It’s called the BlackBraid–what I imagine to be some long lost pirate, or maybe a pirate ship, or maybe a pirate ship named after its pirate captain. But it’s no treacherous, sea-oriented thing. The BlackBraid is actually a carbon-fiber bike designed for urban travel. And it weighs a mere 11 pounds, making it one of the lightest bikes on the planet.
The frame is of particular note. It’s what gives the bike its unbelievable lightness, and it’s also the BlackBraid’s namesake. Crafted from specially braided carbon fiber developed by a partner in Munich, the tubes have incredible rigidity, despite being mostly air. Carbon components have been sourced through much of the rest of the bike as well, including the chainwheel, sprocket, and chain. And no doubt, seeing the final product–what might appear to be a casual collection of carbon-fiber components–overlooks all of the challenges that went into the build. Carbon fiber is notoriously finicky to engineer around.
“The [creative] process was a mixture of the design possibilities and of the stiffness needs of the carbon,” CEO Manuel Ostner writes. “We don’t see creativity and engineering competing with one another.”
I’ve been trying to think up analogs for a bike this light. A bag of potatoes? A house cat? There’s a good parallel: This bike is as light as your cat and a whole lot easier to ride. And if you’re interested, the bike runs just shy of $20,000.