Posts Tagged 'bicycle'

How A Bicycle Is Made (1945)

This is absolutely brilliant.  The design and manufacture of Raleigh bicycles in the mid-40s, as told by a designer to a father and son.

The process of manufacture is traced from the beginning; the design on paper and the raw materials. We see what goes to make the steel tubes of the frames, the handle bars, the gear wheels, the pedal cranks, the pedals, the spokes, the wheels and the hubs, until at last the complete bicycle is ready for testing.

More information on this short film over at the British Council Film.

Hat tip to Mr. Jolly for sending this my way.

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Schwinn Vestige

As a general cycling fan, what better way to celebrate the end of the final stage of the Tour de France (congrats to both Mark Cavendish and Cadel Evans) than with the discovery of a truly beautiful bike.  The Schwinn Vestige.

Not only does it offer high aesthetic value, but it took Eurobike‘s gold award for innovation with the use of semi-translucent flax fibre in its construction.  The fibres are then coated in a water protective paint, keeping it lightweight and incredibly eco-friendly.  When constructed this way flax offers similar performance qualities to carbon fibre bike frames, but in addition to an improved carbon footprint in the manufacturing process, it actually offers improvements in vibration dampening to improve the ride quality.

Feature components such as mud guards and handlebar trims are appropriately finished in natural bamboo to stunning effect.


Utilising the naturally clear finish of flax, Schwinn have included an internal lighting system powered by the front wheel hub, offering a glowing illumination to the bike’s frame.  This leaves the contours unspoiled by additional lights, and your safety uncomprimised.

 

Lovely stuff.

Robo Rainbow

This is simply a really lovely way to start the week.

Robo Rainbow is an “instrument of mass destruction” from mudlevel that, via an entirely necessary technical solution of motors and gears, aides simple acts of vandalism in a beautiful manner.

Enjoy.

Kranium

As a keen cyclist I’m always interested in new products and equipment, however futuristic or conceptual they may be, but this one caught my eye as it’s all about doing something now. Anirudha Rao has developed Kranium – a lightweight and bespoke solution for cycle helmets.

From the mid-range of the helmet market upwards they all become about styling towards aerodynamics and weight reduction. I mean mine’s not heavy, but let’s face it I’m not an Olympic sprinter where those few grams could make a difference. Aside from the odd stint of off-roading I use mine on the commute. Stats reckon that cycling through a busy city averages a speed of around 12mph, which I can indeed vouch for (my 9.5miles takes 42minutes), and so for me (and no doubt many others) safety is becoming more paramount than streamlining.

Your typical cycle helmet is an expanded polystyrene (EPS) core with a thin moulded microshell overlay and we just presume that this is the best material to protect us. I mean, you could spend £100s on a super elite helmet and it would still be mainly EPS (though with increasing amounts of carbon fibre). Recent research however, is beginning to suggest that cardboard assembled in the correct way could offer similar, if not improved, protection. This is largely because EPS tends to distribute impact energy in an attempt to dissipate it, whereas Rao’s design gives the cardboard a crumple zone to attempt to absorb the energy before it reaches your head.

When tested at Imperial College (against BS EN1078 since you asked) it was found that this cardboard arrangement absorbs four times the impact energy than that its traditional EPS counterpart, an impressive feat indeed. Kranium is also really promoting the fact that during testing it can withstand consecutive impacts, though should this reach market I believe that it will fall in line with current helmet guidelines of changing your helmet after a sinlge impact. Testing has very specific and fixed conditions, whereas out in the real world any number of factors can affect results, no doubt erring on the side of caution, as EPS helmets do, is something you simply must do when it comes to safety.

Comfort is a huge factor in people wearing cycle helmets. Head size and shape varies greatly throughout the population yet the majority of helmets merely come in standardised small, medium or large. Whilst Kranium could do this too, why not exploit one the advantages of its manufacturing method.  A fairly simple (and nowadays none too expensive either) 3D head scan could pinpoint coordinates for the laser cut cardboard template giving you a perfect made to measure fit for your ride.  The data could easily be stored on file allowing repeat helmets to be ordered for a fraction of the cost in the future.  Investing in a bespoke product that you’ll use and use again, great idea.

Kranium finished in a blue and red shell option

and in the beautiful white vented option

Obviously a few developments will still be needed to get this product to market. Just looking out the window this evening a wet weather option is a definite must so the cardboard doesn’t degrade, perhaps laminating or wax coating the cardboard is an option.  Should it make it I would really be tempted by the white version above.

One immediate application I can see for this is not necessarily in the bespoke market though, but alongside London’s recently introduced “Boris Bikes”. Following a recent call for helmets to be provided this could provide the mayor with an opportunity of a cost effective and eco-friendly solution.

And you can see how easily it goes together with a neat little clip on Vimeo here.

Images courtesy of Design Boom.


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