Wood bicycles customized to a rider's body

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/02/01/wood-bicycles-customized-to-a.html


Any reports of splinters?


Innovation is free. Chukudu $20.00


In modern bicycles, the frame is less-than 15% of the bike by mass, so saying it is a “wooden bicycle” is a little disingenuous. To increase the proportion, wooden wheel rims are possible, but eye-wateringly expensive. Wooden handlebars are also possible. Wooden forks are likely to be very bad idea. I guess you could make a wooden seat…

The idea of cutting the frame to custom requirements is a good one, but the majority of riders can be fitted to standard-sized frames very well indeed.


For that price, you can buy a fully custom-fit bike from a number of builders in just about any material you want.


Pasta? I want one made of pasta.


Can I get one made out of bone, please?


This is cool and all, but they could just as easily take those measurements and calculate how long to cut steel tubes to make a custom frame that would be much more durable. All you’d have to do is weld them together.


Good lord. Can we quit it with the wooden bicycle stuff already? Wood is a great material for a lot of stuff, but NOT BIKES. People have been trying to push wooden bikes for decades, and it just. doesn’t. make. sense. Bikes made of metal (either steel or aluminum) are cheap as hell to make, and last a long, long time. And you know what else we’ve learned to do over the last hundred years or so? Mass produce them cheaply, AND be custom made by people with little more than a torch, a drill press, and a set of files. If I had a nickel for every failed kickstarter and design-student thesis about a wooden bike I’d be able to get a nice meal.


Yes, exactly. And there are plenty of people who do. Odds are, if you live in a major city, there’s somebody already doing this pretty close to you for about the same price, or less.


$3500 wooden bike.

Locked to a metal rack with a Kryptonite lock.

Can’t cut through the lock, or the rack, so I wonder what thieves will do.

Hmmmmm. . . .


Yet in some cases it does.


“The Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative is a social enterprise that addresses climate change, poverty, rural-urban migration and youth unemployment by creating jobs for young people, especially women, through the building of high quality bamboo bicycles.”


Now if someone would just donate a CNC machine…

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It took me a while to get used to carbon fiber. With wood, a formerly living thing, I would feel the need to a pre-check before riding.

There’s a big difference between wood and bamboo. Bamboo does make sense in some cases. But it definitely isn’t wood, and especially not in the sense of the article/product pitch this comment thread is about.


Wouldn’t a wooden frame degrade quickly anywhere with a lot of freezes and thaws or extreme heat and humidity? Here in the midwest we can get all of that in the course of a month.

I used to make wooden sailboat masts, which are very light, weatherproof, and often under great stress. I could see using the same techniques to make a bike frame. But one good whack in the wrong place would destroy it.
But bike frames are already mostly made of recycled materials anyway.


I see wooden bikes from time to time where I live but as a guy who ride a super light and strong Peugeot bike from the 80’s, the durable and ecological argument seems pretty weak to me.
And “tailored” frames are far from new. I got a bike maintenance book somewhere to prove it.

And I’m quite sure for a structure as solid in wood you need to make a more heavy frame in wood.

I guess it need a bit more maintenance. But some woods are really resistant to harsh weather and I guess that’s why it’s so expensive (at least partially).

So it’s just like a regular bike, but also heavy and expensive?

I read “customized to a riders body” as “we choose the correct size”, something easily achievable with normal bikes. It’s not like the thing is a custom contoured eggshell that clips around his body. It’s a basic bike frame.


The correct “off the peg” size from one of a limited number of frames is one thing.

The correct custom dimensions is another - seat tube angle / setback, head tube angle, seat tube length, top tube length, bottom bracket drop - all of those specifically chosen for a particular rider’s body and riding style.

That said, for $3500, you’re pretty much in custom welded steel frame territory.


The article says it’s ash so it should hold up well. But so does metal. What I’m really worried about is the metal fittings in the wood. I’d want to check those after every heatwave, cold snap, or rainstorm to make sure they hadn’t got loose or got water in them. So unless you live in LA this thing is going to be a nightmare.

As others in this thread have said you can buy a really nice bike for a third of the price of this thing. I don’t really see the point.