This bike is made out of 92% plastic, including the drivetrain and bearings

German brand Igus is leading the charge in sustainable bike manufacturing

Clock17:56, Friday 19th April 2024
The Igus:Bike certainly has its own bold style

© GCN

The Igus:Bike certainly has its own bold style

Pioneering brand Igus had a bike that is made from 92% plastics on display at Sea Otter, with over 50% of the plastic used coming from recycled materials. The bike is the latest example of the industry’s sustainability awakening that has been driven by a greater awareness of the impact it is having on the environment.

The German-based company has been manufacturing polymers since 1964 and only turned some of its attention to bikes in the last few years. If the bikes on show at Sea Otter are anything to go by, it has made quick progress.

There were two bikes on show, one green and one orange. The colours reflect the materials used, with the green bike manufactured from fish nets, which happen to be predominantly green.

The bike is aimed at the city bike rental market with the design focused on being as low maintenance as possible. Its construction, using a belt drive and plastic self-lubricating bearings, means that nothing on the bike needs to be lubricated.

We previously spoke to Igus’ industry manager, Christopher Hoeller, at the Taipei Cycle Show, where he explained that the company was striving for a bike made from 100% recycled materials, “so it is a fully sustainable cradle-to-cradle product”.

There hasn’t been enough time to achieve the 100% goal yet, but it has already made strong inroads and is already halfway there. With over 50% of the material used in the bikes’ construction coming from recycled plastics, including fishing nets, the Igus bike looks to set a new standard for sustainable bike manufacturing.

Frank Blase, Igus’ CEO, has said, “The vision is that the world’s heaps of plastic waste will become valuable resources for bicycles.”

Read more: Best and hottest tech from Sea Otter 2024

With only the fasteners, disc brakes and cables being made of metal, the Igus:Bike lends itself well to the testing life of a city hire bike. One of the advantages of a plastic frame over a more typical steel bike is that it does not corrode over time through exposure to moisture.

Already available in Europe, the Igus:Bike has just made its way over to the US and is currently retailing for around $1200, with the brand hoping to reduce this price down to around the $500 mark over time.

You could be forgiven for being wary about departing with your hard-earned money for a bike that, admittedly, represents a bold design that is likely to split opinions. However, Igus sees the first generation of the bike as a proof of concept to show the rest of the industry what can be achieved with a sustainable approach, but there are limitations. At around 17kg, the bike is far from featherweight and is unlikely to make inroads in the performance sector, but instead aims to be robust and able to deal with a harsh life on the streets as a rental bike.

“It is a completely new approach to the bike market,” Hoeller explained to us in Taipei. “It shows that we are able to provide a sustainable bike for the future for the community.”

Igus is not a brand resting on its laurels, either, with an e-bike already in the works for an expected release in 2026. This will use a rear hub motor and an integrated battery to provide riders with pedal assistance, bringing sustainable design to the fastest-growing sector of the industry. The brand is also looking at modular frame designs, allowing for the individual tubes to be manufactured independently and then joined using different connector parts. By using modular parts, allows for different frame sizes to be easily manufactured.

We are out at Sea Otter all weekend, so make sure to head to the tech section of the GCN website to keep up to date with all the latest news from the event.

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