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The world's first wooden full suspension frame

13:27 12th February 2014 by Ed Haythornthwaite
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From time to time we get random emails from readers, and often they are about some bike part they’ve either made or bodged. Last week another of these emails landed in my inbox, but this had to be one of the most random ones I’ve ever got…

Hi. My name is Iwan and I’m 16. During the Christmas holidays I decided to try and make a wooden bike frame after seeing the idea from the American company Renovo. I decided to jump in head first and based it on the Nukeproof Mega TR. Hope you like it. :)

Yours faithfully,

Iwan Evans

woodframe

Now clearly it’s actually unrideable, but I just love the fact that a kid has gone to the effort to make something like this, and the lunacy of it just makes it even better. Why would you want to build a replica frame out of wood? Who knows, but judging by the photo above I blame the parents. I mean come on the floor is bare wood, the door is, the skirting is, and so is the wardrobe. Anyone growing up in that kind of environment is clearly going to end up thinking everything can be made from wood. And if you’re wondering what the other wooden frame is in the background, apparently that’s an earlier attempt that went wrong.

Anyway, I was intrigued to know a bit more about what possessed someone to make something like this, so I asked Iwan and the reply I got back just made me like him even more…

I made it as I really like working with wood and also the weather over the holidays was nothing special. Dad thought it was a waste of time and I guess he’s right but it sure is better than being glued to a screen all day. I was making it on and off during the holidays and in all took just over 10 hours not including gluing. I decided to make it out of laminated plywood because it would allow complex shapes, it is very strong and allowed me to build it up to the thickness required. I sure did get to know how to cut properly with a coping saw and using a hand plane to round the seattube and shape other pieces, along with A LOT of PVA for the laminating and joining. I joined the front triangle using mortice and tenon joints using Gorilla glue to keep it in place and finally metal pins through both pieces to give a mechanical joint as well and it turned out fairly strong :) . I did however have problems drilling out the headtube as obviously to even fit forks in it would need at least a 30mm hole into the 50mm diameter headtube. Even with a lot of care I split one of my headtubes so had to make a second one which is easier said than done when it was attached to the other pieces of the front triangle. The rear was then fairly straight forward to make but near impossible to make it strong so that was the part that kind of condemned it to be just a decoration in my bedroom :)

There are a couple of things I particularly love about that reply. Firstly that his dad is clearly not a man to beat around the bush. Secondly that Iwan is more than happy to admit that it could be seen as a waste of time, but thirdly and most importantly I love that he would rather make something with his hands, even if the end result is pointless, rather than sit in front of a TV or computer. We need more kids like Iwan. Also, the end result might be nothing more than something to hang on the wall, but there’s nothing really wrong with that and he’s learnt some good skills along the way. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll use those some of those skills to build frames for real…

Iwan also sent me a few photos that he took during the build process which are in the gallery below if you fancy taking a look.

So what do you lot reckon? Does Iwan need to have a rethink about how he spends his time on rainy days, or should we be heralding him as the saviour of the modern tech obsessed generation?

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