At the Power of Making exhibition last year at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, one of the major attractions was an all wooden bike named the Splinter Bike. Michael Thompson the creator of the wooden bike was encouraged by the tremendous response and created a second version also that created a speed record for a bike in its category. The 2012 London Olympics is a really special event particularly for the Londoners and Michael Thompson has built a special Splinter Bike Quantum (SBQ) edition for the occasion. It is an improved version of the basic model with a more advanced gearing setup and adjustable seat height. The bike was launched and put up on display at the Adain Avion event at the London 2012 Festival. The visitors would be able to mount and ride the all wooden bike.
Displayed in a Converted DC-9 Airplane
Adain Avion London 2012 Cultural Olympiad had especially requested Michael Thompson to create the special edition wooden bike. They have put it on display inside the recycled fuselage of a converted DC-9 Airplane. The work on the third model is going on and should be ready before the year end. It is expected to set a new Hour Record for wooden bicycles. The rider on the new bike will pedal continuously for 60 minutes and the distance traveled during the hour will become the new record. The making of the bike is a time taking process and Thompson has already invested 1,600 hours of his time in designing, prototyping, building and testing the various versions of Splinter Bike.
Hybrid Polymer Adhesive for Better Tire Performance
It is all this experience that has made the Quantum edition bike what it is. One of the major challenges of the project was to apply the adhesive tires to the wheels. The glue took five weeks to set properly to be able to take the load of the bike and the rider. Tremco Illbruck a supplier of specialty adhesives provided a hybrid polymer adhesive that has improved the full radius profile. The components going into the bike were made on a CNC machine. It took 40 hours to make the 88 individual components. Putting all the parts together so that they perform to their optimum capacity is a tedious job that took 400 hours. The Quantum edition, due to certain modifications weighs 39 kg which is 6 kg more than the original version.
New Improved Handlebars and Seat
It is almost like a learning process for Thomson. Changes and improvements are being made in the bike based on the learnings of the previous model. Some changes have been made to the pliCog gears. The size of the plywood gear teeth was increased and the gear ration was reduced. The new model is expected to achieve a top speed of over kmph. Thomson has used as much of recycled wood as possible. He has again used old broom handles to make the handlebars. Extended aero bars have been incorporated now to provide a better riding position to the rider. The height of the handle bar along with the seat has been made adjustable to suit different riders. The new model now almost matches the riding comfort of any other bike.