Caterham tries bicycle chassis tech to shave weight from Seven

Trio of British companies finds a way of making Caterham's flyweight Seven even lighter - using bicycle technology

Caterham Cars, bicycle chassis tube-makers Reynolds Technology and computer aided engineering consultancy Simpact have previewed an ultra-lightweight chassis using technology used in the cycling world.

Using butted tubing technology – a process developed by Reynolds as far back as 1897 – the trio of British companies has been able to reduce the weight of a typical Caterham Seven chassis by more than ten per cent. On a car where every kilo counts, the ability to shed ten per cent from one of the heaviest components is an impressive feat.

It’s all about where weight can be lost without compromising structural strength: With butted tubes, that means building tubes that are thicker at the ends than in the middle, and using mild steel rather than ‘more exotic alloys’. Some individual components are up to 50 per cent lighter, without any reduction in stiffness or strength.

The downside of the more advanced engineering is cost, and Caterham estimates that it would add between £1000-2000 to the price of a Seven – though that’s also a premium it thinks up to a fifth of buyers would be prepared to pay for as an option.

The prototype was developed virtually by Simpact, after which Caterham built a full car using tubing provided by Reynolds. ‘There is a real synergy between customers of Caterham and cycling enthusiasts’, explained Simon Lambert, CTO of Caterham Cars. ‘So it’s even better that the technology that has made this possible has come from the two-wheeled world.’

Caterham has confirmed it will continue to develop the prototype vehicle, with a production version possible ‘in due course’. It also notes that research and processes undertaken in this project have use for other companies using spaceframes – so such technology could become a feature in other lightweight sports cars in future.

> Click here to read more Caterham Seven news and reviews

Recommended

BMW M4 Competition 50 Jahre editions celebrate 50 years of M
BMW M4 50 Jahre – front quarter
BMW M4

BMW M4 Competition 50 Jahre editions celebrate 50 years of M

The celebrations continue with BMW M launching market-specific 50 Jahre editions of its M3 and M4
24 May 2022
BMW M4 CSL revealed – M Division eyes the Porsche 911 GT3
BMW M4 CSL live – front
BMW M4 coupe

BMW M4 CSL revealed – M Division eyes the Porsche 911 GT3

It’s 100kg lighter, is rear-wheel drive and a 542bhp power figure. Bring it on.
23 May 2022
Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder prototype spotted with RS induction and centrelock wheels
Porsche Boxster Spyder RS – front
Porsche Boxster Spyder

Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder prototype spotted with RS induction and centrelock wheels

Porsche might be on track to apply some of the GT4 RS’s tricks to the 718 Boxster Spyder
10 May 2022
2022 BMW M2 teased with M Performance parts
2022 BMW M2
BMW M2

2022 BMW M2 teased with M Performance parts

BMW has released an official teaser of the all-new M2 ahead of its reveal later this year
9 May 2022

Most Popular

Prodrive P25 teased – continuation Subaru Impreza WRX STI on its way
P25 teaser
Subaru

Prodrive P25 teased – continuation Subaru Impreza WRX STI on its way

Maker of the P1 and a key facilitator of Subaru’s rally heritage, Prodrive is working on a very special new project
19 May 2022
BMW M4 CSL revealed – M Division eyes the Porsche 911 GT3
BMW M4 CSL live – front
BMW M4 coupe

BMW M4 CSL revealed – M Division eyes the Porsche 911 GT3

It’s 100kg lighter, is rear-wheel drive and a 542bhp power figure. Bring it on.
23 May 2022
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is the most expensive car in the world
Mercedes 300 SLR – side
Mercedes

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is the most expensive car in the world

One of two 300 SLR Uhlenhauts has been sold from Merc’s own collection for £114,000,000
20 May 2022