Saturday, January 6, 2018

Itera plastic bicycle road test

Itera Plastic Bicycle, Wikimedia commons upload by user Racerbyce

I rented this for about an hour in Oslo in 1982 - it was an all-plastic bicycle, but why? The frame was so flexible riding it was exhausting, especially up hills (Oslo isn't flat!). The design was very well thought out by Volvo engineers with good placement of the gear shift, light, kickstand and bag rack, and it probably would have been successful if it had been made out of steel - it was actually heavier than a comparable metal frame bike. People stopped to talk to me, especially after I started just pushing along as I walked, because they'd been reading about it, and the bike shop very nicely gave me a full refund when I brought it back. The story that you read is that they were sold to the "West Indies" where they were supposed to be popular because they didn't rust - I don't see why they would do so more in the West Indies any more than any other coastal area - after no one wanted them much in Europe, but I haven't found any photos of them there yet. I'd wonder how well the plastic would last under strong UV sunlight.


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