Since the first prototype seven years ago, the Sandwichbike has undergone extensive testing for durability in various climates and for comfort. The frame consists of two flat 15-layer panels of CNC-milled, locally sourced, responsibly forested beech plywood.

The wheels of the Sandwichbike are, yes, sandwiched between two plywood panels.

Instead of a welded metal frame, the sandwich is locked in place using hand-milled aluminum “smart” cylinders that connect the panels and hold all moving parts in place.

The biggest challenge was making sure everyone can assemble the bike: clarifying the manual, designing a single simple tool for all assembly tasks and limiting the number of parts. There are less than 50 parts in the box, which ships world-wide in a purpose-designed box that weighs only 17 kg. “We don’t want to cater exclusively to technically educated people,” Leijh says. “When you are not familiar with the anatomy of a bike, the Sandwichbike is a really good way to get to know it.”

The bike's wooden frame was born out a desire to flat-pack the bike for easy shipping and assembly.

The bike's wooden frame was born out a desire to flat-pack the bike for easy shipping and assembly.

The Ikea Of Bikes Is Ready To Ship

The much-touted self-assembled Sandwichbike starts shipping December 1.

With bicycle culture and craft in ascendance, bike fever has spread past the artisanal frame builders and fixie fanatics to infest the every man. To wit: the fall launch of the Sandwichbike (anticipated by us earlier this year) by Bastens Leijh’s Dutch design studio, Bleijh Industrial. Leijh set out to prove that there are legitimate new ways to approach bicycle design and put it in the hands of the consumer.

“Having designed for several large bike brands, we concluded that the bicycle industry is a very rigid one, where the usual patterns of design, production, distribution, and sales are deeply ingrained,” says Leijh. “The Sandwichbike was created to show that it’s possible to create a perfectly functioning bicycle by a different approach: made from different material, put together differently, produced differently, and distributed differently.”

Those differences? The Sandwichbike is fabricated from CNC-milled flat wood, not metal, and its components are connected via cylinders, rather than through welding. But perhaps the most exciting difference is its distribution. The bike is flat-packed and shippable internationally with assembly that the designers promise will not frustrate amateur bikers. “We don’t want to cater only to technically educated people,” Leijh says. “When you are not familiar with the anatomy of a bike, the Sandwichbike is a good way to get to know it.”

The frame consists of two 15-layer panels of CNC-milled beech plywood that sandwich the wheels and are locked in place using hand-milled aluminum cylinders. Since the first prototype seven years ago, it has been vetted by ergonomics experts, engineers, and product designers and, with fewer than 50 parts in the kit, it ships in a 17 kg box. “Unpacking your Sandwichbike should be like unwrapping a present,” says Leijh. The thrill should start as soon as it arrives at your door.

The Sandwichbike is available for €799 and starts shipping in Europe on December 1 and to the rest of the world in January. Shipping within Europe costs €25; international shipping costs are €150.

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23 Comments

  • Charles

    “Having designed for several large bike brands, we concluded that the bicycle industry is a very rigid one, where the usual patterns of design, production, distribution, and sales are deeply ingrained,” says Leijh. “The Sandwichbike was created to show that it’s possible to create a perfectly functioning bicycle by a different approach: made from different material, put together differently, produced differently, and distributed differently.”

  • Charles

    The frame consists of two 15-layer panels of CNC-milled beech plywood that sandwich the wheels and are locked in place using hand-milled aluminum cylinders. Since the first prototype seven years ago, it has been vetted by ergonomics experts, engineers, and product designers and, with fewer than 50 parts in the kit, it ships in a 17 kg box. “Unpacking your Sandwichbike should be like unwrapping a present,” says Leijh. The thrill should start as soon as it arrives at your door.

  • Guest

    This is a fixed gear bicycle, that means you don't need any brake levers on the handlebars, you brake when you lock your feet on the pedals.

  • Tweenwolf

    So basically it would be illegal in Australia. Fixies with no brakes were outlawed here a few years ago.

  • Charles

    The Sandwichbike is available for €799 and starts shipping in Europe on December 1 and to the rest of the world in January. Shipping within Europe costs €25; international shipping costs are €150.

  • TLR

    For once, I actually had some belief in this one, but when you investigate it, it does fall through. I'm guessing the choice of chain comes from price and not being able to open up the rear triangle for assembly. Flat packed? Not any flatter than any conventional bike. It's not possible to change bar height and the same goes for stem length. I assume there's a coaster brake hub on the rear wheel, but stopping a bike that heavy without a front brake is not safe. Kudos for seeing it through and not being just another dumb bike concept, but this looks to be different only by making things worse.

  • Tweenwolf

    I agree. I feel bad for sinking the boot into this bike, but I just can't see reason for its design choices beyond being different for different's sake.

  • Charles

    The frame consists of two 15-layer panels of CNC-milled beech plywood that sandwich the wheels and are locked in place using hand-milled aluminum cylinders. Since the first prototype seven years ago, it has been vetted by ergonomics experts, engineers, and product designers and, with fewer than 50 parts in the kit, it ships in a 17 kg box. “Unpacking your Sandwichbike should be like unwrapping a present,” says Leijh. The thrill should start as soon as it arrives at your door.

  • luxivore

    That looks like a chain on that bike. I am surprised that a bike like this is not belt driven. Going to look just lovely when all that chain oil splatters all over the wooden frame. mmmm. And it doesn't appear to have any brakes...slight design failure.

  • Charles

    Really nice article John. We have just completed an app that explores U.S. political representatives by zip code and the influence they have on policy to re-engage citzens. Seems to link well to this app and may be of interest to you? See it here http://mapyourreps.appspot.com... and let me know if you would like more information. Thanks!

  • Tweenwolf

    I'm also a little confused about the justification of the Sandwich Bike. Simply saying it's produced, made of, packed and distributed differently doesn't answer anything. Why it is made of wood? Why is it flat packed? Why does the consumer have to assemble it? And why is it as/more expensive than most equivalent bikes? I would understand if it made it cheaper for the consumer, or it solved a transportation issue, or made it easier for developing countries to have more efficient transport ... but this is just an example of phantom benefit dressed up as a designer innovation. I can buy a racer for the same money and have it shipped cheaper too. 150 Euro to ship? Get real.

  • Charles

    Those differences? The Sandwichbike is fabricated from CNC-milled flat wood, not metal, and its components are connected via cylinders, rather than through welding. But perhaps the most exciting difference is its distribution. The bike is flat-packed and shippable internationally with assembly that the designers promise will not frustrate amateur bikers. “We don’t want to cater only to technically educated people,” Leijh says. “When you are not familiar with the anatomy of a bike, the Sandwichbike is a good way to get to know it.”

  • Doctor Seuss

    At that price, it truly is the IKEA of bikes. They must not want it in too many consumers' hands for that price. C'mon, for that price I can buy a great modern bike with all the bells & whistles and still come out cheaper. Good concept, good design, HORRIBLE price...