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FUN FACT: Wood Makes a Nice Bike

4 July 2023

If wood is strong enough for buildings and furniture, why not use it for bicycles too? That’s pretty much the thought process that led Masateru Yasuda to design the Moccle, a bicycle that relies on the flexible yet sturdy properties of bent plywood sheets. Traditional Japanese buildings have taken advantage of wood’s flexibility and vibration-absorption properties to build structures that have survived earthquakes, Yasuda points out. “I wondered if I could make a bicycle that takes advantage of the characteristics of this wood,” he adds.

The Moccle is a fun bicycle with a unique aesthetic that puts the enjoyment of riding front and center. It doesn’t come with gears, a dashboard, or even shock absorbers (funnily enough, there’s no bell on it too), but rather, uses a bent-wood frame to achieve shock absorption. Held in place using metal fixtures, the bent plywood frame flexes in response to pressure, helping absorb any sort of stress by undulating surfaces or bad terrain… just the way traditional buildings in Japan would weather earthquakes by absorbing tectonic stress.

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