October 3, 2008 Industrial Designer Matt Clark is taking what is already the world's most popular mode of eco-friendly transportation a step further with his recyclable Innervision bicycle concept. The goal behind the project is to reduce costs and streamline the manufacturing process by using pre-molded plastic components rather than aluminum tubes for the bicycle frame, producing a lightweight and affordable product for the cycling masses that could be made from, or turned into, plastic drink bottles.
Matt was inspired to develop the prototype after first hand experience of the labor intensive processes involved in traditional bike building.
"Each individual tube has to be properly sized, notched, (if applicable) bent and then they're all individually welded together and if the frames are aluminum they require additional heat treatment. All of these processes occur before paint and the application of decals," said Matt. "These processes are very involved and require a lot of time and skill to do properly".
Opting for the versatility of plastic, Matt came up with the Innervision (IV) concept which consists of an Innerframe for structural support and a two piece outer structure.
The prototype version IV-1 (pictured) is made of commercial grade polypropylene with reinforced polypropylene used for the rear chainstays (ie. recycled plastics have not been used at this stage). The components were thermoformed and then welded together using a combination of ultrasonic and hot air welding without the use of any adhesives.
For the next prototype, Matt plans to use thinner, lighter, more rigid reinforced polypropylene for the outer casings which will be compression molded. The new version will also utilize blow molding for the Innerframe for further weight and cost reduction along with automated linear vibration welding to bring down assembly time.
Some see security issues with a bike that can be cut with hacksaw, but as has been pointed out, you won't do wonders for your career as a criminal trying to flee the scene riding half a bicycle, and besides, given a little effort and a fresh blade, you can probably attack any bike with a hacksaw for the same result.