Eco Innovation

igus rolls out the first 100 all-plastic bicycles in UK

1st May 2024
Harry Fowle
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The first batch of the famous igus all-plastic bicycle is in production, while igus builds a high-volume production line.

The day has finally come. After months of development, the igus:bike, a bicycle made of 92% plastic with a high proportion of recycled material, is in production. The first 100 bikes are being produced while igus is building a dedicated line to increase production to 10,000 bikes per year within two years. This is a step closer to the vision of using plastic waste for future urban mobility solutions in a circular economic model.

Nearly four years ago, Frank Blase, Managing Director of the igus group, started a sustainable project to use mountains of plastic from the world's rubbish dumps to make plastic bicycles. Durable and maintenance-free urban bikes that are corrosion-free and dirt-resistant, resistant to weather and corrosion for many years, and which could help revolutionise mobility in cities, , hotels, trade shows, campsites and company premises. A win-win solution for the environment and people.

“I am delighted that we have now come a great deal closer to this vision,” says Frank Blase. "The igus:bike is finally hitting the road under a new brand name, RCYL. After approval for road use, rapid delivery of the first 1,200 pre-orders is planned."

“To reduce waiting times when orders increase, we are building our own igus bicycle production line at our factory in Cologne. The goal is to produce 10,000 bicycles per year," says Matthew Aldridge, Managing Director of igus UK in Northampton. The price for this unique plastic bike is around £1500.

World first: igus bicycle is made of 92% plastic

The green light for volume production should have been given a few months ago. However, some optimisations for the igus:bike to be as sustainable as possible were time-consuming but necessary. Among other things, igus wanted to increase the proportion of plastic in the bike. The few parts that were made of metal in earlier prototypes, such as the seat post and brake lever, are now made of plastic in the latest version. In addition, the design engineers have increased the steering angle of the handlebars to make the bike easier to turn.

Other new features include a freewheel using longer life xiros ball bearings that allow the wheels to run both lubrication-free and more smoothly, and a bipod stand to park the bike safely. "The igus:bike, which weighs around 17 kilograms, is now 92 percent plastic – we believe a world first for a production bicycle," says Matthew. "From the frame to the bearings, it is all plastic and largely recycled. Even the drivetrain is polymer, which was considered almost impossible in the bike industry for a long time."

Recycled content is at 50% now, and rising

Both rotational and injection moulding are used to manufacture bicycle components from granulate made from recycled plastic waste, including fishing nets classed as plastic ocean waste. In the process, the project’s engineers and materials experts have succeeded in reducing the proportion of virgin plastic mixed in to just 50%. "We are continuing to invest in research and development to increase the recycled content to 75 percent as quickly as possible, and even to 100 percent in the future," emphasises Aldridge. "With this high recycled content, we are accelerating the circular economy for plastics – and transportation. This means that plastic in the world's waste stream can become an increasingly valuable resource."

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