Carbon Conundrum - Pole Bicycles Ditch Their Plastic Project

Sep 15, 2017
by Paul Aston  
Pole Bicycles - Carbon Conundrum


Pole Bicycles is a new brand that has gained a huge amount of interest over a very short period of time, due to either appearing with a bike that met the mode of extremely long, low, and slack at the right time, or being part of pushing that movement. The brand's Finnish founder, Leo Kokkonen, showed me some renderings of a carbon version of the 29'' wheeled Evolink 140mm that I tested earlier this year, followed by a scale 3D printed model. He then headed full steam ahead to a carbon factory in China to sign-off on the project.

He was excited about going carbon, like many brands are—the lure of lighter, stiffer, stronger, less limitation and poor ethics. Hang on... touting a product as unethical isn't something we hear in the marketing brochures and I am not here to say one way or another what I think of this material; industry stalwarts like Max Commençal and Gavin Vos (of Spank and IXS clothing) have been vocal in the past about sticking with aluminum production for various reasons, and there are some clear up, and downsides to this black art. The following is a short interview with Leo on what he found in China and how that affected his decision to cancel the carbon project.






Pole Bicycles - Carbon Conundrum
Pole Bicycles Founder, Leo Kokkonen, with the 3D printed sample of his carbon EvoLink bike.


You showed me a sneak peek of renderings of the carbon Pole project earlier this year, but how much time and effort did you invest in that?


Our goal is to create bikes that ride amazingly good. We started with the kinematics and geometry. Second, we choose the material that is strong enough and gives the best feeling to the ride. The third most important aspect for us is the aesthetics. We started the process in 2014 by ordering a study from a university student who was doing his master's degree. We needed first to understand the carbon design and manufacturing processes. Then we started to design the carbon frame. Carbon frame design differs from aluminum bike design a lot, and that means more 3D work than in individual tube design. There were two years of concepts, mockups, and two complete frame 3D printouts, so I would say that there’s a lot of work that is almost thrown away. Although the conceptual design will carry forward to our next aluminum bike.


What did you discover when you went to China to view the factory and sign off on the project?


Carbon fiber frame manufacturing is labor intensive work. We learned that there’s no way of automating the carbon fiber process. This means that all the labor in carbon manufacturing has to be in low-cost countries; Myanmar, for example. We found out that also the carbon waste is not handled properly. The factory where we visited stated that the carbon waste is “ocean fill.” I guess it means that they dump it in the ocean...

That might change in the future, but still, we are not interested in a process where you need to invest a lot in something that is so risky in many ways.


Did you just choose a crappy factory by accident that wasn't doing a good job? The big brands must use facilities with higher standards?


I think that there is no point in visiting crappy places. Personally, I hate wasting time on low-end processes. The factory we chose to visit makes frames for many big brands in MTB industry. My business ethics says not to tell which but let’s say that they have made one of the lightest full suspension frames on the market recently for a big player in Europe. Their process is as professional as it can be in my opinion. The factory was clean, and the workers looked relatively happy. The only thing they didn’t do professionally was the recycling. Lack of recycling is a big problem in the Middle East, and China is one of the worst.


Can anyone guess what this might be? #areyoumachined #polebicycles

A post shared by Pole Bicycle Company (@polebicycles) on



What do you think the environmental/ethical costs are of producing a carbon frame in China over your alloy bikes that are made in Taiwan?


Aluminum is 100% recyclable, and there is a growing need for aluminum in the world. This means that even though aluminum needs a lot of electricity and the mining of Bauxite is not safe; we are helping society in the long term by adding more aluminum to the pool of material available to recycle. This means that every bike we make is going to be recycled to a different product after its life has ended.

Carbon is not recyclable, and the resin used in the frame is toxic. Most of the jobs that involve resins are ranked high in the health risk jobs. There is no need for recycled carbon fiber at the moment, and there is not a worldwide process that would recycle carbon fiber products. I can’t say how much of this problem is from bikes as the biggest carbon waste comes from airplanes, but still, there's not enough carbon waste that it would be a business – it's landfill material after use. The most toxic part of the carbon frame is the resin.


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Besides that it's not really recyclable at the moment, what do you think the other disadvantages of carbon are?


The biggest of them all is that carbon frames really don't seem to give as big of an advantage that we might think. By our standards, the frame should take a real beating. The light full suspension MTB frames we have seen recently are close to the weight of road bikes from ten years ago. That’s insane from our perspective. We think that you should be able to ride fast with the bikes that we make. We want the frames to take a beating so that you don’t need to worry when you crash if the bike is ok or not. I personally have spent thousands of Euros on components and gear that I thought would last at least one season but they have failed because they have been designed with lightweight and not longevity in mind.

When we wanted to make a frame that is strong enough by our standards, the weight difference between metal and composite on trail bike seems to be fairly low. If riders invest their hard-earned money on properly choosing their parts, there will be a far bigger advantage than losing 1–2kg on the frame. For example, you can use light cranks to save weight and your budget is not going through the roof if they fail. And the best part is that if you break your cranks, they’re easy to replace and continue the season. If you break the frame, you won’t be able to get a spare as quickly as cranks.


Pole Evolink 140 Review - Frame details
My previous long-term test bike, the EvoLink 140, is still at the top of my list.


How hard was it to can the carbon plan after so much of your time, money, and energy was invested? How close were you to saying "F-it, let's just go ahead with the project"?


Personally, not very hard. We want to do the best, and if we find out that the concept we have does not follow our philosophy, it’s easy to terminate it. It was a relief, actually. Big companies play it safe because they need to. We can lead the way because we can ditch stuff that we don’t like. Pole’s business is to make riding more fun by experimenting with the stuff that nobody has bothered to look at yet. We have already seen now that bigger companies start to turn their boats to new school geometry, slowly.


What are your plans for the future of this project, and what else are you doing to make your company more environmentally friendly?


We think that robotics, artificial intelligence, and digitalization are the keywords of modern business. If we harness these, we can make the world a much better place for everyone. We have a plan that is quite radical, and if it works, it will revolutionize the industry.

If you care about the environment and human rights, you should ask your brand how they make sure that these things are taken care of. Pole is a small company, and we cannot change the Chinese factory's strategies. We choose to use our brains over our wallets and create our own future. We have created a manufacturing method that is going to be the next big thing. It’s 98% ready, so you can expect news later this year.




Leo certainly has some strong opinions on carbon fiber and why he won’t be going down that road. Do you agree? Or is carbon the right material for the job?

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495 Comments

  • + 726
 Probably the best reasons for me to not choose a carbon bike or components. Hats off to you guys for having a sense of ethical business.
  • + 173
 I am really impressed by this. Especially given that as a boutique brand the tooling costs can't have been insignificant to absorb. Representing the change you want to see in the world, Bravo!
  • + 115
 Mmmm, it all seems very "friends of the Earth", but I'm a little sceptical. How did they get this far down the road of carbon before deciding it was a bad idea?
Surely only some vague research, mostly done from a laptop would have revealed most of the truth about carbon bicycle frame manufacture - that could have been done long ago
  • + 71
 Love their reasoning as well, but I can't shake the feeling that this seems like a sales pitch for their new revolutionary production process. Maybe that's ok though. I'm guessing 3D printing the alu frames is coming up soon.
  • + 9
 I like it! Maybe the next frame will be an alu Pole.Thanks for telling us what's really going on down there! Hell I'll recycle one if some one has a used one Goin cheap or freeXD
  • + 40
 @lubb1: "...can't shake the feeling that this seems like a sales pitch for their new revolutionary production process"

Agreed. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but still makes you wonder.

I hope their new process is a 100% hydroformed front triangle. How cool would a seamless/weldless aluminium frame be?!
  • + 32
 @IllestT: sceptical is a good word, as I couldn't get bs out of my mind while reading this marketing advertisement. I love how recycling is sold as a core value to the company, but there is zero insight into carbon not being recyclable or resign is toxic prior to a trip to the factory? There is more to this than carbon isn't environmentally friendly. That's pretty well established. Resign is nasty stuff, but a quick YouTube video could have shown you 100's of examples of resign being toxic.
My favorite part, is him saying aluminum frame manufacturing is doing the world a favor, because we need these excess bikes for other products in the future. I guess he missed the article where they have seas of bikes that they don't know what to do with around China.
  • + 317
 @EMR52: Metal recycles forever. I don't know why Chinese don't recycle the metal they have but up to 80% of all metal ever produced in the world is still available for use.

Everything is marketing what companies say so let's get this out of the table. These values what we tell here are our personal values put in to a company values. We don't want to be part of something that feels wrong. Here's everything put in to a nutshell:

1. Pole is not going to save the world.
2. Pole does not want to "create more jobs"
3.The world has bigger problems than carbon frames.

What we want to say is:

1. We want to move forward in the world to a cleaner and safer future for everyone
2. We think that working in factories is not for humans
3. Everything you do has an effect to the world. We want to minimize the negative effect.

There's more in to this on our website: www.polebicycles.com/why-arent-we-going-for-carbon-frames
  • + 31
 Fantastic attitude, I applaud you sir.
  • + 12
 @EMR52: What does it matter, point is still valid if it highlights a toxic waste issue that big brands are turning a blind eye to in pursuit of boutique frames
  • + 15
 This is definitely an issue that deserves more discussion. Kudos to PB for not shying away from the subject. And Pole gets credit for making an ethical decision, even if it sounds mostly like a marketing ploy. More light should be shed on the subject and more disclosure demanded from bike brands on their environmental footprint.
  • + 13
 @polebicycles: I appreciate the response. I understand the basics of metal and recycling, as my old man was in the business for years going back to the 80's. The comment struck me funny, I'm not sure why. I also understand that most of what I read is marketing, especially on this website.
My point is, your appear to be a forward thinking company, and you sell yourself as progressive environmentally in this article. Obviously, that is easy to applaud. That said, it feels like a Miss America pageant response. I get it, we all want peace (we'll most of us), global warming is bad (again, most of us agree), and we should all help suffering children and countries. I agree with all. Easy to do. So you admitted that everything is marketing, which I consider fluff. So what is the real reason for not moving to carbon? Recycling and environment issues aside. Easy answer. I'm on board with the recycling and environmental issues. If you're so progressive, which I bet you are, during the 2 year process of design and research (which you envolved a masters university student), what did you find in regards to waste and the process. Im calling BS on the easy answer. Again, you appear to be forward thinking, and this had to be clearly on your radar. I just feel there is more to it than what is listed in the article. I would have hoped for some deeper questions, and not marketing fluff, but that seems to have disappeared in today's society. Maybe too much to ask on PB, but it's toxic across all media outlets. Rant over
  • + 9
 @EMR52: I get the whole miss america thing but wasn't this just some hyped up thing that the company had to explain why the hype was never seen through to the end? Any explanation from them without thorough detail would seem like a lot is being left out.

It could just be an honest response to all the potential disappointment. Maybe they are just explaining what they learned...and those things didn't sit right by them. Now they're just pandering to the public? People are so quick to judge.
  • + 10
 @polebicycles: good job boys! lets get some frames in the states now!
  • + 13
 I've been riding mountain bikes since the 80s or before we really even had real mountain bikes. I have never broken a bike frame in my entire life until I started riding carbon frames. I have broken two carbon frames. I have never broken a aluminum or chromoly frame. I have broken two carbon Hoops now. I have never broken and aluminum hoop.
  • + 24
 Presumably once the manufacturer said "we throw our carbon waste in the sea" that was the deal breaker.
  • + 6
 @EMR52: I think Pole is being earnest; the environmental concerns are their main reason for canceling the carbon project. Maybe I am naive to take them at face value, but I don't think there is some insidious truth they are covering up like losing funding, having the factory collapse, or owing the Yakuza money.
  • + 1
 Was thinking the same thing, then I realized that all the aluminum stuff is also manufactured in the far east. So unless they recycle it for economic reasons, they probably don't bother much with it either...
  • + 7
 To the posters that are questioning motive...

In this day in age, everything is brand.
And, while there might be other extenuating circumstances that drove this choice (that we may never know), it's the action you have to pay attention to, not the words (truth or fabrication) that come before of after. As others have mentioned, this appears to have gotten pretty far down the road in terms of product development before pulling the plug, however the plug was pulled. While one can theorize as to the potential forces that ultimately pushed them in this direction, their pattern of behavior moving forward will provide a measuring stick for all to see.
  • + 5
 @polebicycles: "The carbon nanotubes are referred to asbestos" There aren't that many companies that use CNTs or Graphene (not the Marketing BS Graphene from Vittoria Tires) yet in the production of carbon frames or parts.
Maybe you should point out, that in general fibrous dust can be hazardous or even carcinogenic. I think the CDC recommends the use of bio hazard cabinets for cutting or sanding operations of carbon parts, but then you see videos from production facilities of for example Giant or Sram, where those operations aren't even done with a mask.

But even here in Europe there are many companies, where carbon composites are processed without much safety measurements - for example: just go over to GCN on Youtube an watch the guy at the Mavic Headquarters grind down prototype carbon shoes without a respirator in a closed room.
  • + 2
 @polebicycles: I am not sure where you and Pinkbike get the idea that the carbon footprint (or the social footprint) of aluminum is smaller than the carbon one. It is not. In terns of energy cost of the production aluminum is roughly 3 times that of carbon.

When it comes to compute the carbon footprint of the final product this is VERY complex and you provide no data to support the claim of a smaller total footprint. For what I have seen around the cost from finished material to final bike is equivalent.

The carbon footprint of carbon when i comes to length of life is way smaller. Aluminum is very poor in this regard, you would have to go steel or titanium to achieve a higher life span than carbon.

And finally carbon IS recyclable.
  • + 8
 While I am very impressed with Pole's stance and would like to see more of it. It's worth pointing out though that while they may strive to use recycled aluminium, the production of aluminium will continue if people continue to use it, recycled or not, and aluminium production is one of the most damaging environmental practices currently being undertaken by humans, so it could be argued that the carbon less option would be less damaging in the long run. Although if Pole has taken their material acquisition seriously and do actually obtain recycled aluminium, they really are doing what they can to protect the environment, which a very noble thing indeed!
  • + 28
 @polebicycles:
"Lack of recycling is a big problem in the Middle East, and China is one of the worst."

My apologies for being direct, but you are seriously misinformed.

Not only does China recycle metal, cardboard, glass and plastic, they recycle just about everything ELSE that Americans and Europeans put into landfills. Labor cost is too expensive for Western countries to properly break down consumer goods for recycling. Many local entrepreneurs recycle items deemed to toxic to recycle in America - like every type of electronics, even individual AA batteries! Where can you find labor cheap enough to do this recycling? China.

Right now, I put a recycle bin out by the front curb in my Houston, Texas subdivision (with strict regulations from Waste Management about what they'll accept - and there is a LOT of easily recyclable material they won't accept) and give it away for free.

In China, the entrepreneurs I mentioned come door to door and PAY you in cash for your recyclables! They have a portable scale, separate different materials, and pay residents money. They would point at old broken electronics and quote a price, as they know exactly how to break those down to get the precious recyclable metals inside... I was astonished at the variety of things they would take. "It's all worth something!" they would say with a smile.

