New fork on the road

A PERTH bicycle manufacturer is starting to break into the lucrative top end of the competitive cycling world with a range of carbon fibre bike forks that are lighter and stronger than most on the market.

The forks produced by ConceptZ meet the standards for tandem bikes, but with a weight of little more than 300 grams are in the same class as those fitted to standard road racing bikes.

The ConceptZ forks are fitted to the bikes of some professional and some Australian Institute of Sport cyclists.

Cycling hopeful Emily Wood is using a set on her new bike for this month’s road club championships at Maroochydore, Queensland.

Bicycle manufacturer Teschner Bikes principal Peter Teschner said the ConceptZ forks were slowly carving a niche in the high-end cycling market.

“Everyone who has used these forks has liked them,” he said.

Despite its growing success, however, ConceptZ faced an uphill battle to get its technology to market.

Director Aldo Contarino said the company had trouble securing funding and had to resort to the largesse of friends and family.

He said Thai Orchid director Antonio Varrone “bankrolled” the company and helped it get going.

“There is no such thing as venture capital in Australia,” Mr Contarino said.

While the forks are light and strong, their real value is said to be in the amount of rider-fatiguing vibration they absorb.

Mr Contarino said the benefit of using the composite he had created was that it deadened the vibration and allowed the cyclist to use higher tyre pressures, which reduced rolling resistance.

“These forks cancel out the vibration and deadens the ride. It feels like they’re floating on glass,” he said.

The company is chasing a niche market of top-end professional cyclists.

The forks cost around $500 and matching those to a high-end bicycle frame would not leave a lot of change from $10,000.

Mr Contarino said he had created a bike frame out of the same material he was using for the forks, only to go to the US to demonstrate it and find that the regulations governing frame design had changed – rendering it illegal.

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