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Thread: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

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    Default The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    This post has been a long time in the making. Not 'atmo-long', granted - but plenty long enough for me!

    Back in July (I think) last year (2013) a VSalonista, Mark Kelly, approached me with an offer I couldn't refuse: he builds me a frame in return for me turning it into a bike, riding it and giving him feedback. Ummm, ok.

    Fast forward to Christmas Eve just passed, and it arrived (well, it had actually arrived 3 or 4 weeks previous, but a slight problem saw it taking a trip back to Victoria for Mark to sort). Somehow I found time that evening, on Boxing Day and today to get it built (honestly, my wife is beyond forgiving). I finished it off and took it for a shakedown this evening.

    Before I go on, if you are unaware of the materials and build process Mark uses, have a read (some of this detail is probably slightly outdated now as I know Mark has been refining a lot of his processes). Yes, this is a wooden bike. Sort of. Mostly.

    Crappy iPhone pic for now, but here's the finished build:



    Perhaps controversial in terms of the carbon wheels, carbon saddle, EE Brakes and Turn cranks, but when isn't a wooden bike controversial?! Besides, stealing the wheels and Turn cranks off my Gaulzetti was intended to prompt a strip-down to finally send it away for that respray. I digress...

    I'll be honest: I've always been a bit "meh" about how this would turn out and ride. Willing? Hell yes. Intrigued? Abso-flippin'-lutely. Excited? Hmmm.

    More fool me.

    It was meant to be a gentle spin - check it won't fall to bits / crack / snap / flex like hell, etc. It ended up being a smashfest because I couldn't quite understand how a wooden (mostly) frame was riding the way this was.

    I keep drilling it harder and harder, only to look down and literally laugh out loud because this is what I saw:





    It's not perfect - there's still a front derailleur mount issue (it works ok, just, but a compact crank would be a problem) and the rear brake cable routing means the outer section at the back of the frame rubs my leg at times - but it's only Mark's second (I believe) frame, and he's tried some different things with this one (and the cable-to-leg contact could easily be to do with the way the EE Brake routing works).

    Just for clarity, the black at the tube joins is carbon fibre. The chain stays and dropouts are stainless steel. From memory, the head tube has been made from Boron fibres. The BB area is heavily built up with carbon fibre, and seems to blend from that into wood and then the stainless steel stays (I'm not totally certain, but the wood in this area could just be decorative). I'll leave Mark to explain the actual woods in use, but I know that the blackwood on the top tube was the best bit he'd seen, and it really is beautiful as a decorative finish. Mark's Flickr feed has a lot of the detail shots of the build for those who are interested.

    Something needs doing about that ENVE logo on the fork - it's way too lairy. I have ideas on that front, and a brown Sharpie waiting in the wings in case those ideas don't work out!

    Post-ride, I'm still a bit wide-eyed now to be honest. Wide-eyed, and excited. Excited to ride this some more, and understand more about how it handles a longer ride with longer hills. I was looking for another new project thinking this may not be back as quickly as it was, and that it wouldn't tick enough boxes. I'm parking that plan for now - this is plenty to keep me occupied...

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by RichTheRoadie View Post
    Perhaps controversial in terms of the carbon wheels, carbon saddle, EE Brakes and Turn cranks,
    Actually, I think the black components, including the EE brakes and carbon wheels, look spot on. Afterall, wood is a very modern frame building material compared to steel, aluminium and even carbon. The classic tires are a nice touch in addition to the color of the frame.
     

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Beautiful looking bike! If it rides half as well as it looks I'm sure you'll be very happy.

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Wow, that came out nice. Cheers!
    T.o.m. K.o.h.l.

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Rich

    Thanks for the feedback. It's a huge relief that the first person other than me ever to ride one of these likes it.

    I know we officially don't care about weight except when we do: what does the final build weigh?
     

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    I know we officially don't care about weight except when we do: what does the final build weigh?
    What was the frame weight Mark?

    What are your plans with this - hobbiest or full time?

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Rich's frame weighs 1450g, about a third of which was the Reynolds 931 stainless chainstay / BB assembly, which I overbuilt to buggery.

    I'm hoping to get the next one sub 1300g, possibly as low as 1200. That's probably about as far as I can go without increasing the percentage of carbon high enough to ruin the ride quality.

