Video: It's quite heavy and not very fast (so far) but the wooden SplinterBike has a new World Record

Proving that triathletes are insane, James Tully piloted an all-up weight of 130Kg to 18kph

by nick_rearden   August 19, 2011  

SplinterBike.jpeg

The 30Kg wooden bike we've been following from the off has made its mark with a new world speed record verified by the Land Speed Records Club.

The BBC is reporting this morning that the entirely wooden bike built by Michael Thompson from Norfolk and ridden by triathlete James Tully has set a new record for a wood bicycle of 11.25mph (18.1kph).

The record was set at the Quibell Park Velodrome in Scunthorpe, yesterday (Thursday) and was witnessed by officials from the Land Speed Records Club.

We last wrote about Mr Thompson and his miraculous machine back in October when he was making plans for a possible attempt at the Olympic velodrome. When we contacted him this morning he said that they'd then hoped to use the runway at RAF Marham in Norfolk, "but all the jets flying back and forth to Libya kicked off."

"We learnt a lot from yesterday and everything worked. We'll definitely be back but we need a runway with a clear run of about 400-500 meters," said Thompson.


Your man 'Thomo' aka @SplinterBike on twitter

Some tech info: the front crankset has 40 teeth and the rear sprocket 10 and these are connected via the 128-tooth pliCog in lieu of a chain. The pliCog on SplinterBike 2 specially built for the attempt has drillings to reduce weight and revised aerodynamic handlebars. The 40 x 10 gear ratio would develop over 31mph at a cadence of 93rpm, suggesting there is room for improvement with a clear run.

 

The original SplinterBike 1, which was test run on the velodrome as well, will be delivered next week to London's prestigeous Victoria & Albert Museum where it will be going on display as an example of innovative British craftsmanship.

The SplinterBike blog is here but with nothing updated yet as of this post. There are some nice Flickr pictures by Reg Tubby here.
 


"I can feel the cogs rattling against my old fella"

9 user comments

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hmmmmm 30mph on a fixie with wooden rims, no tyres and no cleats/cages/toestraps. What could *possibly* go wrong?

Rather him than me but well done all the same - be good to see it up to full speed.

posted by dlp [51 posts]
19th August 2011 - 13:29

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At that speed there´s no chance of woodworm catching him !!!

Big Willys Jeep Safaris....When the going gets tough, the tough get a hard-on !!

jimmytwoshoes's picture

posted by jimmytwoshoes [1 posts]
19th August 2011 - 13:40

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I'm inclined to say that pneumatic tyres would improve things a tad. Surely this is not impossible with wooden wheels. After all, track rims were commonly made of wood back in the good old days. Thinking

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posted by michophull [95 posts]
19th August 2011 - 14:21

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The team might get better speeds if they run the wooden bike on a rubber track.

My son's like-a-bike was certainly good for better speeds than this, although it did have rubber tyres and metal bearing surfaces. He used to more than double that speeds on downhill zooms in the park.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
19th August 2011 - 15:08

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Hmmm... He'd've gone a bit faster if he'd used lower gears.

How about starting with a ratio that could get him up to 15mph, rather than starting off with a 4:1 on such a heavy bike?

PS OldRidgeback - I thought the whole idea was to make this thing entirely out of wood, so metal bearings or rubber tyres are a no-no.

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
20th August 2011 - 11:44

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JohnS wrote:
Hmmm... He'd've gone a bit faster if he'd used lower gears.

How about starting with a ratio that could get him up to 15mph, rather than starting off with a 4:1 on such a heavy bike?

PS OldRidgeback - I thought the whole idea was to make this thing entirely out of wood, so metal bearings or rubber tyres are a no-no.

He certainly would build up to speed faster but the downside (what, just the one?) of the bike being made entirely of wood is that the giant-size pliDrive connecting cog cannot be changed as readily as swopping around sprockets on a normal metal track bike. Basically, they've had to choose their 'optimum' gear based on knowing what an athlete is capable of (108" gear with 95 rpm cadence isn't insurmountable) and a target speed (30-odd mph) and having to stick with that. They could have chosen a 'lower' gear to target a slower speed, but where's the fun in that? The bad news is that it does need a longer run up which is why we now need a friendly RAF airfield to donate its runway for an hour or six. As someone up there said, what could possibly go wrong?

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
20th August 2011 - 13:34

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Er...what's the point?

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [271 posts]
21st August 2011 - 23:45

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Hmmm...same design, but made entirely of lead. Might weigh half a ton----maximum speed 4mph? New record.
Also, make one out of spaghetti hoops. Maximum speed zilch. New record!
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [271 posts]
21st August 2011 - 23:56

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PhilRuss wrote:
Er...what's the point?

It's a laugh! And your man Tommo is a carpenter so I'm sure a few folks around Norfolk know who has the wood work skillz when their custom-made dining room table needs sorting.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
22nd August 2011 - 2:22

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