North American Scrap Lumber Bicycle Symposium | Bike Check

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Pushing the boundaries of bicycle technology, taking innovation to the next level, and setting new standards, it’s Hannah and Fahzure’s lockdown creation. No, it’s not a baby, a sourdough loaf, or a pizza oven: it’s a bike made from wood.

With so many cancellations of events, there were no creative outlets left. Frame builders and artisan welders were left with no option but to create YouTube how-to videos, or go and ride their bikes. Frustration was mounting, and there was a risk that it would lead to a sudden proliferation of new bicycle standards as so many brilliant minds were left to work without structure or distraction.

Recognising the risk to the future well being of mechanics around the world, Bicycle Pubes launched an event that is as much humanitarian effort as it is a showcase of craft and skill: the North American Scrap Lumber Bicycle Symposium (NASLBS). The rules were simple: it had to be made of scrap wood you already have; no welding was allowed; it must have expensive wheels. Clarification of the rules was sought, and it was confirmed that bamboo did not count as wood. In addition, the requirement for expensive wheels was dropped, but all entries had to be accompanied by a donation to World Bicycle Relief.

With the Diversion Diaries concluded and partner BK (aka Fahzure Freeride) safely quarantined at home with me, I found myself with time on my hands and plenty of wood. A plan was formed: we would participate in NASLBS, with our own home crafted entry. It would be the pinnacle of bike design, setting a template for the future of the bike industry. Every possible detail would be considered, with the finished product a bike that would be a true quiver killer: from bike park to bike packing, whether down country, back country or alt country, there would be a design feature to improve your ride experience. Come with us now and check out the result.

North American Scrap Lumber pallet bike
Are you ready to behold this creation?

The Frame

We opted for a strong and stable frame made from a single pallet, with the addition of asymmetrical chainstays made from offcuts of decking. The headtube was cut from a block of scrap wood using a combination of jigsaw, drill, anger, and blunt hand rasp. It took most of a day to cut the two holes necessary to accommodate the fork. Given the quarantine measures under which this was constructed, there was, regrettably, no option to obtain better tools. The ladder/kickstand/seat/push bar thankfully came preformed from the loft, with no additional tooling or machining required.

Following the ruling that bamboo was not permitted, a rear axle was hand carved from a stick that had dropped off a tree into the garden. There was concern from the outset that this could be the achilles heel of this fine steed.

North American Scrap Lumber pallet bike
The structural integrity of the rear axle was a worry.

The Build

As is befitting a showcase model we went all in with the build, selecting only the finest accessories and finishing kit. Luckily, we had on hand the remains of a former showcase build. We had high hopes that our frame would last longer than the Sick Bicycles ‘Death From Above’ that donated the wheels, shock, saddle, brakes and fork to our project. We did debate whether the inclusion of a non-wood fork was in keeping with the rules, however we hoped that its provenance and that of our other finishing kit would appeal to the judges. In addition, their inclusion allowed us to meet the 1st August entry date, and we felt it would be important to meet this deadline. If there is enough interest in this concept bike and we’re able to move to a full production model, we want our customers to believe that we will deliver.

