FrameForum recently posted an excellent article about German carbon fiber framebuilder rafael (the brand name is intentionally not capitalized). Rafael Hoffleit, a 32-year-old architect and triathlete from Heidelberg, is the designer and builder of the world’s first custom carbon monocoque frames. Mr. Hoffleit recently unveiled his bikes at the first ever European Handmade Bicycle Exhibition, which took place May 8th through 10th in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany. I encourage you to read the FrameForum article to learn more about Hoffleit’s revolutionary process for custom monocoque construction; it is quite interesting. You can see several really nice shots of the rafael bikes there as well. While you are at FrameForum, also be sure to check out the rest of their show coverage to see more bikes from EHBE ‘09.
Murray let me know about the BMW Kidsbike, which coverts from a push-along toddler bike, to a bike with pedals. Seems like a pretty good idea; read more about it here. Also, see another convertible kid’s bike/scooter that was recently featured at gizmag.
Popular Mechanics recently tested 3 different folding bikes- the Dahon Mu SL, the Bike Friday Tikit, and the SwissBike TX. I think the Dahon is the best looking out of that bunch, but I have never ridden any of these. Interestingly, The PM reviewers seemed to like the SwissBike best out of the bunch, mainly due to the full sized wheels.
Speaking of full size folders, Australian design student Robert Dumaresq recently won a James Dyson award for his Switch folding bike design. According to the designer’s description:
“The design innovation is Switch’s ability to fold in one smooth motion making it one of the fastest folding bikes available. Switch does not rely on any structural locking mechanism to fold as the weight of the rider keeps the frame open and rigid. There is a spring loaded ball bearing that stops the rear section of the frame from unfolding prematurely when maneuvering or handling the bike.”
Read more about the Switch commuter bike at Gizmodo. Thanks to James Lyon for the tip on that one.
Finally, I will mention that Cool Hunting is giving away a Timbuk2 Dolores Chiller messenger bag/ cooler. No word on whether or not the bag will come stocked with PBRs as shown in the picture. Though it is not really a cooler, I have used my Chrome bag to transport frosty beverages a few times this summer. I haven’t filled it with ice, but I have used those freezable blue ice blocks in it to keep my beer cold as I rode to the pool. With the long Independence Day weekend starting now, there is a good chance that my bag will be serving as a cooler again very soon. On that note, to all of you reading from the US, have a great 4th.
Images of the r-009 TT bike via FrameForum -copyright Rafael Hoffleit/Rafael 2009