This gallery documents my project to build a "penny farthing" (aka "ordinary" or "high wheel") bicycle. I have always been an avid cyclist, but my interest in penny farthings started when I rode one in Evandale, Tasmania. Evandale hosts annual penny farthing races so they are not uncommon to see around town. See photos below of my first ride on a penny farthing (replica).
After poking around on-line and seeing the prices for either a ride-able antique or commercially made replica, I took a quick look at my lathe and decided to make my own. I've been researching (ie. procrastinating) for about 10 years now but decided I'd better get working on it so I can still enjoy it for a few years after it is done.
My design philosophy is to create an authentic reproduction of a period machine, but not a particular model. I have looked at photos of many original bikes and picked out the design elements I like most for each component. Aside from the use of stainless steel for the polished metal parts and spokes, I plan to stick with original materials (no aluminum or plastic). For cosmetics I plan to use some brass accents where possible, as I like the look of polished brass combined with the black painted steel and polished stainless. Original contruction methods involved some castings, but I will be limiting my fabrication to machining, brazing, and welding.
There are other project blogs out there detailing DIY penny farthings however they all seem focus on the construction process and provide little info on materials and dimensions. I will try to include as many of these details as possible to save others from doing all of the research, measuring, and calculating I have had to do. I will detail these more in the sub-galleries but here are the high level specs:
Wheel diameters: 52"/16"
Spokes : 72/24
All steel parts will be painted black.
All bare metal parts that were plated on the original, I will be doing in stainless steel.
Hub flanges, spoke nipples, handle trim, and handlebar nuts will be polished brass.