Being an avid cyclist (or at least an avid bike buyer), I have long succumbed to the lure of carbon fibre. It’s shiny, it’s light – and in the world of cycling, it’s a bit of a status symbol. Of course, there are all sorts of alleged structural advantages as well. For example, the manufacturers of carbon fibre seat posts would like you to believe, that the use of said material reduces vibrations and makes for a more comfortable ride. Personally, I have found that – carbon or not – hitting a pot hole on a racing bike is always going to be a painful experience but nonetheless, I am a sucker for anything carbon fibre. There are, however some ludicrous uses of this awfully expensive material. Many of them are just silly, but I have found some of them quite entertaining. Below you will find my Top 5 list of carbon fibre-made products that the world never needed.
5th Place: The Carbon Fibre Credict Card
Have you ever felt like you were held back by the weight of your wallet? Not because you just paid for a can of coke with a £20 note and the shop keeper cheerily announced that ‘we don’t have any notes, sorry, I will have to give you coins’, but because of the sheer weight of your credit cards? Think about it – all that plastic adds up to at least… 7 grams! That’s 7 grams you have to carry everywhere – 7 grams that will slow you down when you try to catch the bus, or climb a flight of stairs. 7 GRAMS! How do people cope? Luckily, the wealthy among us can finally breathe a sigh of relief, as Visa has decided to manufacture it’s new black card from carbon fibre. The drawback is that you need more cash in your account than most people earn over a life time to be eligible for such a card, but if that’s not an issue, you can now pick up your wallet with the secure feeling that it will be at least 2 grams lighter. Bliss!
4th Place: The Gucci Carbon Loafer
There are so many things wrong with this, that I don’t even know where to start. Obviously, there is the hideous design, which will always look like you got these at the beach in Italy or Turkey from a guy who promised you that despite the laughable price these were just as original as the Oakley sunglasses you bought for a fiver. But the design also begs the question what advantage carbon fibre has in a loafer. Surely, the whole idea of such a shoe is that it’s flexible, and easy to wear. Adding a material that is known for its rigidity and stiffness doesn’t seem to be a very good idea. Still, if this does not deter you, they can be your’s for a mere £1,400. Compared to the credit card that’s a bargain!
3rd Place: The Carbon Fibre Desk Catapult
I didn’t even know that there were manufacturers of desk catapults (we used rubber bands in school and they worked just fine) – but if you want to waste a lot of money on a completely useless item that will collect dust on your desk and never be quite as funny as you hoped it would be, here is your chance. The best thing about the desk catapult, however is the video that was made as part of a fundraising campaign to generate enough capital for mass production. Unsurprisingly, few people were interested, so it looks like the carbon fibre desktop catapult won’t be available in a shop near you anytime soon. If you want to see some cringeworthy action of grown men launching Haribo at other grown men with the aid of (surpisingly large and unsubtle) carbon fibre catapults, click here
2nd Place: The Carbon Fibre Baby Seat
The carbon fibre baby seat is the answer to a problem that many supercar driver must have been pondering for years. Suppose you just bought a limited edition Lamborghini, in which most parts have been replaced by carbon fibre components. You paid an extra £20,000 for thinner carpets, lighter (albeit hugely uncomfortable) racing bucket seats, and a carbon fibre bonnet, which is at least 2 kilos lighter than the aluminium version. But putting your toddler’s regular baby seat in the car reverses all of your weight-saving efforts – it’s simply too heavy. What do you do? Well, you could of course take one of your many other cars, or maybe have the maid drive your child. But there is a better solution: the bespoke carbon fibre baby seat. So far, it is only a one-off, although apparently the designer plans to marke this seat as ‘The Wingman’ to a broader audience. There is no official price tag, but surely this is of secondary concern, if you are worried about your baby’s safety and the total weight of your supercar!
Shared 1st Place: The Carbon Fibre Bath Tub and Toilet
Carbon fibre is invading the bathroom! Corcel, the manufacturer of the carbon fibre bath tub describes its No.1 as having “great proportions”, and being “profound and sultry, a Goddess in black”. Well, that’s certainly one way of looking at it. I have yet to understand, what the advantages of a carbon fibre bath tub are – given that it will be filled with water when used, weight saving can’t be the overall objective here. The only thing I can think of, is that it’s easier for plumbers to install, due to it’s featherweight construction. But is that really why anyone would fork out the surely ridiculous price (so far, the tub doesn’t have an official RRP)? Anyway, the utter pointlessness make this a deserving item for the top spot in the list of the most useless carbon fibre products – together with the carbon fibre toilet of course. The latter is a study by Italian designer Alberto Del Biond, and as far as I can tell offers exactly zero advantages, just a hefty price tag…
By the way, there were other serious contenders that didn’t quite make the list in the end. These include the carbon fibre cello, the carbon fibre loo roll holder, the carbon fibre mousepad, and carbon fibre chop sticks. If you want to have a look at these, I recommend checking out carbonfibergear.com