Self-lubricating and lightweight bushings are helping bike frame and component manufacturers win big
Rocky terrain, steep trails and profusions of mud—a tried and true mountain biker is built to take on these barriers. And the bicycles? They should coexist.
There are enormous impact loads and stresses put on the individual components of a mountain bike. For the parts to have a long service life, high-performing materials must be used. iglide® plain bearings from igus® have been proven to be efficient in a wide variety of bicycle applications, such as fork suspensions, height-adjustable seatposts, shock absorbers, pedals and derailleurs.
The iglide® plain bearings are composed of lightweight, high-performance plastics and contribute to overall mass reduction and extended service life. The plain bearings defy environmental influences, as they are self-lubricating and do not retain any dirt. This reduces associated maintenance time and effort. iglide® bearings are also more cost-effective than metal bearings, yet withstand impact loads and stresses in the same way.
In recent years, manufacturers in the cycling scene have caught on to the trend of plastic solutions. The technology has garnered healthy debate over the years due to perceived limitations, but when the application allows, the plastic bushings triumph.
Crankbrothers winning athletes pedal on igus®
One recent adopter of the igus® plastic bushing is Crankbrothers, the leading brand of pedals, wheels, dropper posts, pumps, and other components. The company designed the igus® LL bearing in their new Mallet E pedal line, as well as their highline seat post.
Since implementing the plastic bearing, there have been dramatic increases in durability. The success of the new design is evident through the achievements of its users, such as Greg Minnar, Danny Hart, Loic Bruni, Danny MacAskill, Rachel Atherton, Martin Maes, Yoann Barelli, Bernard Kerr and Loris Vergie.
Ibis RIPMO gets a new link with the igus® bushing
California-based mountain bike manufacturer, Ibis, has used igus® bearings for the past five years. To take its new RIPMO bike frame design to another level, they’ve used the high-performance plastic bearings once again. The design combines exciting aspects from the Ripley 29er trail bike with the aggressive angles of its enduro, the Mojo HD4.
On the new crossover, Ibis deployed the igus® bushings at its lower link frame pivot points. Like most mountain bike pivots, the lower link hinges take on high loads and minimal rotation, which are more successfully handled by bushings than ball bearings. Ibis is so confident in their bearing system that they offer free lifetime replacements.
DVO increases service life with shock eyelet igus® bearing
Maximizing service life and performance is paramount with any shock or suspension component. DVO Developed Suspension also used igus® flanged bushings, or eyelet bushings (2 per eyelet), to mount its shocks to all full suspension bike frames. The benefits of moving to this solution have included increased contamination resistance, reduced maintenance, lower cost and increased ease of replacement.
Quiet sprockets for e-bikes made of high-performance plastics
E-bikes are an emerging technology for all types of riding, from commuter to full-suspension mountain bike styles. Lars Hartmann, e-bike designer in Reichshof, Germany, found excessive noise in his bicycle drivetrain. A metal sprocket was used as a guide roller on the chain to avoid collision with the frame. However, the metal sprocket was discovered as the cause of the loud noise during operation.
Looking for a quiet-running yet durable solution, Hartmann turned to the 3D printing service from igus®. He sent the CAD data of the sprocket to the company and received a custom-made solution within a few days.
“The standard metal pinion generates a lot of noise when in use,” Hartmann said. “I drew it and had it printed by igus® from iglide® I3. Ordering and procuring the part was easy and fast. With the 3D printing service, the appropriate data could be uploaded as a STEP file, the material was selected and the desired quantity ordered.”
The sprockets have been in use for three months in two bikes, operating without fail, and the noise level has been noticeably minimized.