Almost a year ago, EarthTechling reported on an amazing DIY project that had the potential to revolutionize the bicycle industry. Izhar Gafni, an Israeli inventor and bike enthusiast made headlines when he demonstrated a working bike he’d made himself out of nothing but recycled cardboard.
The surprisingly stylish bicycle used folded cardboard as a rigid construction material. With it, Gafni created the handlebars, seat, and even the wheel rims of his upcycled creation. Now, after much anticipation, the bike is working its way toward the public market. Gafni’s new company, Cardboard Technologies, recently launched an ambitious $2 million crowdfunding campaign to make the bike a reality.
“Imagine a time when every plastic or cardboard product that is thrown into the recycle bin will contribute to the creation of a bicycle, wheelchair or toy,” says Israeli engineer and inventor of the cardboard bike, Izhar Gafni. “Basically the idea is like Japanese origami, but we don’t compress the cardboard and we don’t break its structure. We overcome the cardboard’s failure points, by spreading out the weight to create durability.”
For now, however, Gafni and his team are only focused on bicycles. Without a metal frame to rust or weigh it down, the Cardboard Bicycle is remarkably light and, according to the company, needs no repairs. The finished piece is dipped in a coating material that gives it a shiny outer shell and protects the material from water and humidity.
The solid tires are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires, so they can never spring a leak. A car timing belt is used instead of a chain so there’s no need to lubricate it or worry about it getting jammed.
Although made primarily of cardboard, the bicycle is durable, fire and water resistant, and can support more than 300 pounds.
While the bike is a perfect example of “trash to treasure” upcycling, the price might come as a bit of a shock. Cardboard Technologies boasts that it costs between $9 and $12 to produce the bike, but a $290 donation is needed to get your hands on one of the first to roll off the line. There’s no indication of how much the bike will retail for once production is established.