MARCH 25, 2006

Nanotechnology moves into bicycles

Easton Sports, a manufacturer of sporting goods in the United States with a tradition of innovation, has just launched the world's first bicycle featuring nanotechnology products. The Van Nuys, California-based firm introduced the first aluminium products into sports equipment the 1930s and moved into composite materials in the 1980s (a little behind F1 technology at the time). Now, however, Easton is ahead of the game again with the launch of a bicycle featuring carbon nanotube technology. Carbon nanotubes are tiny cylinders of carbon atoms that have 100 times the strength of steel but weigh considerably less. Easton has used these materials to produce a bicycle frame called the SLC01 Pro Machine, which is 23% lighter than the previous lightest model, weighing in at just 960 grams.

The applications for such materials are widespread in motor racing, particularly as nanotubes conduct electricity as well as copper and are not affected by extreme heat.