Wooden Bicycles

Sano Sueshirō (佐野末四郎) is a 9th generation wooden boat builder. He is also a designer and builder of wooden furniture, speakers and – since 2007 – mahogany bicycles.  In an interview for the company Cat Eye, Sano said he began making bikes because he saw the industry focusing on carbon fiber and other stiff materials in the belief that that technology would make bikes faster.  Reflecting on his own experience with wood, he thought he could do better. Apparently – according to this New York Times Magazine blog entry – he has done a convincing job of it.

If you find it as hard as I do to imagine what a light-weight wooden road bike looks like, check out the video below:

(If you don’t understand Japanese, start around the one-minute mark to see the bike in action)

Sano’s studio is in Tokyo near the Kinokuniya Bookstore at Shin-kiba Station, and according to his website, visitors are welcome on Saturday afternoons.

On a side note, there are other wooden bike makers in Japan as well, including Yasuda Masateru in Nagano.  Click here to see one of his bikes.

Do you know of any wooden bike makers in Japan, or have you seen one of these bikes?  If so, please share your experience in a comment below!


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