Whilst researching alternatives to carbon fibre for use in its bamboo and composite bikes, the UK-based company came across Flax, a product that was not only environmentally friendly but had the performance and processing properties they were looking for.
New methods of processing flax have led to renewed interest in the use of the material as an industrial fibre. Flax fibre used in engineering applications provide the high performance and easy processing normally associated with glass fibre composites but with lower weight and environmental impact.
[padding type=”small_left”][quote_colored name=”” icon_quote=”no”]The strength of the frames is due to our unique manufacturing processes that is completely new in this industry, compressing laminates with pressures of up to 8 times that of a conventional carbon monocoque frame we can create stronger laminates and use more exotic materials.[/quote_colored][/padding]
The frame, which weights just 3.3kgs is a combination of bamboo and flax, the former gives the frame its wooden good looks while the latter adds strength and impact absorption. To ensure minimal void content in laminates and an optimum fibre volume fraction, Guapa engineered their own pre-preg flax, creating a bike that the company say is probably the most sustainable and highly engineered available today.
The frame is protected with a special UV and water stable coating that prevents any water ingress and maintains the natural wood.Once made, the frames are shipped off to Germany for testing, here they are put under a week long routine of repetition and impact tests to pass the newest ISO European standards. The Urban One passed these tests with the same frame for all 5 tests, putting it through an equivalent of about 10 years of use.
The Urban One starts at around £2,100 and goes up depending on the options, the company plan to increase the range of bamboo bikes in the near future with a Dutch-style and folding design all in the pipeline.