2012-08-02

Co.Exist

Watch This Man Build An Amazing Cardboard Bicycle That You Can Actually Ride

This incredible bicycle built from recycled cardboard is not only a feat of engineering and craftsmanship, but also a low-cost solution to bike theft.

Bicycles have long been touted as some of the most elegant and efficient machines ever created. So when you hear about a man who can make them out of cardboard you expect it to be an art project (maybe along the lines of Bartek Elsner’s sculptures) than transportation.

But you would be wrong--and blown away. As you can see in this video by Giora Kariv, Israeli bike-lover Izhar Gafni has designed and built a fully functional bike out of just recycled cardboard. See for yourself:

Joy is evident in Gafni’s work, which is a pretty exceptional feat of design and assembly. Here’s what he has to say about it, via No Camels:

“I really love bicycles, and when I worked in the United States I inquired in California to see if anyone has already thought of the concept of a cardboard bicycle. To my delight, I only discovered similar concepts based on bamboo. But when I started asking engineers about the possibility of producing a cardboard bicycle, I was sent away and told that the realization of my idea is impossible. One day I was watching a documentary about the production of the first jumbo jet--and an engineer on the team had said that when everyone tells him that what he is doing is impossible--it makes it even clearer to him that he is progressing in the right direction. That saying motivated me to experiment with different materials on cardboard, to find what produces the desired strength and durability.”

As you can see in the video, he found that strength and durability, and he built a functional, water-resistant bike from recycled materials for a paltry $9. With labor costs factored in, according to Green Prophet, the rig will retail for a thrifty $60 (or $90 with the addition of an electric motor).

In cities where bike theft is common, the low price tag could serve as theft-deterrent (or at least soften the blow of having your ride stolen). Granted, the notion of making something so inexpensive that it’s not worth stealing has implications regarding waste--presumably, there would be a lot of it. That said, a bike like this could be a boon to bike-share programs, and it’s tough to argue against that.

More than anything else, the project is a reminder that it never hurts to re-evaluate how we make things, and that human ingenuity can be pretty extraordinary.

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4 Comments

  • Luis Alonso

    low price encourages thieves into believing it would be a minor offence to a bike such as this, depending on differing law systems worldwide.  I would suggest electronic id.  two way with the ability for handling multi users and recognizing various items.

  • Roanhouse

    actually low price would flood the market with these bikes thus lowering there value for theft. Its a supply and demand situation. If you have a great demand or have a special custom product sold for 10,000 your can get an illegal return if you sold it all as one piece for maybe 3/4s the original value. But if you broke it down and sold it as parts you might get 5/6 the part value, similar to what auto chop shops do. So a cardboard bike? Not much im the way of part i think. If you automated the process you could flood a market with these things in no time heck at scale you might be able to just give them away if you got a big enough contract tro produce them. Also this is only version 2.0 for him i'm guessing. I wonder how much smaller he could make it or stronger using the cardboard as a super structure for added strength via soaking it in a resin.  this would be impressive for developing nations for transit. I wonder what its off road capabilities are though.