3 Advantages of Using Plastic Plain Bearings in Bicycles

May 18, 2020 Alexander Muzicenko

In the bicycle industry, innovative solutions are not only used for design, but for material selection. With the frame, for example, there are many solutions made of aluminum or glass fiber-reinforced material. Component manufacturers are also turning to alternative materials, such as plastic. Whether it's the seat post, suspension, pedals or gearshift, plastic is becoming increasingly important. Plastic plain bearings in particular are gaining popularity because they have many advantages over metal plain bearings.

Weight

Weight is one of the most important points to consider when buying a bike. In everyday use of a bicycle, problems are often encountered when lifting the bicycle up a stairway or while loading the bike onto a luggage rack, for example. Furthermore, weight reduction is used in cycling because every gram is crucial. A plastic plain bearing from igus® is approximately seven times lighter than a comparable metal plain bearing.

Corrosion

A plastic plain bearing is corrosion-resistant and offers a great advantage in damp areas or while driving in the rain. It also helps during mountain biking where a lot of riding is done in dirty surroundings and on wet terrain. Moisture affects the metal bearing, but with tribologically optimized plastic plain bearings, there is no destructive corrosion.

Wear and Service Life

Other criteria for selecting the material of the plain bearing is wear and the associated service life. In the case of a metal plain bearing with a PTFE coating, the coating is quickly worn out after dirt and edge loads, then it no longer offers sufficient sliding properties. The service life of the plain bearing is reduced enormously. In addition, the worn slide coating creates metal-on-metal friction, which causes creaking in the bearing and unpleasant noise. With a plastic plain bearing, on the other hand, the entire wall thickness is used for sliding because the additives responsible for lubrication are distributed homogeneously throughout the material. Therefore, a longer service life is achieved . With the right selection of sliding partners, wear can be reduced further.

Need help finding the right plastic material for your bicycle application? Simply enter your requirements into our free online service life calculator and instantly receive a list of suitable iglide® materials and their expected service lives. 

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