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Metal bowtie specialist makes $35,000 full titanium penny-farthing

A handmade 56-inch penny-farthing with a titanium frame and forks

Emma Cole
9 May 2022

This handmade 56in penny-farthing is the world’s first made with a titanium frame and forks, according to its maker.

The bike, modelled on a design that was popular in the 1870s and 1880s, was crafted by Ian Cooper from New Zealand and took a claimed 400 hours to build. It’s advertised alongside his line of custom metal bowties – a truly niche business.

The penny-farthing features a fully annealed (i.e. heat-treated) titanium frame which is tapered along its entire length to an aero design at the lower end of the frame.

The seat clamp is made from Grade 5 titanium, both the drive and pedal axles are made from hollow Grade 5 titanium, and the larger wheel features titanium spokes.

The cranks, hubs and pedals are made from 6061 aluminium, as is the handlebar which also has Kauri (wooden) handles.



The penny-farthing features a hydraulic 4 pot disc brake – on the rear wheel as you’d expect – a Brooks B17 Special saddle with a titanium frame, and a matching tool bag plus traditional solid rubber tyres.

The name ‘penny-farthing’ comes from penny and farthing coins, the former being much bigger than the latter, just like the front and rear wheel of the bike.

According to Cooper, the titanium penny-farthing is yet to be ridden, but for $35,000 it appears you may be able to get your hands on it.

Perhaps now is the time to get training and try your luck at the LEJOG penny-farthing world record?

Image credits: Ian Cooper

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