September 26, 2021

Sustainable woodworker builds her own beautiful wooden electric bike

Sustainable woodworker builds her own beautiful wooden electric bike


While building and riding electric bikes takes up most of my time, woodworking has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. And perhaps that’s why I was so excited when woodworker Evie Bee reached out to share her impressive looking wooden electric bicycle that combines these two fascinating yet divergent fields.

Evie’s passion for woodworking expands beyond just the crafting process to encompass the lifecycle of the wood.

As she explains:

“My interest in this area grew as I volunteered as a ranger with the National Trust at Osterley Park and while working with a tree house builder in India who was so knowledgeable about trees, ecology, and silviculture. This experience made me feel much more connected to the woods and I found I enjoyed being out in them much more than I did being in a workshop!”

Evie has also long had an interest in classic cafe racer and scrambler motorcycles. Her passion for those vintage designs helped guide her as she combined design aspects of days past with modern electric bicycle components, all the while using a medium rarely found in the DIY e-bike scene.

As a woodworker with a passion for sustainable design and combining modern manufacturing methods with traditional construction techniques, I felt this project would be a perfect and challenging opportunity to bring all these interests together and push my making skills to the limit. One of the other motivating factors for me choosing to make this bike was the desire to fulfill my dream of owning and riding my own e-bike. An experience I had cruising along a beautiful coast road on a rented bike was enough to convince me I needed to make one for myself. 

The bike became known as the Electraply, thanks to its incorporation of multiple styles of sustainably sourced plywood laminated together.

Poplar makes up the bulk of the center of the frame, with more visually appealing Birch plywood added to the outside of the frame.

Many sheets had to be cut using a CNC router to achieve Evie’s design.

Stainless steel was used in a few areas for extra strength, such as the dropouts (where the rear wheel connects to the frame).

For electronics, Evie used a 36V and 12.5Ah battery with 450 Wh of capacity, pairing it with a Smart Pie electric bike motor that houses an internal controller. That helped reduce the number of external parts mounted to the bike and simplify the wiring.

The design and construction of the Electraply bike forced Evie to rely on many of her non-wood skills as well. She built the frame for the seat using brass piping and sewed her own faux leather seat cover using hand stitching.

To share the design with others and teach people how to build their own Electraply wooden e-bike, Evie has written two free e-books that are available on her site.

The first 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.

For anyone who wants a wooden electric bicycle but doesn’t have the time or handiness to build one themselves, Evie is planning to run a crowdfunding campaign in the future to commercialize the design.

Check out the Electraply e-bike in action in the video below.

All images rights belong to Evie Bee Designs

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