the materials:  The main materials used were plywood and metal, both of which can be recycled or re-purposed and are readily available in many parts of the world.

balance bikes

project for Jarbas Lopes
by Lora Dimitrova + Miguel Duarte
research/design/construction

The balance bikes are an exploratory project and were part of Cicloviaerea - by Jarbas Lopes, completed with designer Miguel Duarte. 

Originally designed for the people of Brazil, these balance bikes were limited to local, readily available, and inexpensive materials. This project explores the longevity of a product vs. its expected life-cycle. The minimum amount of parts in combination with biodegradable/recyclable/reusable materials allowed the creation of a product with a lifespan equal to its use span.  

Project held in:

Tilton Galley NYC
MAM - Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  
(part of MOMA PS1 travelling gallery)

 the materials:  The main materials used were plywood and metal, both of which can be recycled or re-purposed and are readily available in many parts of the world.

the materials:

The main materials used were plywood and metal, both of which can be recycled or re-purposed and are readily available in many parts of the world.

 The sketch ideation explored different frame and fork constructions focusing on saving material by eliminating parts and product weight. The measurements for the bikes were derived from the book  Measurement of Man and Woman,  focusing on children ages 2-4. The first sketch model and size reference was made of cardboard. 

The sketch ideation explored different frame and fork constructions focusing on saving material by eliminating parts and product weight. The measurements for the bikes were derived from the book Measurement of Man and Woman, focusing on children ages 2-4. The first sketch model and size reference was made of cardboard. 

 the components:  Components and materials were chosen based on availability, weight, and sustainability. Each bike is made of an estimated 3x2 foot sheet of oak plywood for the frame, seat and wheels. Metal was used to assemble the wood parts. Each bike used approximately 10-12 screws, 4 bearings, 1 five inch long lag bolt, 4-6 washers, 1 nut, 2 binder screws, and 2-5 one inch diameter dowels.  

the components:

Components and materials were chosen based on availability, weight, and sustainability. Each bike is made of an estimated 3x2 foot sheet of oak plywood for the frame, seat and wheels. Metal was used to assemble the wood parts. Each bike used approximately 10-12 screws, 4 bearings, 1 five inch long lag bolt, 4-6 washers, 1 nut, 2 binder screws, and 2-5 one inch diameter dowels.  

 six unique balance bikes:  There are 2 basic frame styles: a 2 piece frame which allows the incorporation of a natural bike seat within the frame, and a single piece frame, in which the bike seat was added on top. The most successful and lighter bike frames were the 2 piece frames.   There are 3 different front fork constructions, with the most successful being 2 cuts of plywood attached with 2 perpendicular rods and 2 .    Holes were cut to take out weight from the wheels. 

six unique balance bikes:

There are 2 basic frame styles: a 2 piece frame which allows the incorporation of a natural bike seat within the frame, and a single piece frame, in which the bike seat was added on top. The most successful and lighter bike frames were the 2 piece frames. 

There are 3 different front fork constructions, with the most successful being 2 cuts of plywood attached with 2 perpendicular rods and 2 .  

Holes were cut to take out weight from the wheels. 

 Crafting and assembling the bikes came with many challenges. Some parts were shaped manually, while others were cut with the CNC router. All parts were manually finished, drilled, filed, and sanded.

Crafting and assembling the bikes came with many challenges. Some parts were shaped manually, while others were cut with the CNC router. All parts were manually finished, drilled, filed, and sanded.

 We built a jig to hold 4 of the forks in place to create the pivot hole, using a drill press with a 9 inch bit. 

We built a jig to hold 4 of the forks in place to create the pivot hole, using a drill press with a 9 inch bit. 

 Experimenting with the way each bike is constructed, the building techniques, form and functionality improved with each bike.

Experimenting with the way each bike is constructed, the building techniques, form and functionality improved with each bike.

 Bike one:  Made out of beech plywood, this bike is the lease successful of the 6. The wood is too soft and chips easily. 

Bike one: 
Made out of beech plywood, this bike is the lease successful of the 6. The wood is too soft and chips easily. 

 Bike two: Made of oak plywood and a 2 piece frame construction, the seat is integrated between the 2 frame pieces. 

Bike two:
Made of oak plywood and a 2 piece frame construction, the seat is integrated between the 2 frame pieces. 

 Bike three: This bike has a single frame construction with 2 pieces on either side holding the back wheel in place. Although this bike is strong, it is the heaviest bike and not the most comfortable..

Bike three:
This bike has a single frame construction with 2 pieces on either side holding the back wheel in place. Although this bike is strong, it is the heaviest bike and not the most comfortable..

 bike four: Manually cut and shaped, this bike has the most durable front fork style and the most organic frame design..

bike four:
Manually cut and shaped, this bike has the most durable front fork style and the most organic frame design..

 bike five: Bike five has a similar frame construction as bike 2, but is combined with a stronger front fork and cut-out wheels, making it the lightest bike out of the six.

bike five:
Bike five has a similar frame construction as bike 2, but is combined with a stronger front fork and cut-out wheels, making it the lightest bike out of the six.

 bike six: This bike was made as per the artist's request, but refined for strength and functionality. 

bike six:
This bike was made as per the artist's request, but refined for strength and functionality. 

 Conceptualized by Jarbas Lopes, the Cicloviaerea bridge was designed to go over the streets of the city, allowing bikers to navigate quickly and safely through the city.

Conceptualized by Jarbas Lopes, the Cicloviaerea bridge was designed to go over the streets of the city, allowing bikers to navigate quickly and safely through the city.

balance bikes Master 217.jpg
balance bikes Master 216.jpg