The wooden bike  

Posted by Big Gav in

The Guardian has a look at an unusual bike design, made entirely from wood - The wooden bike – an engineering marvel, a recipe for saddle sore.

We've featured a bamboo bike on this blog before, with thick sections of the segmented grass used for the tubes, joined with resin and finished with traditional components.

But the SplinterBike is something far more exotic – every single part is wooden; wheels, frame, gears. Even, painfully, the saddle.

Not a single bolt or screw has been used, nothing metal, plastic or rubber.

At 31kg, and with one fixed gear and no brakes, it's unlikely to win awards for practicality, but as an engineering exercise it's a marvel.

It began as a £1 bet last year between joiner Michael Thompson and friend James Tully as they watched the Tour of Britain zoom past Michael's front garden.

Michael had always claimed he could make anything from wood, and James called his bluff in a big way.

More than 1,000 man hours and a considerable amount of skill and ingenuity later, the SplinterBike was ready to ride.

The axles are made of the hardwood ekki; the cogs, wheels and frame are birch ply; and oily ironwood was used in place of metal bearings where moving parts met. The pedals and handlebars were made from an old broom handle salvaged from Michael's shed.

The trickiest part was the drivetrain – how do you make a wooden chain?

Well, by cunningly replacing it with a huge 128-tooth cog that links the chainring and the gear on the rear wheel. In fact there are six cogs, as the drivetrain is replicated on both sides of the frame to add strength.

4 comments

Built stuff like that when I was a kid... they had projects in Boy/scout mags but my fathers PopSci was a goldmine of semi-dangerous pedal, gas and elec. self powered projects.

Ironically I read a cool one in PopSci yesterday that reminded me "I need to read what is old to understand what is new"

http://www.popsci.com/diy/gallery/2011-04/archive-gallery-diy?image=3

Hmmm - when I try to go that URL it re-writes it to popsci.com.au then tells me the page doesn't exist - annoying !

Google
"Popsci Wooden Scooters: May 1965"

Dang AU filters...
Crypto and dangeroom maybe, but PopSci really?

I don't think its an AU filter - I think its the popsci site trying to make sure I view the local version...

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