Recently, I had the opportunity to meet up with Robert Hannum, Andy Davies and Mark Walsh, three talented guys that have developed a bicycle frame made out of metal that can be bent by hand. Together, the men have started Ronin Metal Masters, and they are currently looking for funding to get their bike mass produced in the United States.
Right now, the guys only have one bike serving as their prototype. It is made out of aluminum and it is like nothing you’ve seen on the road. The cool industrial design is definitely eye-catching. I interviewed the guys last month at a park here in San Francisco so we could see the bike and take it for a spin. I couldn’t believe how many people stopped by to get a better look. The bike definitely makes you do a double-take. But the bike is more than just a good looking piece of transportation. There are several practical benefits to the Ronin bike.
The key is in the design. Ronin has developed a cutting process that allows the metal bike frame to be bent by hand. Once the frame is bent into place, it is held together by glue. This eliminates the need for welds, which helps the frame last longer.
Also, the weight of the bike is another factor. The aluminum prototype weighs less than 3 pounds, which makes it easy to transport. The guys at Ronin are hoping to start manufacturing bikes in even lighter metals, such as magnesium. Lighter metals mean a faster ride, which is great for competitive riders.
Finally, using metal for the bike design makes it a great “green” alternative. Most bikes are made out of carbon fiber, while the Ronin bike is made from sustainable metal.
If you are interested in the Ronin bike, or if you think you can help the guys fund their bike design, take a look at the video on this page. The video is Ronin’s Kickstarter video. The men are hoping to get enough donations via Kickstarter to not only improve their prototype, but create a production run. There are gifts for those who donate. If you decided you really want to help the guys out and donate $1,000, they will send you a completed sheet metal bike. So if you are looking for a bike that no one else will have on the road (at least not yet), here is your chance. Watch the video, and if you still want more information, visit www.RoninBicycleWorks.com. Also, look for a full feature on Ronin Metal Masters in the July issue of Snips.