Magnesium Bicycles - Kirk Precision
Frank Kirk spent years working for the auto and airplane industries in the field of design engineering, and had experience working with magnesium before deciding to create a bicycle frame made of this material. He was convinced that he could succeed in creating a line of lightweight, strong and inexpensive bicycles. In 1986, at the Bike Expo in New York, Kirk launched a bike with a unique frame cast as a single piece, which soon became a sensation in the bicycle industry.
Magnesium is 35% lighter than aluminum, and is equally strong. During World War II and in its aftermath, magnesium was a popular material that was even used to make airplanes. Yet due to processing problems and to the growing popularity of aluminum, magnesium was largely abandoned. Kirk was motivated by a number of factors. He was convinced that he could create a bicycle that would be 50% stronger than an iron bicycle. In order to demonstrate the endurance of the magnesium frame, Kirk set the bike down on the road and drove over it in his Mercedes car.
Magnesium is produced from sea water, and Kirk argued that just 1.5 cubic meters of water are required in order to produce a single bicylce frame. According to him, magnesium bicycle was designed to be made of 100% recycled materials (he did not take into account the additional materials and accessories). Despite the rapid success and the advantages of magnesium - lightness, strength, and shock absorption - the product was never fully developed and the advantages of magnesium were not fully exploited in this model. The company closed down in 1992.
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