A 40-Year Legacy Designing in Carbon Fiber

A 40-Year Legacy Designing in Carbon Fiber

In 1981 at the Argentine GP, the McLaren Formula 1 team forever changed the world of motorsport with its iconic MP4/1 race car — the first F1 car to employ a full carbon fiber monocoque body. 

Now, more than 40 years and countless innovations later, the material is ubiquitous not just in the F1 paddock but in nearly every other aspect of motorsports and beyond, from racing to consumer car design. The material quickly caught hold worldwide, becoming the medium of choice in everything from aircraft to bicycles. McLaren has continued to push the envelope of what is possible in carbon, using it as the core material for the brand’s supercars, F1 cars, and nearly everything else. 

So, when McLaren set out to build a pair of electric mountain bikes, carbon was naturally the material of choice. 

High-performance bicycle frames have been made from carbon fiber since the late 1980s, not long after McLaren introduced its groundbreaking MP4/1 F1 car. However, few industries have pushed the development and use of the material further than automotive and motorsports design. McLaren's engineers took their bleeding-edge expertise in carbon and applied it to the Sport and Extreme Electric Mountain Bike frames, creating unique designs and quality that few other bikes can match. 

Beyond the structure and layup of the carbon, McLaren’s engineers spent more than 1,500 hours perfecting the frames to Class A surface quality — an incredibly detailed level of digital sculpting not usually seen outside the high-end automotive industry. Carbon may not be new to the bike world, but few companies — if any – spend this much time perfecting the aesthetic look and feel of a frame. It’s the same level of finishing McLaren applies to its supercars. 

“Each bike is loyal to the McLaren design attributes, where fast proportions and the integration of components combine to create a visually lightweight product,” said the McLaren design team that created the eMTB frames. “Sophisticated surface treatment and the exposure of technical jewelry reflects the design language of each of our cars, where a beautifully sculpted body meets the technical and functional components of each product.”

Meticulously engineered and beautifully finished, the McLaren Extreme and Sport frames are art in carbon, and an ode to McLaren’s 40-plus years of balancing jaw-dropping aesthetics with uncompromising performance.