Say no to carbon?

SMALL Finnish mountain bike maker Pole Cycles has taken a stand against the manufacture of carbon fibre frames, suggesting that the process of building carbon frames is “unethical”.

In a blog on its website, Pole Cycle’s Leo Kokkonen claims that a trip to China to finalise the production of a new bike gave the company pause, subsequently shelving two years of design and prep work already done on a new trail bike.

“We want to keep moving and provide our customers the latest innovations right away and not five years later,” said Leo in the blog. “We want to get rid of the burden of 90s standards that are holding us down.

“We represent the change in the industry that many want to make, but they just can’t yet let go from the past.”

Air pollution, the difficulty in recycling carbon and even the high levels of plastic packaging created by Chinese factories have all played a part in the company’s decision to back away from carbon frames, as well as increasing costs of manufacturing.

“The carbon bicycle industry is going to remain a labor (sic) intensive for the time being,” said Leo. “This means that when China’s labor (sic) gets more expensive, the products gets more expensive as well.

“We have seen that the factories are moving to a cheap labor (sic) countries like Myanmar (Burma), which is known as a country of military dictatorship and violator of human rights. This means that in the factories there will more than likely to be violations towards the working force and environment more than now in China.

Pole, renowned for building genre-stretching rigs like the Evolink 150 27.5 which features a 63.5deg head tube and a foldable construction, claims that the decision to stay with aluminium frames doesn’t preclude it from being a high-end bike maker.

“We think that the high end in mountain biking products are not defined by the material,” said Leo. “We think that it would actually be silly to bind ourselves to the high cost mould process for three to five years period. We want to keep moving and provide our customers the latest innovations right away, and not five years later.”

Most of all, Leo says the company’s stand is one that is good for the planet.

“We are moms and dads here at Pole Bicycles,” he said, “and we all agree that we would like to be able to look into our children’s eyes when they grow up and tell them that we made choices that turned people’s heads to a cleaner future for the living beings on this planet.”

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