Birch bicycles prove wood’s surprising versatility and lightness

Image: Wiilubike/ Ilari Alaruka and Lassi Kaikkonen 

Have you ever admired the white-washed beauty of Finnish birch? The makers of Wiilubike have, and they want to share this feeling with bicycle lovers.

The wooden bicycle, made from Finnish birch, celebrates the value of Finnish wood and forests, and draws on the high standards of Finnish timber know-how and design. The bike’s timeless and practical design is pleasing to the eye, just as birch is throughout the seasons.

The first Wiilubike frame prototypes were made by hand in 2015. It wasn’t long before Wood Innovations Finland, the company behind Wiilubike, partnered with a manufacturer to produce the bike. As five of the company’s six founders are Finnish forest owners, they sold birch logs from their own forests to Koskisen Oy, which peeled and processed the logs into veneer and plywood. The bike’s final frame is machined and finished by the Lahti-based company LK-Taivute.

The original intention was not to make a professional bicycle, but test users returned with surprisingly positive feedback.

“Thanks to the wooden frame, there is less vibration, which is something that is especially apparent when riding on cobblestone. Wiilubike is also lighter than a similar steel-framed bicycle,” said Ilari Alaruka, Wood Innovations Finland CEO.

As cycling is a favourite pastime for him and his partners, it was natural that the company’s first product was a wooden bicycle. Thanks to the veneer surface, each bicycle is a one-of-a-kind natural work of art.

Koskisen’s experts also provided invaluable support in the bike’s product development, helping to make the structure sufficiently rigid and consistent, Alaruka added.

Koskisen and Wiilubike share the same values, in that they both encourage people to be active and to use wood in places where it is not commonly found.