Carbon

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  • Carbon
  • mccraque
    Member

    Thumbing through Cranked magazine yesterday and reading the article about Sick Bikes- and scrapping their project for the full suss with the carbon swing arm because of the environmental impact of carbon. Similar story on Pole, the Finnish company’s website. They’re not using carbon for a building material due to the waste, lack of recycling for carbon at present and also the conditions that exist in far east factories.

    Neither company claim to be eco warriors – but have been put off to the point of not using it.

    Until now, I’ve bought bikes and not really given too much consideration to that point. But it’s got me thinking.

    What are Your views? And in which direction will the industry move?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    there’s clearly a lot of waste even at the manufacturing stage;

    and recycling is an issue.

    I suspect like microbeads eventually the issue of nano fibres will become a major concern.

    Did I not buy a carbon frame as a result? No, I still bought carbon but I feel slightly guilty about it.

    Rorschach
    Member

    And in which direction will the industry move?

    To whatever they can sell more of/make more money from.
    There are a lot of reasons for not building bikes from carbon.I am suspicious that the environmental issues were Pole/Sick’s main concern.

    Premier Icon jonnyboi
    Subscriber

    There are a lot of reasons for not building bikes from carbon.I am suspicious that the environmental issues were Pole/Sick’s main concern.

    this. personally I’d buy a bike made from kitten/seal pup/baby otter flesh if it made me more rad and gnar

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber
    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Surely there are more road bike manufacturers using carbon – any of them on the environmental issue?

    And recycling? Look at eBay etc – used bikes are recycled all the time.

    Premier Icon vincienup
    Subscriber

    Not really the same thing.

    Yes, SH sale keeps stuff in use longer which helps any justification of manufacturing energy input, but if the materials are non-recyclable at end of life they’re still a problem.

    You could sell an all and a carbon bike to further users for ten years, whatever, buy at the end the alu bike will still be useful as reclaimed material.

    Rorschach
    Member

    It’s a good marketing angle

    I suspect this mostly.

    Premier Icon vincienup
    Subscriber

    Possibly. Plus carbon dev and manufacturing is expensive. Making a virtue out of a hairshirt is an old trick.

    wobbliscott
    Member

    And recycling? Look at eBay etc – used bikes are recycled all the time.

    That is re-using, not re-cycling…and even then re-using is only kicking the problem down the road.

    Rorschach
    Member

    Low volume carbon manufacturing is expensive and ties you into a specific design for a long time unless you want to discard expensive molds.Not helpful if your designer has a head like a box of frogs.

    andreasrhoen
    Member

    A huge problem.
    Not only a “special waste” problem.

    Also the manufacturing procedure creates many potential health issues. One of them: grinding and polishing the parts until they look shiny and neat. Big vents blow this dust to the outside of the plant…- nice for the people living near by…
    👿

    philjunior
    Member

    Rorschach – Member
    Low volume carbon manufacturing is expensive and ties you into a specific design for a long time unless you want to discard expensive molds.Not helpful if your designer has a head like a box of frogs.

    Couldn’t put it better myself.

    I assume these folk don’t drive, as about 250 times more than a carbon frame ends up in landfill from every car that’s scrapped? (Or only about 50 times as much if/when targets are met.)

    Like so many things, I don’t like it but it’s so low down my list of priorities.

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Subscriber

    There’s a good article HERE on the problems of recycling.

    Link to a place near Dudley that is at the sharp end of carbon recycling – [b]EGLCF – What We Do[/b][/URL].

    I think the big problem is the far east manufacturing that’s causing a lot of the issues, massive waste generated when you cut and lay-up, and then more waste from trimming and scrapped frames etc. They just don’t seem to have the expertise or facilities to deal with it – or more importantly probably don’t want to deal with it.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    I think the environmental angle is the excuse rather than the reason.

    How many people consider the recyclability of your typical STW (read, anything more than a BSO) bike. How many put it on the list of priorities, never mind near the top.
    How many people have actually recycled anything nicer than a supermarket BSO, rather than eBay/given away/hung on the wall?

    What proportion of sick/poles customers will recycle their bikes when they are done?

    wobbliscott
    Member

    I’m not so sure it’s an excuse rather than a reason. Things are changing, companies are being forced to be more environmentally responsible….and they are companies in a competitive industry at the end of the day so always looking for a new niche to exploit and they are aware there there are probably a lot of cyclists out there who are very environmentally aware, so the marketing angle is definitely there…and that is no bad thing…people love to talk about marketing in a negative way, but it is ultimately all about giving people what they want. The problem is people don’t always know what they want. And who knows…the company owners/directors might be very environmentally aware too.

    I think we’ll see a lot more of this coming down the way as we are now becoming aware it’s more than just chucking stuff in different coloured bins…what happens to the stuff once it’s collected? how much of it is actually recycled? People are now starting to take an interest in what actually happens to their rubbish once it’s collected and businesses and institutions are going to have to start to be far more transparent. And that is a good thing.

    andyl
    Member

    I work in composites and have major issues with the waste issue myself.

