Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

06 May 2014

The Wire(s)

In two earlier posts, I mentioned the Slingshot bicycle. You may have seen one:  It has a cable anchored by suspension coils where the down tube would normally be found.  At least, that's the kind of bike for which Slingshot is known.  Apparently, they're now making a line of bikes constructed entirely of chrome-molybdenum steel tubes, like a traditional frame sans lugs.

But I digress.  Slingshot is still best known for its "frame with a cable".  I had the opportunity to ride one owned by one of my old riding buddies.  I rather liked it, but I'm not sure I would want it as my only bike.

Although Slingshot is the best-known (and possibly the best) bike to use a tension cable as part of its frame structure, it's certainly not the first.  At least, the folks at Slingshot --who still build all of their frames, including the cable-less one, in Grand Rapids, Michigan--weren't the first to think of building a bike that way.

Here is a drawing of one patented in 1904, nearly eight decades before the first Slingshot was made. 

Of course, the shape is very different.  I think I like it, though I wonder what it would be like to ride.  You see, the purpose of those cables is not suspension, as it is on the Slingshot, but to make the frame collapsible.

Depending on how it rode, I might consider such a bike if someone made it.  I imagine that some other people--especially those who travel a lot--might, too.  And I can imagine the military hankering for a bike like that, especially in areas inaccessible by other vehicles.

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