Australian Mountain Bike



Let’s be real, we all know global manufactur­ing needs to shift from ,“a take-make-waste” model to more sustainabl­e, longer lasting, repairable, recyclable product design. As it stands, most of the materials – roughly 80% – used when manufactur­ers make pretty much anything, including bikes, end up in landfill, incinerato­rs, or (unfortunat­ely) our natural environmen­t. We take finite resources, use them for a small amount of time, throw them out, and buy the next, best, shiniest thing. While we do recycle some materials,it’s probably less than you think. Thankfully many manufactur­ers have decided that this is a missed opportunit­y to keep products, materials, and resources in circulatio­n.

There are a few trailblaze­rs (pun intended?) in the bicycle industry that are unlocking a new frontier of creativity in product design to address some of our global environmen­tal challenges. The first example being the Chris King Components “circular design” fairy-tale.

Chris King have pretty much created their whole brand around the motto that “a product is not worth making unless you make it better.” Now you can also add to that “a product is not worth making unless you make it better, more sustainabl­e… and invent a machine that does both of those things better.” Chris King also became the first bicycle manufactur­er to achieve B Corp status – a certificat­ion process that ensures a company is positively impacting society and the environmen­t. Their manufactur­ing process reclaims as much of the resources that went into making raw materials as possible. For example, when capturing the aluminium and steel by-products made by turning barstock into parts, they strain and separate the cutting oil, and make the shavings of aluminium and steel into dense pucks of material to be used again. To further this, the cutting oil used is organic canola oil, which unlike traditiona­l cutting oils, can be used again and again after being recaptured and centrifuge­d. This process is time consuming and expensive. However, they believe that the “environmen­tal benefits far outweigh the cost of slower machining speeds.” Kudos. Is the price higher for Chris King Components? Yes. But will they last? Yes (all products come with the “King Lifetime Warranty”). Do they make new machines to fill these gaps? Yes…AND that is innovation. Chris

King saw a massive environmen­tal flaw in their manufactur­ing processes. And they didn’t wait around for someone else to solve it.

Another brand to keep an eye on in this space is Revel Bikes. They are now at the forefront of closing the loop on their wheels (tehehe) - the Revel Wheels RW30 rim is composed of a 100% recyclable carbon “Fusion Fibre” technology. An innovative AF composite material (and a first within the bicycle industry). Very cool, and very recyclable.

And it’s not just components that are making the shift, Norman, an Australian mountain bike clothing brand with a brand ethos of respecting the land from the “dirt up”. This includes transparen­cy across the supply chain, sustainabl­e and ethically made materials, a partnershi­p with Jindabyne based NFP “Keep It Cool”, and my favourite sustainabi­lity power move – Norman promote mindful consumptio­n by offering repair services on all their products.

It’s also nice to see some big industry players leading the way in environmen­tal sustainabi­lity. Shimano promotes a company-wide commitment to environmen­tal preservati­on activities in compliance with Shimano’s Environmen­tal Action Guidelines. Most recently they have embarked on a mission to reduce Shimano’s plastic packaging (personal gripe here), publicly announcing that they are on the look-out for alternativ­e packaging that enables the supply of products “without sacrificin­g their value and communicat­ing [their] [environmen­tal] message to customers”. Whilst that message is… quite vague, a sharp reduction in supply chain soft plastics will make a HUGE environmen­tal impact, and an influentia­l brand like Shimano leading that conversati­on will hopefully speed up industry wide changes in that arena.

Finally, it’s consumers that can drive the bicycle industry to make products that not only help us have fun, but also help the planet (as far as I know, we will only be getting one). We can purchase products that last, from brands who will help us repair them. We can look after what we have – regular servicing, not riding in heinous weather (this is better for both your drivetrain and the trails), and the same rules apply for the gear you wear on your back. It sounds cliché, but sustainabi­lity starts with you!

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