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While Dave Everett and I were making our way down to Eurobike we decided to stop in at the Canyon headquarters in Koblenz, Germany. Among the many amazing things we saw (which we’ll write about in a factory tour article later) we noticed this interesting bike being displayed on the wall.
‘Projekt 3.7’ is a concept bike from 2004 which came about when Canyon teamed up with renowned design engineer and bike tech writer Hans Christian Smolik to showcase the company’s latest technology (at the time) and just how light a bike could be built. At 3.7kg it was, according to Canyon, the lightest road bike in the world.
Here’s how Smolik described the process of designing and building the bike, which was based around a Canyon F10 carbon frame:
In addition to the use of super-light standard components, the majority of the components had to be handmade. The choice of materials therefore was not weighed in economical terms or from the perspective of production, but more in terms of weight reduction and if the individual part could be modified by hand.
As a design engineer, this type of project forces you to step out the box and look for new and exciting ways of doing things. Through this you gain knowledge, which can then flow back into the development of production bike parts. For this project the hubs, brakes and gearing were developed as if they were prototypes headed for production.
Here’s a breakdown of the build and the weight of each component:
While some of the super-lightweight bikes of today — such as this Swift Sculp we looked at late last year — are heavier than Projekt 3.7, these modern bikes can conceivably be taken out on a ride without buckling. Even though Canyon describes the Projekt 3.7 as “ready to ride” at the time, I wouldn’t have ventured too far or too fast on this 3.7kg of carbon from 2004!
That said, if you’ve ever lifted up a bike this light you’ll understand why it’s so impressive. It was a marvel of its day and still is.