April 6, 2006 Carbon fibre has some extraordinary properties in that it is very light and very strong. It is also very expensive, so it only gets used where the amount of money spent is immaterial compared to the performance of the product. Mercedes Benz currently uses carbon fibre in just one of its products – the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the world’s first production car with a bodyshell made entirely of carbon fibre. Carbon fibre is also used extensively in the McLaren Mercedes F1 cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya. And later this month a second Mercedes-Benz product will be unveiled that is constructed mainly of carbon fibre – the Carbon Bike, the new flagship human-powered Merc. Thanks to its ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre frame, this US$3665 thoroughbred weighs in at a mere 8.3 kilograms.
The new Carbon Bike is the highlight of the 2006 Mercedes-Benz Bike Collection. Systematic use of lightweight construction techniques and its exclusive high-end equipment make this bike, the first racer produced by Mercedes-Benz, an attractive proposition for both ambitious amateurs and experienced professional racing cyclists. The centrepiece of this racer is an innovative monocoque frame made of carbon fibre.
The use of carbon fibre has a prestigious heritage for Mercedes-Benz, including the titans of Formula 1 and Carbon is an exclusive material which delivers two principal benefits: extreme stability and incredibly light weight. With a frame height of 58 centimetres, this racing bike weighs just 8.3 kilograms (without pedals).
The equipment is equally impressive, featuring high-end components from Shimano, the renowned Japanese equipment supplier: the drive system, gears and brakes are all sourced from Shimano’s “Dura-Ace” series and are considered to be some of the finest racing bike components on the market today. A particular safety feature is the way the shift levers are integrated into the ergonomically shaped brake handles. This means that the rider is always ready to brake, even while changing gear. The Shimano Type WHR 550 wheels are shod with Michelin tyres and exhibit excellent aerodynamics. The unusually low number of spokes (16 at the front and 20 at the back) cuts undesirable turbulence down to a minimum. This reduction in wind resistance in turn enhances ride dynamics.
The design concept emphasises the proud temperament of this thoroughbred racing machine. The cork cladding on the handlebars and the slim red stripes around the tyres contrast with the dark carbon and exclusive black painted metals of the frame. Aluminium and polished steel set refined counterpoints in the materials mix. The Carbon Bike will only be produced as a limited edition of 199 units. A plate bearing the production number will be attached to the seat tube on every Carbon Bike, testifying to the strictly limited number in existence. This high-tech racing bike will command a price of € 2990 (US$3665).
There’s also made-to-measure bike carrier systems for vehicle roof, tailgate and interior to suit the majority of Mercedes-Benz series of cars.