World's First Electric Wooden Bike Leads The Charge To Sustainable Cycling
Bough Bikes is a world leader in the field of handmade all-wood bicycles, having produced over 300 pedal-powered two-wheelers from sustainably harvested French Oak. Now the Dutch manufacturer is, ahem, branching out into electrobikes, showing off two prototype electric wooden bikes at this year's NYCxDesign.
The basic model Bough Bike has been turning heads and changing minds for several years now though most of the company's output has stayed in their native Holland. Bough Bikes CEO and co-designer Piet Brandjes has always kept the focus on quality rather than quantity, specifying the use of high quality parts to complement the bike's precisely engineered and carefully balanced wooden frame.
Though Bough Bikes have generally received glowing reviews from owners and testers alike, the sturdy cycle does have one drawback: at 20 kg (44 pounds), it's kind of heavy. If only there was some way to make driving the Bough Bike easier... and actually, there is! These days electric motors are more powerful than ever before and the batteries needed to power them continue to shrink in size and weight. The time is right, thought Brandjes, for an electrified version of his wooden wunder.
With electric power, weight is no longer an issue – ever try lifting one of the more popular electric bicycles or scooters? The remarkably unobtrusive and easily removable power pack can get a Bough Bike moving at up to 15 mph and keep it moving for up to 30 miles.
Riders enjoy a certain amount of flexibility on how they apply electric power to their riding experience. See, not every bike rider wants their journey to be effortlessly smooth. With that in mind, Bough installed a compact speed regulator just beneath the bike's handlebars.
Riders can select from Low, Med or High settings – after a single pedal, the motor kicks in to the degree chosen with the net effect being a heavy bicycle becomes instantly lighter, quicker and more maneuverable. The regulator also features a battery charge display and speaking of which, the battery can be fully charged in 3 to 6 hours.
As mentioned, only two prototype electric Bough Bikes have been produced. Real-world testing on the mean streets of New York City has already offered a number of possible improvements that could see the light of day on production versions, such as energy-harvesting wheel hubs that are the biking analogue of the regenerative braking systems used in hybrid automobiles.
When actual production electric Bough Bikes will be available, however, is a question that has no answer at present. Hopefully that day will come sooner rather than later. Wood it be good? You'd better be leaf it! (via PSFK, photos by Dave Pinter)