Lyrebird bikes are the result of a deceptively simple question – with modern tools and techniques at our disposal, what materials produce the best ride feel?

img_6598A finished bike – this frame is 50% tonewoods, 40 % carbon fibre and 10% other fibres.

Though they look like simple wood, Lyrebird frames are a composite of many different materials. Years of testing and analysis has lead to an understanding of how these materials work together to give the desired ride feel, lightness and strength. The result is a combination of various Australian tonewoods, carbon fibre, boron and other fibres.

Each of the tonewoods has its own profile of material properties, so part of the customisation process is to determine which combination of woods and placement will produce the desired result. An example is the reddish wood (Eucalyptus grandis) in the outer lateral layers of the bike above, which was used there to provide maximal lateral stiffness: this wood has a better stiffness to weight ratio than aluminium, titanium or steel.

headerA tube with the layer structure exposed – for technical details, head over to the blog.

Though the lightness, stiffness and look of the bikes far exceeded initial expectations, the real triumph of the process was the ride feel – it’s difficult to pin down exactly what makes them such a joy to ride, but critic and amateur alike have been unanimous in noting the bikes’ ability to connect the rider with the road.

Each Lyrebird is made with the rider’s preferences in mind, the process is fully custom including laying up each tube individually. The end result is tough and light; fatigue testing to ISO 4210/6 was delayed when the composite bike frame being tested broke the test rig.

katbike2‘We hit a very bad section of road on The Ascent. The women I had been riding alongside caught up to me at the next food station. It was like following Harry bloody Potter, one said. One minute you were there and the next you’d vanished.’