angry:

It looks like these are samples from a manufacturer in Taiwan or China. So many anxious companies over there, willing to build nearly anything for you…cheap! They just don’t know what to build. Products are only useful if they work. I think the designs need to originate with unicyclists, and then be modified for production by people who know manufacturing. Otherwise you end up with a lot of goofy, semi-usable stuff.

Suspension uni:
Looks cool. But why reinvent the wheel (or fork)? It looks like suspension has been applied (badly) to a Yuni-type fork, possibly by the company that makes the fork. After all the years and R&D that’s been put into suspension forks, I have to assume that starting from a mountain bike fork would be the cheapest way to end up with something that works well. Not necessarily an advantage for a company that doesn’t make suspension forks, but that’s not your problem…

Plus one must consider the fork vs. seatpost question. A suspension seatpost should be technically lots easier to design and build from scratch. The part to look out for on a unicycle is keeping the seat from twisting side to side. The design has to be “strong” in that area.

The problem with most bike suspension posts is that they’re too long for unicycles. Short people can’t use them. I’m sure if the design includes a requirement of keeping the length to a minimum, this should be easy to fix. Regular bikes have tons of room for extra post, so they don’t have to care.

On a fork, you don’t have the height problem but you have a potential width problem. Daniel Hopkins’ Rock Shox fork was pretty wide, and shorter people tended to bang their knees on it. I didn’t notice a problem when I rode it though. And then there’s the issue of rigidity. I think most people (especially a group of non-unicycling manufacturers) have no idea how much twisting force goes through a unicycle fork’s legs as you pedal hard.

If suspension can be moved out to the feet, that would be really cool. I wonder if it would be useful to have cranks that are springy in one direction, but rigid in the other. You wouldn’t want your pedals tilting to the sides, of course, but if you could make them spring up & down only, it could be really interesting!

Folding giraffe:
Bikes need to fold. If they can’t fold, you have to deal with 2 shifter and 2 brake cables. Unicycles don’t need to fold; no cables!

A good, strong take-apart top, such as on a Semcycle Giraffe, is ultra simple, and much safer than that interesting folder. I think they put the hing in “crooked” because it will fold farther at that angle than if they did it straight to the front or rear.

Giraffe frames are weakest (break most often) at the point where the seat tube raises out of the bottom bracket (crank barrel). By having a heavy-walled piece of thicker tubing there for your quick-release, you both strengthen your frame and make it “convertible.” It’s in two pieces instead of one, but most people, especially performers, don’t travel with giraffes without bringing lots of other stuff along as well, such as juggling props, other unicycles, etc.

I don’t mean to rain on Darren’s parade. Both are very interesting, unique unicycles! I hope they were free, or “shipping only.” To get useful stuff, the designs or specifications should originate wtih unicyclists, and then there should be a process of feedback back and forth with the manufacturer. The Velo seat, for example, was not designed in one try. I’m sure it cost a fortune to develop, but it was definitely worth it for us!

It seems to me that the hinge on the folding girraffe would work best at an angle. Darren didn’t have any pictures of that thing fully assembled. If it had a wheel and a saddle on it, I think you’d see that it folds nicely so the saddle settles comfortably alongside the wheel. If the hinge were straight, the front of the saddle would bonk into the leading edge of the wheel and you would end up with an “A” shape rather than a flat folded package. Even if you tweek it so that the back of the saddle is what hits and its so high that it hits the frame above the tire, it still isn’t going to fold as compactly as an angled hinge.

Greetings all

Those were both just unicycles I saw and asked to
have samples sent for review.
Yep, just paid the shipping but it was 250.00 !!!

I wouldn’t order either for stock even if they revised them. I don’t think unicycles need suspension (post or frame) and the take-a-part design Tom Miller created is a MUCH better idea than a folding giraffe frame.

Just wanted to share the weird stuff they try to make.

Your 100% right when you say they should leave the designing to unicyclists.