Innovative, Seamless, Customized, Strong, Artistic
In the bustling streets of Portland, Oregon, at the MADE hand-built bicycle show, an unassuming player has been shaking up the world of high-performance bikes. Where once the luminary materials of choice were carbon fiber and titanium, aluminum has now taken center stage, thanks to Heavy Bikes' Hypocrite gravel bike.
Forgoing the norm, Heavy Bikes has ventured into uncharted territory, taking a classic element – aluminum – and elevating it with an ingenious method known as the Pascal Process, developed in collaboration with Foundry Casting Systems. At its heart is the art of sand casting. Here, a mold made of sand and bonding agents cradles molten metal, ensuring a meticulous and faithful design translation. But what sets this apart is an added twist – pumping an inert gas into the 3D-printed bicycle frame mold to a pressure of 150 psi. This acts as a forceful guide, ensuring the molten A356 aluminum reaches even the most intricate nooks of the mold, while the center remains hollow. And, in a display of raw and exhilarating craftsmanship, once the aluminum settles into its solid state, the mold is shattered with a sledgehammer, revealing the frame in its nascent glory.
It’s not just about audacious craftsmanship; it's about redefining performance. Charlie Murray, the visionary behind Heavy Bikes, swears by the Pascal Process, saying it delivers higher-density and less porous parts compared to traditional aluminum casting. This nuance allows for slimmer and lighter walls that retain the strength of their beefier counterparts. And let’s not forget the aesthetic payoff – a frame cast in one piece, seamlessly integrated without the jarring sight of tube-joining welds.
Every detail of the Hypocrite, down to the Enve fork, stem, seatpost, handlebars, the gravel-specific Emporia GC3 Pro wheels, and the SRAM XX Eagle drivetrain with RED eTap AXS wireless shifters, screams precision and finesse. The bike tips the scale at 23 lbs, with ambitious aims to shave off a couple more.
However, this piece of art on two wheels doesn't come cheap. Priced at a cool US$16,000, the Hypocrite promises not just unparalleled performance, but also a personal touch with professional preproduction bike fits, and the opulent offering of customized frame cutouts and engravings.
It's clear that the Hypocrite isn’t just a bike; it’s a statement. A testament to what's possible when innovation meets artistry. For those in search of the road less traveled, of a ride that's both performance-packed and a visual masterpiece, the Hypocrite by Heavy Bikes might just be your next journey.
- Innovative Pascal Process: Utilizes the Pascal Process in collaboration with Foundry Casting Systems to create a unique sand-casting technique, resulting in high-density, less porous parts.
- Superior Strength and Lightweight: The method ensures the aluminum frame has thin yet robust walls, combining both agility and durability.
- Seamless Design: Being cast in one piece, the bike lacks tube-joining welds, providing a cleaner, more integrated look.
- Customization: Offers professional preproduction bike fits, customized frame cutouts, and engravings, ensuring a personalized touch for every rider.
- High-End Components: Equipped with quality parts like the Enve fork, Emporia GC3 Pro wheels, and the SRAM XX Eagle drivetrain.
- Unique Riding Experience: Designed for a new sense of momentum different from traditional hollow tubular bikes.
- Artistic Value: As Charlie Murray puts it, these bikes are “rideable pieces of art,” offering both function and aesthetic appeal.
- Price Point: With a starting price of US$16,000, the Hypocrite is a significant investment and might not be accessible to all biking enthusiasts.
- Weight Optimizations Pending: Although currently weighing 23 lbs, there are aspirations to reduce it further, indicating that the weight optimization process isn't perfected yet.
- Production Time: As the company hopes to begin production by the end of the year, those placing orders might face wait times.
- Limited to Aluminum: While the innovative process elevates aluminum's capabilities, some biking aficionados might still prefer other materials like carbon fiber or titanium for their specific benefits.
- Potential Durability Concerns: Being a new method, the long-term durability and reliability of the Pascal Process in bicycle production remain to be thoroughly tested in real-world conditions.