10-pound carbon fiber bike shows us a glimpse of the future
© PG Bikes
Carbon fiber is nothing new, but the material has been coming down in cost and should continue to do so as more of it is produced for various applications. After all, it's not like carbon is a rare element; what's needed are economies of scale and further incremental improvements to manufacturing processes. Once the material is cheap enough, we should see a lot more of it pop up in things that benefit from being light yet strong (cars, planes, trains, and of course, bikes).
The Blackbraid bicycle (shown above), available in both a fixed and touring version, is a good example of this. To be sold by PG Bikes and built by Munich Composites in Germany, it is made of braided carbon fiber enveloped in resin, making the bike's frame as strong as steel yet weighting less than aluminum. The whole bike weighs less than 11 pounds.
A single carbon fiber strange across a human hair.
The Blackbraid carbon fiber bike is expected to cost a truckload of money when it goes on sale (in the $20,000 range), which doesn't make it a realistic choice for mere mortals. But just as CD players, cellphones and computers were ridiculously expensive at first, costs should come down to something more affordable within a few years.
Look at it as a preview of the future, if you will.