They pay money for bags of old clothes! It might be last year's style for you, but there are plenty of even poorer people in Tibet or Xinjiang that would love to pay pennies on the dollar for your old clothes... (clothes are something that westerners have an overwhelming abundance of... )

I could go on an on... So many stories. Point is, Chinese are incredibly good at recycling.

They just don't recycle carbon fiber. As you admit, nobody does! So not true to single the Chinese out and say they don't recycle. The factory owners do plenty of things that are terrible for the environment, but on the aspect of recycling - Chinese recycling puts America to shame.

Sources: I lived in China (mainland) for quite a few years.

Pics: Children's toy I bought this past summer in China for my son. Recycled AA battery case made into a tank!
www.pinkbike.com/photo/15169931
www.pinkbike.com/photo/15169934

When I first arrived so many years ago, sights like this Styrofoam recycling man's tricycle astonished me. They are actually very commonplace, and you'll see the tricycles piled high will all types of recyclable materials.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/15169927
www.pinkbike.com/photo/15169929
  • + 5
 @duzzi: carbon can be recycled but the process is very young, requires a lot of heat and, if the company is in an area that requires it, drives a lot of noxious fumes off of the carbon as the resins are vaporized.

There is a company/start up in Port Angeles in WA state doing this with all the off cuts from the Boeing production line. They have a lot of waste even from new sheets that don't pass their QA process, which you can imagine is very thorough for building aircraft components.

I do think that Pole's decision has merit. He didn't like what he saw in the production process and ethically couldn't take that direction.
  • + 7
 @EMR52: I think we were all hoping to hear that testing has proven carbon frames can not take the punishment we dish out on our bikes. Most of us who have owned multiple carbon frames and broken multiple carbon frames know that our "older" aluminum frames never cracked at same rate. I think we all know the truth about carbon but are in love with it because of the weight savings and beautiful smooth lines of carbon frames.
  • + 26
 @EMR52: We are sworn to transparency. It's all there. We hate destroying the planet and people. We want to make difference and we have a new production method that we believe is step to the right direction. The first part of this marketing is to point a problem and the next step is to introduce a solution Smile

We believe in sustainable business and we think that it has more profit. This story is not "Miss America". We are actually doing something rather than just hoping for world peace Wink
  • + 8
 Aluminum is great for recycling but I'm not sure it's any better than carbon for the environment. It sure contributes to climate change in a BIG way too!

Overall, the entire process of transforming raw bauxite into aluminum is incredibly energy intensive, requiring copious amounts of electricity, water and resources to produce (that is the main reason why power plants are built solely to support the aluminum industry). Since pure aluminum ore is so stable, an extraordinary amount of electricity is required to yield the final product and, at least in the U.S., half of the smelting energy consumed is courtesy of coal, one of the most notoriously polluting fuel sources known to mankind. The EPA says that the release of perfluorocarbons during the aluminum smelting process are 9,200 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of their affect on global warming. When bauxite is extracted from the earth, the strip-mining process removes all native vegetation in the mining region, resulting in a loss of habitat and food for local wildlife as well as significant soil erosion. The caustic red sludge and toxic mine tailings that remain are commonly deposited into excavated mine pits where they ultimately seep into aquifers, contaminating local water sources. Greenhouse gas emissions released during smelting and processing (which have been found to blanket surrounding regions with toxic vapors) include carbon dioxide, perfluorocarbons, sodium fluoride, sulfur dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and a vast list of other problematic elements. Particulates released during processing that are known to compromise air quality include combustion byproducts, caustic aerosols, dust from bauxite, limestone, charred lime, alumina and sodium salt.

I think we need to look at the whole picture, start to finish. I find it hard to believe that we won't find a way to reuse the carbon at some point. Even connecting a bunch or used pieces (and/or) frames to build a huge frame for something else would still be putting it back to use.
  • + 1
 @Broth-Ratchurch:

I'm with you on this one Bro Rat.

And with consumers interested in why or why not a company is going carbon it's probably a good practice to share that info. Gives us something to either bitch about or praise and get's Pole's name circulating.
  • + 3
 @alonalgr: Our current aluminium bikes are made in Taiwan. Taiwan and China are quite different what comes to ethical questions. There are companies that say their carbon frames are made in Taiwan but they are not. The frames are made in China or Vietnam (in future in Burma) and they ship the frames to Taiwan to be painted and assembled. Voila! This is how we make Taiwanese made frame.
  • + 4
 @duzzi: We did never say that carbon fiber can not be recycled. There are just not good options that would work globally. And yet still, this is not the biggest point for us.
  • + 1
 @dhfox322: Nice job on the counterpoint!
  • + 3
 Yes, Carbon can be recycled

There’s no doubt that carbon fiber costs a ton of energy to produce. In fact, it’s about 14 times as energy-intensive as producing steel, and the creation process spews out a significant amount of greenhouse gases. On the other hand, carbon fiber doesn’t corrode, degrade, rust or fatigue. That means it has a much longer lifecycle, so it potentially only has to be produced once where a steel part would have to be replaced multiple times. That makes its full lifecycle impact look a lot better. And, just as importantly, carbon fiber’s primary uses right now are in automotive and aerospace, where weight determines the amount of fuel used. Less fuel means fewer emissions, and since a carbon fiber part weighs about 20 percent of what a steel one weighs, that means an even better score for carbon fiber. Steel does have the advantage of being infinitely recyclable. A ton of steel can be made into thousands of miles of wire, a car chassis enough forks to make the Blue Raja weep with joy. And when you’re done with it, you can melt it back down and make … bowls or whatever. I don’t know what steel is used for these days. Guitars? Carbon fiber, on the other hand, is almost never recycled, and it survives for a loooong time in the landfill (see degradation above). And, of the 50,000 metric tons of carbon fiber that were produced last year, about 10,000 of those went into the waste stream without ever making it into a product. It ended up as scrap from the manufacturing process.


Can carbon fiber be recycled?

Abso-frickin’-lutely. Now. But that wasn’t always the case. Carbon fiber reclamation and recycling is a fairly new process. And, while it’s not quite as expensive as creating new CFRPs, it ain’t cheap. It typically happens in a process called pyrolysis, which literally translates to breakdown by fire. Sweet. The carbon fiber is heated to ridiculously hot temperatures in an oxygen-less environment, so it doesn’t actually catch fire. All the extra stuff melts away, and you’re left with pristine carbon fibers that can be reused for anything the original fibers were used for. Carbon fiber can also be recycled by milling or shredding, which is just as effective, but leaves you with a shorter fiber. Shorter fibers are weaker than longer ones, so the result isn’t quite as useful as pyrolysis-ized fibers, but they can still be used for things like electronics cases, which don’t need a crash rating. Recycling carbon fiber takes more energy than steel, but in the long run, it looks like it’s better for the environment.
  • + 2
 Advertisement or not, it's great to see a company stand up for better production practices.

I hope more riders start choosing "longevity" over "performance".
  • + 7
 @polebicycles:
Thanks for the article.
I'm actually kinda surprised pinkbike was down for it since they're really only into giving all their bike industry buddies high fives for how rad everything is.
And looking the other way when it's not.
And definitely not accurately informing the readers of failures and quality problems that shouldn't cost us money or time off our bikes but always do.
The farce of carbons benefits have gone on for too long.
The bike industry needs to start adding the words longevity and durability to its marketing angles.
High five for you sir.
  • + 2
 @polebicycles: That (that carbon cannot be recycled) is what the Pinkbie articles says, and it is wrong. And again your claim that a bike built in carbon has a higher carbon footprint than an aluminum one is not corroborated by facts or data. From what I read the opposite it true when it comes to row material production, or finished bike frames for what matter. The incredibly detailed specialized study on the environmental impact of bicycle manufacture is good start to get some real information dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/8483/Duke_MP_Published.pdf ... and among other things you will be surprised by the carbon footprint of a bicycle chain!

But if you have an alternative study please give us a reference, otherwise please don't make unverifiable claims or alleged environmental consciousness when there is in fact little of it supported by facts ...
  • + 6
 @dhfox322: Great write up dude! As a Chinese I have to say there still are many disadvantages and weak points in almost every walks of live here. But people also have to see that things here are actually getting much better. Chinese people are not only good at recycling as you mentioned, but also they are good at saving. Generally speaking, every Chinese was taught to save on water, electricity, food, etc. since they was a kid. Our parents and grand parents taught us to save, our teachers in school would also do that. You would rarely see people leave lights or the A/C on all night after work. More and more people are advocating to set the A/C temp at 26 Celsius even in hot summer. People won't order too much food than they can actually eat. Things like this are vey commonly seen here. Yes, the pollution and other problems are still there, but everything is just getting better. Don't forget there are around 1.4 billion people in this country!
  • + 2
 @polebicycles: So how did you let this project get so far along without researching what happens to waste carbon? A simple search would have saved you lots of time and money. bfy.tw/DwxP
  • + 3
 @duzzi: We did not talk about carbon footprint. We talk about the ethics. Please hit ctrl + f (or search from page) and type "carbon footprint". You start seeing it in the comments.

Thanks for the research link. It's the first time I see it and it has obviously some valuable informatio. Here's a quote from the research: "The carbon material itself has a higher impact then aluminum or steel, but the researchers attribute the low weight of the material to the relatively low environmental impact. The researchers note that the uncertainty in the environmental impact data concerning carbon is
relatively high and needs further research (Hout, 2014)"

What do you think about that?
  • + 8
 @EMR52: It's pretty clear from the responses we see from Pole that they care about the environment and the health and well being of humans who have to manufacture bikes. Being a cynic is easy, taking action like Pole is doing is much harder to do.
  • + 12
 @duzzi: And here's some answers I gave to other comments:

"We know that a lot of energy is going to melting aluminium but that technology is moving forward. In the future we won't be using coal as a primary energy source. Melting aluminium in Scandinavia is a greener choise because of the water energy for example. Most of the aluminium is recycled in China because of the cheap coal. Some of the material is recycled in Iceland because they have hydroelectric and geothermal power. But of course we can not control this because it's out of our reach.

arcticecon.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/aluminium-smelting-in-iceland-alcoa-rio-tinto-alcan-century-aluminum-corp"

1. Pole is not going to save the world.
2. Pole does not want to "create more jobs"
3.The world has bigger problems than carbon frames.

What we want to say is:

1. We want to move forward in the world to a cleaner and safer future for everyone
2. We think that working in factories is not for humans
3. Everything you do has an effect to the world. We want to minimize the negative effect.

There's more in to this on our website: www.polebicycles.com/why-arent-we-going-for-carbon-frames
  • - 1
 and the rest of the world moves on
  • + 0
 @properp: same here. Started riding in 83. But I have broken a couple steel bikes and had three Klein bikes crack. No failure of any carbon mountain bikes and I have had four. Broken many aluminum rims but not my current carbon rims. All materials have limits though and all can fail. Design, manufacturing, use and accidents have more to do with failure than other things.
  • + 9
 @mattman82: Well... we know how you can recycle carbon waste and we assumed that it would be handled correctly in the factories because they manufacture for big companies. all of it but the last nail to the coffin was the visit to China. One thing is that you can not visit factory if you don't have your product design ready.

When I visited there the air pollution was very high. We went mountain biking and the guys that I was biking with threw all the garbage to the ground. After the ride my lungs hurt and I needed to calf for one hour. If they can not handle these simple things like not throwing plastic bottles to the ground, I assume they can not handle bigger things like recycling the waste they produce. We still don't know how they process the resin that is left from the prepreg phase. All of the carbon frame factories have their own chemical factories.

Please Google for me any pics from the Chinese factories that produce carbon frames. If you can find their process described, I will reward you. Wink
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: Please read the 179 pages of the report, don't cherry pick. It delivers a very objective view of the complexity of measuring the socio-economic-environmental impact of any manufacturing, something that is obviously missing from the Pinkbike interview that (as it so often the case) is just coffee shop talk, very far from any form of journalism of fact checking ...
  • + 12
 In the end, the companys public reasoning is the only thing that matters. Maybe their CEO is clubbing baby seals in his freetime just for fun, we´ll never know. We can question the motives all day long, but that´ll not get us anywhere. What we do know are the "facts" given to us, namely Pole choosing not to produce carbon fiber frames. Whether that is because they want to distinguish themselves from other brands, catch the attention of social justice warriors or whatever, to me personally it doesn´t matter.
I´m not a vegan, i drive a car to the bikepark on a regular basis and i like nice things (like bicycle frames) that are not always inherently compatible with the idea of environmental conciousness. I also however like to make an effort if given a choice and this choice in todays world is getting rarer and rarer.
Just like it´s getting near impossible to get a phone without ridiculous and unnecessary features (i blame you Apple!) it´s getting harder and harder to find a reasonably priced bike that doesn´t utilize Carbon just for the sake of it.
I mean, look at Dirts recent Downhill bike weigh in. Most bikes were beaten in weight by the cheap and aluminium Solid Strike. A bike i personally own and cannot ask to do any more than it does. And we´re talking 10000$ bikes here.
We´ve reached a point where there are only marginal gains to be had from different bikes, so just like apple, bike manufacturers decided to sell us design and emotion instead of real advancements (at the cost of our wallets and the environment).
What Pole offers me is a choice to buy a bike, not an overengineered design object and while that is in its own way an inherently emotional choice, i can just applaud them for offering me that opportunity.
  • + 1
 @rjohnson450: yes please!!!???
I'll second that.
  • + 8
 @duzzi:

It's very interesting and I need to read it through with better time.

"Carbon fiber bicycles are used by racers and many recreational riders, and
manufacturing carbon fiber bicycle frames can give off up to 20 times more greenhouse gas
emissions than steel, a common bicycle frame material (Halper, 2011)."

"Of the six products considered, the carbon fiber composite products use and consume the
most water. In fact, over 65,000 liters of water are used to make one Roubaix frame and over 30,000
liters are used to make one Roubaix fork. Considering Specialized’s annual sales of this bicycle
frame, enough water is used to fill almost 523 Olympic swimming pools each year. "

And last: "The results of the LCA show that carbon fiber composite consumes significant amounts of
water, aluminum bicycle manufacturing uses significant amounts of energy, and chain manufacturing
produces significant amounts of recyclable waste. The index results slightly favor the aluminum
bicycle frame, but do not robustly indicate the specific impacts unique to each product.
Qualitatively, the team found that consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable bikes and the
media perceives bicycles and the industry favorably, but focuses on bicycle use over production."
  • + 1
 @filmdrew: pipe dream. would kill any industry. here today gone later today is the mindset.
  • + 2
 @duzzi Maybe plain carbon fiber can be recycled but I know for a fact that carbon bonded with resin is not.
  • + 0
 @polebicycles: I won't do a full LMGTFY link this time BUT I did find this:

www.hongfu-bikes.com/Technique/index.html & www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2016-01/27/content_23267520.htm talks about a new method (2016) for recycling carbon... Smile
  • + 1
 Currently on the market for a new bike and even without this post my eyes are on Al Frame + wheels. Super stoked that there are still brands like Pole and Commencal for being resistant to MTB market gimmicks.
  • + 0
 @polebicycles: are your alloy recyclable frames produced in house?cos if you make your bike there is the same thing than CF...Make your own bike like other small companies who produce in house,then you have 100% control.
  • + 3
 @duzzi: Thanks for that link! I've been on the look out for research in this regard. Pretty poor show that you're being down voted for bringing references into the argument!
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: fantastically candid/honest response. i wish politicians were like you. bravo
  • + 2
 Not going to lie, that carbon version looked SEXY!
  • + 1
 Why don't you guys build Inerter bikes? Let me know if you want a working design.
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: If you guys want a technology for the future, we should talk about adopting Inerters into suspension design. I already have a design in Solidworks, I'd be happy to send it to you. Also, my profile has more information about it.
  • + 1
 @dhfox322: He was talking about Myanmar in this specific story. I guess you were too busy typing to figure that out.
  • + 1
 @properp: The trick with carbon is to miss the rocks... avoid striking the rocks... don't hit the rocks... no rocks.
  • + 1
 @allballz: I'd be interested in this. Contact me in private
  • + 1
 @ali-chapple: Sorry, but we don't know if our aluminum is recycled or not. It was not the point here. We know that it can be recycled for 100%. Actually it does not matter if our aluminum is not recycled or not because there is a growing need for aluminium in the world and it will be produced weather or not we are using it.

