Bicycles and steampunk are two concepts that are rarely combined, but work very well together, as shown by this steampunk-style racing bike.
The steampunk genre has a fairly long and interesting history, from the speculative sci-fi novels of the mid-1900s to the steampunk appreciation societies found worldwide today. The bike, however, has an even longer history, starting from the dawn of the 19th century. The most popular design eventually became the penny-farthing – a very distinct bike boasting an enormous front wheel. Modern bicycles look very different from these high-wheelers, but we have all seen penny-farthings in cartoons and movies illustrating life at the end of the 19th century.
The Steampunk Racer was made for a 12-inch bike charity race held in Holland, and not surprisingly, it was awarded for having the best technical construction. This innovative design is inspired by the penny-farthing, but actually has three wheels instead of the usual two. Don’t think that this is your baby sister’s trike, though – this massive racer can seat three people and probably requires at least two just to get it moving. The steampunk influence is obvious but subdued compared to other steampunk items we have featured, like the underwater explorer’s helmet and the massive organ-computer. The organic arch of the frame and the rusty brass that makes up the body of the trike look like it could have easily come out of Victorian era Britain. There’s even an old-fashioned lantern hanging on the front, in case the modern-looking reflector doesn’t do the job.
There are very few superfluous decorative items adorning the bike, which make sense considering that this sweet ride was made specifically to compete in a race. The design and material are what mostly give it a steampunk feeling. However, there a handful of Neo-Victorian touches that are probably irrelevant to the racer’s performance. For example, the design includes green liquid-filled test tubes (which might be for the brakes, if it has any), what appears to be an analog speedometer (entirely unreadable while riding), and hammered-bronze flowers adorning some of the spokes.
While I’m sure that some of you are eager to replicate this racer, you’ll need some experience in construction and mechanical design to come up with something that will actually balance and provide a smooth ride. Plus, that high seat looks mighty uncomfortable. Perhaps a better alternative might be to paint your ordinary mountain bike bronze and decorate it with steampunk-influenced accessories like gears and springs.