20 January 2010

MIT Aluminum Bicycle

MIT aluminum bicycle

I was at the MIT museum for an energy club function and I couldn't get close enough to the display to read about this bike, but I hope to get back and read more about this first aluminum bike of its kind, the ideas surrounding the creation of this bike went on to inspire both Klein and Cannondale.

The richness of the bicycle history in this area astounds me sometimes. Boston's been part of it all along.


Roadrider said...

The local bike shop down here in New Orleans, back around 1973 or so (they were the oldest bike shop in the country), had an old aluminum bike that was made from hexagonal aluminum tubing and was held together entirely by clamps or setscrews at the lugs. I wonder what ever happened to it.

Filigree said...

This is great, and it is so true that Boston has played a huge role in the cycling industry.

What do you mean though by "first aluminum bike"? It is my understanding that aluminum frames have been made since the late 1800s. Caminade produced aluminum bicycles in the 1900s-1950s that were held together with glued lugs, like this hexagonal frame bike here.

Anonymous said...

Note the gears. The front and back are the same size.

Charlotte said...

Filigree, it's long and complicated and the US Patent office has weighed in with respect to a suit between Cannondale and Klein... I guess this is the first lightweight aluminum bike. It's true, there are many examples of much earlier bikes made of aluminum.

Filigree said...

Ah figures. Will have to look up the lawsuit stuff!

Charlotte said...

Filigree, here's a start, it's the initial discussion the maker had while trying to determine the bike's value and where it should go. I will update my post to clarify that the aluminum alone is not what makes it worthy of the MIT Museum.

kfg said...

Principally what makes this bike worthy of the MIT museum is that it was part of MIT history and I have to assume that's the reason it ended up there rather than someplace else; where it wouldn't have been considered of any great historical or monetary value. (The maker himself seems to be aware of this).

And of course the ONLY way to determine the monetary value of a unique item is to put it up for auction and see what it fetches (which the maker did not seem to be aware of at the time).

Neat bit of kit though.

The small gear was for the Mt. Washington hillclimb. To give you an idea of how extreme it is, at that time the running record was faster than the cycling record.