No bolts or screws, just wood and glues!
The SplinterBikes are designed and built by:
Michael Thompson Norfolk, UK.
Or call +44 (0)7768 772366
You can follow the build programme on Twitter!
"It's possible to build a 100% wooden bicycle..."
The SplinterBikes are ridden by:
James Tully, an accomplished triathlete who is training for his biggest cycling challenge to date.
"...if you build it, I'll ride it!"
You can follow James' training regime on Twitter!
When bets go bad...
The SplinterBike project came about after a casual £1 bet turned serious. Inspiration came from many areas but the most significant was the influence of the carbon-fibre Lotus 108 time trial bicycle designed by fellow Norfolk designer Mike Burrows and made by the Norfolk based Lotus car manufacturer.
The challenge was to design and build a 100% wooden
bicycle. “No bolts or screws, just wood
and glues” were the rules of engagement. What developed was the
SplinterBike, creating a new type of human powered vehicle... the
This required taking a sideways look at how to overcome the many challenges we faced to produce a ridable wooden bike. Obvious problems like the chain have been tackled by connecting the power from the pedals to the rear wheel by the simple addition of a gear cog (pliCog). This however took many hours to design and prototype.
Just because the things around us are as they are, doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. Alternatives can be designed for everything we use day to day and so often take for granted. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel but it’s interesting to try.
The SplinterBike forced me to employ timbers previously unused in my workshop such as Lignum Vitae, a naturally self lubricating hardwood, which is included for bushings to minimise friction where one component turns in an opposing direction to another.
Many years of woodworking experience have enabled me to make a bet with a friend and end up developing something that will ultimately set a land speed record for wooden bicycles. It’s a testament to the versatility and strength of one of mankind’s oldest available materials... and of course, modern glue technology!
The Original SplinterBike took around 1000 hours to design and construct in Norfolk, England.