When it comes to bicycle frame design, the decision to use a light-colored wood such as white ash isn’t always a feasible design decision – but who the heck needs feasible when you can ride around town on a bike that looks like Keim’s Arvak?
Since unveiling their Arvak frame design in April of 2014, the French bicycle manufacturer has been busy combining radical design with innovative manufacturing technologies in their quest to create the perfect bicycle.
Among other factors that determined the design direction for the bicycle include the concept of the bicycle as a direct extension of the human body – where energy is transformed into propulsion in the most stripped-down, simple and lightweight wood design possible.
“From the choice of the veneers to the final coat of varnish, (we) take the utmost care at every step of manufacturing,” explains the company, who design and manufacture their frames in Savonnières in the Loire Valley.
To create the frames, the fabricators combine wood and composite technologies to vacuum laminate between 20 and 50 layers of white ash to create single, hollow frame design.
Among other factors considered in the process include the orientation of the wood grain between each of the layers to take advantage of the mechanical properties of the wood species. Finally, the team works with CRITT Rochefort and Chatellerault for laboratory testing and structural simulation to ensure the frame designs are not only great-looking but also structurally-sound.
“‘Arvak’ (is) the mythological horse pulling the sun on its way across the sky,” says the company, in regards to the origin of the bicycle’s unique name. “Moving with no noise than the whistling of the spinning wheels, in tune with the landscape and the wind.”
Because of the intensive manufacturing process, each of the company’s frame designs are custom-built to the exact specifications of their customer.
Find out more by heading over to Keim.