World’s First Electric Wooden Bike Debuts At NYCxDesign

World’s First Electric Wooden Bike Debuts At NYCxDesign

Mixing innovation and sustainability, a Dutch bicycle company aims to entice people away from driving cars.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 14 may 2014

Bough Bikes is a small Dutch manufacturer of unique wooden bicycles. To date they have produced over 300 hand crafted pedal powered bikes in use around Holland. During NYCxDesign 2014, the company staged the world premier of two prototype electric wooden bikes at GGrippo art + design in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They chose NYC to show support for the rapid growth in cycling in the city over the past few years in part due to the expansion of bike lanes and bike share programs.


PSFK spoke with Piet Brandjes, Bough Bikes CEO and co-designrer who said that the bike came to be based on a challenge he posed to Jan Gunneweg, Bough Bikes other designer and master fabricator. Ideas were sketched and refined and soon a frame, forks, handlebar and fenders were developed all from sustainable French Oak.

Recent advancements in more powerful electric motors, smaller batteries and charging systems made it possible to create an electrified version of the bike that supplies the rider with pedal assist power. As you can guess from the photos, the bike is not lightweight, in fact it gets close to the heft of a moped, but remarkably the Bough electric will get to a top speed on flat ground of 15 mph with a range of 30 miles.

So what is it like to ride? We got to take one of the bikes out on a quick spin around Williamsburg and it is surprisingly easy to control. After a single pedal rotation, the electric motor kicks in and the effort required to cruise along is minimal. It feels a bit like perpetually riding downhill. Somehow the weight of the bike magically disappears as well, steering is quite sharp and maneuvering around road obstacles at speed wasn’t scary on a bike that used to be a tree.

Under the handlebars is a speed regulator on which low, medium or high can be selected. This functions a bit like cruise control on a car except that here you select how much pedal assist you want the bike to add. High is actually quite fast and on city streets, makes it possible to basically ride at the same speed as traffic.
There is also a battery charge display showing how much electricity is available. Bough says that the bike can be fully recharged in 3-6 hours. They are already working on a next generation version which will have energy harvesting capability from the hubs to recharge the battery as the bike is ridden.

Attached to the frame is the Abus Dutch locking system which secures the back wheel of the bike using a key.

In person, the bike has a beautiful finish and because it is all wood, it is kind of like riding around a piece of furniture. There’s no cold (or sunbaked hot) metal to touch the skin and nothing on the bike rattles. It feels comfortable to ride within about five seconds. A sentiment expressed by Jan Gunneweg himself:

If you design from nature it will always bring you something that people feel comfortable with.

Wooden bikes might not dethrone steel, aluminum or carbon bikes in terms of popularity and sales, but Bough Bikes are offering a premium alternative that functions just as good with a host of planet friendly production bonus points. The bikes also show there’s still plenty of possibility for innovation with materials as common as wood.





Bough Bikes // GOED – Good Stuff from Holland
Photos: Dave Pinter


Why The Apple Watch Is Taking Foot In The Restaurant Industry

Food Today

Chef Turns Invasive Species Into Delicious Sushi

Creator Bun Lai is adapting strange new ingredients for his menu, which responds to the ecological impact of overabundant creatures in the local environment

Travel Today

Build Your Own Subway System In This Minimalist Game

Mini Metro lets you design your own fully functional transit network, simulating the flow of urban commuters with pared-down visuals


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Work Today

Keyboard Designed To Help Women Use More Assertive Language

The device is a commentary on gender roles in the workplace, and features easy access to "power verbs" that help reinforce a habit of being direct in writing

Arts & Culture Today

Spanish Artist Dreams Up What Animals Would Look Like In Modern Clothing

Yago Partal's portraits depict the fantasized style preferences of creatures worldwide, from an Arctic wolf to a zebra

Related Expert

Scott Ballum

Environment, Retail, Online Media

Fitness & Sport Today

New Data Technologies Make Hyper-Personalized Training A Reality

The Sports Debrief from PSFK Labs looks at how analytics tools are being developed to optimize human performance across all industries

Technology Today

IBM Watson Helps Grammy-Winning Producer Craft An EP

The computer system's data technology generated musical scores for Alex Da Kid's first solo project

Travel Yesterday

30-Year-Old Photographs Used As Travel Guides

A new photo series revolves around tracing the origins of images from the past


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

General Electric: Lighting’s Impact On Sleep Is More Than The Off Switch

Jeff Patton, General Manager of Connected Home Products at GE Lighting, uncovers how lighting technologies can affect our sleep cycles

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Children Yesterday

IKEA Is Letting Kids Design Its New Line Of Toys

The products are taken from fanciful drawings that showcase the imagination of those who use it most

Technology Yesterday

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

Health Yesterday

VR App Prescribed For Pain Relief

A pharmacy chain in Sweden is stepping away from tradition to develop a happy place for the pain-afflicted

Retail Yesterday

Banks Are Coming Together To Create A New Payment Network That Rivals Venmo

A number of financial institutions are collaborating to make a new person-to-person monetary system called Zelle for their customers

Media & Publishing Yesterday

Pocket Camera Aims To Facilitate The Struggles Of Live Streams

The Mevo helps resolve the complexities of streaming video with an intuitive setup and smart editing controls

Health Yesterday

Startup Believes Traceability Will Help Disrupt The Multivitamin Industry

Ritual is a daily supplement for women that traces every ingredient back to its source

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Photo Series Brutally Murders Some Of Your Favorite Fast Food

The portraits by artist duo Ilka & Franz do away with mealtime regulars in a way that is both beautiful and humorous

Mobile Yesterday

Coffeemaker Teaches You How To Make The Perfect Cup

The device comes with an accompanying app that guides novices and experts alike through the brewing process

No search results found.