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.