Switching to an electric bicycle is already a big step in reducing your commute’s carbon footprint. But buying one that’s made with plant fibers is taking sustainability even more seriously.
Hummingbird is trying to make waves within the e-bike industry with the Flax Folding Bike, an e-bike it claims is the “world’s first folding bike frame made entirely of flax plant fibers.” It’s even going so far as to call the e-bike the “most environmentally-friendly form of transport,” only behind walking. That’s a bold claim, but considering the Flax Folding Bike is both electric and made of sustainable materials, Hummingbird is making a very convincing case.
Chances are if you’re in the market for an e-bike, you’re most likely conscious of the environment. In this case, all the more credit to Hummingbird’s frame made of flax, which feels like the cherry on top for someone looking for an easier, less environmentally harmful commute. On top of that, the folding bike is ideal for city commuters since it’s easy to carry and only weighs about 10 kilograms, or about 22 pounds.
Plant power — Using plant fiber as a frame material is not new, since some car makers like Mercedes-Benz have been doing this for a few years now. Plant fiber frames make a lot of sense for e-bikes as well with their impressive strength-to-weight ratio.
The flax frame is wildly lightweight and Hummingbird says it’s on par with its carbon fiber frame in terms of strength. If plant fibers as a material still sound flimsy to you, the Folding Flax Bike was developed with the help of motorsport company Prodrive.
As for how fast the e-bike is, it’s not quite as impressive. It definitely gets the job done since it has a 250W motor that’s powered by a 158Wh battery. That battery nets the Flax Folding Bike a range of more than 50km, or roughly 31 miles, and lets it top out at around 25km/h, or around 15 mph.
The price of sustainability — The specs are a little disappointing especially when you consider that Hummingbird’s flax folding bike costs £4,995, or about $6,000. For that amount, you could always opt for e-bikes that are a little more powerful or have a longer range, like the Super73 Z-Miami or VanMoof S5 and A5. They just won’t be as lightweight nor as sustainable as Hummingbird’s options.
There are cheaper versions of the Flax Folding Bike that are not electric, like a single-speed and multi-speed variants, which weigh even less. Whether you’re interested in dropping thousands of dollars on Hummingbird’s sustainable bike or not, it represents an interesting move forward for e-bikes using more sustainable materials.