Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wood and Bamboo Bikes

Posted By on 01.13.10 at 10:30 AM

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  • Sueshiro Sano
For anyone who doubts that a bike is a thing of beauty—after all, not all bikes are—Japanese shipbuilder Sueshiro Sano has constructed a mahogany bike, complete with wooden seat and wood-rimmed wheels, that's just plain gorgeous.

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  • Sueshiro Sano
Cyclelicious reports that Sano has been working on the design since 2007, starting with a mostly aluminum frame wrapped in mahogany laminate before moving on to a hollow mahogany frame, which will be on display at the Tokyo Handmade Bicycle Fair starting this Friday. Apparently you can even buy the wood handlebars, seatpost, and wheels to put on a regular bike, though the effect isn't as striking.

I've been thinking about bikes made from alternate materials since reading last month on NPR about the Bamboo Bike Studio in New Jersey, where you can build your own bamboo bike (with lots of help from shop employees) over the course of a weekend. A few days later I came across a story about Craig Calfee, who imports bike frames made in Ghana from bamboo grown locally—by a man there he trained two years ago to make the frames—and sells them at his Santa Cruz shop. Bamboo is especially interesting as a bike building material because it's readily available, renewable, and cheap (though the bikes made from it seem to average around $1,000, which isn't exactly pocket change). I'm not sure how practical bamboo bikes are, but they're easy on the eyes, especially Calfee's design.

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