I think that mining is shit, but everything comes form the ground anyway. The resins that are used in carbon fiber process are oil based. At least aluminium mining is not bringing too much heavy metals to the surface and the aluminiumoxide will dilute after a while.

The energy used in aluminum process could be something else for sure and china is building more nuclear, solar and wind power to replace the coal power plants. Everything is oging forward and I bet the carbon recycling process is going to be better as well but nevertheless carbon process can not be automated and the frames will always be manufactured in the low cost labor countries like China, Burma, Vietnam and in the future somewhere in Africa where there is no proper human rights.
  • + 1
 @MTBrent: From the looks of that picture in the article, it appears to be a 100 percent machined front triangle out of a single piece of billet aluminum. Cant imagine that being cheap.
  • + 6
 @polebicycles: I had never honestly considered it before (just because you are a little bit of a smaller brand at the moment and didn't really know much about Pole), but, my next bike will most certainly be a Pole. I have to support, to the fullest extent, a company that is really this conscious and ethical. Your decision took real courage and put that principle (which I share) before anything. I will be buying a Pole mtb on the next go 'round.
  • + 2
 @RollinFoSho: perflourocarbons are not emitted during the reaction process during the smoldering. Aluminum Ore will ionize as the oxidation reaction takes place and will result in 1/50,000 emitted vapor of flouroalkenes per gram of aluminum ore. It will not separate into flourocarbons because of the strong carbon-flourine bond. I have zero chemical or science background whatsoever but I did dream this the other night.
  • + 1
 @milanboy1986: Great to here from the source! I have seen reports that China is getting better. Will it be the next American dream country? Also what can you say about the Big Empty cities in anticipation for a boom?
  • + 1
 cities are ready for a boom in either direction
  • - 1
 @polebicycles:

"Carbon is not recyclable"- were you misquoted in the article because that's exactly what they say you said.
  • + 2
 I truly WANT to believe what the company is saying is 100% accurate. Taking an optimistic view, if this is true, then its a noble position and the company deserves accolades. But if in 2 years a carbon frame appears in the lineup, I hope this article resurfaces.
  • + 6
 @Ryanrobinson1984: Should probably give credit to Commencal too. Max Commencal decided not to make carbon bikes years ago due to recycling problems and labour conditions.

Commencal's racers also manage to win golds on aluminum bikes.
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: if you are bothered about the environment and recycling 'that' much why not make the frames in your own country?

Whenever a company says anything vaguely environmental I think speil....
  • + 1
 @Mhoracek:
I don't see how that would be related to environmental issues. It's not like materials wouldn't have to be shipped there too.
Or are you talking about carbon fiber production? In this case,probably because there's a lot of knowledge, equipment and experience needed which is hard to come by in most countries. And also because prices for such a bike would be astronomically high due to labour cost and (of course) environmental regulations. Check out the UNNO bikes and how long their development process already is and also what prices they're asking for an example. So for me it's not an either or question,it just comes down to whether you can accept the drawbacks of the one option you have. If not, you pretty much just have to stay away from carbon.
  • + 1
 @RollinFoSho: i wonder at what point we will see widespread carbon recycling. There are a couple places in the US, probably exclusively for aerospace waste. I highly doubt we could walk up and drop off our broken frame. I think all bike brands that sell carbon products should take broken products back no questions asked...which means they need to set up relationships with the few recyclers available.
  • + 0
 @duzzi: What don't you understand? Companies in China are not recycling, they are throwing all scraps into the ocean. All of what you are saying doesn't hold any value in this conversation.
  • + 1
 @rezrov: Same with Banshee...
  • + 2
 @rezrov: gotcha. I did not know that. I'll get a Commencal then! I like their bikes a lot
  • + 1
 How about building your alloy bikes in Europe?
  • + 1
 @bushmill: carbon recycling is quite tangential in respect to my main point but I think people are actively working on that (see e.g. www.sglgroup.com/cms/international/products/product-groups/cf/recafil/index.html?__locale=en), and it is already possible using heat.

But anyway, it is just a part of the picture and my main point is that the picture is VERY complex. Look at the Specialized report, or any other attempt to quantify and/or compare the socio/economic/emission footprint of manufacturer processes and you will realize how difficult it is. Pole Bicycle but especially Pinkbike do a rather dismal work at that in this case, with Pinkbike as usual serving as a parroting megaphone without even a hint of doing some real fact checking ...
  • + 1
 @EMR52: The bikes lying around China actually has more to do with cultural belief than anything else. Chinese are packrats if you visit any of the villages, hutongs or low-middle income apartments you will notice what you believe to be junk (cardboard boxes, old metal furniture, broken lamps, bottles, worn out shoes) the people hoarding this stuff don't throw it away in the hope that it might be valuable once again or they will need it (which they never do resulting in the piles of junk) BUT!!! if the government went through and cleaned all this garbage up there would be crowds of people at the police station the next day asking for cash since their "valuables" were thrown away. Same goes for the bikes, start cleaning up the piles of bikes everywhere and there will be a village of people with their hands out because they "stole"/threw away their bike. (even though they could never prove ownership)
  • + 1
 @EMR52: The big difference between this and a Miss America Pageant is "action". If more companies would put their necks out there even if it means sacrificing their own bottom line, then we wouldn't have to talk about faceless companies and corporate greed all the time. These guys believe in something and are taking a very risky move but I think the client base will support it. I'm interested to see what some of the big name brands have to say about this article. Nice work @polebicycles!!
  • + 4
 @polebicycles: From someone who has lived in the south of France, you should really reconsider your position on aluminium being eco friendly. It is responsible of an environmental disaster there. Everything is polluted by the waste resulting of aluminium production.

(madeinmarseille.net/actualites-marseille/2016/01/poisson-pollution-boue-rouge-calanque.jpg)

Also, you told us that humans should not be in a factory but can I know how are your alloy bikes welded?

Sorry but as it's been already said before, it really looks like you've dropped the idea of a carbon frame for one reason (frames too expensive? QC not satisfying?) and you came up like "let's make marketing out of this fail".

In the end, it's both dishonest and wrong.

CF has for sure a bigger footprint than aluminium but as it won't be subject to fatigue it's waaaaay more durable than aluminium. One efficient way to go eco-friendly would have been to design a future-proof bike (interchangeable dropouts etc.) and to encourage customer to keep their bikes longer. Not to invent a bs marketing story about aluminium being eco-friendly...
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: you guys are on point. I've been saying the same thing for years and it usually garners excuses. Here in the states, many people refuse to give up their wants for the greater good.
  • + 1
 @EMR52: You say "Recycling and environment issues aside"... no! Let's get something straight... many of us have decided to put sustainability and the environment at the forefront of our ethics. It has taken some time for this to click and I now regret having bought a carbon bike. My next bike will be alloy because I have integrity in my belief's. Hats off to Pole... we should listen to them as they spread the word on what they've found out.
  • + 2
 @karatechris:

Kay Cee:

If you really believe in that then you'd stop consuming and make that pretty new carbon frame the last one you'll buy for the next decade.

Also, run your current car into the ground and use public transportation and ride everywhere that's close.

Good on ya mate. Just trolling a bit but this "I'm so holy because I ride aluminum" (non) trend that exists in a few forums now is already getting exhausting.
  • + 2
 @WasatchEnduro: No worries on the trolling, and you're dead right. I'm intending to ride and drive everything until its worn out.
  • + 1
 @EMR52: why does pole have to have an additional reason? How many times have you done something only to realize on the tenth time that maybe you should change your actions or attitude. Pole says very Clearly that waste was referred to as ocean fill. This was something that to me sounds like was learnt very late in the process. Maybe that statement was enough to finally warrant a different approach. You know like the day the last glacier melts and you decide to no longer drive your car to the trail head. All along you knew it was wrong but never acted upon what was the right thing to do.
  • + 1
 @RollinFoSho: "Recycling carbon fiber takes more energy than steel, but in the long run, it looks like it’s better for the environment"

Except for when we are all wiped out. The steel and aluminum will all go back into the ground. The carbon will just sit there with the plastic for eternity.
  • + 149
 'Ocean fill'. What the actual fcuk
  • + 21
 Well I guess you have been to Indonesia? Since you're "not far" from there you know that any kind of waste (from people and industry) goes to the ocean without being treated or sorted in any way.
Now you just need to imagine that India, china, and almost every country between pacific and Indian Ocean is doing the same.
  • + 22
 Pretty simple. They throw it all away. There are already small islands forming out of plastic garbage thrown out in to the ocean, seems like they do the same with carbon waste. They dont give a f. Its the money that counts.
  • + 16
 @pegie: small islands? These islands are the size of friggin Straya!
  • + 20
 @BenPea: That's one thing that always gets me shaking my head and cringing. News stories about how China is going to comply with such and such an agreement, or indeed any agreement. What actually happens is, they say they will, when really they have no intention of doing so. When the inspectors come, their friend at the local government office calls them to warn them. They pretend to comply for the duration of the inspection, and then resume business as usual when the inspectors leave. Fake LV handbags on Taobao? "Yeah mate, we are going to stop it off. For an hour when the inspectors come." Three weeks later and the US government launches a probe into Chinese counterfeits. "It's not fair to blame China for all these fakes. We are trying to stop the factories. You are singling us out. You should follow the WTO rules on free trade. You hurt China's feelings and should desist and apologise to us."

I would say it's the Asian way, but it's probably not every country in Asia that does it. I don't think Singapore does, or Japan.
  • + 38
 1) Make islands from ocean fill
2) build military bases on them
3) ???
4) Profit
  • + 23
 @pegie: so you expect a developing corrupted country whose their people receive garbage wages for manipulating cancerous and who knows what else materials with no protection, to dispose and recycle properly because of your concern with the environment...
Sorry but if the brands that make their frames there are mostly concerned about profit and not educating these people, that why they make them there. If they were concerned about employees and environment, these frames would be made in usa, europe, etc..and would cost a fortune only a few could pay.it is not going to happen soon.
I would ask the brands to make a tour video of their faclities while people work building frames, etc.... we would choose our equipment wiserly
I think if you are concerned about what you eat and what is been done to get that food to you (as soja plantations deforestating amazonas for the sake of "healthy for me but not for the environment" green food), please check what has to be done to make your frame or anything you buy.
I believe in reducing and recycling and I try my best but dh is not eco friendly so try to balance that carbonprint someway. And I jus bought a second hand carbon dh bike but I try to keep my bikes for the maximun amount of time (around 7 years).
What POLE just did is admirable and educating in this IRONIC world. Sorry for the blabla
  • + 1
 @pegie: sorry for double posting that size
  • + 1
 @donpinpon29: you are spot on.. these people need to take care of their most basic problems/issues to carry on with their lives (and/or surviving if you get picky with semantics..).. sort out domestic garbage ? industrial garbage ? GTFO..
  • + 1
 @donpinpon29: I think you missed my point. im not expecting that these people will change their attitude, but still, everyone's doin it for the money:
workers - for the money
companies - for the money
of course the difference in income on both sides is not comparable, but that doesnt change that both sides dont really give a f.
  • + 4
 @jaame: correct. Japan doesn't do it that way at all.

China also recently created a 'floating solar panel island' to the praise and cheers of the media, what they forgot to tell you was it was on a toxic waste pond... go figure.
  • + 1
 @jaame: There are bad actors in every country. Putting laws/agreements in place is the first step. Enforcement is not easy and often takes time to mature. Having traveled to manufacturing facilities in China over the years, the quality of product and proper handling of materials has improved tremendously. There are many people working very hard to improve the environmental record in China and it's counterproductive to slam an entire country. They have a big boat to turn around, esp compared to smaller countries like Japan or Singapore or the UK. It's important to track progress and recognize that China's environmental track record is changing very rapidly. Perhaps not fast enough, but don't think the entire country doesn't care.
  • + 9
 @pegie: maybe we can send the manufacturers of e-bikes to live on the new carbon fiber plastic Islands
  • + 6
 I've heard theories that future geologists will refer to our time period as the "plastic age". Its not just oceans, every bit of our environment from snow on mountain tops to deep sea fish on ocean floors is infused with plastic or plastic remnants. Millions of years from now a hogback will expose a rock layer from our time that contains a distinct and uniform layer of plastic that spans the globe. Just fyi...
  • + 2
 @donpinpon29: +1million upvotes
  • + 1
 @Konda: 3) build condo's
  • + 1
 @SpillWay: You're right to a degree. What I am referring to is the general Chinese psyche of paying lip service to something to sate your critics, all the while failing to take it to heart. China's rulers clearly believe that now they are rich and powerful, they can do as they please, picking and choosing which agreements and laws they follow and to what degree. UNCLOS? Yeah we signed it but it doesn't apply to us. Hong Kong's basic law? Not worth the paper it's written on. Every culture has its own way of doing things, but we should not do business with people like this. It all comes down to money. It's a disgrace.
  • + 2
 @eugen-fried: I don't have any first-hand experience no, but it's better to overestimate than underestimate the problem, otherwise the tendency will be to avoid action. "It's ok, they say the ocean ain't full yet, it's fine, just keep chucking it in." The "lie" has worked on me and others. Good, we need some positive propaganda to counter the negative.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: there is no lie, it's just that people imagine a solid island of huge plastic shit but it's more like a cloud of little shit. Toxicity wise, it would be better if it was a solid island of plastic, because fish don't eat plastic bottles, but they DO eat micro particles of plastic. And bigger fish eat these particles too and eat the fish that ate them. And then we eat the fishes. But that a lie, right @eugen-fried ?
  • + 1
 @zede: I hear you, hence the inverted commas. Let's call it a white lie! People are more startled by a big mountain of junk that is relatively harmless than an invisible but deadly cloud of particles, which is also why we are all more worried about terror attacks than boring old road accidents (3,500 deaths per year in the UK) and random firearms deaths (around 15,000 deaths in the US).
  • + 1
 @BenPea: so basically you state, that there is so called "white lies", we can and have to use, to make the world a better place. So let's recall the white lies we've seen through history. For example Saddam chemical weapons. Those were white lies, because West had to destroy the terrible evil. Result: Europe should deal with the mess happened after this wasp nest was disturbed (IS, refugees). Countless white lies through the third Reich regime, all for the best for its citizens. Masturbation harm. Gays. Should I move on?
The truth is that there is no white lies. You are grown up adults and should always be sceptical towards BS that you hear and say. In the end of the day you, yes you dear @BenPea go to vote for the world's most important leaders. You have the responsibility on your shoulders to be honest towards yourself and those around you, do research and find proofs to what you think. And God forbids us yet another white lie, that will have unpredicted consequences.
  • + 1
 @zede: have I stated that there is no environment problems we have to deal with? Can't remember myself doing that. I only said that there is no "garbage islands" floating around at the size of a city.
  • + 0
 @eugen-fried: Steady on mate. the saddam lie wasn't a white lie. A white lie is by definition virtuous. None of your examples are virtuous. An exaggeration that puts people in a mindset that will contribute to the well-being of all is a bad thing?
  • + 92
 I like everything he said. Although he did stop short of saying "and you probably don't actually need a new bike", which would be the ultimate eco-statement.
  • + 4
 There will always be a conflict between business and eco. Now the conflict can be small, or huge.

