Bike handlebars are available in various shapes made of steel, aluminium or carbon. They are produced by both well-known and unknown manufacturers – and now also by igus. Hang on a minute, why is that? Are the plastics specialists from Cologne now producing aluminium bicycle parts? No, igus is staying true to its roots and working on a handlebar made of high-performance plastics! Now you’re probably wondering why a plastic handlebar should be any better than one made of the competition’s materials.
The answer is very simple and may sound a bit strange at first: sustainability! Plastic, though, of all things? Yes, because significantly less energy is used during production than with aluminium or carbon handlebars. Disposal at the end of the life cycle also plays an important role: unlike aluminium or carbon, plastic is easy to recycle. This is how we are getting ever closer to our vision of a circular economy.
Jan Philipp, Product Manager igus:bike Components, shows that various different handlebar colours are possible
At first, the bicycle handlebars are made from new plastic via injection moulding, but the idea is to use recycled material in future. Just like the frame, fork and wheels of the igus:bike. Another major advantage is the short supply chain thanks to local production in Cologne. The bicycle handlebars do not have to sail overseas on huge container ships from the Far East to be installed on a bicycle in Europe. For bicycle manufacturers in Asia or America, we will also be able to produce handlebars on site, so that there is no need for sea transport there either.
Close-up of the igus plastic bicycle handlebars
But are the new plastic handlebars just as safe as the ones made of aluminium or carbon? Here, too, we fully support our product. The reason is that we put the handlebars through their paces in our test laboratory, subject them to loads hundreds of thousands of times to make sure that they really are safe. Speaking of safety: of course, we also have the bicycle handlebars tested externally by the recognised test laboratory EFBE to confirm that they comply with all legal standards – and that they withstand higher loads than prescribed by the standard. Anything to make your bike ride safe.
The handlebars are not made entirely of plastic, but are hollow inside
Now that we have clarified that igus makes bicycle handlebars, the question naturally arises what type of bicycle it is intended for. Since the igus:bike is an urban bike, we place the intended use of our first handlebar precisely there: for bicycles in the city. At the beginning, we will be offering the handlebars to bicycle manufacturers. We already have our first major customer, namely the e-bike manufacturer Advanced – who, like us, is pursuing the goal of a circular economy. In the next step, we plan to offer the plastic bicycle handlebars as a catalogue product to private individuals as well.
Does the order of colours look familiar? That’s right, the igus bicycle handlebars are “Made in Germany”.
Is igus planning to bring even more bike components onto the market? Anyone who has been following us for longer can certainly guess the answer: yes. For the plastic bicycle igus:bike, which will soon be in production, we carried out a lot of research, tested various plastic mixtures and developed innovative plastic products that did not previously exist. For example, the planetary gearbox or the crank. The next topics on our agenda are plastic wheels and e-bike frames. So, things will stay exciting!
Finished igus bicycle components and those in development
Introductory video of the plastic igus bicycle handlebars