It started with a drawing.

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May 20, 2008
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Sherman Oaks Ca
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that was thrown away.

a very brief back story.

as a product of the 80s and early 90s, I quickly realized that I was a bit different than my peers, my dad drove a 1954 buick roadmaster and my mom made our house feel like a museum. my parents were both professional designers, my mom, an interior designer and my dad an architect. After i graduated high school in 03, I went the route that many of us did, being lazy and feeling like i would never amount to anything. I got a associates degree in graphic design but never really liked it or chased a career in it. I had odd jobs here and there including a hot rod shop, vintage car parts shop, network admin, and even the pottery barn. I got a break and landed in a major motion picture studio here in LA. Working with the art department, I was fascinated with props and sets. after some soul searching I decided to go back to school and get a degree in industrial design while working part time at a special effects shop. this, my thesis project, has gone through many versions until a full scale mockup was built.

I was sitting on a train from san diego to la, and i was sitting next to a guy that was very talkative and inquisitive. we got on the topic of collecting things and it soon became apparent that he was a collector of bicycles, modern mountain bikes. I told him about my collection of pre and post war bikes and he was very interested. he knew of one classic bike, that shall remain nameless. it wasnt made of tubing but rather a composite.

taking a new approach to a vintage groundbreaking bike was the aim. I took a walk through the train and sat down in the observation deck, i got a napkin and a piece of paper and went to town. after thinking about it for the rest of the day, I threw the napkin away when i got off the train and decided it was going to be my thesis. I dont really know why i threw it away, but i think if i hadn't it would have gone by the wayside.

later that week i wrote up a proposal and to my utter astonishment, it was accepted. that was about 11 weeks ago.

I set to work on computer drawings and models.

Revision 1

heres the unfinished model (note front fender/fork)

I decided to go another route, In knowing that i wanted to create a full scale mockup this bike, I felt that the support bars were a bit out of place and distracting from the shape of the rest of the bike.

on to rev 2.

(this is actually a full scale vector that i scaled down, dont know why it looks kind of weird.

on to modeling.




Im trying to simplify this as much as possible, but there was a lot of work between each of these steps, between stress testing, design tweaks, small scale models (printed on a 3d printer)

anyway, ill get to the juicy.

we started with MDF wood, 3- 3/8, 4x8 sheets laminated together. with some tweaking we were able to get both halves of the frame on one sheet, but first we had to trick our cnc router (we have a horrible cam program)


we dialed it in pretty well, but the shops vac system was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of dust and chunks created by it.



the actual process to cut each side took about 14 hours a piece. each layer or step took about half an hour. since the vac system was struggling, i had to watch, and vaccum for all 28 hours that it was running. long nights.

more on this later.
Thats awesome. Is this frame going to be the final product, or will it be master for a mold? Carbon fiber perhaps? If you use the wood frame I hope it's stained, and not painted.
the end result is going to be either one of those, there is still a lot of work to be done and it still has to get a pass by an engineer. the drive system is also a bit interesting, but that will be a bit further down the line. as far as im concerned, this could be the master for a mold, but im doing a few things with another company at the moment that involves some pretty tech heavy stuff...

from there, there was hours of filling and sanding left to be done

so first I mocked up some wheels.


then started with wood putty...


then bondo


as you can see, the rear section needed a lot of work, having only a 3 axis cnc mill did not allow me to contour the back side of the rear supports, a grinder with sanding wheel made short work of that.

next was starting to add the features including handlebars, seat, and make sure the wheel was going to fit. I had a prewar drop center wheelset kicking around and used that for mockup sake. the original design called for 700x40 wheels, but the balloon tires seemed to work ok in the meantime.


here it is with handlebars. since this was to be a modern interpretation, I found a set of FSA metropolis bars with brooks grips. I also had a brooks B135 waiting quietly for a new home. We also mocked up the rear supports. If you will notice that in the model, the supports were a lot bigger, this was an on the fly decision that turned out to be better than the intended design. the rear started to look a bit bulky and unmanagable with the larger supports so smaller ones were made.


and here is one semi blended with the final wheel/tire combo.


from there, things began to take shape...


more later.
seeing as how this is a mockup... it has no drivetrain.

but Im working on a shaft drive system. I have access to a few turn of the century shaft drive bikes that im using for ideas/engineering purposes.

I also need to work out a single sided rear hub and brakes....

like i said, lots of work still needs to be done.
so we continued doing the body work to the point where we were 90% satisfied..



lots of late nights, greasy food, beer and smokes.

there were a few more details to add. at this point my partner and i (with the help of our girlfriends) decided to set aside our burning desire for perfection and go hard to the finish line.

we bought some aluminum strip from the hardware store and started on making an accent for the backbone of the bike.



with the portfolio show looming a few weeks away, I sort of stepped back from the bike and concentraited more on the booth that I had to build.

wood is not my strong suit, but it started flying together.


so back to the bike i went, we were only a few steps away from laying down the final paint and getting this huge model ready to be shown.




the mockup crank is only the tip of the iceberg, I want to try and make the drivetrain of this bicycle to be something special, and in the coming weeks and months, i really hope to have a ridable version of this.

small details became the name of the game. here is the bikes nameplate


the aerobike. why? because I like it.

finally the final paint was applied... being that this is backyard building at its best, we did exactly what we've dont to so many cars in the past, rattlecan, sand, repeat.


one more post to go!
thanks! I have those tires on 2 of my bikes, the actual tires on this bike came off of my 14' iver johnson arch bar. i also have them on my 13' new england motorbike.
So here is the final update...

with only a few days left before the show, The bike was packed up with too many blankets, tie down straps and just about every precaution necessary.


the booth was completed and also disassembled and packed up. I had a 2 page check list of things that needed to be packed and re-checked before the big day. by 930 the night before the show, everything was packed, sitting in my driveway and ready to go. we all stood back and marvled at what we just did. Myself especially for the mere fact alone that my vision was really coming true and then the fact that I have some really amazing friends that have my back... and then some.

the day finally arrived and we hit the road around 9:30, all the other suckers were busy fooling around early on while we slept in, got a good breakfast in and leisurely strolled to the hotel where the show was taking place.


we were the first ones there... surprise surprise.. so there was a lot of sitting around to be done.

there was some frusteration in setting up the booth because the guy in charge wanted to put me BEHIND someone else...


it finally came time to unveil the bike.




the sense of relief, completion washed over all of us when we stood back and took a good look at what we had done.



the final piece was added, a script that I cut out of a piece of plexi, sprayed silver and finally glued to the side of the bike.


that night i handed out over 300 business cards, everyone else said it was something like 50 or so. the show went great and there was amazing interest in the bike. where it goes from here time will tell. i can tell you that this is not the last youve seen about this bike.

once the glow wore off, I realized that I have another bike to add to my collection, and it actually took me a bit to realize that it was mine.