Carbon fiber penny farthing

Chemical company BASF asks “What if 19th Century bike inventors had modern chemistry and processes?”

It was the late 19th century bike boom that led directly to manufacturing, industrial process and chemical engineering innovations, so we’ve got a bit of a chicken-and-egg here, but still a fun video.

BASF describes their Concept 1865 Project here. Here are the highlights:

  • Made almost entirely with high-performance plastics, specialty foams, epoxy resin and polyurethane materials from BASF. Only its brakes, axles, and motor are still made of metal. Even the brake disk is plastic. Non-pneumatic tires are expanded thermoplastic polyurethane.
  • Yes, it has a motor. It’s in the rear hub. Battery is encased inside the seat.
  • Hydraulic brake.
  • Integrated LED light – red strips in the rear seatstays, white strips in the front fork.

Via Martin, who’s known for riding his old-fashioned high wheeler all around the San Francisco Bay Area.


  • October 29, 2013 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Did they use an S3X in the front hub?

  • October 29, 2013 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

    It does look like there might be a shifter cable coming out of that right grip.

  • October 29, 2013 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Ah, I just found this PDF that describes the BASF project bike in some detail

    They mention the front hub comes from some outfit called “Star Candy Components.” Have you heard of them? Probably a one-off CNC thing?

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