Wooden bicycle

These striking wooden bicycles hail from Freiburg in the Black Forest, Germany's so-called "green city." Here's a snip of text from Google Translate's best whack at the German writeup Tillwe's translation from the article:

In 2006 Marcus Wallmeyer (32) founded the "Waldmeister" (woodruff, but also "master of the forest") company. He already got various design prizes for his bicycles, unique works with a frame made from local wood. Thus the Waldmeister Bike 2007 won the "brand new award" of ispo, world biggest sports exhibition.

With his concept the creative bicycle freaks aims for bringing design and sustainability together. he also designs bicycle lamps.

Waldmeister: Design-Fahrräder aus Holz (Thanks, Kus!)

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  1. Marcus Wallmeyer, 32, founded the Waldmeister company in 2006. He already managed to grab various design trophies for his unique high quality bicycles, with frames made from domestic woods. In 2007, the Waldmeister-Bike won the Brand New Award from ispo, the world’s largest sporting show.

    With his concept, the creative bike fan wants to combine design and sustainability. In addition, Wallmeyer designs bicycle lamps.

  2. my translation of the writeup for those who are left as confused as the google ap is by the German jargon:

    Marcus Wallmeyer, 32, started his company Waldmeister in 2006. For his bicycles, high quality unicums (bespoke designs) with frames made from domestic woods he managed to bag already several design awards. The Waldmeister Bike 2007 for example was awarded the “Brand New Award” presented by ispo, the worlds largest sporting goods fair.
    With his concept the creative bike-nutter wants to reconcile design and sustainability in one (ridable) frame. Additionally Wallmeyer designs bicycle lights.

  3. Uh, google translation sucks.

    My own attempt: “In 2006 Marcus Wallmeyer (32) founded the “Waldmeister” (woodruff, but also “master of the forsest”) company. He already got various design prizes for his bicycles, unique works with a frame made from local wood. Thus the Waldmeister Bike 2007 won the “brand new award” of ispo, world biggest sports exhibition.

    With his concept the creative bicycle freaks aims for bringing design and sustainability together. he also designs bicycle lamps.”

  4. @Tillwe
    4 sec, yes! Its always interesting to compare translation though. Adds interest and gives different perspectives! For non-German speakers too!

  5. Looks nice but right now a horror reel is running in my mind, featuring a massive puncture wound being inflicted on my inner thigh as the wooden frame snaps and splinters in a collision.
    Actually, it looks like the wood may be multiple layers of laminate, which would likely behave quite differently (and safer) than what my imagination is conjuring up. Nonetheless, I’m going to stick with trusty old aluminum for the time being.
    Gorgeous design, though.

  6. It’s a beautiful bike (sounds like they’re only made on request, which makes sense), but I’m not sure how big of an ecological impact this could possibly have. Essentially, only the frame is wood, and the rest looks like regular bike parts made from metals, alloys, plastics etc.

  7. More things to worry about besides theft and punctured tires: dry rot, termites, etc.
    Because of their limited depth, wooden bicycle frame parts would be a snap to fab up on a CNC mill. You could make that in 3 pieces and bolt it together. It would save huge amounts of energy over a steel or aluminum frame. Dimensional stability and fatigue wear would be a whole different matter from metal.

  8. Now that I think about it, wooden bicycles are a perfect project for a profession left underemployed by the recession: boatrights. Nobody has more experience working wood for use in outdoor conditions. They’re extremely skilled at shaping and fitting, and they know all there is to know about durable finishes. With the economy around here (The Great Lakes region) falling lower every day, owners of yachts are putting off repairs, dry docking their boats and otherwise finding ways to not pay for skilled labor. Think of the appropriateness of this: a typical large power boat like those on the Great Lakes gets around 1 MPG. What better vehicle to turn the skilled craftsmen to than bicycles?

  9. I think I’m missing the point here. Cons are a lot of extra weight, (probably) reduced strength, various maintenence issues (refinishing every year?). Pros are… novelty and aesthetics?

