antler bicycle finland

Custom ‘Mad Max’ Bike Built by Winter Warrior

Filed under: Adventure 

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It’s nearly 100 years old, it has antlers for handlebars, and it’s one of the baddest winter bike builds I’ve ever seen.

antler bicycle finland
Photo credit: Pekka Tahkola

Some things don’t need to make sense, they just look cool. So it is with the all-steel, vintage bicycle dubbed “Ydintuho.”

I don’t have the slightest idea how to pronounce that. But Pekka Tahkola, vice president of the global Winter Cycling Federation, tells me it means “nuclear destruction.” (Coincidentally, it’s also the name of a Finnish death metal band, because I’m a sucker for a melody.)

A post shared by Pirkko (@pirkkosusanna) on

Tahkola, a native of Oulu, Finland, has spent the last year resurrecting the frame and modifying it into what he calls his Mad Max bike. So far, he appears to be on track.

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‘Nuclear Destruction’ Bike with Antlers

Where does one come upon a bike fit for the apocalypse? Why, the landfill of course. That’s where a curious, sharp-eyed antiquer friend of Tahkola’s found the frame more than 20 years ago.

antler bike shadow
Photo credit Pekka Tahkola

According to Tahkola – who rides, builds, and fixes more bikes in a year than many of us see in a lifetime – the bike dates back between World Wars I and II. Unfortunately, the ravages of time (and a massive scrap heap) wore away any identifying markings. Presently, Tahkola is seeking vintage bike experts for more exact info on the bike’s age and origin.

Tahkola’s friend initially tried building up the frame to again be ridable, but never finished the task. So by the time Tahkola set hands on it, he had a vintage single-speed frame with an unheard-of 56-21 gearing, mammoth 3/16-inch chain, a saddle built like a twin mattress, and Fauber (classic) crankset.

Fauber crankset and – count ’em – 56-tooth chainring. Photo credit: Pekka Tahkola

But the bars, he knew, needed work.

“The handlebar was probably crashed, bended, then re-straightened, and all rusted,” he told me. “So it was a real time bomb.”

Nuclear Destruction bike before epic antler upgrade. Photo credit Pekka Tahkola

And while most of us would immediately think of Craigslist or the local bike shop, Tahkola told me the most Scandinavian thing I’ve ever heard:

“I just contacted a couple of friends [asking] if they would have any spare antlers.”

And of course, one of them did – because Finland. And before PETA goes after him with pitchforks, note that reindeer lose antlers naturally each year. Accordingly, Tahkola assured me no reindeer were harmed in the making of Nuclear Destruction. Moving on.

Probably not a good idea. Photo credit: Pekka Tahkola

At a municipal DIY workshop, Tahkola sanded and shaped the antlers to fit. Initially, they were mounted tines-up. While it looked cool, it presented an unfortunate goring hazard. So Tahkola rotated them to dropper-style.

Much better design. Photo credit: Pekka Tahkola

The result is a truly one-of-a-kind ride, one that I wager will be perfect for marauding wastelands after the End Times.

Winter Cycling Congress

Want to learn more about great ways to bike in winter, meet Pekka Tahkola, and learn more about his Mad Max bike? Start by following Pekka Tahkola (@ptahkola) on Instagram.

Also check out our coverage of the annual Winter Cycling Congress. Plus, visit the WCF website for resources on winter cycling events, initiatives, and to register to attend an upcoming event.

Adam Ruggiero
By
Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.
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