Interestingly he recommds "light cranks" that may fail. Does he mean carbon cranks??
Finally the revolutionary project with robotics is nice but you' d kill those jobs in China, and I don't see how it solves the problem of carbon recycling. Unless hés not talking about carbon ?
  • + 6
 @EnduroManiac: didn't recommend anything, just gave an example
  • + 26
 To their credit Pole make bikes with massively progressive geometry and it will take most of the bike industry 5 years to catch up which means you could have a 10 year old bike with great geo. That's good for the environment.
  • + 24
 ^this

If you want to save the planet stop buying stuff.
  • - 2
 @Milko3D: oh sorry, wrong word. So "he suggests the idea - among other possibilities - to mount light cranks if you wanna save some weight on your bike". Do you feel better?
Anyway. What if you already have light everything and still wanna shave 0.6 to 1.2 kg (semi random numbers, take note) and you could do it on a single item?
  • + 0
 @EnduroManiac: It's subtle but there's a difference. Yes, I'll sleep well tonight, thanks.
  • + 8
 The man's gotta make a living. If I could afford one I'd buy one outright. Sick bike, forward thinking, great ethos, great company!
  • + 4
 @Altron: true! I try to buy most bike stuff used. Works fine usually, it's cheaper and eco friendly.
  • + 3
 but my wheels are too small now, so my enjoyment has gone down according to everyone else's larger wheeled happiness
  • + 2
 Although he did stop short of saying "and you probably don't actually need a new bike", which would be the ultimate eco-statement.

Or a bike at all, for that matter.
  • + 2
 @TheR: don't be silly
  • + 2
 @Altron: when you say planet do you mean the green and brown stuff or the people 0n it
  • + 1
 @nick1957: The planet has another 4 billion years or so (if I remember correctly from my Geology lectures 25 tears ago) I give humans another few hundred at best. We need to look after the planet for our own survival. The olanet doesn't guve a F about us.
  • - 1
 @fartymarty:humans have a stupendous ability to adapt ( hence the huge population ) so dont worry about our survival , in a future of self made shit. most will sees to exist but the more adaptable will carry on. but not as we know it now. this mass way of life is unsustainable ,this is obvious . so make the most of it . I love my carbon bike
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: yeah, back before cars were invented, people thought that once everybody will get sick and die, because of disgusting piles of horse fecies all over the cities. Your predictions are not much better.
Humanity may be over at any given moment, but history cannot be foreseen with any degree of certainty.
  • + 81
 "Pole is a small company, and we cannot change the Chinese factory's strategies"

Don't sell yourself short. Every movement has to start somewhere. I think this is the single most thought provoking article I've ever read on Pinkbike. I'm sure many others feel the same way. It made me seriously re-consider my future frame and component options....
  • + 15
 And I think there are a lot of like minded people on PB. If we fuck up our planet through Capitalist consumerism we wont have anywhere left to ride.
  • + 1
 If you like nature buy metal. If you want flashy buy a carbon road bike.
  • + 5
 Indeed, great article, I'm surprised it's not talked about more considering how many people get a hard on for carbon frames. I've never found my carbon frames to be any better than aluminum, just a different feel. My friends simply want them because of the "bling" factor, sad.
Very happy about my 2018 Operator ALUMINUM.
  • + 2
 agreed
  • + 5
 I applaud Pole in this and find their decision to be logical at one level,and also very flowery in its description which come off to me to be marketing hype. But as a Turner frame buyer for 25 years(I have 4 of them all currently ridden by family) I found the shift they were forced to into to make CF frames to keep pace as troubling. I know several mfg and owners in MTB and Moto world and ALL of them hate being forced economically to make stuff in Asia. The travel, the environmental issues, language issues and business ethics all add up to a poor and unsustainable business model. As a conservative guy who does not believe whatsoever in AGW I still cringe at the business practices of these developing countries.
This is why I intentionally try to purchase as much USA or EU Mfg stuff as possible. Very hard in this sport to do BTW.
There are many US based mfg building their own stuff. Support them. I ride a Guerilla Gravity now with Chris King hubs. To be perfectly truthful , that may be all the US/Euro mfg items on it as the SRAM stuff is Taiwan as is the Maxxis Tires, RF and Fox parts. Push needs to make a fork in 100% in house and an airshock and I will toss out the suspension for something US made.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: All the CF fanboys will downvote this.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty:

Problem (or not?) is that many mtbers aren't as invested in the sport as the PB audience.

I'd love to see how a successful bike shop classifies it's customers. For example how many carbon $5k+ mountain bikes are just sold to walk-in customers with disposable income who want a cool mtb for one reason or another. They're then eagerly and inevitably steered toward a carbonium Bronson, Stumpy, Fuel, or whatever. They could give two shits about the frame material but heard from a friend that Santa Cruz makes "cool" bikes and that $5k is the going rate.

It seems like there are more and more consumers with more disposable income that'll just drop a hefty chunk on a bike even if they're newbies or are only gonna ride it one weekend per month.

Anyway, how about a PB poll on how many of us are riding carbon frames? And then why?
  • + 1
 @WasatchEnduro: you may well be right. It happens with road bikes and Mamils so the same probably goes for MTB.
  • + 5
 @chasejj: They probably will downvote this... or given it's an article on Pole they wont read it.

I've never been a fan of carbon and this is just one more reason. For me steel is the best material for a frame as it's easy and cheap to repair and it has some flex. I don't mind Aluminium as it can be recycled.

I also try to support local products however sometimes cost governs - my Pikes or Taiwanese cromo frame are examples.
  • + 4
 And you Sir win PB today.
  • + 35
 Constantly disgusted by what China does to the earth, all developing nations take a turn at destroying their natural environment, it's par for the course, but no other nation has gone as far in terms of destroying worldwide natural resources in the modern age. Ivory, endangered animal parts, shark finning, Coral Reef dredging, whaling against international law... just disgusting.
  • + 151
 is not China dude, it's us, by buying their stuff, which we perfectly know how's been produced
  • + 14
 300tons of illegal fish from inside the Galapagos marine reserve!
  • + 36
 While I don't disagree, it's too easy to point fingers. Look what we did to our local environment during the industrial revolution, the approach isn't so radically different. Plus as @ismasan says, we're the ones driving the demand...
  • + 11
 @ismasan: 1000000000%
  • + 5
 @sourmix: but we know better now and understand the impact....so nobody has an excuse on the production side.

We shouldn't buy it if we know... individually we can all make that decision...perhaps don't buy unless you are convinced the manufacturer has genuinely tackled the issues?
  • + 17
 The East is eating everything out of the ocean. The West is clear cutting land to make room for the livestock they are going to eat. The seven billion people have got to go vegan. Then me.
  • + 5
 @ismasan: I had to log in to thumb up this voice. So much true.

Blame the leaders (us), not the soldiers.
  • + 5
 @landscapeben It's not so black&white I think.

There has been a discussion on being 'eco' between 'old' EU countries and Poland not so long ago. One of the vioces was that Poland (and other 'growing' countries for that matter) need to go through the 'coal' age (for producing electricity namely), before hopping on the 'wind, water, solar' bandwagon. Mainly because of lack of money to invest.

That being said I think it'd be better to 'skip' coal and go straight to what Germany or France are doing. BUT Where the money could come from to do this? Yeah, you'd borrow that from them... And the technology as well...

Applying the same to being 'eco' by China now. It seems they need to push through that all. And the main reason they may make the switch is push from customers (like Commencal and Pole) and change in mindsets. With the latter being harder to accomplish. Like in Poland: why would I invest in solar panels if I can just throw few buckets of coal...
  • + 12
 Stop subscribing to capitalism and stop buying shit you don't need. That's how we are going to stop it.
  • + 7
 @Novakki: to keep on the war analogy:
"imagine there's a war and no one attends"
leaders ain't gonna fight each other personally...
  • + 3
 @szusz: To be fair, I think the Chinese are heading faster towards renewables than the US, because they ultimately know what's good for them (and because you can barely breathe in Beijing). I've a feeling they'll soon be selling us the tools that will help us save ourselves, because of the scale on which they will be producing them and therefore their low price.
  • + 1
 @ismasan: I agree which is why I'm not riding a chinese frame and try not to buy too many chinese manufactured goods.

@sourmix: Again I agree, England was awful to the world during their Industrial revolution and we used to be one of the worst whalers historically, but China aspires to be part of the third world yet refuses to update their thinking in line with the newer global consciousness we all aspire to. Sometimes fingers still need to be pointed even if it's with some caveats.

@szusz: you might notice that every example I gave was of China destroying wildlife for example "ocean fill" rather than use of their own materials coal etc. As a nation they have a total lack of regard for the life they are destroying across our planet. Of course I understand that they need to finish going through their industrial revolution, but the biggest leap they need to make is to leave behind the antiquated thinking that they cling to as a people that fuels trade in Ivory, shark fins and endangered animals, all either for status or for their nonsense "medicinal properties".
  • + 5
 @ismasan: I tottaly agree with you but not until recently consumers were totaly NOT aware of this environmental issues. SPANK and Commencal began this story but this guy givels a lot more details about it.
In any case now it is definitely up to each and every one of us ...
  • + 1
 @ismasan: well yes and no. Having moved production of almost everything to China is the result. Even prestigious manufacturers like bowers and Wilkins made all their speakers, the 800 series aside in China. And now that they sold themselves to a Chinese company.... I used to work for the company that makes most cpu's and par to this job was hunting for Chinese fakes and subsequently close the factory. Long story short that also failed so eventually the bean counters figured out buying these factories would be the better solution. Here the darks side. The manufacturing processes did not change.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Sorry, but capitalism is the ONLY and most humane way out of this.
  • - 2
 @BenPea: China has for the most only copied others technologies and designs. China will not be getting themselves out of anything because in addition to that they are still a Communist regime.
  • + 2
 @SithBike: The factory farm industry is more to blame for climate change than all of our gas guzzling cars put together!
  • + 0
 @chasejj: This was true only until recently. Chinese companies now develop and deliver quite advanced technologies themselves. Example from our field is Maxxis, a fully Chinese brand of Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co, but it happens in all fields.
  • + 2
 @RimCyclery: So true about factory farming! Doing much more damage than any production technology. Hats off to @polebicycles anyway.
  • + 1
 @chasejj: not the way it's going it wont. I don't know what the answer is but it's not capitalism as we know it due to it's focus on money atvthe expense of everything else. Probably not really a debate for PB tho.
  • + 1
 @Slabrung: Cheng shin is Taiwanese, not Chinese. Taiwan and China are two different countries, with their own governments, legal systems and passports. Just because the Chinese communist party is paying almost every country in the world to say Taiwan is part of China does not make it so.
  • + 1
 @RimCyclery: amen to that.
Go vegan! Food industry is disgusting. Who also owns the pharmaceutical companies who train write our doctors study books and materials. How do we think this is being run? Um, crap food = poison = doctors = pills, not fix the root cause of your issue. At least in the US. US system is BS. Lol
All about the almighty dollar.

-watch 'what the health'
  • + 1
 @RimCyclery: sorry but that seems like an ignorant statement cars have been screwing up the planet for about 100 years. Think about all the 50-80s cars and the horrible gas mileage as well a a lack of emition control. The fact that people all think driving is a necessity and a right makes it a pretty big problem.
  • + 1
 @jdsusmc: id like to hear from some vegans on what their carbon footprint is like as well as water usage. Also vegan doesn't mean you have to buy decent food it just has to be a vegetable a lot of vegans aren't buying the good stuff.
  • + 29
 Good on him for not compromising. I'm loving my aluminum bike, see no reason why carbon is necessary.
  • + 5
 Part of the problem is that a lot of the bigger manufacturers view their alloy bikes as "entry level" and don't put a lot of R&D/investment in making sure they are up to the same level as their carbon frames excluding weight. I've owned the same bikes in alloy and carbon before, the difference in stiffness is tangible for me as a ~210lb rider and really has an effect on the way the bike handles.

If manufacturers were willing to do more like what Transition does, and build their alloy bikes stiffer, to the same standard as their carbon bikes AND offer higher end build kits, then maybe carbon wouldn't be as "necessary" except for riders looking for a super light bike. In the meantime, if we want higher end build kits or stiff frames, carbon is the only option for many manufacturers.
  • + 2
 @Adodero: But the margin on those high end carbon bikes is better Wink Just look at the piece pinkbike did on the price of a carbon frame
  • + 4
 I thought his aluminum bike looked better than the carbon one anyway.
  • + 0
 Frame flex under pedal load something you don't notice on the trail.
  • + 3
 @enduroFactory: Pedal load, maybe not, but that is far from the only force exerted on a mountain bike frame. For example, plowing through a rock garden or hard cornering will impose lateral loads on the frame that cause it to flex. That type of flex is absolutely noticeable especially by heavier riders.
  • + 1
 @Adodero: this is a massive problem....increasingly riders are forced to buy carbon if they want an average or good spec....
Look at the new Whyte S150...only one low end metal option.
  • + 22
 Oh come on Max Commencal - a motor and batteries made of rare earths, etc is ok, carbon´s not?
  • + 18
 Rare earth elements can be recycled like aluminum. Carbon fiber can't.
  • + 6
 @Powderface: It's possible, just not cost effective (yet).
  • + 2
 @Trailsoup: I only heard of a new canadian technology which uses a special binder that can be chemically resolved to seperate the resin from the fibers. But as far as I know it won't work with the commonly used prepregs yet.
  • + 10
 Commençal stopped making carbon frames cause they cracked more than their alu frames.
  • + 8
 @EnduroManiac: Well that's just what Leo said there: if you make the carbon frame light enough to make a difference, it can't take a real beating anymore. If you make it strong, there's no real weight saving or other benefit, just the added cost...
  • + 3
 @Powderface: that is partially correct. You can mill it and use it as a lower performance plastic filler.
Another point to take into consideration is that the whole processing cycle of aluminum demands far more energy than carbon composites. If you burn the resin of the composite you can get almost the same amount of energy consumed in it's whole processing cycle. Nevertheless i am not sure if carbon is the best material for a mountain Bike because of it's low impact tolerance
  • - 2
 @hirvi: OK. How many carbon frames have survived rampage? All of them I think.
  • + 2
 @jmrmuc: ELC has been recycling carbon since 2009 (?) but the reclaimed fibers aren't as good as new ones. There's also a handful of startups in Colorado working on methods for dissolving the resin of common prepregs I believe. Atm, recycled carbon fibres aren't good enough to make a bike frame (not to mention cars or planes), but good enough to make stuff like golf clubs or tennis rackets.
  • + 2
 Agreed - the ebike industry (just like hybrids or electrics in auto industry) is largely under the eco radar and I would suspect no small footprint.

