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  1. #1
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    Carbon Bike and Disc Brake in 1973?

    I just picked up an issue of Bicycle Spokesman (July 1973). Two items caught my immediate interest – a carbon-frame bike (the first?) that I never heard of, and a Shimano ad for their disc brake (scans attached). Although at least one ex-girlfriend has accused me of not “being in the moment”, I don’t remember becoming aware of carbon frames until the 1980s or of disc brakes until the 1990s. Any Forum members recall these products or had experience with them?

    According to this article in Bicycle Spokeman, the Original Plastic Bike Co. of Garden City, NY “unveiled a revolutionary new 10-speed plastic bike weighing 16 pounds” at the International Cycle Show in NYC in Feb, 1973.

    Original Plastic Bike Co. principals were John P. Marzullo, president; Roger A. Stark, exec. VP; and directors Charles Cadorette, Joseph Dorrity, and chief engineer William Thompson. Cadorette and Dorrity were credited for “conceiving the original idea to mold plastic bikes” as they were “confronted with a steep hill on their 28-pound bicycles”.

    Credits the advanced technology of General Electric. GE introduced Lexan, a polycarbon material, to a structural foam process and created a resin exceeding the strength of steel (gram-for-gram).

    Bikes are molded “without the need for weld joints, priming, brazing and sanding” and are of unibody construction. Further, “the color is impregnated throughout the thickness of the bike.”

    Attached are scans of the first page of the article and of a photo of the bike. Check out the bladed fork.

    Also attached is the Shimano advertisement for their disc brake.

    Orig Plastic Bike Artic_1973.jpgOrig Plastic Bike Artic Photo_1973.jpgDisc Brake Shimano Ad_1973 (reduced).jpg

  2. #2
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    The plastic bike was just that to be an injection molded thermoplastic bicycle. If I remember it was also a scam to get investor money. If you look at the bike carefully you will note that it basically was probably not plastic, but kind of made to look like it. There was a Italian company making a plastic seat post, kind of a Campagnolo copy, those broke in short order.

    The Shimano disc brake was real but not top tier in quality, a few made it onto tandems as drag brakes. Side note, Campagnolo made a disc brake decades earlier.

  3. #3
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I don't know about the bike but I think disc and external drum brakes ahve been around for some time. as noted above mostly on Tandems
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto, '90 Campione del Fausto Giamondi Specialisma Italiano Mundo, '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '86 Volpe, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '09 Motobecane SS, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  4. #4
    Я люблю суп abarth's Avatar
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    Here is an article from 1972 about the Carlton carbon bicycle:




  5. #5
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    Thanks for the extra information all! I don't know anything about tandems (or their history) or perhaps more obvious, the difference between plastic and a carbon fiber frame. I guess maybe I should adopt the woodworker's philosophy and research twice - write once.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    That is some good reading. I'd love to read the full article of both.

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻

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  7. #7
    Bicycle Repairman kingsting's Avatar
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    Those Shimano brakes turned up on the rear wheels of a few low end 10 speeds of the era. I've seen them on Roadmasters and JC Penny branded bikes.

    Lots of heavy steel on those things but with a good set of levers they don't work too bad. I put a set on this bike:
    There's always room for one more bike!

  8. #8
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    kingsting: In the word of Napolean Dynamite, "Luckeeee." Or Cartman, "Sweet."

  9. #9
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    I remember my mum riding around a grey 10 speed that had a disc brake on it, looked like it could have been a department store bike. It was crushed by a careless garbage truck driver one day, but that disc brake always had me puzzled.

  10. #10
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    Here is the cover of the Jul 1973 issue of Bicycle Spokesman and the Original Plastic Bicycle article, including photos.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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