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Please help fund the development and construction of WoodBike v1.5...

I've seen a few wooden bicycles on the web, and I've wondered for a while about wood as a bike-building material, too. Wood can be just as strong and light as many of the modern composites, and it's often easier to work. The question is - Can I do it? Can I build a reliable, practical vehicle? Well, I plan to give it a good try.

My main goal will be to start with building a light, but strong, short-wheelbase, under-seat-steering, recumbent frame of marine ply, with welded steel dropouts and head tube, then start looking at improvements to the design and componentry. I plan to use a standard chromoly fork and alloy spoked wheels to start with, but if the machine works well, I'll try building timber wheels and fork, too.

Anyway, here's my starting specification...

  • Wheels...
    • Initial spec: 20x1.25 alloy rims with stainless spokes.
    • Final spec: 20x1.25 alloy rims on ply 3-spoke front and ply disk rear.
    • drum brake hubs.
  • Frame...
    • Marine grade ply and laminate (various thicknesses.) shaped and hollowed for optimum weight & strength. All joints to be epoxy and screw bonded.
    • Welded steel couplings for componentry interfacing.
    • All timber to finished with a heavy duty, clear polyeurathane over dark stained "points".
    • All interfacing metalwork to be brushed and polished to match wood grain direction.
  • Fork...
    • Initial spec: chromoly unicrown with A-head style steerer and head.
    • Final spec: timber fork legs coupled to chromoly crown and steerer.
  • Componentry...
    • Initial spec: whatever comes to hand.
    • Final spec: probably Shimano STX (as much as possible, anyway.) preferably 24 speed.
    • Lightest, strongest available chain.
  • Weight Targets...
    • Initial spec: <18kg.
    • Final spec: <14kg.
    • Future designs to approach 10kg mark.

© June 2001, Stephen H. Jay. All rights reserved.