With more and more people opting to commute with two wheels rather than four, the bicycle industry continues to grow. When it comes to bicycle design for the masses, we’ve seen just about every shape, size, colour and format. However, German design studio designaffairs now brings us something completely different: the first see-through bicycle concept – the Clarity Bike.
The idea for the Clarity Bike came from the designers experimenting with different materials, looking at how they can be applied to applications outside of their traditional contexts. The vast in-house materials library at designaffairs’ Munich offices consists of more than 2000 material samples, which is used to provide a rich resource for manufacturers, designers and engineers.
“We believe that the Clarity Bike could be a giant leap forward in bicycle frame engineering and production. The design takes advantage of an advanced polymer which combines high-impact resistance, lightweight properties and a gentle flexibility that usually would only be expected on an old Italian steel frame,” explains Stefan Ulrich, director of projects at designaffairs.
This advanced polymer is called Trivex, a material that was originally developed for helicopter windscreens and fighter jet canopies for the military. It’s been in development for more than a decade, over which time the US military has subjected it to rigorous ballistic and extreme performance testing.
“Even though the compound has a lower density than polycarbonate and acrylic, its advanced performance includes exceptional impact resistance and ultra-lightweight performance. It also offers outstanding chemical resistance and thermal stability as it is virtually unaffected by most organic and inorganic chemicals and withstands very hot and cold temperatures,” adds Ulrich.
With a manufacturing technique that involves two-component injection moulding, Trivex can be mass produced affordably in a variety of form factors and colour combinations.
In the case of the Clarity Bike concept, the designers chose a transparent frame in order to showcase the material but also to give the bicycle a very unique style. As Ulrich says, “The mainly transparent appearance breaks with the traditional appearance of a bike as it seemingly floats the rider through the city.”