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Mokumono bike frames are made from two pressed sheets of aluminum



No matter what they’re made from, most bicycle frames take the form of multiple tubes that are joined together at the ends. But according to Dutch designing brothers Bob and Tom Schiller, it’s difficult to fully automate. As a result, bike companies tend to get their frames built overseas, in countries where the labor is cheap. To change that, the Schillers have created the Mokumono bike.

Traditionally when a bicycle is manufactured it’s using steel or aluminum tubing. This tubing is then hydro formed to create the desired shape, tubes are cut and then begins the process of assembly. Hand welding then begins to bring all of these small parts together. On top of this long process, you have to mitigate the side effects of putting so much heat into the metal which can cause warping. The final step is to straighten the frame and perform heat treatment on the metal to relieve any stresses caused by the welding.

Instead of tubes, the main part of the Mokumono’s frame is made from two sheets of 7000-grade aluminum. In an automated setting, these are pressed into shape, each one forming one side of the frame. The two formed sheets are subsequently laser-welded together down the middle, forming one monocoque unit – it’s a process more commonly seen in the automobile-manufacturing industry.

While the technique does leave a raised seam along the middle of the bike, it’s incorporated into the design. The head tube, bottom bracket shell and dropouts aren’t part of the monocoque, allowing for them to be changed its design in the future without necessity to alter the rest of the frame. The bikes are being offered as a 9.5 kg single-speed model, or an 11-kg 8-speed utilizing a Shimano Alfine hub transmission.

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