A beautifully designed and sustainably made cork bike saddle.
In 2017, designer Evan Gray was attending a frame-building course at the Bicycle Academy in Somerset and realized he wanted to create his own sustainable, custom parts for builds and thus bring entirely bespoke bikes to life. That year, he founded Frame Cycles in Glasgow, Scotland, and started the development of a special kind of saddle. Working in collaboration with friend and industrial designer Matthew MacIndoe, Evan Gray created the prototype for a cork saddle, the FR-1. The first iteration of the seat, completed in 2019 and then tested over a period of two years, combined 3D printed titanium and CNC machined cork.
An exceptionally green material, cork is harvested sustainably using a method that doesn’t harm the tree. Frame Cycles collaborates with Portuguese cork farmers who pass on their knowledge of sustainable cork harvesting from parent to child. Apart from preserving the trees, this practice also allows cork forests to thrive and support rich ecosystems. Which makes the FR-1 saddle one of the most environmentally conscious bike parts you can find.
Lightweight but sturdy and durable, cork is also elastic and provides natural cushioning. Molded in Portugal and then assembled and finished in Scotland, the reconstituted cork seat features a stamped titanium shell and grade 5 titanium rails; a water-based adhesive; and a weather-resistant lacquer coating. Completely plastic-free, each FR-1 Bike Saddle comes with plastic-free packaging. Frame Cycles will launch the first 25 saddles at Bespoked in London in October, 2022. The first limited set of the FR-1 will be available online for $120. However, those who will miss out on the first batch can relax. Frame Cycles will also launch a larger series in early 2023. Photographs © Frame Cycles.