Published on January 31, 2019
Laura Hoikkanen, Veli-Matti Lepistö
Wood-based products are now strongly experiencing a new era of popularity and new applications are found, for instance, in design.
THE BEAUTY and individual structure of wood is not the only reason that enhances the use of wood. Important factors are also the consumers’ interest in renewable materials and in endeavours to make ecological and sustainable choices. A good example of this is the Wiilubike – a bicycle with a body made of wood.
Wiilubike was developed by the Finnish Wood Innovations Finland Oy.
The starting point for the design of the wooden bike was to emphasize the possibilities of the utilisation of wood in products where it is traditionally not known to be used.
”A wooden bike as a thought felt sufficiently technical and outstanding, compared, for example, with traditional furniture”, says Ilari Alaruka, the founder of the company.
The design of Wiilubike is functional and simple and it really stands out. The bike was designed by means of 3D simulation. The style and initial prototypes and drawings were created directly from 3D files. The bodies of the production models are milled with a 5-shaft milling machine from a form-pressed blank, which guarantees a perfect fit of the metal and wooden components in the assembly. The manufacturing technique also enhances the manufacture of bodies of different sizes and shapes by changing the manufacturing tracks. Veneer of any species can be used for the face.
The business customers of Wiilubike are companies in the wood and forest industries, as well as companies, into whose values, operations and brands Wiilubike brings additional value for increased support and awareness. Some end user customers of Wiilubike wish to support the Finnish wood and forest industries, whereas others wish to communicate on the ecology. ”The owner of a Wiilubike is a brave and open-minded optimist, who lives to the full every moment”.
In terms of the material, strict requirements are set on the veneer quality. The veneer shall be strong and free of knots. The torsional rigidity required of the bike body is attained with carefully made glue lines and the correct grain directions. Nevertheless, the wooden body retains an appropriate elasticity and dampens vibrations on uneven ground without loosing its riding properties.
The veneer is peeled from birch blocks by Koskisen Oy with Raute lathes. The veneer is processed and form pressed into parts for the bike body. Other components are supplied by players in the field around the world, and assistance for the assembly is provided by the Finnish bike factory Salon Polkupyörätehdas.