Price, at Liverpool, etc., were gaining a reputation. Gradually the design of the boneshaker was improved, wrought iron frames followed the cast ones, bearings were made adjustable, rims were covered with rubber instead of steel (the early rubber tyres were flat and secured to the felloe by nails), and steel spokes followed the wooden ones.
The great drawback to the boneshaker was its weight, and makers were constantly endeavouring to lighten their productions. Naturally, the saving of weight that first occurred to these pioneers was to make the parts hollow. Many keen practical minds were at work, and one part after another was reduced in weight until there were few parts of the machine that were not made either of hollow steel tube or stamped hollow; even spokes were tried of thin steel tube before the introduction of the suspension or wire wheel. The backbone of the bicycle which was evolved from the boneshaker was of steel tube, at first of flat steel folded and brazed and, lastly, drawn out from a solid steel block without a join, or weldless, as it is termed. The forksides or blades of the fork, the part in which the wheels revolved and which were used to connect the wheels to the backbone, on which the rider sat and propelled the machine, were made hollow in the same manner.
The wheels were at first copies of a light hand-cart wheel, the wood spokes were brought together by tapering the spoke ends and wedging them together at the nave or hub and inserting the other ends in slots in the felloe or wood rim. The whole was surrounded with a flat steel tyre shrunk on by heating the rim, dropping it over the felloe, and when it cooled it shrank and compressed the parts together. That is the principle of the compression wheel, and is used