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4th May 2018, Havant

Microtex composites used in lightweight folding bike

Hummingbird Bike Company, an innovative UK-based start-up, has selected carbon fibre-reinforced epoxy prepreg from Microtex Composites, an Italian materials specialist, supplied in the UK by Total Composite Solutions, which is hand laid up and vacuum-bag/autoclave-cured on carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) tools, to be used in its lightweight folding bike model.

The company says it sought to simplify multi-modal transportation away from the heavy, inconveniently sized and uncomfortable “norm”. It decided to design a more compact and robust, composites-intensive folding bike. Made primarily of CFRP, the new Hummingbird Bike is currently said to be the world’s lightest folding bike at just 6.9kg, according to the manufacturer.

The new Hummingbird Bike is currently said to be the world’s lightest folding bike at just 6.9kg, according to the manufacturer. © Total Composite Solutions

Key design elements included the lightweight frame and a three-point folding pattern. Type and layup of the composite reinforcement were discussed at length between manufacturing and the structural analysis teams.

Microtex X1 Matrix epoxy system was also chosen for its structural performance and visual clarity for the frame. Loose tool inserts are used to create all mating surfaces where seat/head and bottom bracket are inserted and bonded during assembly.

Fully cured resin is rated for a continuous-use temperature of 80°C. The 2x2 twill-weave, bi-directional surface piles use 245g fabric, while unidirectional backing plies are 660g and are also used as added reinforcements in high-stress areas. It takes about 18.5 hours to hand produce each bike, according to the company.

Key design elements included the lightweight frame and a three-point folding pattern. © Total Composite Solutions

On the back of this innovative design, Prodrive continues to specify Microtex in other related products, such as motorsport parts. According to Total Composite Solutions, it has been “delighted with the cutting-edge advanced composites from Microtex, along with the great partnership approach offered by their UK partner, Total Composite Solutions”.

Microtex Composites specialises in technical development and customisation of its solutions for wind energy industry, motorsport, automotive, boating, industrial design, interior design and construction. The company is provided with the modern equipment, chemical laboratories and research units.

The company’s product range includes structural composites, such as carbon fibre and glass fibre fabrics, binder materials, UD carbon, multiaxial fabrics, resin systems, including low-, medium- and high-temperature cure epoxy matrix, FR matrix, phenolic matrix, ancillary materials, and more.

www.totalcompositesolutions.com

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