E-bikes are usually heavier than ordinary bikes because they need a battery and an electric motor. Both of which add weight. So, with the OKO, our designers needed a way to make the frame as light as possible, without compromising strength and durability.
The solution was carbon fibre.
Carbon fibre is used extensively in the aerospace industry and in high performance vehicles such as F1 cars. In fact, the manufacturer we use also has Boeing and F1 engineers as customers. Carbon fibre is twice as stiff as steel and five times as strong. And yet, each individual fibre strand measures just 5 to 10 microns in diameter. Slightly larger than the silk made by a spider.
Potentially, it can last forever.
However, using carbon fibre as a construction material is an expensive, labour intensive, time consuming process. Which is why very few cycle manufacturers choose to use it, or use it sparingly. Like cotton or wool, carbon fibres - filaments of carbon - eventually get spun and woven into sheets. To make a bicycle frame, these sheets are applied by hand, glued into place one layer at a time, onto a removable mould.
With an OKO frame, there are different configurations of carbon fibre weave, which produce different strength and stiffness properties. So, each piece is precisely applied in a specific place, depending on the functional requirement at a given point. Once all the pieces are in place, the frame is oven baked before being finished by hand and prepared for painting.
This includes the mudguards which are, uniquely, part of the design of the bike. Not some afterthought. A frame so minimalist and undecorated as the OKO’s will highlight the smallest imperfection, so painting it is a precise and highly technical process that can be performed in only a handful of paint shops in the world.
Also, white and black, our signature colours, are the most difficult to work with. At a specialist paint shop in the Netherlands, ours is applied in 5 and sometimes 6 layers before it is eventually varnished and achieves the deep, solid colour that is synonymous with Biomega.