Safety Penny Fakething




All the danger of a Penny Farthing, with none of the authenticity. Well in this design of Penny Fakething, there is the advantage that you can dismount forwards, avoiding the 'header' type accidents common with a traditional Penny Farthing.

A modern take on that classic bicycle design.

Step 1: Starting the Frame

Select a scrap frame & forks. Cheap 'gaspipe' MTB frames are easy to weld. Remove the forks and assess how it will go together.

Step 2: Bending the Forks

The forks will have to be bent to match the frame. Forks are tough, so use levers to bend them.

IMPORTANT: Unless you are tall (like me) you may need to bend the top-tube and down-tube of the frame in to make it smaller - in this case you will have to cut the frame first.

Step 3: Cutting the Frame and Forks

The frame & forks can be cut so that they fit together. A normal hacksaw can be used, or a pipe cutter.

Step 4: Joining the Frame

If the sizes of tubes that are to be joined are a match, then a short piece of smaller tube can be used inside them as a ferrule to help line the joint up and add strength. If the sizes don't match, then one tube can be welded inside the other. This will make a less attractive weld, but, so long as the weld is strong, you can fair the shapes with car body-filler (bondo).

Step 5: The Armature

The armarture, or spine, will need to be made from strong tubeing. I used 40mm ERW steel tube - this is probably the minimum that you could get away with.

It was bent using a hydraulic tube bender. If you are lucky, you may find some scrap that is already bent to a suitable shape.

I welded the headtube in before I did the second bend, so that I could assess the shape more easily.

Step 6: Finishing the Frame

You will need to weld a set of front forks into the end of the armature, to take the smaller rear wheel. My Penny fakething uses a 12" wheel.

A footpeg, made from scrap tubing, can also be added.

The saddle also needs to be considered. I wanted mine above the head tube so that I could slide off forwards to dismount. It also needs to be placed so that your weight is evenly distributed.

Step 7: Handlebars

My 'Safety' fakething uses step-through handlebars.

You could just put normal handlebars back in the steerer tube, but if you fall forwards, be prepared for a face-plant!

Other pennyfakething designs have the handlebars welded to the front frame section and are positioned under the seat. In this case, the rider has to 'step round' the bars when they mount the bike, so that the bars are below their legs.

The stepthrough bars were cut from the legs of an office chair, and needed a small ammout of bending to get the shape right.

They are held in a handlebar stem that has been welded into the seat tube. I found that clamping them was not strong enough.

Step 8: Riding

You'll probably want to test ride it before you paint it. If you have got this far, reassembling a bike will be no problem to you.

I found the best way to learn, was to scoot the thing along, and ride on the footpeg to gain confidence.

Then you have to go for it. Check it is in a low gear, and that your life insurance is up to date.

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    30 Discussions

    Wobbly John

    10 years ago on Introduction

    I've just added a new video taken at a cycle event we were at last weekend. It's at the end of this instructable. Enjoy. Wobbly John


    Looks great! The apes solve the difficult mounting problem. I reckon you're going to need a gusset up under the fork sooner or later.

    2 replies

    The Great man Himself !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for the comments.

    The fork/front-frame join seems strong enough, I'm more worried about sideways flexing at this point, which I don't think a gusset will help.

    Have you seen my other creations on Cycles

    I have! I came to this site specifically to comment to you. I was particularly excited that you'd made your own Velocino, as this is a project I've always wanted to try... not many people even know what one is, not to mention have one. I saw an actual Hen'n'Chickens this winter and I can't wait to apply the pennyfakething technology to that design. Does your bike have a name?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Whee! :-) One suggestion: you may want to improve the contrast on that first and last picture - especially since the first one is used as a thumbnail for the whole instructable. Here are some improved versions:

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Love it. It would be beyond me to make one but I would definitely give one a ride. Have sent this instructable to a mechanically practical friend who has a couple of penny farthings and loves tinkering with bikes. See if he bites.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wow: this is super fantastic. It's great to see someone else making absolutely impractical, usable bikes!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love it. All the convenience of a real penny farthing, combined with the safety of a real penny farthing!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Uber Kool....... I am not saying it's not a great idea, cause it really is... I just have an aversion to anything that makes me closer to dead, instead of lasting to old age. And penny farthings... well after some time and lots of DEAD and seriously injured people, some one invented a SAFETY bicycle. Still it's a brilliant piece of work tho...


    I was JUST thinking of a pennyfarthing and its dangers. Although, I've seen them break apart at speed....then there's the inability to stop it once the pedals are wildly spinning.


    I see no way to be comfortable on this thing, however I like it, it's cool in that ooh I wanna hurt myself with one of them instead of the normal way...

    1 reply