Technology borrowed from the high tech world of cycling has been used by Caterham to cut the weight of the Seven's frame by around 10 per cent.
Caterham has been experimenting with technology from the world of cycling, and it claims to have built a tubular frame that is ten per cent lighter than the current offering, while retaining similar levels of torsional rigidity.
Working with bicycle tube manufacturer Reynolds Technology, as well as experts in CAD Simpact, Caterham has come up with a prototype frame that utilises butted tubes throughout. This basically means that the tubes are thicker at the ends and thinner in the middle, saving weight without sacrificing any strength. The technology is actually over a century old, as it was first patented by Reynolds in 1897.
Simpact undertook the computer simulations proving that the technology could be implemented, and working out which sections could be lightened, and Caterham set about creating the first prototype car that was unveiled at the Niche Vehicle Network Symposium earlier in the month. >Take a look at Caterham Sevens for sale in the classifieds here
Caterham chose to use mild steel to keep down costs, although it's thought that the new frame could end up costing around £1000-£2000 more than the conventional item if it's eventually offered as an option to new 7 buyers. Despite this, Caterham thinks that around a fifth of buyers could choose this.
Simon Lambert, CTO of Caterham Cars, commented: 'Caterham has made its name as a purveyor of lightweight sportscars but we believe more can always be done to reduce weight and, therefore, emissions. Caterham and Reynolds are two proudly British brands and there is a real synergy between customers of Caterham and cycling enthusiasts, so it’s even better that the technology that has made this possible has come from the two-wheeled world.'