bonobo plywood bicycle by polish design student stanislaw ploski

Polish design student Stanislaw Ploski has put forth this study in wooden bicycles that may have Renovo taking a good hard look.

The Bonobo Plywood Bike uses bent plywood to form the entire frame from just two sections. The top tube flows directly into the seatstays, which are cut out to accommodate the rear wheel. The downtube becomes the chainstays, and the flowing shape likely creates a bit of a forgiving ride, though we’re guessing there’s a rider weight limit.

This build has modern touches like disc brakes, and could easily be run geared or kept as singlespeed. Belt drive with internally geared hub would bring it all together quite nicely. Plenty more pics after the break…

bonobo plywood bicycle by polish design student stanislaw ploski

bonobo plywood bicycle by polish design student stanislaw ploski

bonobo plywood bicycle by polish design student stanislaw ploski

bonobo plywood bicycle by polish design student stanislaw ploski


  1. Pretty innovative concept – bet that could make a comfy commuter. Looks like something from Ikea. I could see this as a really practical design for mass production – you could build an entire size run out of the same plywood tooling by machining the same blanks to different sizes and adjusting the position of the bolt on bits.

  2. Best looking concept bike I’ve seen in a long time. Definitely a hint of BMX about it with the peddles, grips and fork, yet also practical for those city commutes!! I’d buy one.

  3. Steel, aluminum, carbon, bamboo, plywood…what’s next, macaroni?

    Okay, we get it, you can make bikes outta’ anything but not always out of anything that makes sense.

  4. I’d argue that it’s a big improvement on the Waldmeister because it can be mass produced much more affordably. The wood has a small fraction of the Waldmeister’s machining and hand finishing and no post-mold bonding and is very scalable for a broad size run without multiple curved plywood molds. Other than the headtube piece, all the other forgings (I’d assume not welded for mass production) would be the same regardless of frame size. This could be a very inexpensive RTA kit or big box store item and weigh less and ride better than a cheap metal frame. This could be a nice $400 commuter, but it could also be a sub-$150 bike. Either way, it isn’t a high-dollar boutique bike – it’s practical.

    With twice the plies of a skateboard deck, this thing would be a solid beater too. From a customization standpoint, anyone with access to sandpaper, stain and poly could get a professional looking refinish or color change for under 15 bucks – same price as a crappy looking rattlecan respray on a metal frame. Spruce it up with a woodburning pen. Lots of possibilities.

  5. @Andy – if this bike were executed poorly, I could see standing and mashing the pedals with my 200lbs would be a problem. I’ve had some metal frames flex, sag, twist and drop chains under a good “mashing”. That being said, this could easily be engineered to be stiff enough for a commuter bike. I don’t think anyone’s going to try to run this in a crit – it isn’t going to replace anyone’s mtb, downhiller, bmx or club racer. It is what it is, and it could be good really good at being that.

    RF-pressed curved plywood isn’t that different than carbon fiber. It’s a composite fibrous material that’s formed to shape under heat and pressure with resin. Like carbon fiber composites, its performance can be tuned with fiber (grain) direction, species (material type), material layup, resin type and cure cycle. In this design, the lower beam could be built for stiffness and the upper for compliance.

    Over the past 20 years, my career has gone from bike shop to a curved plywood components manufacturer to industrial automation to now aerospace composites/”advanced materials” (with a lot of CNC machining exposure along the way.) I’ve seen the limitations and possibilities of a lot of engineered composite materials (including wood).

    I’m really impressed with this concept because unlike most student design projects, this could be put to practical use on a mass scale at a reasonable cost and could be a better ride than a lot of budget commuter bikes out there. Both of my kids learned to ride on a plywood Skuut bike (and it still looks brand new) – why wouldn’t I ride plywood too?

  6. The difference between the Waldmeister and this is the difference between a custom bike and a mid level Trek, figuratively speaking of course. The build is essentially the same. One has nicer, more custom details. The other is more basic, less finish detail. Both get the job done.

  7. Speaking as a Designer (and former Design student).

    There’s getting inspiration from anothers idea, and then there’s ripping some one off.. this verges on the later and it is too similar to simply say that they came up with the same idea.

    A rip off is a rip off regardless of cost of production, or if the designer is a student. That’s why schools make such a big deal over plagiarism. Students need to show that they are knowledgable in their field of study, not that they can copy someone else

  8. “…too similar to simply say they came up with the same idea?” That’s hardly a fact. There are significant differences between the two bikes.

  9. To all the people lambasting this guy for copying someone else’s design – those WaldMeister bikes cost 13,000 EURO! If he can do a wooden bike that costs a fraction of that to manufacture, then it’s a new product worth talking about.

    I would love to buy one of Calfee’s bamboo frames – I just don’t have $5k kicking around to satisfy my green thumb.

  10. @AlexK.
    The waldmeister bikes are made of solid wood, this one is made of plywood. Even if these bikes look similar, they differ more, than any common bike on the street 🙂 I would love to test it & buy if the price will be reasonable (not 13 K EURO ;).

What do you think?