Brilliant Bentwood Frame Bike Design is Based on a Classic Chair

© Thonet & Andy Martin

Known as the material-efficient chair that has seated millions, the bentwood Thonet chair was a revolutionary product of the mid-1800s that is still around today (for example, these lovely Thonet rocking chairs).

Now the Thonet company is making a move into the world of bike design, in collaboration with London-based designer Andy Martin, with a sleek-looking concept bicycle that features a bentwood frame.

© Thonet & Andy Martin
© Thonet & Andy Martin

This minimal bike would use the same low-tech steam-bending process employed for classic Thonet furniture, in addition to newer technologies, says Designboom:

Constructed using beech wood, the frame is precisely adjusted with a CNC machine along with its solid beech pan which sits on sprung rod supports to reinforce joints and major stress areas in the frame. The fixed gear conception takes influence from the tradition of cycling; where one has a greater connection to the bike and the surface a user rides on. Built without brakes, it still has the capabilities of using several interchangeable gear ratios.

© Thonet & Andy Martin

The bike's fixed gear and brakeless design means that like its bentwood chair cousins, it will be relatively lightweight and lower-maintenance, while still staying strong. The minimal look is also characteristic of the Thonet design lineage, but it's also worth noting that despite the wild popularity of so-called "fixies," there's some question about the legality of them in some regions, not to mention the fact that a bit of technique is needed to operate a brakeless version.

© Thonet & Andy Martin

In any case, it's wonderful to see a wooden bike that attempts to honour many of the same principles that made the Thonet chair so popular and pioneering even for today. For more, see the Thonet and Andy Martin's websites.

Tags: Bikes


New to TreeHugger?

treehugger on phone
treehugger slideshows