zarko bubalo: sustainable wooden bicycles

zarko bubalo: sustainable wooden bicycles

žarko bubalo: sustainable wooden bicycles
all images courtesy of žarko bubalo




influenced by shipbuilding and aircraft design, serbian designer žarko bubalo has made two models of wooden bicycles ‘perfect day’ and ‘imagine’. the combination of the natural wood with reinforced glass fiber and epoxy produces a smooth riding experience with a high-level of vibration absorption. the product offers a series of contrasts; traditional and modern technologies, natural and high-tech materials, vision and engineering and experience with innovation. 3D design technologies using a numerically controlled manufacturing process is coupled with passionate and careful handcrafting to create the sustainable wooden bikes.



‘paris design week 2013 ugljesa vrcelj & zarko bubalo’
video courtesy of superdotbg



zarko bubalo: sustainable wooden bicycles
the bicycle frame is based on aircraft and shipbuilding construction



zarko bubalo: sustainable wooden bicycles
CNC manufactured and handcrafted



zarko bubalo: sustainable wooden bicycles
detail of ‘perfect day’ that has had six layers of polyurethane varnish applied



zarko bubalo: sustainable wooden bicycles
designer žarko bubalo with his wooden bike



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

  • bamboo is sustainable it grows approx a meter a day, any material that grows on surface of the earth is replenish-able, steel is recyclable, but a huge amount of energy is required and co2 production is massive, the wood is used in fibre form to form a matrix composite so is extremely strong, replenishable materials are the way to go

    Mar 12, 2014
  • The video remind me of Treinspotting from the first second to the end, it’s a bit sad..isn’t it?

    I like the frame! Finally a good-looking, aerodynamic, modern wood frame and I think it’ll look very elegant on a simple single-speed city bike. It’ll be awesome also on a cycle cross commuter.
    It’s a great combination of technology and natural material. There is so many benefit if you use this frame on your commuter bike. You can also keep it in your living room, like a design object… it’ll looks cool.

    It’s not eco-friendly, it’s luxury.

    NB: I understand the Brooks saddle on any bike.. but on a mountain bike?

    Oct 17, 2013
  • This should be bamboo.

    Calfee makes some of the nicest, but many people make bamboo bikes already. Bamboo being one of the fastest growing, “sustainable” materials and needing the least amount of processing as its natural hollow structure is great for a lightweight bicycle.
    I’m a woodworker and an avid cyclist.

    Oct 13, 2013
  • another view at wood and sustainability:

    If you chop down one tree to make something, and at the same time you plant two or more new ones in it’s place – it is sustainable. If you chop off a part of a healthy tree to make something – new branches will grow out at the same place. Still seems pretty sustainable.

    Extracting ore from the ground is tedious process, and once it is extracted.. it is gone.

    Wood rots in time, but can be easily protected with quality finishes. Metal rusts but it can be protected by coats of paint. Nothing really lasts forever. For most products sustainability is is just a matter of perspective.

    Oct 11, 2013
  • I find it funny calling “sustainable” to a wooden bike… The moment you have to chop a tree to make a bike, this is no longer sustainable… Unless they use recycled wood, but I see this bike is made of perfect, high quality wood… It can´t be recycled, so… Again like in many other projects, putting the trendy word next to the name so it looks sustainable…

    Oct 09, 2013
  • No easy answer to whether this deserves a ‘sustainable’ description or not. I like the assertion that the raw materials are more readily available, vs steel or other traditional frame materials. And the CNC process, while inherently wasteful, just results in wood chips. I find it curious that the designer stopped with the frame, and even built the bike up with mountain bike components like a suspension fork and disc brakes! There could be ‘sustainable’ or wood options for those parts – anyway they muck up the lines of the frame.
    Agree with the above posting – just make it from wood, call it ‘beautiful’, and quit the greenwashing.

    Oct 08, 2013
  • The term sustainable here is purely for the selling sake, just trying to be more sellable. Just the shear lack of material here used for the frame of the bike is so insubstantial, even if thousands of them are produced. It is an interesting design but the label sustainable is just too used up. The computer or laptop, or whatever, that you are using to read this article probably used up alot more resources than one of these bikes in production…

    Justin C
    Oct 08, 2013
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