Just because something can be recycled does not erase any downside that came out of the mining or production of the product. Like how in this article Leo recognizes that with the mention of mining bauxite having issues.

Srsly trying to understand the e-bike movement and just cannot wrap my head around it. Maybe I am a luddite. Anyways, hats off to Pole on this article, definitely will consider them when my bike is due for replacement.....
  • + 2
 @Trailsoup: Are you talking about ELG? www.elgcf.com In my opinion the technology isn't quite there yet, as pyrolysis is very energy consuming and wasteful.
But with the EU laws requiring the car manufacturers to be able to recycle up to 80% of a car, there will be an increasing pressure to develop better processes.

I just can't find the Canadian company anymore - their concept was quite interesting, leaving the resin and the unharmed fibres behind.
  • + 2
 @JohSch I hope you don't use any cell phone, MacBook and nothing else with battery. We are all contaminating our planet, but it doesn't mean that we can't make an effort to limite our impact. You may drive a 4x4 but we can't judge you the same way as if you were poring diesel in a river...
  • + 1
 @Powderface: End of life is not the problem. Mining is. Just look at the Bayan Obo mine on Google Earth in Inner Mongolia. Also rare earth conglomerates contain radioactive Thorium and radioactive waste water is just spilled in huge open basins (which you can see on the satellite images).

@cmscheip: With cars it is a litte bit different because you substitute fossil fuel. The production phase only accounts for about 17-20 % emissions of the product life cycle. The rest is use. So even if you charge a car with a poor electricity mix with around 600 g CO2/kWh, you still can have an emission advantage over conventional cars. But that does not apply for ebikes of course. So if an ebike is used without substituting shuttling or commuting in a car/scooter etc. the environmental impact is increasing.
  • + 1
 @jzPV:

Jay Zee -> riddle me this: so if an ebike ends up at the bottom of the ocean, is it a good thing or a bad thing?
  • + 0
 @EnduroManiac: What the hell has Rampage to do with this? Big Grin The question was: what's the real benefit of carbon? A 100g weight saving? A little stiffer frame? Not too stiff ofcourse, cause nowadays everyone knows that you don't want your bike too stiff. So is a half pound weight saving worth the 1000 dollar extra cost? Or why is it you NEED a carbon frame in your garage and a manufacturer needs one in its catalog?
  • + 0
 @hirvi: well it's said light frames made out of carbon can't take a beating. Now if a frame does not take a beating there, it will never. Need further explanation ? Just ask Smile
  • + 1
 @EnduroManiac: Well you also must have seen a few aluminum bikes survive Rampage? So, back to the topic: what's the real world benefit from carbon, the one that makes you really need one? Some other than it's the hottest trend on the market right now to go carbon...
  • + 0
 @hirvi: you obviously refuse to understand me. You're obviously partial. I am undecided between alu an carbon, they both have something I like.
Going carbon is not really what I would call the hottest trend. That was rather 10 years ago. We're in 2017 man! I rather see a revival of aluminium.
Advantages of carbon? It's lighter (and even at lighter weight able to take a beating, no matter what's been said), you can make the shape you want, though so far it stayed pretty conventional. Conservatism or just in order to make a like-looking cheaper alu version? I don't know.
  • - 1
 @EnduroManiac: So what you're saying is: all the hottest trail and downhill bikes were made of carbon in 2007. You CAN save a little weight, even if theres no real benefit in the rowdier side of mountainbiking so nobody makes them silly light anyway. Except UNNO maybe. Also you can make silly shapes, though manufacturers still stay pretty conventional. The only bike i know that can't be made of metal is the ones with the NAILD rear end. So is the only real world difference worth mentioning the higher price tag?
  • + 1
 @hirvi: seriously, nobody forces anybody to buy carbon. So what's your problem? And no, I didn't you CAN save a little weight. You know the difference between an aluminium and a carbon Nomad for instance? Significant. Could they make the alu version lighter yet still reliable? I think so, and I would like it as I am not carbon obsessed and actually like the feel ot aluminium.
  • + 16
 A noble decision for sure and glad to have an aluminium frame. Just a small point though, it is sometimes easy for the 1st world to take the moral high ground with issues like the environment but let's not forget the poverty and need for employment/investment in developing countries. We've already created a lot of pollution to get where we are.
  • + 20
 I think this is a good point but this needs to be addressed with bigger scale. People should learn how to consume more wisely and stop shopping. Shopping meaningless stuff is ruining our planet. People should learn about empathy and start caring more about themselves without being selfish. The economy will always find a way to sell something, we just need to make the meaningless stuff obsolete.
  • + 2
 @polebicycles: here here. Bigger scale indeed and one of the curses of capitalism.
  • + 4
 @polebicycles: Well said! This is so important!!!
  • + 2
 @polebicycles: I like your way of thinking. Went to your website as I'm now looking for a nice 29er, but to be honest not sure I could handle such a slack head angle and linear suspension... But maybe I'm mistaken.
  • + 13
 Definitely learned something here. I would be very happy to see this investigated further by the MTB press as we all know the carbon products are chinese even from major euro and US brands. I think attention on this would bring welcome awareness and hopefully some conscience to the MTB brands. I have a carbon bike but if and when i come to replace i will definitely be making a more informed decision based on further research beyond this article. My Mrs is about to buy a used carbon frame, she will be interested to read this before committing tho that too.
  • + 12
 I've got a carbon frame. It's something you have to try once. I will not buy another though. Not because of this article, but because carbon fails the cost:benefit analysis.
  • + 13
 Been increasingly intellectually heading in this direction...I think more people will unless manufacturers tackle this head on...

It would be interesting to hear the Hope view on this...they do things their own way so maybe they can teach the established bike frame brands a lesson?

@hopetech
  • - 7
flag Braindrain (Sep 15, 2017 at 2:07) (Below Threshold)
 This is bs. Hope have proved they don't give a toss by producing a selfish elitist carbon bike. They are tool making monkeys made good. The greatest design and engineering solutions are those that impact the masses. And in our current era, this must include environmental considerations.
  • + 2
 @Braindrain: but I bet Hopes bikes can be fixed if they ever break. At least you would expect it for the price. Also you know they are being made ethically.
  • + 5
 @Braindrain: I would rather an Al bike from Hope as it is their bread and butter.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: yep, back tracking a bit, I appreciate hope's inhouse manufacturing, durability of their products and long term support for their older stuff- all sound ethically. But this is why it frustrates me they have made a carbon bike.
  • + 4
 Big brands hate them! Hope shows you how to make a £6k frame in just ten years!
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: any carbon frame can be repaired by a fiberglass specialist. They usually are companies that do mostly kayaks and stuff like that but can easily do bikes. My frame is on his 3rd repair as we speak... ( yeah I know, never buying a Trek again )
  • + 1
 I think this one thing that's missed about carbon, it's probably the easiest material to repair next to steel. Aluminum is very hard to repair. I'd sooner have a lightweight aluminum bike with a manufacturer who is committed to supporting a frame design for a longer period of time than a carbon bike that I need to repair and keep riding in order to keep our of a landfill. That being said, if manufacturers could make versatile frames and update those frames to meet future standards, then it might just mean you ride your carbon bike for a few years, get a new rear triangle for a new wheel or axle size, and continue riding. When companies make bikes with little tire clearance and yesterday geometries, its not wonder people are more drawn to the cheaper alloy bikes, I know I am.
  • + 12
 There would be a lot of journalistic integrity on researching and doing a piece exploring whether some of these claims across the industry are indeed valid, and to what extent. That may conflict however with much of the advertising revenue that comes in to PB.......
  • + 9
 Pinkbike actually makes journalism. We would love to buy some paid content as well but I would like there to be a disclaimer when the story is bought so they could keep it real.
  • + 14
 Trek seems to have figured it out?
www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/story/second_life
  • + 1
 They should offer that for free for unwanted Trek Carbon framesets. Although it doesnt help customers in the other 150 countries Trek sells Carbon bikes in.
  • + 13
 BIG RESPECT!!! Seeing a bigger picture and not being a sheep following the "in thing"
  • + 9
 Sorry, but the idea that Aluminum is somehow eco-friendly is just laughable to me. Do people understand where aluminum comes from? It comes from bauxite ore, which is usually strip mined from the earth, transported to another continent for smelting, then undergoes one of the more environmentally unfriendly smelting processes out there. The idea that your bike frame is coming from the soda cans you took to the recycling center last week is misguided at best
  • + 7
 But the idea that it will become soda cans after your done with it is not. Those cans will become cans and those cans....
  • + 6
 It's true, aluminium is very energy consuming to produce and environmentally very bad but it's very efficient and easy to recycle. A frame may not be made out of recycled soda cans but it works very well the other way around.
  • + 12
 Great read, great ethics.My next frame will be steel for sure.
  • + 6
 Or bamboo haha
  • + 1
 a steel hardtail for sure is on my list
  • + 7
 Uh, so Aluminum is what earth friendly ? Google pollution from aluminum manufacturing and check the results.
Then check environmental cost of recycling A
For instance ,"The atmospheric pollutants from primary aluminum production also produce acid rain when they mix with water vapor."
Wait, it gets even better..
Recycling aluminum requires only five percent of the energy required to manufacture new aluminum from bauxite. However, recycling aluminum produces many toxic chemicals that are released into the air. Furthermore, recycling aluminum produces a waste product called "dross" that is highly toxic and has to be buried in landfills. This dross must be tightly sealed in containers so that it doesn’t leak out and enter groundwater."
Facts suck don't they ...
  • + 3
 What would you prefer to be made from? Everything has an impact, everything. Those electric vehicles everyone seems to think are so enviro friendly are far more toxic to produce and ultimately operate (if you include the very toxic disposal of batteries) than the current standard ICE gas motors.
Reasonable and enforceable productions standards is the ONLY reality. 3rd world tyrants are not really to concerned about anyone's environment including their own.
  • + 3
 @chasejj: I don't actually have a preference. My point is, if you're going to take a stand against a manufacturing process on the basis of environmental accountability, you should be pretty sure that the product you intend to use instead is actually better for said environment. I don't think Paul can say that.
For the record, I own an alloy and a carbon bike so apparently I'm part of a problem I.
Wait .. would the fact that I use my bike for transportation instead of my evil gas powered vehicle alleviate some of my personal carbon footprint ??
  • + 1
 @Bailey100: Yes it does. Current auto's are pretty damn clean. Keeping it running properly is far more enviro conscious than trashing it and getting an Ecar. The Ecar scam is another big marketing fraud.
  • + 1
 @chasejj: It's so refreshing to see comments like this. I have to roll my eyes when I see Tesla's with those "zero emission" license plate frames.
  • + 2
 I have a perverted kind of love for this sort of things. I loved what one of those astrophysicist pop stars said about electric cars. It boils down to amount energy necessary to move a 1.5-2,5 tonne object on wheels from one place to another. This amount is nearly identical depending on efficiency of the motor, it has to be, it's laws of physics. That energy has to be produced transported and stored somewhere. And batteries are always dirty. Fuel cells aren't the magic solution either. There is no solution. The privately owned 2.5 tonne vehicle transporting one person at a time, using large scale infrastructure is the problem. Batteries solve little.

The ridiculousness of transportation is best shown with plane/ train comparison. It is often cheaper to fly a plane. Plane is so much more convenient that it should easily cost double. It doesn't. Professors working with AI and AGI say it pretty clearly: idea that a super intelligent overmind would take only best decisions is an utopian archetype. Taking chances is a form of mutation falling subject to natural selection. Experimenting species progress faster, always. Then lazyness is one of forms of effectivity. So is lying.
  • + 7
 Totally agree! Would always choose Aluminium over Carbon for a frame and except for a Syntace one for a wheelset too! Great ethics! Would be pleased to read more about that in bicycle manufacturing industry after it is now common in bicycle clothing industry!
  • + 3
 Same for me! I have an enduro bike, handbuilt here in Quebec, Canada, with Industry 9 wheels and it weights about 27-28lbs. No carbon wheels or frames for me! Carbon wheels are fucking dangerous if you're unlucky... which seems to happen quite often as I can read on the internet!
  • + 7
 Sorry, but there was one other comment in this section that pointed out the fact that this move by Pole seems like more of a retro-active explanation of their failure to be able to produce this bike than real environmental conscience. As pointed out, manufacturing is in general not that environmentally friendly in Asia. I don't think this is a big mystery, so having anything manufactured in China is not exactly the most environmentally friendly thing to do, carbon or not. And if Pole was that environmentally concerned, wouldn't they have done a little research before starting the project? Are we really supposed to think they had no idea that carbon manufacture was a dirty process until someone at a Chinese factory told them they dumped waste? I mean, fine, there official position is that they have determined that making carbon bikes is too environmentally destructive so they don't want to be part of it, but let's not start treating them like Captain Planet and praising their ethics. It's not like they are making their bikes out of bamboo.
  • + 9
 Thought provoking article, would be interested to hear other manufacturers take on this.
  • + 4
 "Nobody knew making carbon frame in (insert third world country) could be bad for environment; we went to visit the factory and everything looked fine."
  • + 9
 @EckNZ : I dont think eveyrone would really want to express an opinion. Most of the popular brands are all about pushing the lightweight(racing) boundaries and aren't really interested in manufacturing the most durable or eco-friendly products because their customers arent either. And while they will always try to improve on these aspects, they will never become first priority. Sadly, not the whole industry can work on durable products because it will never survive, but for a few small brands like Pole it could be possible and i find it wonderful that such a niche exists. Props to Pole and everybody like them!
  • + 6
 Pink Bike, is this true about Asian carbon factories dumping recycling in the sea or not having an effective disposal process? Please can this be looked into? I think bike companies need to really consider this. I would rather pay more, have the jobs here and be assured if the ethical disposal of waste.
  • + 4
 I've heard that Specialized has some sort of solution but nobody has given me any proof of it. The top factories are pretty much the same so I would be surprised if someone would deal with the material properly. I tried to challenge the factory about this issue but they did not want to talk about it.
  • + 2
 @k-too the article was about China, not Asia. there are VERY different business practices in Taiwan and Japan than, say China. Also, many companies in the bike industry own their own factories and can dictate much more stringent environmental protection policies than someone like Pole buying from a manufacturer.

