The 30 minute wooden bike
A new design for a bicycle which comes in a flatpack has been presented at the Dutch Design Week. The so-called ‘Sandwichbike’ is made of two layers of wood around an aluminium frame. It has a distinctive flat-panel look and comes in a box. The owner can assemble the bike in just half an hour, the distributor says.
Designer Basten Leijh wasn’t necessarily looking to create a wooden bicycle. The focus was on a packable kit that can easily be turned into a usable bike. There are under 50 parts to the Sandwichbike, which weighs around 17 kg when assembled.
Rather than using a welded frame, the bike is engineered as a sandwich of two weatherproof coated frames of layered plywood. These are bonded by ‘smart cylinders’, aluminium frames and components which combine with the plywood to form a solid transportation device that is eye-catching and durable.
The plywood panels are coated in six very thin layers of weather-resistant varnish. Besides repelling water and dirt, these layers are also breathable, so the wood doesn’t get damaged by residual moisture. Small plastic profiles fit between the aluminium beams and the plywood, to manage material stress and redistribute loads. The entire construction has been load-tested on heavy-duty machines to ensure the bike has long-lasting potential.
The wooden frame may seem to invite theft. A saw can be used on the plywood, but this is also true for aluminium frames, and all that a thief or vandal would be left with is two unusable bike-halves.
Looking at the bike from the front demonstrates the sandwich concept to the best effect. It is literally a sandwich of wood and aluminium. As with any product based on natural resources, upkeep is necessary. If taken care of, these wooden bikes could be used for years to come.
More information on the designer: Bleijh Industrial Design Studio.