Wooden bike - again
Monday, June 18, 2007, 3 comments
A couple of months ago there was a discussion (in swedish) following a news posting, about old tools, that are so good that the manufacturing industri haven´t been able to improve upon the concept (only enhance a single quality at the cost of others) – with the humble pencil as a good example. Another is the bike.
Iris Murdoch said in the sixties: "the bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man; other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish."
Richard Sapper, who invented a smart foldable bicycle said that what inspires him most about bikes is that he can still ride the one of his grandfather around Milan without being stigmatized as an old fashioned man.
But Roland Kaufmann has in his thesis been thinking along new lines, based on that: "wood is up to 10 times stiffer than fibreglass and nearly 6 times stiffer than a kevlar/epoxy composite" and found a new unoccupied niche where a wood composite bike would fit. He claims that: "research discovered that wood used for bicycles has the ability to absorb bumps and road noise like carbon fibre and has the feel and responsiveness of steel. There is enough lateral stiffness to provide a controlled and responsive ride. Therefore wood can provide a unique riding experience."
Kaufmann also mentiones that he through conversations with kayak manufacturers learned that wood still is the best materials for kayaks – but that plastics had enough cost advantage to dominate the business. I believe that is correct. When plastics become sufficiently cheaper the commercial base for wooden kayaks shrinks and development slows down – and we get a situation where young paddlers only can compare with older wooden design and comes to the conclusion that plastics are better.
On Stayfocused the background and the prototype design are presented.
Wooden bikes are nothing new though – I have previously linked to some interesting or funny projekts , but none as well researched and visually pleasing as this.