Just because its produced in Asia doesn't mean people are pouring paint into rivers or sanding carbon with no respirators.
  • + 2
 @biker245: the materials is still toxic, no matter where you build it
  • + 9
 Has anyone ever recycled a bike they no longer used? It's possible but has anyone ever actually done it?
  • + 4
 Not personally. But my last (dead) frame went in the scrap metal bin at the local household recycling centre. So presumably it was recycled. That's probably where most people's bike parts go I'd imagine.
  • + 3
 Yes many cracked steel and aluminium frames sent to the recycling centre. Usually chop them in half so no one picks them out to re-use.
  • + 3
 @darkside720: This is how you should do it. Metal is worth money so it can be recycled anywhere. In a developing country you could leave the chopped frame to a street and someone would have picked it up and sold it as scrap before you could say "recycling is good".
  • + 5
 I worked at sram customer service and we recycled every single thing that came through the doors for warranty & crash replacement. Separated it all out by material, and ran it down every few weeks. All that Ti, mag, alu, and steel went back to China to make more elixirs, LOL. We were trying to do our part though.
  • + 1
 @kmg0: You were not just trying, you did it. One of my LBS that I know of puts all waste into used bike boxes (tires, old wheels, cables,...) and throws everything into dumpster... Obvious difference right?
  • + 1
 Yes, done it. Not so hard, you can even ride to the sorting facility Wink
  • + 1
 @Slabrung: New phone who dis!
  • + 1
 @winko: Truth. I am starting a recycling system at a shop so we can reduce our print a hair. Tons of tires going into the landfill for no reason. Probably end up having to charge a minute recycling fee to absorb the cost, but it seems worth it. Oil and brake fluid already goes to auto shops once in a while.
  • + 5
 I have huge respect for this. I always draw parallels between mountain biking and surfing in terms of ethos and it's time our industry followed the example of ethical, environmentally conscious business championed by the surf industry. I would 100% consider a Pole as my next frame based on this alone, it helps that they seem to be absolutely rad frames to boot!
  • + 0
 why do people make aluminium or steel surf boards , ?
  • + 1
 Hilarious!. Have you ever been to an actual surf shop producing product? Holy shit! Every bit as bad as carbon fiber process. In fact virtually the same. Maybe worse as they use way more crude technique and finishing ops.
  • + 1
 @chasejj: Yeah I hear you on shapers but I'm referring more to the big companies in the game. Patagonia, Vissla etc.
  • + 5
 Carbon fiber not being recyclable and is a nasty process to make stuff with is....not new news! This has been known for decades. For someone to be a 'frame builder' and just learns of this at the factory???? Right! I'm not buying a pole
  • + 6
 Wait until they find out how Ebike batteries are made! Eeek! Good on them for having good principles and actually sticking to them. It's easier to look the other way than to actually stand up for what you believe in.
  • + 6
 I have had and have bikes made of carbon, aluminium and steel. Bottom line: I can definitely live without carbon. My next bike will be a Commencal. Or a Pole.
  • + 1
 What about an MDE? FM bike? Too racy?
  • + 2
 @RedRedRe: I've had three MDEs already. Loved them all.
  • + 4
 All I can say is Kudos to Pole, bravo for the decision and letting us know.

Personally I see no real benefit in lower static frame weight either, unless you have already shawed rotating weight as much as possible. Maybe unsprung weight could matter on a FS but I couldn't tell the difference in carbon rear from alu in that sense. However, the impact to my wallet and from crashes is horrible.

And apparently the environmental impact too. :/
  • + 4
 This is a very good news article! It gives light to an important issue that is directly opposing the fundamental marketing principles in this industry! Pinkbike, I sincerely applaud your willingness to showcase both sides of a big issue like this. We have also found ourselves trending back to predominantly metal bikes. Carbon sales in our store have definitely peaked. Next year with Transition's GiddyUp 2.0 bikes coming in metal first and then carbon "maybe later" approach, it will obviously further propel our metal preference for sales.
  • + 7
 This year's Festivus just wouldn't have been the same without an aluminum pole.
  • + 2
 LOL Serenity now!
  • + 4
 Carbon is stupid in mountain bike, period.
Steel, aluminium or titanium, they can be recycled, and they are durable (at least steel and mostly titanium).
The simple fact of having to use toxic glue to make a frame is damn stupid.

You want to loose 1 or 2 kg on your bike ? Guess what : eat a bit less, it's free, you'll loose the weight and even more.
  • + 4
 This is really interesting to read. I bought a carbon bike last year and I love it. But previously I'd said I wouldn't buy a carbon bike - I didn't want to spend on the frame and have something that might break or that I'd have to worry about. In the end, I bought because it was the right bike at the right price at the right time. But armed with this information, I'm not so sure I'd buy another carbon bike. I really like the idea of getting a high-quality aluminum frame and putting the real dollars into nice components. I might miss the weight savings, but probably not - I have 2 kids and other hobbies so I don't get to go out for day-long rides. Instead, I'm just sprinting up the hill and down whenever I get the chance. Over the course of 2 hours, a pound or so won't really make that huge a difference - I can just stop carrying that damned hip pack.
  • + 4
 I don't really care for opinions, I have little if any clue about carbon fibre or aluminium feame construction but I know enough to tell that most people don't know sht either. You can judge that by the sole fact that companies present cut outs on trade shows and according to guys like Raoul Luescher those cyts show how bad those frames are. It's like showing paint chipping off and being proud of it.

Ocean fill is an issue. If clothing industry drives prices down so hard that factories pour chemicals straight to rivers, keep people in buildings that may collapse, have no fire extinguishers, then I see little hope for it to be better cheap direct order sales companies, not to mention Ali-express.

I amy irritate some friends here, but sorry, bothing to you personally as a whole, we all do some stupid sht (I just ordered a cheap ass stem from Bontrager) but buying stuff from Ali express is just fkng low. Carbon seatposts cheaper than the cheapest truvativ alu post. Bars made of croissant dough, honestly, you deserve to end in hospital when that crap fails. You do.
  • + 4
 Dat opinion
  • - 2
 @nickkk: dat spell cheque
  • + 0
 I will forever downvote every single thing you post, always. 90% troll & 10% contribution to the conversation.
  • + 0
 @NYShred: sounds like an idea for life
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns: "Bars made of croissant dough" finally some sense!
  • + 4
 This is the kind of mind set that can get me get one of their bike one day... Mine is 1 year old only...

And too often I see fat ass crying for carbon to gain 1/2 a pound when themselves can lose 50 easily...
  • + 2
 best comment on carbon
  • + 3
 Honestly, we all knew this, right? European, North American and Australian production I trust because of the regulations, far east not so much. But this isn't limited to carbon. Painting and anodization also generates loads of waste and I wouldn't trust China on this either. This is why I'm looking at British and German manufacturers for my next frame. Of course that may be elitist in a way because these frames aren't going to be cheap either. But whoever can afford a Chinese carbon frame could also afford a British steel frame. If all you can afford is a Chinese steel or aluminium frame, I understand. You need a bike to ride, now. But Chinese carbon is nonsense.
  • + 1
 I hope British manufacturers aren't given a boost post-Brexit by the govermment relaxing the environmental laws they had to adhere to under the EU. Because the whole schtick of the leave side is to compete with countries such as China. So you'd better buy that British frame quick sharp.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: I'm not too worried really. The moral here (including the UK) is different. A friend of mine returned after a three year stay in India. She works for a German brand also known for power tools, kitchen appliances and even motors for e-bikes. She returned because she found that after trying real hard, she just couldn't make these people take own initiatives and responsibilities. People do exactly as you ask them to, even if it turns out to be wrong. Vernon Felton also reported similar experiences from brands working in Taiwan. So if a business head orders them to operate in a harmful, dangerous and or unsustainable way people will simply do that. That friend will now work in Berlin (for the same company) and she expects the vibe to be a bit more independent even though she discovered it was still pretty formal. But people are probably more responsible and I expect the same goes for the UK. It will quite simply never be like Asia.
  • + 2
 @vinay: Mentality aside, why would they have to do thinking, "taking initiatives" and "assume responsibilities" for which their overlords in Berlin are paid for and they are not? Also, do Bosch union members in Germany get arrested for protesting as well?
  • + 6
 Fair play about environmental decision but to read robotics and ai just means lower costs bigger profit margin.
  • + 3
 and fewer (local) jobs
  • + 4
 But in the really long term you will eventually be able to print your frame at home, or the nearest 3D printing shop
  • + 6
 @cvoc: it does create skilled jobs though (appreciate not as many) instead of a labourer, that person could then be trained in machine operation and electronics, he/she has then become a better skilled worker.
However, you are right.. most times, that person may be redundant and someone new comes in who is previously trained. A tough decision.
  • + 3
 Or lower costs and cheaper end product for the consumer while still allowing the manufacturer to achieve a fair profit margin?
  • + 5
 @steviestokes: we need labour though, because three billion people on earth need something to do in exchange for money. I'm all for labour. Down with automation and robotics if they compromise jobs.
  • + 3
 @jaame: I do agree. I'd be devastated to lose my job to automation.
  • + 1
 It is a business at the end of the day. As a smaller company selling smaller quantities, if they can save costs on production they can try get their prices more in line with some of the bigger brands and be more competitive.
  • + 2
 Robotbike.co probably didn't steal anyones job. Wasn't going to be cheap either. I forgot how their tubes were made (pulltrusion, filament wound or something different) but it was an automated process too, made in New Zealand.

Same with Hope. I never heard anyone complain that they have their production done by devices that should be considered robots.
  • + 4
 Sorry but handlng prepegs and diverse epoxy resins is not a job I want for my children.
Expoydes are the n°1 cause of professional dermathisis. Hardeners are carcinogic and reproductive disrupters.
And china is known to be low ranked in term of health and safety at work.
  • + 4
 @vinay: to be honest, I was thinking more along the lines of those auto checkout machines in supermarkets, and the headlight mounted chips for electronic toll collection on the freeway rather than the old granny sat in a booth collecting tickets. These are low skilled jobs, but people with low skill levels need jobs too. They are people after all. It seems to me that automation and technology hit lower skilled workers the hardest. It's great for the bean counters, but not so good for the bean sellers.
  • + 3
 @jaame: People need to start using condoms, or get ready to eat only crickets, seaweed and farm salmon.
  • + 0
 @vinay:
I think you have to be realistic. In the coming decades a lot of jobs are going to disappear because of automation and AI (especially that combination). With the developments in autonomous cars, all truck drivers / taxi drivers / delivery guys will for instance lose their jobs. At the moment factory robots probably still need a programmer, but pretty soon that robot can program itself. Also maintenance can be automatized. I can imagine factories that do not need any personnel. As you can see above, Pole is just interested in selling bikes, not creating jobs, so they must also think along those lines (can't blame them). I just wonder who they are going to sell those bikes to when all these jobs disappear.
  • + 2
 @jaame: What @Mac-Aravan just said is true. I don't think we want meaningless jobs to our children. Especially the one's that are dangerous.

We think that robotization means a better future for everyone. We need to redefine work and maybe in future people don't need to work at all. We may play video games and mountain bike all day Wink When I was a kid I visited USSR. They still had "communism" there. When we went to bathroom, there was a granny that sold pieces of toilet papers. I don't think "job" this is good for anyone. I bet the granny would make a better future if she would spend time with her family rather than doing a meaningless job.

We will put our effort to make factory jobs obsolete as hard as we can. In the process we might need to hire more designers, people who service the robots and people who teach the AI to work smarter. Also we might need more people to photograph, shoot videos and create more stories about we doing this. Smile
  • + 3
 @Losvar: Farm salmon, you Norwegians should be ashamed of producing this sh*tt Recently the farm salmon is sold as Pacific salmon with a * that is was famed in Norway, because nobody buy Norwegian pesticides-filled salmon anymore Smile
  • + 1
 @cvoc: Seriously, though. Would you stuff a semi truck full of goods and send it unguarded from point A to point B, even in Switzerland? My point is, OK maybe you'll get rid of truck drivers but you will replace them with security personnel.
  • + 2
 @lkubica: nobody buys Norwegian Salmon full of pesticides? A dude from Poland says that? Where vast majority of population gobbles all forms of meat for breakfast, lunch and supper, day in day out. Get back on the ground mate. Majority of population doesn't sort garbage, not because it does much if they would, but because they just don't give a sht. Poles burn horrible sht for heating and even cooking. A dude who collects motor oil from my father burns it in his home. And "good people" burn gas. If we ever get smog in Gothenburg it's because this sht came from Poland and Ukraine. There's so much crap in "your" air, sometimes even during summer time that exercise is not advised. Everyone is pretending they are poor meanwhile plenty of families have two cars, even those living in blocks of flats. Poland is also the biggest polluter of Baltic Sea.

And You will teach the world "ethics?" I will leave out the case of current government and the terrifying volume of its supporters.

Norwegian salmon, fk me
  • + 3
 It's BS to me. Just look at Poles carbon attempts. If it looked even half believeable then I'd give them the benefit of doubt. The environmental angle doesn't wash when you product and jet/ship your product from overseas. If you use that you need to be squeeky clean on credentials.

Just be honest, we couldn't make it work.
  • + 3
 Maybe I'm just being cynical, but it seems more likely that cost cutting decisions were made, they reaped the whirlwind on that decision from a quality/production standpoint, and have decided to leverage a perceived Scandinavian-eco-consciousness to try and virtue signal their way out of poor product planning.

Hence, rather than a statement of, "we chose a poor factory, and are scrapping our plans" it has turned into a finger pointing, holier-than-thou, straw man argument, in which other brands do not have their ethical integrity.

But go ahead, purchase away based on this neo-marketing strategy millenials.
  • + 3
 I love it when a smart business person comes out and shares what he has learned. I will definitely be more wary of carbon purchases going forwards.

However, the knock against recycling aluminum doesn't ring true to me. 3% of the world's energy consumption is used to smelt aluminum (!), so recycling even 100% of the world's aluminum bike frames won't make an iota of difference to the massive resources and global warming effects required to satiate the world's demand for aluminum.
  • + 3
 It will make a massive difference because the differences in energy used to refine boxing to aluminum rather than melting down aluminum to recycle it requires about a hundred times more energy.
  • + 2
 We know that a lot of energy is going to melting aluminium but that technology is moving forward. In the future we won't be using coal as a primary energy source. Melting aluminium in Scandinavia is a greener choise because of the water energy for example. Most of the aluminium is recycled in China because of the cheap coal. Some of the material is recycled in Iceland because they have hydroelectric and geothermal power. But of course we can not control this because it's out of our reach.

arcticecon.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/aluminium-smelting-in-iceland-alcoa-rio-tinto-alcan-century-aluminum-corp
  • + 2
 Not all, but most bauxite is processed using hydro-electric energy. There are of course negatives to this as well, but the carbon footprint for aluminum is much less than a pyrometalurgical process for making steel for example.
  • + 0
 @Maestroman87: You are absolutelly right but we need to look at the big bicture with the cutting waste and the labor problem.

