Decoding Design

From DIY to Disruptive Tech: A bicycle made of cardboard

Posting in Technology

A man, a plan, a stack of old boxes. The result is a road-worthy steed that could shake up the cycling market.

If the weight of your bike frame is a chief concern, you can drop many thousands of dollars on a carbon fiber frame. Or you could talk to Izhar Gafni, an Isreali entrepreneur and rather obsessive tinkerer who has built a low-cost, good looking, functional and light road bike from cardboard.

We'll let the well-produced video below tell the tale of the bike's origin and development. But first, consider the potential here to scale up production of such steeds. Gafni figures the bike could be produced for about $12 in materials. That means the bike would retail for well under $100 -- likely much closer to $50. Sure, you can walk into a Walmart today and pick up a Huffy cruiser for $90. But that weighs about 45 pounds, compared to the featherweight cardboard bike.

As Inc.com notes, this could be a boon for companies that offer bikes as amenities, such as resorts. I also think it would make for great campus bikes for large corporations or warehouses. For bike-sharing fleets, however, the cardboard might not be able to withstand the abuse that riders are sure to dish out.

Image: Giora Kariv

Mary Catherine O'Connor

Contributing Writer

Mary Catherine O'Connor has written for Outside, Fast Company, Wired.com, Smithsonian.com, Entrepreneur, Earth2Tech.com, Earth Island Journal and The Magazine. She is based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure