Clarity Bike concept suggests transparent future for cycling
By Dave Parrack
January 24, 2013
Bicycle design hasn't deviated much from its origins back in the 1800s. A cross frame connecting two wheels to each other works to the point that any attempt to offer something new and innovative – such as the Fliz Bike – is usually derided as being pointless. However, the materials used to build the humble bike have changed over the years, and will continue to do so all the while there's a demand for lighter, stronger frames. Could a transparent polymer provide the next logical step in the process?
German studio Designaffairs thinks so, and it has created a conceptual design which uses a polymer called Trivex for the frame. Trivex is the same material used for the windshields and canopies of helicopters and jet fighters, and it's lightweight while still maintaining tensile strength.
Clarity Bike was born from Designaffairs' focus on using the materials in its library (of over 2,000 samples) in new and/or unusual ways. If this evolved from being a concept to an actual product, then it would be the first bicycle made from Trivex.
Trivex boasts various properties which immediately make it a compelling possibility for use on bikes. It's extremely lightweight, resistant to impacts, and resistant to extreme temperatures. What's more, it can be injection molded. This opens up the possibility of mass production for the frame, which should lower the costs and therefore the price of the finished product. It also means different form factors and color schemes would be easily manageable.
However, it will be a long ride getting the Clarity Bike from its present form to one that could safely be used by ordinary people. It may be visually stunning, but the steep geometry of the frame means it would be painful to ride. It's also not clear whether the straight lines are there purely to please the eye or for another, more practical, reason.
Clarity Bike may turn out to be an exercise in aesthetics and nothing more. After all, it is stunning to look at, especially with the transparency guaranteed to turn heads.