World’s first urban bike made from recycled plastic: igus:bike at Engineering Design Show
***Visit stand E50, and the conference zone at The Engineering Design Show at 11.15 Thursday 13th October, to learn about the all-plastic igus:bike***
igus will exhibit the world’s first all-plastic urban bicycle at The Engineering Design Show from 12-13 October. The bike was first launched at Hannover Messe on 30th May.
The igus:bike is the world’s first nearly all-plastic bike and the world’s first bicycle made from recycled plastic. It will be on show at The Engineering Design Show (EDS) at the Coventry Building Society Arena on 12-13 October, stand E50. About 90% of the material in the bike is plastic, including special motion plastic components from igus, and the frame, wheels and forks are made by MTRL of the Netherlands, a partner with igus on this project since 2021. A 100% recycled material variant will be demonstrated at EDS and both types will be commercially available by early 2023.
Revolution in green transport: igus:bike
igus:bike was conceived to address a serious problem: the world is drowning in plastic waste. Vast amounts of plastic in landfill sites are growing fast, and millions of tonnes end up in the ocean and can enter the food chain as microplastics, endangering marine, animal and human life. Companies must shift away from the traditional linear economic model and migrate to a fully circular economy.
Like all igus moving components, igus:bike is lubrication- and maintenance-free, a revelation for cyclists who must constantly fight the weather, moisture and rust with grease and lubrication fluids. The two-wheeler has a long list of features to attract users: it is lubrication-free, durable, light, low friction, rust-free, and performs robustly in dirt, water and chemicals. Solid lubricants embedded in the engineered plastic parts perform the lubrication. Muck and dirt are simply rinsed off with a hose with no need for rust-preventing oil. igus supplies all the moving parts in the bike: ball bearings, wheel bearings, sprockets, gears, brakes, drives, cranks, and handles. The drive chain is made of carbon or rubber and a handful of other components come from partner manufacturers.
“I have been at igus for 25-years and have seen many product launches, but this new igus:bike has the potential to be truly game-changing for simple, wear-free transportation,” said igus UK managing director Matthew Aldridge. “By combining igus’s motion plastics expertise with our environmental credentials, we have produced something that we believe will change how people travel. I am delighted to exhibit it here at EDS, a great show for engineering innovation.”
Collaborate to increase sustainability
To encourage collaboration among companies to squeeze carbon and CO2 out of bike manufacture, igus is building a platform for collaborators and competitors alike to join, provide parts and derive the greenest and best igus:bike designs. MTRL is the first full partner and companies including Coleo (frames) and Gates (belts) have been invited.
Further versions with several gears are planned, as well as an electric variant. Igus:bike will also be available as a children’s bike. The plan is that igus will provide an online configurator on which individual variants of the bike can be configured. Because the recycled variant will be available as a child’s bike, they could conceivably “grow up with the bike”. “The idea is that the bicycle is not thrown away when the owner needs a new frame size but is regranulated and a new frame is made from this regranulate,” says Matthew Aldridge. “This is especially interesting for a child’s bike – the bike grows with them.”
Key partnerships enable focus on specialisms
igus CEO Frank Blasé first had the concept for a lubrication-free bike in 2009 when holidaying in the US and experiencing the high maintenance needs of rental bicycles. In 2019, Frank met two brothers Johannes and Benjamin Alderse Baas, invested in their company MTRL in 2020. From mid-2021, MTRL has focused entirely on developing the all-plastic bike with igus.
Series production of the igus:bike could be ready by end of 2022. The next step for MTRL is to ensure the two models are well received by the market and to develop the children’s bike. igus is now looking to work with other frame manufacturers and will expand its test lab in Cologne to examine plastic frames and wheels of all kinds and makes. Visit the igus:bike on stand E50