The Crank Engine
- Nov 1, 2005
Israeli bicycle made of cardboard to enter production
A bicycle made entirely of recycled materials is set to enter production within the next few months, says its Israeli inventor, Izhar Gafni. The full-size eco-bicycle will cost around £9 and weigh around 9kg, compared to an average of 14kg for metal bicycles.
Despite including no metal parts — even the brakes and wheels are made from recycled materials — the bicycles are both waterproof and fireproof. During testing, Mr Gafni said that he immersed a cross-section in a water tank for several months, and it suffered no damage at all.
Mr Gafni himself expressed surprise at the results, telling Reuters during a recent demonstration that he was “repeatedly surprised at just how strong this material is; it is amazing.”
The bicycles will be made on largely automated production lines, supplemented by a workforce comprising of pensioners and the disabled. The eco-friendly business model means that rebates obtained for using “green materials” would entirely cancel out production costs. This could potentially lead to the product being given away for free in poor countries.
Mr Gafni believes that the bicycle has the potential to change the nature of transportation in both the developed and developing world, and predicted that in the distant future, cardboard could be used in cars and even aircraft. According to Mr Gafni’s business partner, Nimrod Elmish, plans are in place for a range of products: “In six months, we will have completed planning production lines for an urban bike, which will be assisted by an electric motor; a bike for children in Africa; a balance bike for youngsters learning to ride; and a wheelchair that a non-profit group wants to build with our technology for Africa.”