Electric bike made entirely of plastics wins design award | igus

Award-winning! igus:bike designed by mtrl receives German Design Award 2023

January 9, 2023

All-plastic bicycle wins in the category “Excellent Product Design – Bicycles and E-Bikes”

9 January 2022 – igus®, the Germany-based manufacturer of engineered motion plastics, announced the company has been awarded the prestigious German Design Award 2023 for the all-plastic igus:bike.

A wide angular frame made of plastic, black wheels with Y-spokes: The futuristic look of the bike designed by mtrl, a Dutch bicycle developer, with motion plastics from igus has won the 2023 German Design Award in the category of “Excellent Product Design – Bicycles and E-Bikes.” The award brings an important step in realizing the sustainability vision of bicycle production with post-consumer-waste recycled plastic for urban mobility.

From “ocean plastics” to motion plastics

igus managing director Frank Blase and Dutch circular startup company mtrl (formerly DutchFiets) were dreaming of an urban bicycle made of plastic at the end of the 2000s. To create this brand-new bicycle, the two companies partnered to launch the igus:bike platform.

Development of the bike components began, in which many things were rethought or thought of differently. But the innovation of the plastic bicycle project is not limited to the bicycle. With its experience in the field of motion plastics, igus makes plastic bicycle parts available for other manufacturers on its igus:bike platform. The platform also demonstrates the current state of the art and helps bicycle and component manufacturers network and exchange ideas.

A futuristic design

This bike does not have much in common with the appearance of a typical bicycle and looks more like something out of a science fiction film. The plastic frame has no curves, is characterized by angular shapes, and is wider than average. The Y-shaped spokes also catch the eye. Thanks to modern high-performance plastics from igus, the bike is rust-free, requires no maintenance, and is reliable in all weather conditions.

“We are delighted to receive this award, which has already received many new and groundbreaking products in recent years,” continues Frank Blase.

“The award recognizes the teams at mtrl and igus for their innovation and groundbreaking thinking,” stated Johannes Alderse Baas, founder of mtrl. “An all-plastic bicycle made from recycled plastic would be a big step forward in modern urban mobility.”

Outstanding design providing answers to the challenges of our time

This is the eleventh time the prize has been awarded by the German Design Council, a Frankfurt-based foundation established in 1953 on the initiative of the German Bundestag. It supports the economy in achieving brand-added value through design.

“Outstanding design means providing answers to the challenges of our time and thinking further ahead,” explains the foundation. “The high-caliber international jury recognizes these groundbreaking design achievements.”

The award ceremony will take place in February 2023. But to which challenge of our time does the bicycle provide the answer? The world is drowning in plastic waste. Some of the plastic ends up in the sea, enters the food chain, and poses a threat to humans and animals. Other parts find their way into incineration plants and produce emissions that are harmful to the environment. Therefore it is urgent to transfer plastics into a circular economy. The all-plastic bicycle makes this transformation possible.

With high-performance plastics for a long service life

Lightweight and self-lubricating high-performance plastics from igus are used everywhere on the bicycle – from ball bearings in the wheels to plain bearings in the brake levers and pedals. All components have integrated solid lubricants and ensure low-friction dry running – without a single drop of lubricating oil. Owners can safely leave the bike outside in wind and weather and clean it with a garden hose in seconds. The everyday bicycle does not rust and is practically maintenance-free.

Delivery for the first bikes is planned for the end of Q1 2023. An e-bike and a children’s model are to follow. And upcycling is also possible with this bike: four children’s bikes can be turned into an adult bike. For the future, igus is planning to collaborate closely with mtrl local production sites around the world near plastic landfills.