Project Inspiration: Lugged Carbon Bike

I’ve always loved these bikes:

They’re a natural evolution from the lugged steel frames of the 60s-80s. Among bike enthusiasts, this is often recognized as a very 90s thing. The best the 90s had to offer. Unfortunately, they are not exactly becoming more common. Their component compatibility, increasingly obsolete. But I gotta have one.

If I’m going to make a 90s bike frame, I also want to capture the general ridiculousness of the 90s. Obnoxious colors, the novelty of personal computers drove what I imagine to be the 90s aesthetic. We do this because we can.

And only because we can.

What I want to do is weld up a few of those lugs from steel and epoxy carbon tubing between them. To appropriate the 90s further, I want to paint each of the steel sections a cataract inducing color.

I want to put wheels on one of these.

To further drive the message home, I’m gonna come up with a brand (I have a few ideas) and sticker the name/brand on with the most vulgar 90s graphic design styles possible.

Another reason not to look down when you ride.
I almost feel sorry.

Technical Improvements

  1. Modern standards: 135mm hub, threadless headset, 29er tire clearance, disc brake tab, 31.8mm seatpost…
  2. Geometry: Based on modern advancements in comfort and handling.
  3. Materials/Manufacture: UV resistant epoxy (resists yellowing), larger steel/carbon surface area

Aesthetic “Improvements”

  1. Shameless appropriation of 90s neon colors and brush font.

Potential Shortcomings

  1. Safety. One off carbon fiber frame will need to be continuously monitored and inspected for delamination, cracking and buckling.
  2. Weight. To address safety, overbuild everything.
  3. Steel headtube. Looks less cool. The headtube and the area around it is the most catastrophic point of failure.
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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Elizabeth Whitman
    May 4, 2016 4:39 pm

    I really love the idea to use 90s graphic design aesthetic. Reminds me of the show Saved by the Bell. I didn’t see much of this aesthetic in your final project. Despite its absence of 90s style, it was an amazing project. Obviously, a lot of time, effort and passion went into the creation if it.

  • Andre Szlendak
    May 2, 2016 6:27 pm

    Interesting that we both drew influences from 90’s retro cycling but with very different materials. I think it’s because we are re-embracing older methods/technologies from what is a more modern design. Also 90’s colors fit bikes all too well.

  • […] It’s all been done before, just probably not in this combination. I’ve written an inspiration piece […]

  • Albert this sounds freaking sweet! The thought that you have put into technical improvements is great and I know that your project is gonna turn out well. Your post was also fun to read and I enjoy the passion you have for making this aesthetic stand out!


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