Funding sought for “world’s first 100% recycled aluminium bikes”

Los Angeles company looks to Kickstarter for pledges

by Mat Brett   December 6, 2012  

ReCycle 1

Californian bike brand ReCycle is attempting to get crowd funding for what they’re calling the "world’s first 100% recycled aluminium bikes”.

ReCycle, based in Los Angeles, have three different aluminium (the Yanks call it 'aluminum') bike models and they’re looking for $105,000 (approximately £65,000) in pledges on Kickstarter to get the project off the ground. 

“Our prototypes are alive, well and rolling down a street near you (if you live in Los Angeles),” says ReCycle’s Bryce Edmonds. “Against so many odds, we’ve managed to create a head-turning bicycle made from 100%-recycled aluminum making it the greenest transportation option available anywhere.

“Now, it’s time to roll The ReCycle forward and start reducing carbon output and waste by reusing aluminum through a closed-loop, recycling mission to create new and awesome bikes from old and worn out materials.”

ReCycle have three models in the range: a cruiser called the mBula (main pic), a fixed/singlespeed bike called the Moshi Moshi (above), and an all-terrain bike called the Mudmaste (below).

They’re initially looking for 50 orders for their mBula because that’s the minimum their bike builder needs to keep the prices reasonable. From there, they’re after 50 orders for each of the other two bikes.

Backers are rewarded with various products depending on the size of the donation. A $35 pledge, for example, gets you a T-shirt while a pledge of $2,250 gets you the singlespeed version of the mBula bike… so you're effectively buying a bike for that price and supplying one of the 50 orders ReCycle need.

The most noticeable feature of the range is that each frame is built without a seat tube. Why?

“We took out the seat tube because it’s not necessary and just looks so damn cool,” ReCycle say on their Kickstarter page. “It’s probably as simple as that. Plus, why do the same when you can do different and better? That’s a pretty decent life motto as far as we’re concerned.”

The bikes come with some very distinctive forks and dropouts, and the mBula and the Mudmaste are both belt driven and run on NuVinci N360 continuously variable internal hub gearing (they're also available as singlespeeds).

If you’d like to donate, head over to the Kickstarter page.

Incidentally, remember the Blaze laser-projecting bike light that we told you about last week? Blaze Components were looking for £25,000 through Kickstarter. They reached their target in five days and currently have pledges totaling well over £33,000.

7 user comments

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Good to luck to them. Raising finance is a nightmare. They're doing great.

But I do feel that its best not to muddy your innovations. The really great one here is recycling aluminium (I've no idea if that is unique, but if it is, brilliant!). But its muddied by some very leftfield designs. Best stick to a clear single message and allow normal choices, rather than narrowing down to an ultra specific audience who are now buying on out-there designs, not the recycling ticket.

Do they make unusual bikes? Or recycled bikes?

I hope I'm a grumpy old curmudgeon who'll be proved horribly wrong!

www.vulpine.cc
@aslongasicycle
@vulpinecc

aslongasicycle's picture

posted by aslongasicycle [309 posts]
6th December 2012 - 19:35

12 Likes

I agree with aslongasicycle – a recycled aluminium bike is a strong selling point. The people who are attracted to a product like that could probably be satisfied by a retro/traditional design - Kona Africa bike-esque, highly practical and with the promise of longevity.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
6th December 2012 - 21:37

10 Likes
pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [235 posts]
6th December 2012 - 21:37

10 Likes

Interesting idea, but as I see it there are a few problems. First, I'm curious if this is in fact "the world’s first 100% recycled aluminium bikes". The recycling of aluminium is one form of recycling where the economical and environmental advantages are completely unambiguous. Aluminium is usually produced from ore through the Hall–Héroult process, which requires massive amounts of electricity - a large cost that does not exist when producing ingots from recycled aluminium. Which of course makes me wonder if tubing manufacturers are not already buying ingots made from recycled aluminium.

Secondly, I can only think of maybe two performance -oriented bikes with a traditional quadrilateral frame that isn't made with a seat tube. It just does not happen often, even before UCI rules, and even for bikes not governed by UCI rules (e.g. tri bikes and lightweight exotics). That's because the seat tube is there for a very good reason - it provides triangulation for the structure, and minimises shear, bending and torsion loads, which basically no known material is good at resisting. Without the seat tube every other tube must be made thicker and heavier than they need to be. The bike is definitely heavier than it needs to be.

Sure the bikes may not be made to maximise performance, but remember the weight of the frame reflects the amount of material used - a heavier bike uses more material, and the amount of material used is very important for a bike claimed to be "the greenest transportation option available anywhere". The same goes for all the design flairs like the huge dropouts.

So on that point I agree with aslongasicycle, they need to make up their mind - either produce a "boring" double-triangle frame to minimise the weight/material used and hence making the bike actually "greener", or drop the act and just sell it as unusual cruisers (of which there is plenty already). $2,250 is a lot of money for a single speed cruiser with unknown specs and most likely made in China or Taiwan, and as it is it just seems like a cynical attempt to sell overpriced bikes with dubious green-credentials and stupid terms like "Ma Earth". The greenest bike you can buy is a used one.

posted by Shanghaied [41 posts]
6th December 2012 - 21:44

12 Likes

Why are they only recycling ugly aluminium?

Honestly, if they weighed 8lb, never broke and cost £300 I'd still not buy one. Maybe at £100, but I'd need a free bag to put over my head and a washable sick bag for the handlebars.

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [417 posts]
7th December 2012 - 8:28

7 Likes

I have to agree with the above, I wouldn't have one of those, I'd take an angle grinder to it and send it back for them to "recycle"

I would not even punish an African child by sending it out to them.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8940 posts]
7th December 2012 - 11:20

14 Likes

I like the idea and the frame design's certainly novel and eye-catching. But I agree that the seat post tube plays an imporant role in frame stiffness. Taking it out means you have to go fo stronger and heavier tubes all round. Otherwise, you end up with a bendy frame that doesn't handle.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2242 posts]
7th December 2012 - 22:47

14 Likes