Maybe it's the craze for sustainable products, or just retro-hipsterism gone amok. But whatever the reason, wooden bikes are gaining in popularity. They're not rickety, jury-rigged jobs either. They're super-sleek, statement pieces. Here are a few examples.
Ross Lovegrove usually makes everything look like a spaceship, but recently he unveiled a bamboo bike, designed in collaboration with Biomega, a Danish bike company. Bamboo is well-known as a premier sustainable material--it's the fastest growing woody plant in the world.
But Lovegrove isn't alone in pushing bamboo bikes. The recently launched Bamboo Bike Studio takes the sustainability theme one step further, offering a two-day course that teaches students how to make their own rides. The proceeds of the $1,000 course go towards building a bamboo bike factory in Ghana.
On a more techie note, Arndt Menke conceived a beautiful wooden bike with performance in mind. His frame weighs a scant five pounds--heavy for an elite frame, but light for wood--and has seat stays designed for strength that also provide shock absorption.
Waldmeister (German for "Forest Master") unveiled its own top-shelf wooden bike a couple of years ago, and recently began selling them online. The fittings alone cost thousands of dollars, since no expense has been spared, from the Brooks saddle to the carbon fiber aerowheels. But the frame itself has a clever, open design that that does away with the standard seat tube.
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