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Ride on! $20 cardboard bike may go into production soon

October 16, 2012|By Deborah Netburn

Are you ready to ride the cardboard bike?

Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni has created a functioning cardboard bicycle that he hopes to put into mass production in the next three months, according to a Reuters report.

Despite being made almost entirely of cardboard, Gafni says the bike is strong, durable, fireproof and waterproof. And because it is made of cardboard, it will also be cheap. Gafni's business partner Nimrod Elmish told Reuters that he expects the bike to sell at retail stores for $20.

Gafni spent years figuring out how to make cardboard strong enough to support a human. The trick was bending and gluing the cardboard in such a way that it becomes strong like a piece of wood. In a video about Gafni and his cardboard bike, Gafni describes the process as a type of origami, and demonstrates how his cardboard is strong enough to support a car.

After creating the super strong cardboard, Gafni said he treats it with a substance that gives it its fireproof and waterproof properties. He says it is organic, but he hasn't said from what it is made. He did tell Reuters that he soaked a cross-section of the treated cardboard in a water tank for several months and it still kept its hardened characteristics.

The tires are one of the very few parts of the bike not made of cardboard. Instead, they are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires. And because they are solid, they cannot be punctured.

The reporter rode the bike, and said it feels a bit stiff but not that different from other bikes. 

Gafni and Elmish are hoping to get three models of the cardboard bike and a cardboard wheelchair into production soon so that they will be available for sale next year.

Gafni's other job -- designing automated production lines -- will come in handy with that.

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