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Allwood Splinter Bike gears up to set land speed record

first_imgWho knew a simple bet could lead to 1,000 hours of tinkering and an attempt to break the land speed record? Friends Michael Thompson and James Tully made a bet for 1 pound, or $1.61 US, as they watched the stream of bikes zip past them during the Tour of Britain. The bet wasn’t who was going to win the race, but, instead, was made by Thompson that he could build a bike entirely out of wood, and Tully would be the one to ride it.After about 42 days worth of work, Thompson came out with the Splinter Bike. As promised, its wheels, frame, gears, bolts, and even its seat are made out of wood. An all-wood seat can lead to an uncomfortable bottom after a long ride, but this isn’t exactly the type of bike to take on a leisurely ride in the country side. In fact, the bike was built with the intention of setting the land speed record. Thompson and Tully are in luck, however, there is no land speed record for an all-wooden bike as of yet.It’s not the first wooden bike ever to be made, but Thompson said it’s the first all-wooden bike capable of reaching an estimated 31mph. At a little over 68 pounds, the Splinter Bike weighs a bit more than an actual wooden splinter. Thompson used ekki for the axels, and ironwood for the the barrings, both of which are particularly hard woods. The cogs, wheels, and frame are all made out of birch. As for the handlebars and pedals? Those are made of an old broom stick that Thompson had laying around in his shed.So what about the chain? It seems making a chain out of wood would be pretty tricky so Thompson created two giant 128-tooth cogs, which work with a handful of other cogs to connect the pedals to the back wheel. Obviously, the bike wasn’t built for switching gears, and making breaks would be very difficult let alone add much more unwanted weight to the bike. The only solution was to make it a fixed-gear bike with a 4:1 gear ratio.Fixed-gear bikes, or fixies, as they’re often referred as, is a bike whose pedals are always moving when the bicycle is moving. In other words, you can’t coast. And, since when the back wheel turns, the pedals turn in the same direction, the cyclist can stop without using brakes. Of course, this can be somewhat dangerous if you need to stop abruptly, since the only way to stop is to resist the rotation of the cranks.The duo want to go down in history by setting the land speed record with the bike. But, breaking the record isn’t as simple as just riding the bike with someone in a car beside Tully gauging his speed. The Speed Record Club is needed to make it official with timekeeping and moderating the run. Unfortunately, it will cost 7,500 pounds, or $12,532.50 to get the Speed Record Club to do this. So, to raise this kind of money, the Splinter Bike needs a sponsor. Thompson and Tully are still looking for a big sponsor to add to its collection of smaller sponsors.They haven’t actually tested it out yet because they have yet to find a surface that’s smooth enough for the bike’s delicate wheels. Once they raise enough money, they plan to test the bike and set the record, as well as raise money for ShelterBox, a charity for disaster relief.Via Wiredlast_img

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