A reader, Pierre, sent me some interesting pictures that he took recently at the Paris composite trade fair. The 3 main tubes of the frame shown here are made from 80% flax and 20% carbon composite. If that sounds familiar, it is because former Belgian world champion Johan Museeuw has been marketing frames that use flax/carbon composite main tubes for quite some time now. Museeuw has several flax frames available with varying flax to carbon ratios, 80 to 20 being the highest. Museeuw claims that the main advantage of a flax composite frame “is its excellent shock-absorbing quality, which makes for an enhanced riding comfort and, accordingly, for improved performances”. While previous Museeuw frames hid the flax beneath a layer of Carbon or under paint, the latest one, the MF5, has the dark brown flax fibers on the outer layer of the main tubes. If you haven’t seen these bikes, take a look here. I have never ridden one and can’t speak to the ride quality, but I think the visual result of the exposed flax is very nice.
Back to the frames shown here from the Paris show. Pierre pointed out that the frame and tube at the show were rejects, but that they were interesting to see without any finishing, paint, or varnish. He mentioned that he “could see the surface texture had linear small grooves similar to those you’d see the surface of wood.” Though these pictures do not represent the current Museeuw flax bikes, I thought it was quite interesting to see the layers in the cut tube shot. Thanks for the great pics Pierre.
While I am posting, I want to pass along a few other links that some of you have shared with me. Lately, I have been receiving a ton of email tips from readers. I appreciate them all, but my time to devote to the blog is limited so occasionally they get lost in the shuffle. If I mentioned that I would post something and never did, you might want to resend it. I wish I had the time to post everything that I would like to, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Anyway, here are a few recent links from readers:
Jason sent me this Gizmodo link to a very odd contraption.
Bubba pointed out this concept bike with light tubes built into the frame. It also has a little storage area, kind of like a glove compartment.
Fabrizio, who you may remember from his Luna Lander design, has a new bike that he just released. The O-Mega has a long wheelbase (kind of like a cargo bike) to improve stability. It appears that a second passenger seat is optional.
Finally, someone (sorry I can’t remember who) sent me a link to this Little Fish framebuilding page. There is a lot of framebuilding info on the web (some of it probably pretty questionable), but I like this site because it documents Suzy’s process of building a few lugged steel frames in a simple, straightforward manner. Make sure you check out her tutorial while you are there.