    As for the frame on your bike not being recyclable, what about the tyres, the grips, the plastic on the shifters and deraillieur, your lycra shorts and tops, suspension seals, the grease you use on your chain, the oil in your forks….the tissues you use when you service your bike…do you recycle all that?

    Lets face it, we are just knackering our planet.

    But one day the sun will go supernova and incinerate the mess we have long left behind anyway.

    andyl
    Member

    Ps if you think aluminium or steel manufacturing and recycling are “green” then think again. And do you like your frame painted?

    mickmcd
    Member

    when you see the word sustainable and realize population increase isn’t.

    Premier Icon Ming the Merciless
    Subscriber

    Actually our sun is too small to go supernova. It’ll swell up to a red giant when it runs low on hydrogen, maybe swelling out to the orbit Earth, maybe not, before eventually being too light to burn the heavier elements left , ending its days as a brown dwarf slowly guttering out.

    dirksdiggler
    Member

    Interested to know how much of this pile is from catalogue producers vs big brands with presumably better qc, tolerances etc in place and producing out of factories identified amd audited as following the brands production requirements.

    bigwill
    Member

    Great that they are doing something, but it comes over as marketing hype, as a result of deciding to not jump on the carbon bandwagon and the need to differentiate themselves from the mainstream. Pole bang on about ditching carbon as it’s not recyclable But still spec there bikes with carbon cranks and handle bars, but hey I suppose they aren’t made by them so that doesn’t count.

    If sick want to be really believable with their save the Earth cred maybe they should rethink making their ti frames in Taiwan and shipping them 1/2 way round the world.
    maybe they just want to sound like right on, know it all’s who’s ethics are better than the rest of the bike industry or is it just a marketing angle of a small bike builder wanting to sell more bikes?
    Both make great looking bikes mind, but if I ended up buying one it won’t be because they ditched carbon for “environmental “ reasons.

    andyl
    Member

    If sick want to be really believable with their save the Earth cred maybe they should rethink making their ti frames in Taiwan and shipping them 1/2 way round the world.

    Where do the titanium tubes come from if they build the frames in the UK?

    I haven’t bought carbon bikes (and only have a couple of carbon parts that came with complete bikes) because I’m not comfortable with the working conditions for those doing the manufacturing. The environmental issue is clearly important too.

    zero cool
    Member

    Max Commencal stopped using carbon for the same reason.
    Personally I haven’t ridden a carbon fibre mountain bike thqt ‘ve found to be any better than a good aluminium bike (but then I am an Orange-loving Luddite). I’ve ridden great carbon hikes such as Enduros, Capras and Nomads, but I found the Aluminium Capra to be as good a bike as the carbon one.

    I don’t think my next bike will be carbon and part if that is the environmental factors and another is that I perceive the extra cost of carbon to not be worth it.

    Others will have opinions that differ but that’s fine with me.

    Road bikes are a different matter, I’ve preferred most of the carbon road bikes I’ve tried to their aluminium stablemates.

    Tom KP

    Premier Icon gkeeffe
    Subscriber

    Aluminium is green? I don’t think so. This is Europe’s only bauxite plant in Limerick. Illegal emissions on the very edge of the EU out of sight. .

    https://goo.gl/images/rtSCGX

    Best way to be green is to make things last longer and make them upcyclable. Less boost type standard changes would help.

    andreasrhoen
    Member

    Ps if you think aluminium or steel manufacturing and recycling are “green” then think again. And do you like your frame painted?

    Production of steel is “fairly” green.
    Production of aluminium can be very dirty and you always need a crazy amount of electrical power for the production.

    But once you have steel or aluminium: I would rate the recycling as indeed “green”.

    Carbon parts: beautiful stuff. Was a bit involved in sea kayak building. But the manufacturing is terrible. Epoxy resin when curing is hell. The dust when grinding it is hell too. The finished product is great.
    But not sure any more if it’s wise to use this technology for mass production.
    You can’t make sea kayaks from aluminium or steel so.

    But bikes…
    😉

    Best way to be green is to make things last longer and make them upcyclable. Less boost type standard changes would help.

    Well my Spitfire is four years old and still feels new – geometry was ahead of the curve when I bought it. Works headset for even more slackness helps further. Swappable dropouts means it can be updated to deal with new axle standards. No plans to replace it until it cracks – and then the likely replacement will be a secondhand 2017+ Spitfire.

    Big manufacturers are ONLY using carbon because in mass volume it’s cheaper.
    Small companies may claim that they don’t use it for environmental reasons. That may be true.
    But the tooling costs before production are massive, so unless you have a large he customer base and a powerful marketing department the risks are high.
    Add that to the fickle bike market and the risk that head angles, seat tube diameters, stay lengths may change in a year or two.
    It’s far easier to accommodate those changes with some different tube sets in metal than re-tooling your carbon frame lay up.

    andyl
    Member

    But once you have steel or aluminium: I would rate the recycling as indeed “green”.

    But how much energy is needed to melt down steel and aluminium?

    This is where I am going next: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=wooden+bike&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjl-aGFs9PYAhUhBcAKHRlWBRoQ_AUICigB&biw=1396&bih=623

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