We have looked at a Wooden Frame Bicycle or two previously. They never fail to attract the eye. Part of it is shape, such as the Ecce Opus wooden frame bike. Part of it is the colour of the wood in the frame. Here is another example of a wooden frame bicycle, this time the “My Esel”.
First a word of explanation. A bike is known in German slang as a “Drahtesel” or, literally, Wire Donkey (with Esel being the word for donkey). Hence the name “My Esel”.
It came about because Christoph Frandorfer, an architecture student, used to cycle to university every day, but could not find a bike suitable for his 1.95m height (that’s 6’ 5” if you’re still fixed on imperial after nearly 50 years of being metric!). At that height he was constantly getting knee and or back problems but customised bikes were unaffordable for a student and also had long production times.
Christoph’s lead time was not exactly short either: it took him four years to research and optimise his “My Esel” project.
He sees the wooden frame bicycle he has designed as a new concept for custom bikes. An algorithm calculates the frame size and the geometry of each bike for each individual customer. The production data are created autonomously by software. It means customisation despite the mass production. The bike is perfectly adapted to the body proportions and riding style of the client, a process that was until now generally only known in handmade road bike production.
Christoph, Founder and CEO of My Esel, claims “My Esel is therefore the world’s first customized bike that can be produced serially”.
Thanks in part to cooperation with ergonomics experts at the orthopaedic clinic in Speising, Austria, to develop the software, each My Esel wooden frame bike guarantees its rider perfect power transmission, the desired riding comfort and an orthopaedically correct sitting position. Each client can also configure the colour and equipment on the bike.
The wooden frame bicycle highlights its individuality. The material looks not only unusual but is also exciting from the mechanical point of view. Christoph explains that “Wood is a fiber material, similar to carbon, but unlike carbon, it grows organically and is sustainable. Wood absorbs vibrations and at the same time, it is rigid. With the right processing, it is suitable for everyday use under any weather conditions. All in all: Wood is very suitable for a bike frame.”
The My Esel wooden frame bikes are produced in Austria with sustainability in mind, with wood as a renewable resource. The frames are produced in Salzburg and the bikes are then hand-assembled in Linz in a sheltered workshop called Fahrradzentrum B7 (“Bike centre”).
Michael Altrichter, Chairman of Startup300 AG and Business Angel at “2 minutes, 2 millions”, believes that “My Esel is a disruptive concept in the bike industry. It is a flawless example of mass customization, the manufacturing of individual products in high production numbers. The project is scalable. However the production is local. For me it is an exciting Startup with a high potential.”