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Israeli man creates bike from recycled cardboard

By

October 16, 2012

The cardboard bike can support a rider who weighs up to 220 kilograms (485 pounds), and it...

The cardboard bike can support a rider who weighs up to 220 kilograms (485 pounds), and it won't fall apart in the rain

Image Gallery (5 images)

Israel-based Izhar Gafni has invented a working bicycle which is constructed almost entirely from recycled cardboard, and only costs around US$12 to manufacture. The cardboard bike is being touted as an ideal solution for city-dwellers who require an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly way to commute, in addition to a potential mode of transportation for people living in emerging countries.

Gafni, a mechanical engineer and a cycling enthusiast, was inspired to make the cardboard bicycle after overhearing a conversation about somebody who had made a canoe constructed from cardboard. Thus began a project of three years, during which the inventor busied himself in his workshop, producing several prototypes, before settling upon a design which is cheap to make, robust, and suitable for daily use.

Gafni begins making a cardboard bike by sourcing suitable cardboard and cutting it into th...

The cardboard bike is constructed in stages. First, the cardboard is cut into the desired shapes to be used as parts, then they are folded and pressed several times, the strength of the structure increasing markedly as a result. The cardboard is then made even stronger by being treated with a secret coating of the inventor’s own design, before finally being painted and assembled.

Weighing around nine kilograms (20 pounds), the cardboard bike is on the light side for an adult-sized bike, which generally weigh somewhere in the region of 14 kg (30 lbs), and it can withstand exposure to water and humidity, while supporting a rider who weighs up to 220 kg (485 lbs). It requires no servicing or adjustment, and the solid tires are made from reused car tires, with a car timing belt serving as a chain.

It has taken Gafni three years to develop his prototype cardboard bike

While the manufacturing process is still being refined, Gafni believes his design could eventually be sold in stores for just $20, making it an attractive solution for commuters who do not wish to worry about an expensive bike being stolen. Additionally, the cardboard bike could be a useful method of transportation in emerging countries, where a standard metal bike is often too expensive to produce and maintain.

In the future, the cardboard bike will be produced in both children's and adult's sizes, with the latter model also featuring an optional electric motor.

The film below details the cardboard bike's inception and construction.

Source: ERB via Reuters

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road.

  All articles by Adam Williams
14 Comments

what about brakes? how long the wheel will last? - have not seen any marks on the wheels from brake pads applied

rdomaret
16th October, 2012 @ 05:31 pm PDT

Looks like the brake is on the tire.

Rt1583
16th October, 2012 @ 08:40 pm PDT

Izhar Gafni is to be heartily congratulated. Very clever, and great price (if that really what it will cost at sales time) but a rider WILL feel each and every rut and bump there is no suspension of any kind, and if I'm not mistaken, aren't the tires solid, not inflated.

yrag
16th October, 2012 @ 11:11 pm PDT

I see a valve stem on the front wheel so I assume the tires are inflated. It seems like a cool/successful DIY but I'm skeptical about the price. I think materials are low but manufacturing is complex and volume would be low.

The other issue is you can buy a steel bicycle of decent quality for $49 (retail) at Walmart. It is amazing that bicycles are so cheap.

In the US I don't think bicycles would get cheaper even if we had prisoners building them out of cardboard.

Daishi
17th October, 2012 @ 12:34 am PDT

For $20 and at approximately 20LBs where can I but one? Really for that price it would be worth it just to try out on my winter commute to save wear and tear on my other bikes.

Jon Smith
17th October, 2012 @ 07:15 am PDT

$20 for 20 miles

nice

seriously

i doubt this price

where do you get ANY 'car timing belt' for under $100?

fan belt maybe

20 lbs

no way

485 lbs

no way

wle

wle
17th October, 2012 @ 09:24 am PDT

Work of Genius.

Next...

A Cardboard Car!

Edgar Castelo
17th October, 2012 @ 10:01 am PDT

Okay, you will never be able to buy one...not for $20.00.

Unless, for course, it's manufactured in China.

Available at Wal-Mart soon. Put it on layaway.

WhyEyeWine
17th October, 2012 @ 10:14 am PDT

I've done cardboard things and the glue/epoxy needed to make this work will cost $20. And that doesn't count the labor, etc.

Far better is using laminated wood and glue would last far longer and can be built with some spring in it to soften the ride and make it last longer.

Another would be reusing PET bottles reformed into tubes, etc or used to glue wood plys together and build many things from.

jerryd
17th October, 2012 @ 11:33 am PDT

Excellent and deserves encouragement. But of course 20 dollars is unrealistic. And metal manufacturing is vast and ubiquitous. I would love to have bought it for 20 dollars but it can't reach the price mark even in China because of glues, epoxy, ( jerrydd mentions) resins, coatings, safety and finally quality assurance.

It looks so cool.

Dawar Saify
17th October, 2012 @ 01:19 pm PDT

It’s just another bike with fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) frame, where fibers are cellulose.

US$12 cost to manufacture?! He spent dozens dollars for a 5-8 kg polymer (unless he used his “secret coating of the inventor’s own design” that is dirt cheap and eco-friendly..Oh, really!! Let’s check if there is name Gafni among Nobel Prize Laureates) and hundreds his personal hours on “labor of love”. Even if material cost him nothing, he values his hands and brain as a few cents per hour?! What in the world “emerging country” has cardboard waste, 5 cent/h labor, free polymers and bicyclists who will pay $20 (that equals their 2000/5=400 h, i.e. 3 months earnings)?!

Carbon-fiber bikes on today’s market weigh a few kg and priced at a few thousand dollars: FRP technology is “robotics-resistant”. His posting on YouTube illustrates this point. Besides, FRP bikes must use parts made of steel. So bearings, brakes, cables, etc cost him nothing too?

Next, cracks &deep scratches on “secret coating” are inevitable. So moisture and mold will destroy the frame in one-two seasons even in Israel-like climate. I think his bicycling enthusiasm is not backed up with bicycling experience.

Gafni calls himself “engineer” and after building prototype he “believes” instead of calculates production costs and marketing price?!

I agree with only one claim, no one but kleptomaniac will steal such an invention.

Mike Akulov
17th October, 2012 @ 10:41 pm PDT

"what about brakes? how long the wheel will last? - have not seen any marks on the wheels from brake pads applied

rdomaret"

If you had watched the video, you would see, it has standard caliper brakes.

"I see a valve stem on the front wheel so I assume the tires are inflated. It seems like a cool/successful DIY but I'm skeptical about the price. I think materials are low but manufacturing is complex and volume would be low.

The other issue is you can buy a steel bicycle of decent quality for $49 (retail) at Walmart. It is amazing that bicycles are so cheap.

In the US I don't think bicycles would get cheaper even if we had prisoners building them out of cardboard.

Diachi"

You do not see a valve stem. " and the solid tires are made from reused car tires, with a car timing belt serving as a chain."

Though I would agree with you, just buy a cheap walmart bike instead.

This bike is not practical, but I commend it's creator, with proving the nay sayers wrong. It can be done, I'm just not sure it needs to be done. Still, he used his mind to create, That is worth something.

kellory
18th October, 2012 @ 02:51 pm PDT

is it out yet?

Larry English
21st June, 2013 @ 12:06 pm PDT

WHERE IS IT?>

wle

wle
13th May, 2014 @ 11:41 am PDT
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