Before the bicycle, there was the boneshaker.
Looking at the picture answers the question, why is it called a boneshaker? Imagine riding those solid wooden wheels along a cobblestone street. My kidneys hurt just thinking about it.
The machine isn’t without any give though. If you look carefully at the pictures you see that the metal bar supporting the seat has hinges at both ends. It is meant to flex up and down as bumps are hit. Even this attempt at comfort could not repel the boneshaker nickname.
Comfort aside, the direct-drive pedals on the front wheel make for inprecise steering and power delivery. I do appreciate the foot rests in front of the steering post. It stirs the 19th century daredevil in me.
Boneshakers were developed from the Draisine, an invention of Karl Drais. This was a two wheeled device that the rider straddled and ran. Fun enough, providing gliding opportunities, but really just enhanced running.
The addition of pedals to the front wheel added the mechanical efficiency to justify moving the weight of the machine. Chains and gearing would come later and put the boneshaker on history’s shelf.
Is it real?
That’s always the question when buying things this old. I’m no expert, but looking at the pictures reveals no modern-looking hardware. The seller points out that the saddle is not original.
That’s another point of authenticity. The seller offers no authority on bikes. He or she merely states facts and condition. Never trust a seller who says, “Trust me.”
If this is a replica, it’s a freaking good one.
Is it worth $7000?
That depends on luck and circumstance. I’ve seen boneshakers sell at auction for more. I’ve seen them sell for less. Like all collectibles it depends on the buyer. Will such a buyer even see this listing on eBay?
My opinion is that $7000 is too high for an opening bid. I am however not the target audience for this listing.
Look at this on eBay http://www.ebay.com/itm/142243515067