Magazine article Insight on the News

Oh Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Mercedes-Benz ... Bike?

Magazine article Insight on the News

Oh Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Mercedes-Benz ... Bike?

Article excerpt

The world-renowned luxury car company has come out with a new zero-emissions vehicle featuring disc brakes and front and rear suspension. It also weighs only 24 pounds, runs on two wheels and even may improve the health of its operators.

Mercedes-Benz dealers have begun selling the first-ever all-terrain mountain bike that "parallels the safety, quality and comfort of Mercedes automobiles." The design of the bike was a collaborative effort between Mercedes-Benz and AMP Research Inc., a producer of high-tech bikes and cycling components. The head of the company's California design studio is a mountain-bike enthusiast and a personal friend of the head of AMP Research; the two sketched out designs for the vehicle on a cocktail napkin over drinks one night.

The lightness of the bike is due in part to a frame made of Alcoa 6013 aluminum tubing. Its carbon-fiber fork legs are more than three times stronger than the conventional variety and contribute to a low unsprung suspension weight for better handling. Its patented rear-suspension uses a "Horst-link" swing arm - an often-copied design which, unlike many, works independently of pedaling force or hard braking. The swing arm is controlled by a rear shock absorber with a double-sealed stainless-steel shaft and adjustable coil spring.

The front and rear disc brakes provide twice the stopping power of conventional cantilever brakes and 10 times the brake-release speed. The self-adjusting system includes stainless-steel discs, insulated pads and hydraulic twin-piston floating brake calipers operated by insulated cables. Because the brake surface is halfway up the wheel rather than on the wheel rim, they work well even in wet and muddy conditions.

The Benz bike comes in "Ultra-Blue" with the Mercedes name emblazoned zoned on the frame and the company's logo on its head and seat mount. …

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