Frame	MegaHigh; Pine, old nails and staples;  Lots of zits, all of them; Headtube angle: in Taurus; supershort asymmetrical chainstays; ST angle: adustable by user with pry bar and hammer; a lightening hole; Sizing: Leg: 1 Fahzure cubit; Top length: 1/2 pallet plus a Fahzure hand Headbadge	Investment cast removable/shareable OWL with integrated bottle opener (approximate weight 2.5lbs).  Fork	UnINTENDED usage USD fork with prescratched stanchions so you no longer have to worry about how much you paid for it Seatpost	suspension seatpost with double manual QR. Brakes	iHOPE they work V4.3121 Wheels	Rotors: iHOPE floating all over the place; Hubs: iHOPE no one steals my Pro4 hubs; Rims: Sick Bicycles branded fabtastic plastic, probably someone else's  Bars	MONE style Jets with integrated barends Grips 	Insulating ultra chunky Foot/bicycle interface	Reverse POWERGRIP toe CROCS  Navigation	Eyes down self powered elctromagnetic cell-free night illuminated Tea Towel	From Singletrackworld.com, the world's raddest mtb merch store. Tea Towel Rack	Full length, chrome, slightly below average quality Rear axle	handcarvedaxles.com Seatpost clamp	Soft pine with dual quick release Sugar Tongs	Antique silver. Because bikepacking should have more manners. Also good for removing bugs from your couscous. Bar bag	Outer Shell. Good enough for the Radavist, probably too good for us. Saddle	titanium rails to shed important weight from the bike Safety features	Reflectors and bells, lots of them. Battery system	Hot swappable, rechargeable, 240V (UK) quick charging, spare fuses provided Lights	LEZYNE XL1100 rechargeable front, blinky rear Headset	Tapered with upper ceramic (faux travertine) tile bearing Ride verification	Rad-o-meter (interweb and international standardized) Other bag	Leather, 6 compartment with keyring clip; removable for day hikes in Wilderness; Tires	knobby rubber Tubeless 	of course Cassette	Yes, but not sure why Ladder	Yes, and as integrated backrest, kickstand, light and reflector mount Foot rests	Clearly marked with left/right indicators to prevent confusion Quick release recorder	yes Other Rider's Trail Trash Storage	ORTTS Tube repair kit	Dunlop Metal cup holder	Heavy Duty Double Cages	Hip flask for celebrating your failings; H2O Recorder holder	So you can retell your adventures as an epic ballad
Hope brakes on bespoke brake mounts

The frame building proved more challenging than first anticipated, with some compatibility issues encountered. On the whole we feel that we overcame these challenges with creative and innovative solutions, but with more time on our side we’d likely make some adjustments to the dishing of the rear wheel to provide better clearance for tan wall tyres. We’ve obviously left this frame in its raw finish, but if we moved to production runs, we’d look to issue bold new colour stains every model year. Sanding would be extra.

North American Scrap Lumber pallet bike
Custom dishing of the rear wheel would be an improvement.

In addition to the key functional components, we added a number of supplementary features, some from our own supplies of accessories, some lovingly created by hand for this bespoke build.

The Cockpit

We’ve seen a move towards integrated and proprietary cockpits in the bike world recently, and decided that the neat finish that they offer combined perfectly with the air of exclusivity that we wanted for our bike. A hand carved steerer tube insert barely kisses the handlebars, which are finished with neat faux-welds and bar ends. Tassels add a touch of glamour, but also serve the practical purpose of reminding you when you’ve switched from groomed bike park to backcountry singletrack.

Further backcountry touches include the Timber! Bell – great for warning bears or walkers of your presence – and the Outershell Bar Bag. Once again, this excellent bar bag shows that it will attach securely to any bike, and its optional camera protection sleeve means that you can take a proper camera with you wherever you go. Great for capturing those first ascents and camp fire moments. If it’s good enough for the Radavist, it’s probably too good for us.

North American Scrap Lumber pallet bike
Foam grips

Comfort was important to us in this build – long days on the jump line or tackling washboard terrain can be fatiguing on the wrists. But we were also concerned that our efforts to address the needs of all riders could add weight. We’ve therefore added light weight foam grips, and the saddle has titanium rails. Further comfort was added by the shock mounted saddle, absorbing hits without losing stiffness from the frame.

A double manual QR allows saddle height adjustment.

On Board Telemetry

When you’re operating at the fringes of peak performance, every data point matters. We included the integrated Radometer to ensure riders have the ultimate in feedback from the trail throughout the ride, and are able to refer to objective measurements rather than subjective feel. We designed the Radometer as an analogue instrument for infinite measurement since we believed pro riders would miss the gaps in the readings offered by a digital meter. Continuing the analogue theme, we also included a compass, helping deep backcountry riders find themselves, or the Circle K.

