Wood-Framed And Flat-Packed, But It Is Still A Bike

A bike that looks like it could come off the shelves of IKEA? Another that is made from recycled paper? The traditional mode of transport is being re-imagined, and MAC has the low-down on it.

Living in the tropics, cycling to and from work is not really practical unless I’d like to turn up at the office looking like I had just stepped out of the shower; I am sure my colleagues would eventually object if I were to do this. Those lucky, lucky people that live in more temperate climates have just got a ‘new’ slant on an old mode of transport, and I for one think it is cool. It is the new Sandwich Bike from Dutch designer, Basten Leijh.

The bike, whilst resembling a traditional bike, is radically different from anything we have seen of production bikes in the past. For a start, when the bike is delivered to you, it comes flat-packed in a mailing carton.

Image: sandwichbikes.com

The box contains 52 pieces in total and comes complete with the tools to assemble the bike yourself; a little bit like shopping in IKEA, really. Allegedly, the bike can be assembled within 45 minutes with relative ease, with the company website stating that “if you can make a Sandwich then you can build a Sandwichbike”.

Image: sandwichbikes.com


However, this is not the only thing that is different with the Sandwichbike; the frame is made from weather-resistant beech plywood bonded together by aluminium cylinders, with Leijh’s custom-made components forming the meat in the ‘sandwich’.

The more observant cyclists out there will notice that there are no brakes; this is because the bike utilises a Shimano single-speed coaster brake that will (hopefully) stop you when you need to. The wheels are 26-inch stainless steel spokes mated to a Schwalbe Big Apple Tyre, and when completed weighs in at 17 kilos. The company website claims that the wheels and frame are suitable for riders between 160 and 200cm in height.


Image: sandwichbikes.com

The Sandwichbike is not cheap, though, with the base model starting at over a thousand US Dollars, the same money for a low-end motorbike in a lot of markets.

If that is too much for you, perhaps I can interest you in another ‘new’ bike concept. This one marries conventional bike design to the ancient Japanese art of Origami, or so it would appear. Made entirely from recycled cardboard, the not so imaginatively named Cardboard-Bike costs just about 12 US dollars to manufacture.

Image: sandwichbikes.com

Inventor and project chief engineer, Ishar Gafni, who spent three years developing the concept, said, “Since there was no know-how with regards to the cardboard material, the first two years were devoted to learning the properties and behaviour of the material.”

“The idea is like Japanese origami,” he said in an online interview. “You fold it once and then it doesn’t become twice the strength, it’s almost three times the strength. So I took it from there and did the same thing with cardboard.”

Once the shape is cut out, the materials are waterproofed and fireproofed, and then painted with a special lacquer. Apparently the bike is made from all recycled materials and weighs in at a mere 9 kilos, whilst being able to carry riders of up to 220 kilos, so I am guessing the bike is destined for the American market.

Although the bike is targeted at city commutes and not yet being commercially-produced, there is also an electric version being developed already.

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