Cardboard Bicycle: This $9 Bike Is Tougher Than It Looks

By Jacob Kleinman August 1, 2012 8:05 PM EDT
Cardboard Bike 9 dollars

Giora Kariv riding his cardboard bicycle. (Photo: Vimeo screenshot)

Israeli design engineer Giora Kariv has created a durable cardboard bicycle that costs just $9 to build and may cost consumers around $60-$90.

According to a promotional video Kariv was inspired to create a cardboard bike after learning that someone else had built a cardboard canoe. The story of clever design ingenuity combined with his own love of biking and sparked a revolutionary new idea.

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"Bicycling is my hobby, it's what I do in my free time" he says in the video. "It's in my soul."

Kariv initially met with several designers who all warned him that it was an impossible task, and he says he would have stopped then if his wife hadn't encouraged him.

In working with cardboard, Kariv was forced to rethink the material's purpose and application, since the rest of the world thought of it as purely a packaging material.

"I started to explore it and figured out a lot of things." he says. "Basically the idea is like a japanese origami: when you fold it once it doesn't become twice the strength, it becomes three times the strength."

The first prototype looked like a cross between a bike and a box, jokes Kariv, but it worked. The next step was to design a cardboard bike that really looked like a bike.

"That's where the real challenge started," Kariv says.

Looking at photo and video of the finished project, you'd never guess it was built completely from cardboard.

"It's strong, it's durable, it's cheap," Kariv says. "What i like about it the most is it's made out of cardboard!"

More info from the official Cardboard Bicycle Project website:

The Cardboard Bicycle Project is a new, revolutionary and green concept that produces bicycles which are made of durable recycled cardboard.

ERB is an active partner who manages all the business and financial aspects.

The first commercial model of bicycles is designed for large companies as a vehicle for the employees and to large cities as a cheap, light-weight vehicle and parallel to it the electric model is being developed.

The Cardboard Bicycle can withstand water and humidity, coated with a strong layer of brown and white material, making the finished product look like it is made of hard lightweight plastic and can carry riders weighing up to 220 kilograms. The cost to make the bicycle is around $9-$12 and the manufacturer expects that the cost to the consumer would be around $60-$90 depending on what parts they choose to add on.


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