Frame	MegaHigh; Pine, old nails and staples;  Lots of zits, all of them; Headtube angle: in Taurus; supershort asymmetrical chainstays; ST angle: adustable by user with pry bar and hammer; a lightening hole; Sizing: Leg: 1 Fahzure cubit; Top length: 1/2 pallet plus a Fahzure hand Headbadge	Investment cast removable/shareable OWL with integrated bottle opener (approximate weight 2.5lbs).  Fork	UnINTENDED usage USD fork with prescratched stanchions so you no longer have to worry about how much you paid for it Seatpost	suspension seatpost with double manual QR. Brakes	iHOPE they work V4.3121 Wheels	Rotors: iHOPE floating all over the place; Hubs: iHOPE no one steals my Pro4 hubs; Rims: Sick Bicycles branded fabtastic plastic, probably someone else's  Bars	MONE style Jets with integrated barends Grips 	Insulating ultra chunky Foot/bicycle interface	Reverse POWERGRIP toe CROCS  Navigation	Eyes down self powered elctromagnetic cell-free night illuminated Tea Towel	From Singletrackworld.com, the world's raddest mtb merch store. Tea Towel Rack	Full length, chrome, slightly below average quality Rear axle	handcarvedaxles.com Seatpost clamp	Soft pine with dual quick release Sugar Tongs	Antique silver. Because bikepacking should have more manners. Also good for removing bugs from your couscous. Bar bag	Outer Shell. Good enough for the Radavist, probably too good for us. Saddle	titanium rails to shed important weight from the bike Safety features	Reflectors and bells, lots of them. Battery system	Hot swappable, rechargeable, 240V (UK) quick charging, spare fuses provided Lights	LEZYNE XL1100 rechargeable front, blinky rear Headset	Tapered with upper ceramic (faux travertine) tile bearing Ride verification	Rad-o-meter (interweb and international standardized) Other bag	Leather, 6 compartment with keyring clip; removable for day hikes in Wilderness; Tires	knobby rubber Tubeless 	of course Cassette	Yes, but not sure why Ladder	Yes, and as integrated backrest, kickstand, light and reflector mount Foot rests	Clearly marked with left/right indicators to prevent confusion Quick release recorder	yes Other Rider's Trail Trash Storage	ORTTS Tube repair kit	Dunlop Metal cup holder	Heavy Duty Double Cages	Hip flask for celebrating your failings; H2O Recorder holder	So you can retell your adventures as an epic ballad
Find yourself, or Twinkies.

Carrying Capacity

It’s important to leave no trace and only haul in what you can haul out. We therefor wanted to make it as easy as possible to haul in as much stuff as you might need. Plenty of cage mounts are provided in an arrangement that we believe will fit all existing and future standards for popular cages, racks and guards. We’ve also provided a useful towel rail – great for carrying enough gear for a short day ride and coffee stop, or for hanging laundry overnight on long haul trips. Cup storage, vintage silver sugar tongs, and a tea towel have also been included to ensure a better standard of coffee stop.

North American Scrap Lumber pallet bike
Fits all present and future standards
North American Scrap Lumber pallet bike
Hip flask for hydration and support

A leather satchel which fits perfectly into the frame void allows the carrying of vital supplies on the bike, or can be detached for foraging forays or hikes further into the downcountry. A hip flask cage and bottle opener provide succour, while the bottle cage mount is handily placed under the bottom bracket. Keeping the weight low helps with the bike’s handling, and while some might say it leaves your water supply vulnerable to poo strike, we say that it’s not bikepacking without a dose of e-coli. To the rear of the bike we fitted a useful recorder mount. If you find yourself alone and far from home, you will soon be able to make new friends or overcome any language barrier through the medium of music.

North American Scrap Lumber pallet bike
Make new friends, whatever the language.

Drivetrain

While every effort has been made to save weight where possible, we thought that e-assist would be a valuable addition to this bike, especially for shorter riders who can’t reach the ground to operate the balance bike motion actuation mechanism. Three batteries are provided, with an additional battery available aftermarket. Spare fuses come as standard. The foot rests provided come pre-fitted with Crocs, as well as a clear left/right signage. in hindsight, Vibram Fivefingers might have provided a more intuitive sense of control and contact between the bike, rider and trail, but we felt the aesthetic of Crocs went well with the frame.

The Ride

Mounting the bike, you’re immediately struck by its tall standover. The ride position is tense, and encourages a tucked position such as you might adopt on a bobsleigh. With so much weight, pre-brake dive on soft terrain was an issue, and the kickstand required modification to improve ground clearance. Rolling along, traction felt good, with the bike feeling firmly in contact with the ground. As expected, we were let down by the rear axle, and so did not get chance to check its manners in corners.

Pricing

As bike journos, we have no idea how much any of the equipment costs.

