November 19, 2007 3:51 PM PST

Is this bike made from spider webs?

Some people weave baskets by hand. But Delta 7 Sports is weaving bikes that way.

The Payson, Utah-based company on Monday unveiled the Arantix, a mountain bike made out of hollow tubes spun from carbon fibers. The unusual design of the so-called IsoTruss tubes, based on technology from Brigham Young University, allows Delta 7 to cut down weight. A standard hard-tail mountain bike frame (without shock absorbers) made from the stuff weighs about 2.7 pounds, but it's as strong or stronger as a conventional carbon or aluminum frame, according to the company.

In 2009, Delta 7 will come out with a lightweight road bike too, said Lester Muranaka, who runs marketing and sales for the company. Delta 7's road bike will likely weigh around the same as other elite road bikes, but early tests indicate that it could be more aerodynamic and, thus, potentially give a rider an edge.


"We think the strength and aerodynamics are going to be big sellers," Muranaka said.

If anything, you'll get noticed. Delta 7 has taken its prototype out to nearby Moab, the epicenter of dirt riding in North America. There are a lot of fancy bikes in Moab, but the Arantix gets stares. Test riders must invariably answer a lot of questions.

A fully equipped bike costs $11,995--way more than any bike out there that isn't encrusted with jewels--but each one takes 300 hours to build. Volume manufacturing will lead to lower prices, according to the company. Consumers also can order the frame separately, without components, for $6,995.

The IsoTruss tubing relies on a combination of chemistry and geometry. Delta 7 takes carbon fiber, which has one of the better weight-to-strength ratios in industrial material science, and weaves it into an intricate pattern with a spool-like loom. The overall pattern consists of isosceles triangles, which are triangles with two equal sides connected to each other to form pyramids.

The weaving is done by hand. In essence, making the tubes is sort of like making a giant cat's cradle or a lanyard. One piece of carbon fiber is used for each tube. In all, a finished bike frame from Delta 7 will contain 1,672 linear feet of carbon fiber.

Kevlar is then used to fix the carbon fiber in place. The Kevlar-coated tube is inserted into an oven, where it gets baked for four hours at 255 degrees Fahrenheit.

Delta 7, which is a subsidiary of Advanced Composite Solutions, is hoping to have a machine ready in 18 months to two years that can automate the weaving process. Two other companies have licensed the IsoTruss technology for things like cell phone towers, but the hand weaving made the products uneconomical.

Delta 7 went with bikes because, well, there are always guys out there who will pay money to get something cutting-edge. CNET also has written stories about an Internet-enabled exercise bike from Daum and two-wheel drive motorcycles and mountain bikes from Christini.

Delta 7 will produce 200 of the Arantix mountain bikes in 2008 and will grow production to 1,000 bikes in 2010. The first bikes will be released in the first quarter. Delta 7 is taking deposits for them now.

See more CNET content tagged:
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Always Mountain Bikes
They spend 300 hours to build a $12,000 2.7 lb frame, only to bolt on a 10 lb front suspension onto it.

This is a bit like fitting a Bugatti Veyron with a snow plow.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
of course mountain bikes
MTBs are cool... ;)

really..suspension fork now a days are really your heavy fork argument doesn't really hold...

road bikes are already way lighter than UCI allows anyway :-P
Posted by cmadrigal (2 comments )
Link Flag
Since mountain biking is kind of a dirty sport, I imagine keeping
this bike clean would be a real pain.
Posted by t-o-d-d (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
i concur
that was exactly what i was thinking... That'd be a mission
Posted by rnieves1977 (105 comments )
Link Flag
Another Environmental Hazard set free on the planet
Carbon tubes are nasty little man-made inventions that will never breakdown in the environment. This is just more crap to pollute the planet. The only way to stop the kind of pollution is to boycott the junk. Do not buy this environmental hazard.
Posted by Im-Not-TED (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
umm huh?
So what about the aluminum, titanium, stainless steel etc bikes?
Posted by dcase99 (85 comments )
Link Flag
Carbon Fixing
Hey isn't the fact that the process takes carbon out of the cycle and fixes it so that it doesn't breakdown to CO2 a good thing?
Posted by Mark Molloy (5 comments )
Link Flag
I am sure you have plenty of evidence in support to your statement. I would be more than eager to hear them, since your post sounds SO scientifically sound...
Posted by feranick (212 comments )
Link Flag
Come now ...
I *heart* global warming.
Posted by QuadFather (320 comments )
Link Flag
11k There are lots of bikes now in that price and quite a few that are 20k.
Posted by miniwas (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I will pay that.....
For a car....

Too bad auto manufacturers have to be forced into inovating....
Posted by stlwest (72 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Arantix by Delta 7 Sports
The Arantix is a extremely strong high performance mountain bike. Isolates impact and is a real attention grabber. Riding the bike first hand is a must.
Posted by Delta 7 Sports (1 comment )
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