Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wooden bicycles?

I know what you're thinking, wood? Won't it break?

This question points out a weakness in most design problems. I mean, why should anything be designed/made to last forever? It will all end up in landfill eventually; whether you like it or not. After a while, the first Mac that you bought decades ago and keep for sentimental reasons will lose sentiment. That cheap nuts and bolts mobile phone you bought while waiting for your iPhone to return from repair will end up half recycled, half landfill.
With the constant lurch forward with technology, there is bound to be something newer and more exciting. With this in mind, designs are still being pumped out to join the circle of life from cradle to grave, from idea to trash; not something most designers are enamored to hear.

The Shanghai bike may set you back 4000 yuan, but it has replaceable bamboo tubing and 3D printed bioplastic joints. Not entirely recyclable, but it's a step in the right direction.

This bicycle was produced by a ninth generation shipwright. From generations of crafting beautiful items from wood came this mahogany creature. Made almost entirely from timber besides the essentials, it is rideable and offers flexibility and responsiveness unknown to its metal counterparts.

Designed for his final year project, Belgian born Industrial Design Student tried his hand at creating a sporty, unisex design for rental. With mass production in mind, he wanted it as simple as possible. Although it is in essence, a concept, it still ticks the boxes in my book for minimal use of non recyclable material and experimentation of materials.

Here is some eye candy for all you bike lovers out there; this is a particularly stylized vehicle. Made for urban use, this French design integrates a CNC ply centre triangle with metal fork and rear triangle components. It's completely rideable with functioning brakes and customizable handle bars and seat covers.

The main problem facing those who wish to make recyclable products is that often recycling ends up taking twice as long and costing three to four times more, as well as being detrimental to the environment (separating plastics/metals). So essentially we're doomed to doom the planet unless we can find materials that are simple to recycle or are decomposable for mass production.

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