    Full time or hobbyist? At this stage I can't get insurance but I'm hoping this will change after I submit a couple of frames for EN14781 certification.
     

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    I know we officially don't care about weight except when we do: what does the final build weigh?
    7.6kg as pictured. Not bad at all.

    Second ride today - it ain't no slouch, do not let appearances deceive.

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    So cool. I've been intrigued about this since you posted the first pictures of it when it arrived before. Nice to hear it's sorted, built up, and rides well. It's certainly really, really cool looking.
     

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    By the name of the project - using wood specifically made for acoustical purposes - is there something different about the way that bike feels in your hands?

    I will admit to trying to read Mark's math post but this is all I get:

    gary-larson-blah-blah-ginger.jpg
    Brian McLaughlin

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Bewheels View Post
    I will admit to trying to read Mark's math post but this is all I get:

    gary-larson-blah-blah-ginger.jpg
    Me too sir, me too...!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bewheels View Post
    By the name of the project - using wood specifically made for acoustical purposes - is there something different about the way that bike feels in your hands?
    Mark used to make audio speakers - I believe that is where his knowledge of these woods comes into play. His theory (if I recall correctly) is that the resonant frequencies of the woods, the carbon (if not over used) and the steel would be complimentary, and could therefore produce quite an enjoyable ride quality.

    Is that true in practice? I need to get back on one of my other bikes with the same wheelset to confirm, but so far so good.

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    certainly looks surprisingly good, better than the bamboo examples I've seen. Interesting to know if there are any issues with respect to warping over time..... That would be one of my concerns.
    Real World persona : Andy Corso

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Good point, Andy - and one I had overlooked. My feeling is that Mark's method of creating the tubes, plus the inclusion of carbon fibre (and Boron fibre, in the head tube) would eliminate this.

    Mark would be better placed to answer though.

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    I have been deliberately trying to destroy frame#1 for over two years and have failed completely so far. It's still as true as the day it came out of the oven.

    BTW all the tubes are constructed with 3-4 species of hardwood, carbon and boron in descending order. The seatstays have only two species of hardwood and the chainstays are stainless steel, carbon, boron, wood in descending order.

    The proportions and layer directions of the different materials change according to use eg the downtube actually has the largest proportion of boron and also the largest number of layers wrapped at angles (to maximise torsional stiffness). The ability to change fibre lay is the raison d'etre of the complex and tedious construction method I developed.
     

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    that sounds very cool, I guessed thought had gone into the design.

    Best of luck with the commercial endeavor��
    Real World persona : Andy Corso

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Took this for a longer spin to kick of 2015 this morning - can't quite believe I'm saying this, but this thing is a rocketship. It's basically a race bike with fondo / sportive / endurance / borderline randonneur geometry.

    For anyone curious what the back end looks like, here's a sneaky peek:



    You can see quite clearly from this how that EE Brake cable routing could be the problem in terms of the cable rubbing my leg.

    Here's a close-up of that beautiful top tube blackwood too:



    And this is some water / sweat beading on it (I half expected it to soak in, despite Mark's reassurances!):



    So far I'm loving it, although it's perhaps a bit too stiff for the nuances of the wood to shine through. In fact the front end is so stiff I'm considering swapping the fork out for something less rigid - perhaps a Columbus Minimal, or something along those lines.

    As an aside, how damn good is DA9000?!

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Another longer ride at the weekend, and more smiles from this wooden weapon.

    Slightly softer (5psi) tyre pressure alleviated the concerns I had over the front end stiffness - which were manifesting as vibrations at the wrist, leading to tingling hands - and I'm sure that if I ran my Reflex Ceramic / WI T11 / Veloflex Arenberg wheelset on it, it would be alleviated even further.

    Unfortunately I have made an unwelcome discovery: Given that my other bike is a Gaulzetti, I now either ride cock, or wood. Hmmm...

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Obviously your next frame will be ....bone
    Real World persona : Andy Corso

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by corko View Post
    Obviously your next frame will be ....bone
    The potential for a bone shattering crash would give me the willies...
     

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    Default Re: The Tonewood Project: Lyrebird Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by RichTheRoadie View Post
    Given that my other bike is a Gaulzetti, I now either ride cock, or wood. Hmmm...
    "Baum" is, of course, "wood" in German.
     

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