Wooden bikes are getting better
I would really like to try one of these. I mean, I definitely would, but as I have no chance of doing so at the present, I’m free to be hesitant because a) then I’d be that guy, and b) I’d be scared it would break. Yeah, I know. Wood can be pretty strong. They make trees out of it after all. But with my prodigious power output it might as well be two Paul Bunyan-sized axes swinging away at the bottom bracket area.
Ahhhh. I’m funny. And anyway, if someone 20 or so years ago gave you a can formerly containing a caffeinated beverage and said, “I’m going to make a bike frame out of this that you can hurtle down a mountain at 90kph on top of”, you’d punch them in the eye and give them a wedgie.
So anyway, there have been some pretty neat-o wooden bicycles in the past. I’m not going to get into the “why”, or “how”, or “who cares” of wooden bikes, or whether or not you have to own a pair of Teva sandals before being allowed to buy one. I’m just going to put some in front of your eyeballs because some of them are actually pretty nice, and then introduce you to the new kid on the block. We’re just going to take this step by step… baby…
So this guy makes some:
These guys make some more:
These are really quite impressive. I’m not into the super compact frame geometry so much, but the finish is pretty nice.
The envelope is pushed even further with this prototype:
This guy has been chipping away at it for a few years in Japan:
And now we have the newest wooden bike to come to the party, from Tratar Bikes. Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, these guys from Slovenia are hoping that they can make you what is a very pretty commuter bike that you wouldn’t call cheap, but not nearly as expensive as the rest here. In fact, considering all things considered, I’d say it’s descent value. It’s available as a single speed or with 2-speed kick shift gearing. If I had room for it at home and some spare cash, this would be a very nice addition to the collection.
I’m not sure if wooden bikes will ever be common, exactly, but as with most things, improved technology and technique, together with more of a focus on sustainable product might just ensure that wooden bikes will continue to have a place in cycling for a good long while yet, especially for the commuter market, which Tratar is wisely targeting.
Header image: Tratar Bikes