The e-bike industry is exploding around the world as people adopt the idea of an environmentally-friendly alternative for the daily commute and a way to enjoy the outdoors. Creative minds are introducing e-bike innovations such as energy generation from tire rotation and creative new body styles. Evie Bee, a woodworker, model maker and university student, has melded her passions into a unique and beautiful wooden e-bike she calls Electraply.
Bee says, “The design of the bike was inspired by my love for the cafe racer and scrambler motorcycles of the past (the Great Escape anyone?) and the desire to honour and continue this iconic design through a modern interpretation.” She goes on to explain she has a “passion for sustainable design and combining modern manufacturing methods with traditional construction techniques.”
Electraply is composed predominantly of layers of sustainably sourced poplar ply, which is the inspiration for the name. The outer layers include birch wood as well. Bee also incorporates stainless steel into areas where extra strength is needed.
The use of wood for the frame threatened to make the bike too heavy, but Bee told Inhabitat, “It’s around 30kg with battery and motor. I tried to make it so it would weigh no more than an ordinary fat tyre ebike and they range from around 25/35kg. Poplar ply was used for the central frame to keep the weight down while birch ply for the outer frame pieces for strength.”
For the original bike, Bee salvaged the forks from an old jump bike. The decision resulted in the use of V-brakes in the design because the forks wouldn’t work in conjunction with disk brakes. She says it’s not ideal but works for now, admitting, “the forks shall certainly be the first thing I upgrade once I have the money. It will certainly be a necessity if the design is commercialised.” There are safety features to counterbalance the system; the front brake is wired to the motor, causing it to turn off when the brakes are pressed. The rear wheel also has a coaster brake.
Unlike most e-bikes, Bee didn’t try to hide the battery. In fact, she put it front and center. She explained saying, “The bike design was inspired by scrambler motorbikes, which have their gas tanks very visible. I wanted to carry this through into my own design, but swap the gas tank out for a battery!”
Bee is currently working on developing a Kickstarter campaign for Electraply with hopes of producing it en masse at some point. For those interested in working from the knowledge she’s developed in the process, she’s written two e-books she has posted on her website. One covers the design process for creating the bike, while the second details the construction process of turning the design into a real-life functioning e-bike.
Images via Evie Bee