We are choosing between two evils. More aluminium is produced nevertheless we are doing it or not. There is a growing need for metals anyway so we are just using it in the meantime before the metal turns in to a soda canister.
  • + 3
 Crazy !!! ocean fill what the fuk,for some reason I always imagined that that melted carbon down and some how reused it lol,little did I image that it now part of a blue whales stable diet.that 3d printedframe looked absolutely amazing,why cant thay just 3d print the frames out of graphene or something.
  • + 2
 Holy Fuck has this gone down the rabbit hole... pretty much everything humans do is ruining the earth and bikes arent different... carbon bike, alu bike, steel bike... makes no difference... if you want your adrenaline rush with zero impact then take up barefoot naked parkour... not kidding... go live like pygmies... modern humans intellectual debate over environmental degradation is like a phillip spector wall of cognitive dissonance...
  • + 2
 Recyclable is not the same as recycled. I used to think I was lucky if an aluminum frame lasted 3 years before it turned into a noodle. Then I bought a carbon frame mtb. It has goon through a lot of components, but the frame rides like new 23 years later. My second carbon bike is now 6 years old with no deterioration. The best form of recycling is something that never wears out. I'm good with carbon.
  • + 5
 Give us steel. Rides better with more traction than any other conventional material
  • - 5
flag poah (Sep 15, 2017 at 8:36) (Below Threshold)
 heavier and rusts a lot better than aluminium. steel is for retrobikes or fanboys
  • + 1
 @poah: you ever ridden a steel bike mate? The properties are different than aluminum which allows the tubes to be much smaller diameter and the weight is very close because of it. Look up the starling cycles murmur. Fill steel 29, 30 lbs and one of the fastest bikes out there.
  • - 1
 @ibishreddin: yes its no different to riding an alu bike except heavier and these days more expensive.
  • + 1
 @poah: you obviously never ridden a steel bike.
Regardless, each material has it own character, how it is built It is more important.
  • - 2
 @RedRedRe: been riding mountain bikes for over 25 years. I've had a few steel bikes in that time and that was only because Alu bikes where too expensive. There isn't any difference in their 'feel'. Only reason to buy a steel frame is to go along with your other hipster boutique bikes.
  • + 1
 Titanium?
  • + 2
 mining bauxite is no more dangerous than other minerals, the working conditions in many countries are severely lacking mind you. also, cured resin is like many plastics inert af and will not biodegrade until hell freezes over. Liquid resin is toxic, but you won't ever see the resin in liquid form as a consumer. I realize pb is quoting the guy, but one must bear in mind that he is speaking in a foreign language (for him) and not to take everything he says literally as gospel. the more you know the more you will realize there is no free lunch.
  • + 2
 "We found out that also the carbon waste is not handled properly. The factory where we visited stated that the carbon waste is “ocean fill.” I guess it means that they dump it in the ocean..."

#hippy but this right here is enough for me to never want to buy a carbon bike in the near/semi-near future. If 1/100 boutique brands are honest about this, you can guarantee the likes of Trek and Specialized literally doing the worst possible things for the environment.
  • + 2
 I've never really got the whole carbon thing. Maybe for people who race, but it seems like such minimal gains for so much more money and a frame material, when compromised, that seems down right moody. Carbon rims seem interesting, but again, so much more money for minimal gains if you're not a pro. I wish more companies would offer up Alu models.
  • + 2
 The issue with these stances is it's all very hypocritical, they use computers he mentions the design process CAD they use cell phones 3 D process, are all these things clean environmental, go and see where your cell phone or computer is made! I'm not arguing for or agasint but the whole we don't do Carbon thing for environmental reasons is BS, you think the alloy process is clean, how much water is used where does that waste water go, how much is recycled
  • + 2
 Lest we forget: the Liteville 301 still is among one of the lightest 160mm frames on the market (Medium is 2580g/5.7lbs wo shock), and it's alloy. Manufacturers, designers, etc could produce lighter alloy frames if they wanted, but it would mean more simple suspension designs, high quality aluminum, less linkage.
  • + 1
 My 160mm scandium frame with a magnesium link was 3.5 kg with two shocks, one coil, and headset in a large size. It was comparable to the carbon Ibis 160mm of the same year. A shop incorrectly let me use a later air shock with the coil linkage. User error on under inflating and poor technique let me bottom out the suspension to where it contacted the frame. I've been riding with a dented chain stay and a paint chipped seat post for two years, above the frames intended use, with no Ill effects. I would have cracked carbon and trashed the bike.
  • + 1
 @choppertank3e: I wonder why more manufacturers are moving away from Scandium. I'm assuming you've got a Abra Cadabra, which was a pretty complex frame design, but surprisingly lightweight. Liteville uses a variant of 7005 aluminum, and I wonder how Scandium compares to modern high-end aluminum types.
  • + 1
 @PHeller: scandium tubes are 'modern high end aluminum' the scandium is the alloying metal in the Al base.
still primarily aluminum
  • + 2
 Pick a frame material and be a d!ck about it.

But really, the only answer is wooden bike frame. Renewable resource, can easily make a bong out of a seat stay, can burn it if you get a real back country jam, people can actually use those expensive lathes they have in garage collecting dust, can be coated with a water proof sealant so it beads up water like a freshly waxed car, and it lends itself to a lot a shi!tty hard on jokes.

#woodisgood
  • + 2
 So it's unethical to pollute

But it's ethical to automate and remove jobs from the job pool

"We think that robotics, artificial intelligence, and digitalization are the keywords of modern business. If we harness these, we can make the world a much better place for everyone." (Except those who lost their jobs)
  • + 3
 It all leads to higher productivity. When you can buy a bicycle frame for $100 instead of $1000 due to automation that leaves $900 in your pocket to spend on other things... dinner out, charity... or you can invest it allowing some entrepreneur to obtain capital to start a new green clothing company. Some people will get caught out in this inevitable cycle and they must re-invent them selves. Ultimately though, it allows more people to work less and/or pursue jobs that they actually enjoy doing, rather then being in a factory attaching item B7 to A19 hundreds of times a day.

mises.org/library/progressive-luddites-and-gustave-de-molinari’s-final-words
  • + 2
 100% BS. You ordered a study from a student so you don't have to pay professional prices. Did that student use software that was bought for student/university pricing? That specifically forbids using it for commercial purposes. So instead of paying a professional who has professional overhead you chose poor ethics.
  • + 2
 I have to say, this is brilliant PR. And all the people who want to pay lip service to the environment while driving giant SUV's and using baby wipes instead of toilet paper are eating this up. Shimano has to be kicking themselves that they didn't use this tactic to explain why they don't have carbon cranks
  • + 3
 I give this guy big props for what he is doing! I'm curious to know what revolutionary project he's up to? It's a shame that carbon recycling isn't mandated overseas. How can anyone think ocean fill is okay Frown
  • + 2
 All these same people being impressed with what this company is doing, are still not gonna buy their bikes!!! Look at the profiles of all the people talking about ethics and then look at what their riding? Damn hippies and Hippocrates!!
  • + 3
 Carbon is very energy expensive to produce, in any capacity. Well done Pole bike co for making an ethical decision in a very unethical world. I would consider a Pole bike after this article. Aluminum for days!
  • + 2
 There are probably plenty of natural resins that are stronger and biodegradable or recyclable. We may be destroying some in the rainforests right now. 3D printing could surely create isotrusse and honeycomb structures lighter and stronger than carbon. I ride Scandium, the greener titanium. Why aren't hemp composites a thing. Hemp is legal in China.
  • + 3
 We have also looked in to some alternative fibers but the problem is that there is not strong enough fibers available. Actually a company next door to us is resolving a bigger environmentally issue by inventing a wood fiber that can be produced in to a fabric. I saw a baby cap made from their fabric and it was unreal Smile

www.spinnova.fi
  • + 3
 @polebicycles: i am not well educated in the subject, but Lib-Tech, a large snowboard (and ski) manufacturer uses some combination of basalt fibres and bio plastics made from castor beans in their boards. I have no idea if this would translate over to bikes but i do know that their boards are strong as f*ck. www.lib-tech.com/environmental
  • + 4
 Pole wants 2.5k eu for alloy 4kg frame which is ridiculous price. I don't even want to think how much the carbon frame would cost :]
  • + 1
 "If riders invest their hard-earned money on properly choosing their parts, there will be a far bigger advantage than losing 1–2kg on the frame."

Bike companies f*ck people over with their different price points using the same carbon frame as a basis for setting the price of a bike. Some even give the same bike a different model name for the same frame but just upgraded or put different components. The lowest price for a carbon frame would be about 1-2 thousand dollars more than an aluminum framed bike. Then, they f*ck you over even more by jacking up the price by a couple of thousand dollars more for each upgrade level of components you want.

It is good that Pole has made an ethical decision to not go with carbon technology. I've worked in a fiberglass plant before and I know exactly where he's coming from in regards to the waste that comes out of it not only as a solid, but also from the chemicals that are disposed in the whole process.
  • + 1
 Thank-you Pole for helping being a conscious consumer a litter easier. We all vote every time we open our wallets. Do you really need 10 $7 t-shirts or is it better to buy 3 $30 t-shirts that are ethically made?...choice is easy for me. Support local farmers and businesses when you can. Oh, and clean your room. People have no business protesting the economy or the environment if you cant keep your room clean.
  • + 2
 Good read/insights, however when he cites the 3 keywords of what he believes are the future I see them falling into many of the pitfalls that he currently sees as detrimental, albeit in different directions...
  • + 1
 Yes, and claiming it will make things better for EVERYONE is just plain BS.
  • + 1
 In my humble opinion this will or could be the more controversial article in the history of the bike industry of moderns times. We as mountain bikers swear to love and protect the nature but information like this take us to that critical thought moment that we should all have before buying. In my opinion this is of vital importance for our survivor and we should rethink our priorities.
  • + 2
 I guess going back to good ol' steel isn't an option?
More environmentaly friendly than alu and carbon, and as Joe McEwan said, a well engineered carbon frame should cost way more than you allready think it's expensive,
  • + 1
 The looks of Pole bikes grew on me , sort of like them now. That carbon mock up looks like poo. I was imagining something with the edges of a dune carbon. with that being said i will always choose carbon bike over aluminum . they usually look better , weigh less and are stronger. Environment is not even a thought in the process. the workers in the factory would have a slight edge on that but just like my sneakers and phones that would not dissuade me from buying .
  • + 2
 wow that's great that some really care what happens in the factories!! I wish I could buy one of these super cool looking rides designed in my old home country Smile AWESOME GUYS!!!
  • + 2
 In the big picture all bikes and parts cause some kind of environmental concern one way or another. Carbon does have bad waste. Alum has big mining concerns and also waste along with everything else built in the world.
  • + 1
 I really like the Pole design and for a long time it was the bike I was going to get. The seat angle was a huge selling point for me at 77,5. Usually it's 73-75,5. The reason I ended up buying a Canyon is because:

1. you are paying 5k€ for alu frame bike

2. you are paying 5k€ for a heavy bike

3. Even if long CS is better for cornering I prefer a bike that can be handled in tight forest and having such a long bike is just not very practical.

4. No Eagle option.
  • + 4
 This article made me adore this brand and their ethics. I'll be riding an alloy POLE as soon as possible.
  • + 2
 The anti carbon movement is in full swing. Which is bloody great. Fragile, labour intensive, non-recyclable, toxic and for very little gain apart from elitist consumer browny points. Massive kudos.
  • + 2
 When my ego has to choose between the carbon frame and the ocean, I choose the ocean regardless of the missed opportunity to look smug and yuppy at the Old Buck parking lot. I'll pass, right Honzo?
  • + 5
 hats off for this gentleman Leo Kokkonen
my next bike 100%
  • + 5
 Thank you. EU and Canada just made a new trade agreement so it's even easier to get one from us in the future.

ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ceta
  • + 1
 "We think that robotics, artificial intelligence, and digitalization are the keywords of modern business. If we harness these, we can make the world a much better place for everyone."

Everyone except the people replaced by robots and A.I....
  • + 1
 this is one of the first environmentally concerned articles I can get behind. Usually people just yell and cry about stuff without fact or any specific point. Lots of good points made here and the business ethics are the most important and refreshing thing about this article. Good job Pole bikes.
  • + 1
 I went to school for composites specifically to design better composite frames, and after spending the $ and time, unfortunately came away with the same conclusion. There are ecologically friendly matrix and reinforcement materials improving in performance steadily, though they're not comparable to carbon or epoxy yet, but even as they draw nearer, you're not going to find them being made cheaply in asia. Got to open that lab and do that work in house, and that's a serious investment. Otherwise, it's tough to beat alloy frames. Cheap carbon comes at a high deferred cost, no way around it.
  • + 1
 Check the black and white picture above, that's the new alloy bike - its not a mold. You can see where the bolts/screws will go to join the two haves. I suppose they might be locators for when the two halves are welded together? VERY cool.
  • + 1
 You guys obsessed about carbon frame waste going into the ocean do know that's the same ocean where we already dump boats, old subway cars, and fukushima water right? Jesus christ what a bunch of marketing dummies, i knew i shouldnt have logged back in here.
  • + 1
 'We think that robotics, artificial intelligence and digitalization are the keywords of modern business. If we harness these we will make the world a much better place for everyone.'

Apart,of course, from all the people who will be put out of work (mostly in the poorest countries) by this.
  • + 2
 I feel bad about my Carbon Handlebars right now. I didn't know carbon fiber products were that bad for the enviroment. Gonna stay away from that from now on. ALU is still stronger and safer I feel.
  • + 1
 Carbon handlebar is not a big issue because of it's shape. Making a tube is a process that is far more simpler than carbon frame manufacturing process. I think you can sleep your nights well Wink
  • + 2
 @polebicycles: well thank you my good sir
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: *cough*ROBOTBIKE*cough*
  • + 2
 If we are going to assist with the foot print made from these materials why not include the tires. I vote for development of hemp tires. Then once they are used up you can burn them and have a secondary bonus. Smile
  • + 3
 But we all knew this didn't we? We choose to ignore sustainability and eco arguments and still buy shiny beautiful carbon frames.
  • + 2
 Good man Leo, it aint all about the dollar or the latest wonder material. Pretty blase about breaking a crank though, do i want my ankle smashed into a million pieces? the answer is. . . . . . No.
  • + 1
 Good article, but I would disagree a little with the carbon recycling side. There are companies who are developing ways to re harness the fibres in other uses and retain energy from burning off the resins (Not ideal). Also natural fibres and bio resins are becoming more popular as is thermoplastic (recyclable) rather than thermoset matrices within composites. I agree that there is not a widely known solution but from what I know there are a lot looking into it and developing these areas.
I have to admit though the natural fibre or bio resins that are biodegradable do not have equivalent mechanical properties.
  • + 1
 Linen fiber is actually really fucking strong, not too updated on what eco friendly resins that are available though.
  • + 1
 @Losvar: stronger than hemp?
  • + 1
 @Losvar: really strong doesn't compare to carbon though 'tests indicate that the tensile strength of T800 CFs in 0° direction at 77K reaches 2310 MPa' that is HUGE line is closer to 60 MPa

38.5 times lower than high mod carbon...not even close
  • + 1
 marketing guff I can make a composite panel tomorrow that breaks down in sea water , the problem is they went to china , who want to make money and don't give a fuck about wether tomorrow comes or not the other thin is everything recycles forever , well at least until the sun goes huuuuge and swallows us up so its a moot point humanities existence is the blink of an eye
  • + 1
 I don't know exactly what that mould is for but it certainly doesn't look like a carbon mould. The surface finish isn't smooth enough, the bolt holes wouldn't be in the center of the tubes, and the head tube appears odd. It doesn't even match the profile of the 3d printed sample. Could this be for something else on the horizon?