  10. @12 look again. The rims and fork are carbon (I’d bet money the seat post is too) and the saddle is leather. In terms of either weight or volume I very much doubt that this bike is ‘mostly metal and rubber’. Nice mind you, but I’ll stick to my Brompton I think.

  11. We have bigger fish to fry than the environmental impact of bicycles. There are millions of perfectly serviceable metal frames out there. I ride a recycled bike- it was cheap!

  12. #9 and #18 are really on the mark. I think wood has some characteristics that make them a little less suitable as a body for a bike. Continuous stress on the material as well as the characteristic of wood to warp and expand with humidity and temperature may pose some problems to those who buy this product.

    It is till a good concept though if its aesthetics that we are talking about. I for one don’t buy bikes to just display them, so it does not work for me.

  13. There are lots of steel frames in existence so it’s unnecessary to develop alternatives that are less energy and materials intensive?

    I disagree.

    There is consistent demand for new bicycles and some large proportion of the population will never buy a used bike. Unless you have a plan to force recycled bikes on everyone, then alternatives with less energy and materials investment make a great deal of sense.

  14. “There is consistent demand for new bicycles and some large proportion of the population will never buy a used bike.”

    Until we don’t have the energy resources to waste on making new bikes. And when cars become useless. Then these snobs might have to reconsider.

  15. @ #20: Agreed. “Bigger fish to fry” is actually a huge understatement. The energy consumption difference spread out over the many years that a decent bike will last is ridiculously small, and it seems rather absurd to pick fights over energy consumption with people who are already riding bikes to get around.

    That said, I would argue that a wooden bike as opposed to an aluminum one actually wastes energy. For one thing, it probably won’t last nearly as long, so you have to make more of them. And it weighs more, meaning you personally use more energy to pedal it around, meaning you need to consume more food which itself takes energy to produce, which over the lifetime of the respective bikes could add up to quite a bit. See how complicated things get if you start quibbling over minutiae?

  16. Hmm, wood is actually quite a good material, used correctly.

    The main problem would be putting up with all the “wooden go” jokes, I think.

  17. Many bikes used to have wooden rims. I recall seeing track bikes in the ’70s fitted up that way but never one on the street. Bike repair books warned not to hang them by their wheels because the rims warped. Presumably this was done because of the superior strength/weight ratio relative to the available metal rims.
    You can make damn near anything out of wood. John Harrison’s first prototype clock, documented in Dava Sobel’s book Longitude, had wheels (gears) built up from oak.

  18. Treated properly, wood has great longevity. This is evident around here, where a lot of the great wood yachts made from the 1920s on are still on the water. There’s no reason that a properly made wood frame shouldn’t last indefinitely.

  19. ”With his creative approach to design a bike freak and sustainability, with a (mobile) hat bring.”

    This is not translation; this is gibberish. I’m going back to bed.

  20. There’s a perfectly logical explanation for this sentence:
    “With his creative approach to design a bike freak and sustainability, with a (mobile) hat bring. In addition, Meyer also designs Wall bicycle lamps.”

    The good Doctor Ow was partying with fltndboat.

    They got their boats really flattened last night!

    Party on, dudes!

  21. The hat sentence is a German idiom meaning “to unite something under one hat”, in this case being a bike freak (Marcus used to be a Downhiller & XC racer) and ecologically friendly (which is en vogue, luckily). The designer’s fullName is Marcus Wallmeyer and his company http://www.supernova-design.de mainly makes money by selling bicycle lights (www.supernova-lights.com). May I also point out the painstakingly translated Waldmeister website: http://www.waldmeister-bikes.de. Costs from EUR 10.000 without tax. The frame alone requires 50 hours to be produced.

  22. guys, check posts #3 & #4 for better translations. It’s way up there on top! … keep scrolling!

  23. Translators. We needz them. I could really use some help from other-than-English speakers who can check the occasional comment or link and tell me if it’s spam or legitimate. If you’re interested in helping, click my name to get to my e-mail. Thanks.

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