While we appreciate the sentiment behind this wooden bike, but we think that designer Michael Thompson is doing a rather cleaner job of it: His SplinterBike is constructed entirely of wood and glue, with no metal, plastic, rubber, or screws to be seen. Originally conceived of in a bet with Thompson’s friend James Tully, who challenged Thompson’s boast that he could make anything out of wood, the bike has become a thousand-plus man-hour job.
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.
With Tully in the seat of the bike he initially dismissed, the pair hopes to set a new landspeed record with the bike and raise money for charity ShelterBox in the process.
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