Award-winning urban bicycle frame made from toughened prepreg

Uber design house UBC GmbH (Murr, Germany) puts its accumulated Formula 1 racing and automotive expertise to good use, designing a completely new composite urban bicycle concept.
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Uber design house UBC GmbH (Murr, Germany) counts among its clients Formula 1 racing teams and automakers Porsche, Bugatti and Audi. When UBC applied its accumulated expertise to a completely new urban bicycle concept, company CEO Ulf Bräutigam says, “We gave our designers carte blanche ... telling them they could more or less ignore the bicycle production rulebook.” Called the coren, it comes in three models: Single Speed, Pedelec (electric version) and Fixie. The innovative frames, with flattened top and down tubes, were drafted by UBC designer Christian Zanzotti, resulting in a low overall bicycle weight of 7.7 kg/17 lb in the Single Speed version.

UBC turned to Cytec Industrial Materials (formerly Umeco, Heanor, Derbyshire, U.K.) to supply autoclave-cure prepregs that could deliver the necessary mechanical performance and impact resistance. The company chose Cytec’s trademarked MTM49-3, an 80°C to 160°C (176°C to 320°F) cure, toughened epoxy resin reinforced with high-tensile-strength woven and unidirectional carbon fiber, and compatible adhesive film. UBC technicians hand layed the prepregs in aluminum tooling, taking 40 hours to complete one frame.

Sebastian Wegerle, UBC’s product and marketing manager, says, “We selected Cytec’s prepregs because they are reliable, have a good reputation in the motorsport and aviation sectors, and we were able to choose from a wide range of fibers and resin systems to provide the best material properties.” Says UBC engineer Marco Noack, “The frame ... is manufactured in a cleanroom, in accordance with motorsport and premium-vehicle construction standards.”

ISPO MUNICH, a sports business trade show, recently bestowed on the coren Single Speed its 2012 ISPO Brand New Award.

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