North American Scrap Lumber pallet bike
It’s a bike that encourages you to take in your surroundings.

Full Specification Highlights

FrameMegaHigh; Pine, old nails and staples; Lots of zits, all of them; Headtube angle: in Taurus; supershort asymmetrical chainstays; ST angle: adustable by user with pry bar and hammer; a lightening hole; Sizing: Leg: 1 Fahzure cubit; Top length: 1/2 pallet plus a Fahzure hand
HeadbadgeInvestment cast removable/shareable OWL with integrated bottle opener (approximate weight 2.5lbs).
ForkUnINTENDED usage USD fork with prescratched stanchions so you no longer have to worry about how much you paid for it
Seatpostsuspension seatpost with double manual QR.
BrakesiHOPE they work V4.3121
WheelsRotors: iHOPE floating all over the place; Hubs: iHOPE no one steals my Pro4 hubs; Rims: Sick Bicycles branded fabtastic plastic, probably someone else’s
BarsMONE style Jets with integrated barends
GripsInsulating ultra chunky
Foot/bicycle interfaceReverse POWERGRIP toe CROCS
NavigationEyes down self powered elctromagnetic cell-free night illuminated
Tea TowelFrom Singletrackworld.com, the world’s raddest mtb merch store.
Tea Towel RackFull length, chrome, slightly below average quality
Rear axlehandcarvedaxles.com
Seatpost clampSoft pine with dual quick release
Sugar TongsAntique silver. Because bikepacking should have more manners. Also good for removing bugs from your couscous.
Bar bagOuter Shell. Good enough for the Radavist, probably too good for us.
Saddletitanium rails to shed important weight from the bike
Safety featuresReflectors and bells, lots of them.
Battery systemHot swappable, rechargeable, 240V (UK) quick charging, spare fuses provided
LightsLEZYNE XL1100 rechargeable front, blinky rear
HeadsetTapered with upper ceramic (faux travertine) tile bearing
Ride verificationRad-o-meter (interweb and international standardized)
Other bagLeather, 6 compartment with keyring clip; removable for day hikes in Wilderness;
Tiresknobby rubber
Tubelessof course
CassetteYes, but not sure why
LadderYes, and as integrated backrest, kickstand, light and reflector mount
Foot restsClearly marked with left/right indicators to prevent confusion
Quick release recorderyes
Other Rider’s Trail Trash StorageORTTS
Tube repair kitDunlop
Metal cup holderHeavy Duty Double
CagesHip flask for celebrating your failings; H2O
Recorder holderSo you can retell your adventures as an epic ballad

The Competition

This wasn’t just an opportunity for us and the other entrants to display our frame building talents and demonstrate the possibilities for the future direction of the bike industry. All entrants had to donate to World Bicycle Relief to be eligible to enter. Bicycle Pubes reckons this display of craft, skill and imagination has raised around $400. Of course, if you want to donate, that will boost that figure.

Here are the other entrants.

Cole Taylor – Aero Board Roadlocross

Frontier Bikes – Hammicle

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDeU1PDFlNd/

Taylor Roby – Nickle-Back Farthing

Needless to say, the Nickle-Back Farthing won the competition. It displays a level of construction skill and complexity that we just couldn’t compete with, so is a worthy winner.

Donate to World Bicycle Relief here:


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Author Profile Picture
Hannah Dobson

Managing Editor

I came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. I like all bikes, but especially unusual ones. More than bikes, I like what bikes do. I think that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments. I try to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

More posts from Hannah

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • North American Scrap Lumber Bicycle Symposium | Bike Check
  • brakestoomuch
    Full Member

    You were robbed! I demand a recount!

    This is excellent, what a great article! Just what I needed while nursing bruises from last night’s ride :)

    I won’t mention the part where you say BK is quarantined with you and you have time on your hands and plenty of wood. You just can’t help yourself, can you? :D

    stwhannah
    Full Member

    @brakestoomuch >innocent look<

    oldnpastit
    Full Member

    There are some genius features on that bike! How have I survived this long without a Rad-o-meter? Where can I buy an aftermarket one from?

    docgeoffyjones
    Full Member

    Better looking than an orange!

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    My green Orange is booootiful.

    And brings a lower risk of a splinter in the nether regions… that would be embarrassing at A+E.

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

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