Wood may not seem like the best material for a bicycle, but considering how energy-intensive it is to process metals, wooden bikes seem like a more reasonably earth-friendly alternative, and may even be a better ride. Though we've seen no shortage of stylish wooden bikes, this sculptural beauty by Yojiro Oshima, a design student at Tokyo's Musashino Art University, is quite the head-turner.
To explore the possibilities and structural strengths of a different type of frame in his degree thesis, Oshima's handmade prototype utilizes a "Y-foil" type of structure, where the seat cantilevers out for a softer ride. Oshima says on the Bicycle Design blog that
This proposal is about the shape of the frame and the handle mainly which doesn't concern what material it's made out of. The maximum comfort can be put into practice by wood.
Indeed, there's a lot of interesting curves and swoops in the frame, plus those awesome sculptural armrests. To lighten the bike's weight, parts of the wooden frame have been left hollow, and Oshima made this all by hand, rather than CNC machining it:
It is all hand made. The down tube and seat tube are hollowed with plenty of thickness left not to disturb the surface when planed too much. As a result, it weights about 14kg in total. The thickness is uncertain though, I guess it's about 6-12mm. It is bonded the half and half into one.
To increase the cushioning on the wheels, Oshima used "baton" style wheels, which feature extra arcs to the rim. Prototype or not, it's certainly an elegant reinterpretation of the standard bike frame that we hope to see further developed. More over at Bicycle Design and Yojiro Oshima's Twitter.