Thonet Bike by Andy Martin
by Harry / October 3, 2012

To highlight chair-maker Thonet's steam bending process, London-based architect Andy Martin was asked to design a concept bike made of bent wood.

(Click the images below for full sized images)


Thonet's steam bending process was originally developed in the 1930s to make chairs. Andy Martin Studio used the same process to make a unique sinuous bicycle frame out of beech wood.


Of three designs developed for Thonet, the final was selected because of its aesthetic beauty and modest connection with the heritage of the company.

Says Andy Martin, "The challenge was to take on fairly low tech process of steam bending and then apply it to a 21st century bicycle with highly complex engineering".


"With the many restrictions of hand bending the beech frame the final jointing and contours would be cut and adjusted on a cnc machine." Martin has also developed a series of connectors and sprung rods to reinforce joints and the major stress areas in the frame.


The bike itself is a fixed wheel, "which is the tradition of cycling; one has a greater connection to the bike and the surface one rides on." It comes with no brakes and has several interchangeable gear ratios.


Even the seat is solid beech wood supported on a sprung rod supports. The wheels, not designed by Martin are carbon fibre HED H3's. The bike will be available in limited edition and cost £43,000.


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