Brano Meres’ Nighthawk and more

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Nighthawk carbon bike frame by Brano MeresThe name Brano Meres may be familiar to those of you who have been reading this blog for a while. He has a PhD in mechanical engineering and is a designer of laser devices for industrial and military applications, but in his spare time Brano likes to make bicycles. The X-9 Nighthawk is his latest “experimental frame” made with flat carbon fiber skins over an aramid honeycomb core. The handlebars and fork are made from molded carbon, but shaped to match the faceted frame. You can read more about this experimental design, and see many more pictures (these are photos, not renderings) on Brano’s site. While you are there, check out some of his other frame designs…definitely  interesting stuff.

Artist James Straffon’s LE TOUR – From Maillot Jaune to Lanterne Rouge exhibition will take place at the Snap Galleries in London over the summer. See more from the Rapha Grand Tour shoe collaboration here, and additional bike themed works by on Straffon on his website and blog.

Martin Strohmeier’s off-road Quadricycle concept features a carbon and aluminum frame and four wheel disc brakes. You can see renderings and find out more about the design here and here.

Jiggernaut bicycle framebuilding  jig Finally, I want to mention the Jiggernaut, an inexpensive jig made from MDF and designed to “bring bicycle frame building to the masses”. In addition to just the jig, they are also offering complete kits that include tube sets, accessories…everything you might need to build your first frame (except maybe a fire extinguisher for the MDF).  They have surpassed their funding goal on Kickstarter by a large margin, so obviously there quite a bit of interest out there in a DIY framebuilding starter kit like this. I am glad to see that, but I just hope all those aspiring builders are cautious when they first start riding their home-built frames.

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7 Comments

  1. L. M. Lloyd March 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm -  Reply

    I don’t understand the Jiggernaut. I would think that if you had the necessary tools and skills to build a bicycle frame, then making a jig would be a trivial part of the process.

    • Fred Josephs March 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm -  Reply

      As an amateur framebuilder, I can shed a bit of light on that. The jig is a fascination of those who have not yet built a frame, but want to. They see it as a necessity and as a huge obstacle, as the cheapest commercially-made jigs cost over $1000 US. While a person with tools can make a passable jig, or just build without one, being able to buy one for a few hundred dollars would be hugely appealing to a large segment of the novice frame builder market

    • Andrew March 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm -  Reply

      I agree with Fred. I’d also say that it has less to do with skills and tools than with inclination – making a frame is fun and exciting, making a jig is less so. On top of that, even the simplest passable, versatile DIY solution for a frame jig costs about $200 in materials alone.

      (http://www.instructables.com/id/The-simplest-bicycle-framebuilding-jig-I-could-com/)

      If the Jiggernaut costs $300 for an out-of-the-box solution, that saves hours of labour and allows you to get straight to the fun stuff.

    • art March 23, 2012 at 11:50 am -  Reply

      Building a jig is trivial, building a good jig is somewhat less so. Getting good at building jigs is a trial and error process and can easily result in a few botched frames. For a beginner, it’s probably best to start with something that’s definitely going to work.

      • L. M. Lloyd March 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm -  Reply

        Oh, I get you Art. So you’re saying buying a jig is more about the baked-in design logic, than strictly a physical thing to hold the parts in place. Kind of a hardware manifestation of best practices. That makes sense. I’ve always made the tooling for any project myself, but I can understand the value of that.

        • art March 26, 2012 at 9:17 am -  Reply

          Part of it is design logic, though part of it is still strictly physical. I’m sure if you’ve made a lot of tooling yourself, you understand the importance of having a good first surface. It’s hard to make a jig with any real precision when you’re using your driveway as a reference plane.

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