New materials and ways to employ current materials are improving all of the time in the world of engineering. Now material technology has expanded even further into the high-tech world of competitive cycling. The boundaries of material usage and manufacture are pushed on a daily basis by engineers in the seek for better, lighter, stronger, cleaner and more cost-efficient materials. Enter the super lightweight Isotruss Bicycle.
Using elements of architecture and geometry, engineers have developed a strong but lightweight triangle-based isotruss bicycle frame suitable for both road and mountain bikes. Essentially, the isotruss (a form made by using isosceles triangles) is firstly wound with carbon fiber strands while making use of a sheet that ensures a constant tension is maintained, where-after Kevlar strands are hand-wound over the isotruss. At the end of the process you have a frame which boasts an incredibly favorable strength to weight ratio; a process which required no less than ten years to finalize.
Delta 7 Sports’s Tyler Evans in Payson, Utah briefly explained the process:
–> Workers first make an isotruss, a form made from isosceles triangles. Then, they wind carbon fiber around the form — creating a great strength-to-weight ratio.
–> We go back afterwards and hand-wind all the little Kevlar strands, inch-by-inch, over each isotruss.
–> We then bake the bike to bond the materials. The mountain bike frame weighs 2.6 pounds. The new Ascend road bike weighs 1.8 pounds only.
What is interesting about the new frame is that the bike rides like bikes which are built stronger and heavier and according to Evans “are built like a tank” but the bike is far far lighter. not only but it has been proven that this construction is as aerodynamically good as previous traditional bikes thus the open frame construction does not lend it self to any increase in drag or other unwanted results.
The only current drawback is that each frame currently takes around 100 hours to build thus reducing any “mass production” possibilities right away however, the company is working on methods and possibilities to bring the manufacturing process in line with typical mass production methods. Thus wanting one now means getting into a long waiting list and exercising a fair amount of patience.
The wow factor is however self explanatory when one looks at the current bike and considers the impact it will have on those who have not seen one yet…as some might say “you will become a cycling rock-star if you are first to sport one of these frames…”
Engenya GmbH carries out regular research into new materials and materials applications as one of its key services.