Clarity Concept Bike Uses Military Material to Go Transparent

By Wesley Fenlon

German studio designaffairs has mocked up a bicycle that could actually make it to mass production. We hope it does.

In the tech world, a phrase like "transparent concept bicycle" usually carries certain connotations. We expect it to be a concept design, something futuristic mocked up in Photoshop or 3D modeling software, but too impractical to see as a real-world product. German studio designaffairs' Clarity concept bike is not one of those designs--it is a concept, but one designed to be made with practical materials suitable for mass production. It's also transparent, which is pretty rad.

The Clarity's frame is designed to be built from Trivex, a transparent polymer that's recently become popular in eyeglasses. It's tough stuff--10 times more impact-resistant than plastic or glass lenses, and are "made from a cast molding process similar to how regular plastic lenses are made. This gives Trivex lenses the advantage of crisper optics than injection-molded polycarbonate lenses, according to [PPG Industries]." Trivex made its way into eyewear in 2002, so it hasn't been around in consumer products for long.

The transparent polymer actually started as a military material developed for helicopter windshields and fighter jet canopies. So that bit about impact resistance is no joke--it's not just tough for eyeglass material, it's tough for any material. Trivex has been ballistic tested and earned the right to protect military aircraft--it should be more than up to the task of holding together a bicycle frame.

designaffairs writes that the bike combines "high impact resistance, lightweight properties and a gentle flexibility that usually would only be expected on an old Italian steel frame." It's also temperature resistant and can be injection moulded for mass production. While the idea of a transparent bike is cool, the Trivex frame could be manufactured in practically any color. We've got to go with Roadbikereview's idea of embedded LEDs for night riding, though. If there's any bike that could turn into a bright neon streak at night, it's this one.