The Bike That Looks Like It's Made of Glass
A see-through bike that looks like it's made of plastic might not sound like such a good idea. But dig a little deeper and it's clear (pun intended) that the folks at Germany's designaffairs Studio have stumbled onto a very interesting concept in the realm of bicycle manufacturing.
Their design, known as the Clarity Bike, is made from an advanced polymer material called trivex. "It's typically used for helicopter windshields and fighter jet canopies," explained designaffairs spokesperson Stefan Ulrich. "So it provides extreme impact resistance, optical purity, and ultra-lightweight performance."
Ulrich and his colleagues believe that the Clarity Bike could be a giant leap forward in bicycle frame engineering and production, taking advantage of the material's impact resistance, light weight, and gentle flexibility that, "usually would only be expected on an old Italian steel bicycle frame."
The polymer is injection-molded, meaning it can be precisely manipulated, is affordable, and has mass production capabilities. Trivex is also chemical-resistant and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, say a cold winter commute through downtown New York City. "It could be the perfect material for creating a low-cost bicycle that's easy to manufacture and has a very unique style," added Ulrich. "We've even heard rumors that another company is wanting to go public with a transparent snowboard."
Sadly, designaffairs has no plans to go into production with the Clarity Bike. Instead it considers the concept and its other commercial studio projects to be a source of inspiration for other designers and people who like to think outside the box. "The idea is available for anyone to use," added Ulrich. "Trivex is just one of 2,000 unique material samples designaffairs have in inventory, with the mission of providing a unique playground for manufacturers, designers, and engineers."
Without actually riding the Clarity Bike, it's hard to pass judgment on how viable the concept really is. But on looks alone, it's clearly an interesting idea.
Do you choose a bike at all based on its style? Or purely on function? Would you ride the Clarity Bike?
— Jason Sumner, Bicycling Reporter
An avid cyclist, Jason has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 2000. He’s covered the Tour de France, two Olympic Games, and numerous international cycling events. He’s also thrown himself into the fray from time to time, penning first-person accounts of adventures in British Columbia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Brazil, among others.
Photos courtesy designaffairs Studio