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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Splinter Bike

The Splinter Bike, created by British craftsman Michael Thompson is made entirely out of wood, without a single piece of rubber or metal. Aside from glue and paint, the entire bicycle (drivetrain, bearings, axles, and all) is made from various types of hardwood.

A Bike Biz article about the Splinter Bike explains that the project started as a bet:

“Thompson, a joiner, boasted he could make a fully wooden bike and his friend James Tully called his bluff.

The cogs, wheels and frame are made from birch ply. Ironwood – an oily wood – is used where moving parts meet. The pedals and handlebars were made from an old broom handle. There’s no chain. Instead there’s a 128-tooth cog that links the chainring and the gear on the rear wheel.”

Thompson has documented the building process on his blog. Now that the bike is complete, it is interesting to look back and see the earlier prototypes and drawings. Most of the posts are interesting, but I particularly liked the one that showed how the wooden tire surface was enhanced with 3.5mm of grippy adhesive. It doesn’t look like the most comfortable ride ever, but it definitely beats a raw wood contact surface on the track. It should be fun to continue to follow the blog as the bike undergoes testing and refinement before the official record attempt. I will definitely be watching to see how that attempt goes…best of luck to Michael and James.

BTW, seat looks commfy.

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