A green life-cycle
Here at MNN, we love things made out of wood. We’ve written about awesome things built out of trees
and wanted to expand on one particular entry that grabbed our attention: bikes!
There’s something special about wooden bikes, something marvelously anachronistic. We’ve all grown up taking it as a matter of course that bicycles are made of metal — or if you have enough money, carbon and other synthetic fibers — but wood?
It turns out that wood, if worked correctly, can be the perfect material for a bicycle. We pulled together 11 wooden bikes; some are almost space-age, others are simply rough, but all are totally awesome (like the one pictured here from Musée des Arts et Métiers). Enjoy. (Text: Shea Gunther)
Marco Facciola’s bike
High school student Marco Facciola’s grandfather built his own bicycle wheels made of wood during World War II. Decades later, this inspired 16-year-old Marco to build an amazing bicycle made of 100 percent wood for a school project. Everything from the chain and pegs that hold it together to the wheels, spokes, sprockets and pedals. All wood — with a touch of glue.
Bill’s beach cruiser
Beach cruisers are the ultimate comfort machines and Bill’s Wood Beach Cruiser is one that’s sure to turn heads on the street. The forks, handlebars and frame are all wood and the bike has a big cushy seat. The handlebars sweep back in a beautiful arc and sit on top of a rounded, joined and sculpted-out frame.
Iran Mestas knows wood — he makes his living as a custom furniture maker. He turned that knowledge to practical use when he built “Woody
,” a wooden bike that’s as much a work of art as it is a fully functional bike. It’s gorgeous, with dark wooden circlets holding up the mirrors, warm amber-orange wooden grips, a huge wooden banana seat covered by a smart-looking matching cloth, all sitting on top of two striking hubs popping out with alternating dark and light wood.
The Lumber Bike
Tom Kabat’s inspiration came from antique wooden boneshaker bikes from the 1800s, bikes he’d seen in museums and read about in books. He was moved to create a bicycle that emerged as a two-person recumbent bike
built on a frame of an 8-foot long two by four.
Vinicio Magni’s bike
Italian craftsman and business owner Vinicio Magni
watched a show about Leonardo da Vinci and and was struck by the artist’s use of wood in his work. The wheel hubs on his bike are four-pronged; his frame is a broad, sweeping dewdrop shape. After he made his first bike in 1995, Magni parked it at the seafront in Viareggio, a fashionable town in Tuscany, and watched as a crowd of interested people quickly gathered around. He knew he was on to something. He’s been making bikes ever since.
East African wooden bikes
This wooden bike
from Rwanda was born out of necessity to move large loads of cargo, a function in which it excels. It’s almost as much a scooter as it is a bike. With a wide wooden deck connecting the back wheels with the steering column and front wheel, the cargo is strapped in the middle. These bikes have to hold up to blistering-fast descents on the steep Rwandan mountain roads.
pull together high-tech aeronautical grade plywood and seasoned hardwoods intohighly creative forms
. The Cell model (pictured here) is another frame that’s as much a work of art as it is a functioning bike. The bike’s simple handlebars, forks, seat and wheels allow the bored frame to take the center of attention, which is exactly where it belongs.
Renovo Bicycles look as fast as they are warm and organic. The wooden frames
scream performance and hew closer to the lines of a tradition metal frame. Equipped with high-end wheels, handlebars and other components, this bike is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing. Racer Tim Winestorfer raced the company’s TT prototype
(pictured here) in the 2011 Ironman World Championships.
Holzweg the Wood Frame Bike
Designer Arndt Menke’s wooden bike
is a study in beautiful simplicity. Featuring white metal junctions holding together the six pieces of wood that make up the frame and handlebars, this Holzweg bike is light, strong and fast. Menke made the Holzweg bike for his master’s degree thesis.
is designed to teach kids how to ride a bike. Children sit on the seat and push themselves along, having to balance themselves as they go. Balance bikes make the transition from training wheels easier — not to mention there’s less likelihood of skin knees and elbows. The Bugabike has a wooden frame, seat, handlebars, wheels, and front forks and is available for sale in different colors.