Thursday, March 31, 2011

Holy's got wheels on it!

Last night, after a couple of hours of scraping & sanding, we hung components......bottom bracket, cranks, pedals, headset(s), fork & front wheel. It's really starting to look like a vehicle which is scary. Up till now the concept of riding this thing has been an abstraction, a distant idea clouded by our focus on the details of structure. Now, however, the reality of riding a wooden bicycle that we built from a sheet of plywood comes to the fore. Throughout the evening Jeff & I kept pausing just to look at the thing and although I had never considered this a beautiful form, just a stepping stone to something else, it has started to grow on me. I like it's rugged simplicity & seductive curves, the clean edges and expanses of smooth blond wood. Jeff & I had a divergence of opinion about edges. Being a died in the wool modernist I like crisp, clean edges. Jeff, being someone who deals with the reality of boats bobbing around in the water and crashing into things, likes nicely rounded corners.
We have a couple of issues, albeit minor, in that the bottom bracket is about 1/2" too low and the rear head tube (the one we attach the handlebars to) is a little low. We will have to be mindful not to pedal through sharp turns and a pair of BMX handlebars will be required to get that nice upright Dutch feel. I also think the cargo bed is too high. Everything else came together pretty easily. Currently the bikes weighs in at about 41lbs with probably another 6 to 10lbs more to add in components. This is well within our target range and gives us plenty of leeway in terms of adding material for strength & rigidity. My gut feeling is that the bike, while being ride-able, will fall short in terms of rigidity and load capacity. But I'm not worried....we have identified several areas where we can design in more strength going forward. The fact that we are even in the ball park bodes well for future iterations. And as we rush to complete the assembly and ride this bad boy our thoughts and discussions have already moved beyond to the next version.......


  1. Very freaking cool. What size wheels are you using? Looks like 26 and 16 - which I'd imagine might be a tad too small at the front in terms of twitchyness. Thats a technical term right there, oh yes. :-)

    20" and your cookin.


  2. Ollie,

    You are correct....16" and yes that might be an issue but running this as we are, on a shoestring, we had to work with what we had. If it does work 16" does confer some benefits (shorter package overall, possibly lower cargo deck without a very long neck?).