After seeing this bike on a bicycle design blog I was inspired to build my own. It was made by someone named John Hobson. The concept is the same, but mine is fairly different.
Also I had some left over epoxy and fiberglass from a kayak I built and was just itching to find a project I could use it on (or maybe I was just itchy from all the fiberglass). Anyway, since I wasn't thrilled with my current bike that was a cheapo 15 year old big box store bike, I thought it would be great to replace the old frame with a wood composite frame and have something unique.
The part of the design I liked was that the top and bottom parts of the frame are like leaf springs separated by the seat tube. I thought that having a suspension system integrated into the frame was a really cool idea. Ideally vibrations and bumps would be absorbed into the frame and returned back to the wheels, without making the frame too bouncy. The frame I built consists of plywood, fiberglass, epoxy, and even paper, so there is no welding required.
Before I get started here's some bike terminology I had to learn:
Head Tube - short tube for the handle bars, and front fork assembly.
Top Tube - horizontal section that connects the seat tube to the head tube.
Down Tube - diagonal section that connect the head tube to the bottom bracket.
Bottom Bracket - This is where the pedals and crank attach.
Seat Tube - longer tube that the seat post slides into.
Chain Stays - Two sections that connect the bottom bracket to the rear wheel.
Seat Stays - Two sections that lead from the seat to the rear wheel.
Dropouts - brackets to connect the rear wheel.
Caution: Riding a bike is dangerous, riding a home built bike is even more so. If you decide to build a bike, take it slow, wear a helmet and other protective equipment, reinspect your work, and be prepared for it to break at any moment.
Step 1: Get The Materials
I bought a bottom bracket, bottom bracket shell, and crank from Amazon for about $50. The rest of the parts I plan to take from a junk bike I had lying around.
The fiberglass, epoxy, and spar varnish were left over from a kayak build. I bought these online from a boat building supplier. It is 6 oz glass cloth and the epoxy is clear, non-blushing that takes about 24 hours or more to fully cure.
Tools needed: Saw, sandpaper, rasp, a couple of pliers, drill, power sander, power jig saw, some solid wire, natural fiber rope or twine, a vise, and several disposable brushes, cups, and latex gloves. When needed be sure to wear eye protection and a mask to keep gunk out of your lungs. I also had to buy some specialty bike tools, a chain tool and crank arm remover.
For removing parts off the old bike I used a hack saw, locking pliers, bench grinder, and a Dremel.