Cardboard bicycle could revolutionise transport in some of the busiest cities in the world

A bicycle that is made almost completely of cardboard has the potential to change transport habits in some of the world’s most congested cities, the inventor claims. 

Izhar Gafni, from Israel, is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines and is a cycling enthusiast himself. 

He said he’s toyed with the idea of making a cardboard bicycle for a long time and after several years of trial and error, he is now finally ready to put one in to mass production. 

“I was always fascinated by applying unconventional technologies to materials and I did this on several occasions. But this was the culmination of a few things that came together. I worked for four years to cancel out the corrugated cardboard’s weak structural points,” the inventor said.

 A bicycle that is made almost completely of cardboard has the potential to change transport habits in some of the world’s most congested cities, the inventor claims. 

Izhar Gafni, from Israel, is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines and is a cycling enthusiast himself. 

He said he’s toyed with the idea of making a cardboard bicycle for a long time and after several years of trial and error, he is now finally ready to put one in to mass production. 

“I was always fascinated by applying unconventional technologies to materials and I did this on several occasions. But this was the culmination of a few things that came together. I worked for four years to cancel out the corrugated cardboard’s weak structural points,” the inventor said.

“Making a cardboard box is easy and it can be very strong and durable, but to make a bicycle was extremely difficult and I had to find the right way to fold the cardboard in several different directions. It took a year and a half, with lots of testing and failure until I got it right,” he added.

Cardboard, which is made of wood pulp, was invented in the 19th century as a study material for packaging more valuable items, however it has never really been considered a replacement for stronger materials like metal. 

Once the shape of the bike has been formed and cut out, it is treated with a secret cocktail of organic materials to give it its waterproof and fireproof quality. 

In the final stage of production, the frame is coated with lacquer paint to improve its appearance. 

“I’m repeatedly surprised at just how strong this material is, it is amazing. Once we are ready to go to production, the bike will have no metal parts at all,” said Gafni.

He claims that retailers could sell the bike for as little as $20 with the bikes needing little in the way of maintenance. 

“A car timing belt is used instead of a chain, and the tyres do not need inflating and can last for 10 years,” he said.

“We are just at the beginning and from here my vision is to see cardboard replacing metals … and countries that right now don’t have the money, will be able to benefit from so many uses for this material,” he added.