I'm a little happy a carbon evolink isn't about to drop when I just got my aluminum one. Carbon however, would be awesome for a bike of these proportions, my large evolink 140 is somewhere between 35-37 lbs with a coil shock.

Keep up the good work @polebicycle "normal" geometry has effectively been ruined for me.
  • + 1
 @rollertoaster: What terrain do you normally ride on?

I'm seriously intrigued by a Pole (or a Whyte S-150) but don't know if its overkill for the hometrails.

Plus, tight turns are not my strong suite (I prefer to plow straight through steep and rocky terrain), that's why I don't know if I should rather stay with nible, playful bikes to help me with turns.
  • + 1
 You are right. It's not a mold Wink
  • + 2
 Aluminium bikes ride 3 times better then those light non-reactive carbon bikes, ask a dirt jumper or a bmxer! Big balls for this man going against the grain just for the essence of riding a good bike!
  • + 3
 Glad to see someone does not like toxic bikes, can beleive they dump waste in the ocean
  • + 2
 carbon/molded frames just look sooo tacky anyway. they have that look about them.
a cleanly welded frame is a beautiful thing.
  • + 0
 Hi, I'm Paul Aston. I am smarter than you about bikes. I like bikes that are super long and I look down on all of you who don't hold the same enlightened views as me. Today I am going to do some PR for my favorite bicycle company and apologize for them not having carbon. Actually it's better that they don't have carbon. See how smart I am! Come back next time for my contrarian view on eBikes and how they are great. Did I mention that I am smarter than you! I laugh at your carbon bike.
  • + 0
 Name and shame or STFU you bollockless corporate ba$tards. You're part of the problem if you don't reveal. This way pressure can be applied to the brands that do turn a blind eye, who in turn put pressure on the manufacturer to clean up their act or they walk.
  • + 2
 I admit I have a carbon addiction. But reading this and a few experiences with cracked frames has made me change. That alu bronson looks sexy as hell.
  • + 0
 The cynic in me sees this as follows. The company decides to go carbon. They brag about it, but ultimately, they run in some sort of insurmountable problem, be it production, finances, logistics or structural integrity of the frame. They have to quit - but don't want to be seen as incompetent, so they go with the eco story. They can't believe it, but the people are buying it. Sad!
  • + 6
 We did not run in to any of these. We did not produce a single carbon frame. We terminated the process as soon we visited the Chinese factory. The whole trip was an eye opener that if it's possible to stay out of China and it's pollution, it's better. Our policy is to give out the truth about our processes. This is part of our marketing strategy. Carbon design is fairly easy process so I would not even think about failing on it. Really. It's a simple process. There is just not a single thing in carbon process that makes us think "WOW".

You can read more here: www.polebicycles.com/why-arent-we-going-for-carbon-frames
  • + 5
 Actually in nordic countries it is perfectly possible that they really did it because they actually care. But, the article on Pinkbike is a pure marketing, you cannot deny that Smile
F*ck carbon, I am intrigued by this new process. I
  • + 2
 @polebicycles: So what about companies like SEED in germany who did /do make the intense carbon frames? i cant see them getting away with just chucking it in the sea.
  • + 0
 Another reason modern carbon frames crack is no large manufacturers use Kevlar/aramid,Spectra or similar toughened fibers any more think of it like laminate in windscreens problem is Kevlar etc is really hard to cut & wears out cutting equipment. Frames should not be snapping in half. As weights went down with alloy frames they cracked too.
  • + 3
 Saves me money by not buying carbon I'll take that! From this day no more carbon parts for me Smile
  • + 4
 No carbon Bike in my collection. No plans to change that. Cheers to Pole!
  • + 4
 I have no carbon on my bike
  • + 1
 I no have a carbon bike
  • + 2
 I thought this might be the route to the XL 29er, as the tubes aren't available in long enough lengths?
Is there anyway round this on the horizon? Eric 6'5"
  • + 3
 I've chatted with Kaisa of Pole Bicycles and the EVOLINK 150 fits 29ers too and its got a size XL frame!
  • + 1
 Check Nicolai Ion-G15.
  • + 2
 "there will be a far bigger advantage than losing 1–2kg on the frame"
Don't want to be picky but that about the difference between a downhill and a trail bike...
  • + 5
 Yes you're right in the weight aspect, but if that comes with the enviornmental impact that carbon component and frame production has I'd prefer a heavier bike and grow some muscles.
And not only enviornmental impacts - it is about durability in crashes as well. I mean don't you crash with your trail bike from time to time?
  • + 1
 Unless you race XC, frame weight really doesn't matter that much. Weight on wheels and tires are what you might notice, but I have no problem running full on DH tires on beefy rims for all kinds of trail riding. Carbon bikes are mostly for people to have something to braag about, not because it gives them an edge in performance.
  • + 1
 Try riding the light trail bike downhill and you'll see Wink
  • + 1
 @polebicycles: So why are all the downhill teams riding lighter and lighter frames. Surely if weight was an advantage they would want heavier ones to win
  • + 2
 @chrismac70: They really arent. Check the weight of the pros` bikes, they are usually at 16kg+. Some riders have even mentioned that a too light bike is slower.
There is also a difference between not wanting lighter and lighter parts and wanting heavier ones
  • + 0
 I call BS!! why focus on the frame? what about all the other components and each manufacturer's standards... the last I checked tires and rubber are not good for our planet??? If our planet is going to survive we really need to start focusing on the BIG issues www.ran.org
  • + 18
 because pole make frames and not tyres maybe. Just because you can't fix the whole problem doesn't mean you shouldn't work to improve what you can
  • + 2
 @multialxndr: You are absolutely right. We are trying to do our job right. We can not make our customers not to use carbon wheels for example. It's not up to us to make people do what we want. We can give them an lifestyle example to feel good about not following the plastic trends. You can be a cool kid without the "bling bling" by just having balls.

@CocaPump We know that the tires are creating a lot of waste. I did my job by inventing Huck Norris so you would not have to throw as much tires away. Huck Norris is Made in Finland and the material is easier to recycle than tires. We are currently trying to improve the lifespan of Huck Norrises as well. The packaging of Huck Norris can be used as a fender.
  • + 3
 @polebicycles: i wonder often about all these issues you bring up... especially with package design... its especially wasteful... and so what if you can reuse it... its still more crap you dont need having to be made... why cant ppl just accept a Huck Norris folded up and tied with a sustainable piece of twine?... why cant you merchandise it in a hook hanging down all long and shit?... people wont accept that crap!... it kills me how much ppl have to be wooed and impressed with this stuff... how much your partners demand modern marketing techniques and merchandising methods... and how international shipping and distribution requires so much wasteful packing and systems... does your brain hurt to think it through like mine?...
  • + 2
 What brand was he referring to with the lightest full suspension MTB frame?
singletrackworld.com/2016/06/lightest-available-2017-cross-country-models-from-scott
  • + 3
 "we are helping society in the long term by adding more aluminum to the pool of material available to recycle" Eh what?
  • + 0
 Personally I think all bike companies should ditch carbon fiber part completely. This would level the playing field and keep everyone out of that hot mess. Everyone will sleep better too. Maybe there should be some sort of bike manufacturer summit.....NO JOKE
  • + 0
 This is a really thought provoking article. On the one hand you're looking at a craft; yes carbon fibe layup is a hand skilled craft. Just one that's not done in the west primarily for a whole host of reasons. Hand skills are vitally important, and we as a culture have all but lost them. On the other hand carbon fiber is very toxic and wasteful. It's a technology that is actually still young. Engineering on the molecular scale could go a long way into the sustainability of carbon products. Automation and AI have some serious human impact issues as well which we will see in the no too distant future. The primary problem is the lack of regulations and environmental controls surrounding the process. Companies choose to do anything they can for short term profitability. The price of a product doesn't actually reflect its actual cost in the terms of worker's pay, and environmental impact. I'm giving a TEDx talk on basically this very topic later this month at TEDx Utica. tedxutica.com
It's a topic that needs to be addressed.
  • + 4
 well done boys!! keep it real!!
  • + 0
 Most of the 30 aluminum frames I've owned have broken at the welds within a year, but never broken a carbon frame. First carbon frame was a 1996 Trek Y5-0 that lasted 6 years before I sold it intact. Would be interesting to compare the cost/impact of how many aluminum frames it takes to match the strength of carbon.
  • + 5
 30 frames and most of them cracking welds within a year? Dude what bikes are you buying??
  • + 1
 @VPS13: kona?
  • + 2
 I've cracked six carbon frames, and two aluminium frames. The cracked carbon frames all came from the same manufacturer, but the carbon frames I never cracked came from other manufacturers. Don't blame the material if it breaks - blame the manufacturer.
  • + 1
 @VPS13: let's just say I've never owned a Giant or Specialized, pretty much everything else
  • + 1
 "For example, you can use light cranks to save weight and your budget is not going through the roof if they fail."

I would think that your medical bill budget could potentially skyrocket with a crank arm snapping.
  • + 3
 The article should have just said we don't have the cash for carbon molds so we are going the more cost effective route.
  • + 1
 No one will buy a carbon fiber frame unless you are saving pounds of weight. Thus carbon frames are less than robust by desighn. So the fact that Pole is concerned with making tough bikes that last is what appeals to me.
  • + 0
 Carbon is recyclable. Maybe you could have a positive effect on the recycling of carbon by actually making the frame and using that to help promote the fact that 'the end' of the item isn't actually 'the end'.
  • - 1
 So, this guy is fine with them being a communist country and all the ethical treatment of the citizen, I mean surfs, such as running over people with tanks that disagree with the government. He is ok with that county's one child policy that results in untold number of gender based abortions. But OH MY GOD!!! They toss scrap carbon in the water, can't do business with them, shame on them.
  • + 3
 @kevinj0101
Can't deal with every problem and this site is about bikes not child abortions.
But yes, you're correct.
That country is a disgrace.
  • + 2
 The one-child policy has been abolished. Just like slavery in the US (officially anyway).
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Officially anyways? What unofficial slavery am I unaware of?
  • + 3
 This sounds like complete bullsh*t! Haha
  • + 4
 Well done Pole bikes
  • + 2
 Wow... i am not auper fun of carbon to. So i looking forward to see what the company bring out in the next few month. .
  • + 2
 I keep all my old dh tyres. Recycle them on conmuting bikes. So cool to get to beach on my slick st 2.5 minions
  • + 2
 you must enjoy surfing in the dark given how long that will take you to get there..
  • + 3
 So. Full 3D Titanium printing next?
  • + 1
 Robotbike is the one CF bike that I would say is not a disaster made in china. Pretty sure those CF tubes are filament wound in the EU and the Ti 3D printing is obviously their tech.
  • + 2
 ti is one of the worst metals to refine and smelt. tonnes of HF acid, plus the multiple smelting to achieve purity for alloying, very energy intensive!
  • + 1
 @jollyXroger:
Toxic metal dust for workers, both for the workers who make the dust and the workers who 3D print. It is also expensive to buy the dust and the advanced laser metal printer. It is also time-consuming. That prototype bike cost £200.000 to make!
  • + 1
 @joni0001984: So what. cool bike. Maybe a bamboo bike is more your speed?
  • + 4
 +100 points for Pole
  • + 3
 I don't buy this. I would have though saving 2kg out of the frame was huge
  • + 1
 Only if you race XC.
  • + 1
 @Losvar: So why are all the DH and Enduro racers making their bikes as light as possible?
  • + 2
 and salaries, don't forget salaries. I firmly believe the guy building a frame shoul be able to afford it. Simple as that.
  • + 5
 And the guy building the latest Bugatti should be able to afford that also? Mountainbikes and supercars are not household necessities.
  • + 1
 @DokonjoDaikon: yeah, and the guy building the space shuttle should be able to afford it too, and the guy building a skyscrapper ??????
Apples to apples, please. Bikes are aluminum tubing / plastic, with technology borrowed from other industries
  • + 1
 @DokonjoDaikon: it's 2 or 3 grand what we are talking about for a super nice frame, any welder/carbon layer in Europe or North America makes that in six weeks. I doubt the same guy in China makes that in a whole year.
  • + 1
 Sounds like a small company that ran out of funds to pull off carbon molds/bikes. Just make nice aluminum bikes and call it a day.
  • + 2
 Damn Straight, awesome to see them giving the middle finger to the things they don't believe in.
  • + 1
 Is not like aluminium, but you can do some kind of recycling:

v1.0.1.elgcf.srvb.net4orce.nvas.io/recycled-carbon-fibre/the-process
  • + 3
 It looks like the Big Hero 6 of bike frames
  • + 2
 Well done Leo, but can we please get some more info now on that full CNC frame?
  • + 1
 I am going to guess they are playing with thermoplastic composites or bio composites such as Lingrove. I would bet that is what the picture of the mold from Sept 4 is for.
  • + 3
 F china whom is buds with North korea.
  • + 1
 You really think so dude?
  • + 2
 Absolutely.
  • + 2
 Brilliant marketing strategy!
  • + 2
 I've already got white guilt now I've got to bike guilt ugh.
  • + 0
 First absolutely most awesome looking frame i have ever seen. second, i appreciate and so does God your ethics! The devil is trying to destroy nature. no joke!
  • + 2
 Yes,you did it. My next bike will be a Pole
  • + 1
 Well, ya. If you make a bike with tubes 3x bigger than every other bike, you're going to waste a lot of carbon fiber!!
  • + 2
 hey idiots carbon fiber is the real problem. refocus your hate
  • + 1
 and stop voting with your bulky wallets, its dangerous
  • + 1
 Wow, POLE definitely just gained some of my respect! My next bike will be a POLE perhaps tup
  • + 2
 Good they scrapped that bulgy frame.
  • + 2
 Welds are cool. Glue is not
  • + 0
 I quite like the glued aluminium seatstays of the new Hope Bike Wink
  • + 1
 @jmrmuc: Or those glued Lotus cars.
  • + 2
 Riding Pole.... teehee
  • + 1
 AHH, this is the famous POLESHIFT
  • + 2
 oooo snap
  • + 1
 Can't help but blue on top of that font makes me think about Police
  • + 2
 We need graphene bikes!
  • + 1
 So we don't get to ride a plastic bike?
  • + 1
 that blue bike reminds me of gt saction
  • + 1
 Now that you mentioned it ......
  • + 1
 is the EvoLink 140a persist bb?
  • + 1
 Aluminum frame, 27,5 inch wheels, what more do you want ?
  • + 6
 26 inch wheels lol
  • + 3
 29
  • + 1
 I'll leave plastic for picnic plates and cat poop cleaner shovel thingies.
  • + 1
 很棒的理由,但是不好意思,这锅我们不背。
  • - 1
 This is why the new hope HB160 costs £7500 grand...but you can sleep at night that the craftsman was paid a good wage.
  • + 3
 7.5 grand or 7500 Not 7500 grand...
  • - 2
 Cro-Mo steel all the way for me. And the weight difference to aluminium and carbon is negligible, and it's easily fixable if I dent it... Simples
  • + 1
 Staling are the most badass bikes I can think of right now!
  • - 1
 Not putting that ugly duckling into production was a very wise business decision on many levels.
  • + 1
 *Peek.
  • + 0
 This is why I get my carbon frames used.
  • + 5
 then dump it in the "used" ocean
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