T-Zuntz: The secret of our new generation frames
Since the launching of the Project our aim is to find ways to make the wood behave as we pretend. But this long process of study and innovation to find new solutions for traditional materials as wood is a slow but sustainable revolution that can be leaded by small companies, companies that can develop a process based on the quality, and not the price.
In our case, when we decided to start developing the technologies needed to produce a functional wooden bike (of course we never thought of making the tree grow as a bike), our first challenge was to orientate the wooden fibers to work in the needed direction in each part of the frame. Other bikes just used glued wooden blocks, that are routed and hollowed out afterwards to form two shells that are glued together, but this requires a lot of material that doesn’t really work in the right direction. And this adds a lot of unnecessary weight. From the beginning, our fist prototypes were made with micro-laminated wood, orientating the fibers, and creating a nice looking, light and strong frame.
But then we came to design a wooden trekking pole. This doesn’t seem a big feat, but we wanted it to be a telescopic pole, not just a wooden stick. And this was more complicated. First of all, the upper part had to be hollow to house the lower part inside it. Ok, this was not so difficult. Just the two shells glued together. But to fix the two parts together, we needed an expander inside. And an expander, well, expands, which would make the wood to crack at the first turn of the screw, as the fibers are orientated longitudinally. We could make a plywood type tube (maybe, but not so easy), but this would be thick and heavy.
So we decided to use other natural fibers apart from wood. This lead to the T-zuntz technology, formed by a grid of different plant fibers combined in a way to get the highest strength and the best withstanding of the extreme climate we can find at the mountain. They not only have to be orientated adequately, but also not expand with the moisture, not get brittle with -40 ºC temperatures and not bend when you let it forgotten inside the car in a hot summer day at the sun.
And once we developed and tested this technology, the next step was to adapt it in the bicycle frames. The results where the lightest wooden bike frame in the market, and the only wooden telescopic trekking pole in the market.