FRENCH MATERIALS GIANT LAUNCHES LINE OF COMPOSITE BIKE BEARINGS
LEV SALES EXPECTED TO LEVITATE TO 1.6 MILLION
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, a division of a huge French materials company, is launching a new line of composite bearings for bicycle components, including headsets, brakes, front and rear derailleurs and pedals.
space for on-site photo. © XXX The bearings reduce noise and vibration and minimize weight while boosting performance. The Norglide composite bearing features a unique, thicker layer of PTFE, which provides strong resistance to friction and corrosion. Cane Creek, the U.S. headset manufacturer, uses Norglide X2 its AER headset, which the company claims is the world’s lightest, weighing less than half that of comparable bearings. The AER is standard equipment on Trek’s 2011 Madone 6-Series SSL and Cervelo’s new R5ca. The X2 material sandwiches an aluminum base between a layer of low-friction PTFE tape and an elastomeric rubber backing material. The resulting bearing weighs just 1.5 grams (0.05 ounces) yet is durable enough to provide more than 450 hours of riding, according to the company. Saint-Gobain says Norglide bearings are
also suitable for front and rear suspension systems because they offer maintenancefree longevity, minimal “stick-slip,” reduced weight and low friction. The company can customize its bearings for specific uses by adjusting the geometry and composition of the fluoropolymer material used in their construction. Other Saint-Gobain components that can be used in the bicycle industry include Norslide Cable Liners and Rencol tolerance rings. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics is a division of Saint-Gobain, which is among the top 50 global industrial companies. With more than 191,500 employees, Saint-Gobain is the 60th largest employer in the world. Headquartered outside of Paris, Saint-Gobain has operations in 64 countries. It concentrates in three core markets: construction products, innovative materials and building distribution. In 2009, Saint-Gobain posted global sales of nearly €37.8 billion ($52.2 billion). SaintGobain is publicly traded on the stock exchanges of Paris, London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Brussels and Amsterdam. With 14 global sites, the Bearings and Tolerance Rings Group, a division of SaintGobain Performance Plastics, provides “engineer-to-engineer” solutions in motion to high volume international OEMs in the automotive, leisure, energy, industrial, and other markets. HTTP://WWW.BEARINGS.SAINT-GOBAIN.COM
TRP CREATES DISC BRAKE CONVERTER FOR ‘CROSS Now that the Union Cycliste Internationale has allowed the use of disc brakes on cyclo-cross bikes, manufacturers are scrambling to get kit to market. The TRP brake brand by Tektro l0112 of Taiwan has produced the Parabox converter. The Parabox allows ‘cross riders to use hydraulic disc brakes via dropbar cable levers, converting cable pull into hydraulic push. The Parabox converter fits underneath the stem, with two noodles feeding the wires in to the back and
Participants in the recent EnergyBus Workshop in Hsinchu (PHOTO BY MAX NEUPERT)
HSINCHU, Taiwan—There are plenty of LEVs on display at Taipei Cycle, but many of the heavyweights behind this booming industry segment met at their own event before the show. The LEV Conference 2011 took place March 14-15 at the TD Hitech in the Science Park in Hsinchu, where participants discussed the latest technical achievements and marketing and business concepts. Hannes Neupert, president of ExtraEnergy, a German organization that tests and promotes LEVs, said sales should top 300,000 units this year in Germany. He said the entire market should reach annual sales of 1.6 million pedelecs and e-bikes by the year 2018. The health of the e-bike market is very different depending on the country, officials said. For example, what happened in Japan at the turn of the century is now repeating itself in the Netherlands, where the market has plateaued at nearly a quarter of a million units a year. To overcome this temporary market saturation, LEV manufac-
turers will have to develop new types of products or offer new features that stimulate pedelec owners to buy new ones. Test rides are often essential to sell LEVs. ExtraEnergy is actively expanding the Test It Track, developed in Japan, throughout the European Union with the EUsupported project GoPedelec! Larry Pizzi, CEO of U.S. e-bike maker Currie Technologies, said the chance of selling an e-bike to a customer rises to 50 percent once the customer takes a test ride. While e-bikes continue to be a hard sell in the United States, they have reached the masses in China. In fact, electric cargo bikes have become increasingly popular for takeout deliveries by such restaurant chains as Papa John’s and KFC. Jean Chen, CEO of Shanghai EV Sales and Service Company, said her firm services more than 5,000 electric cargo bikes in the Shanghai and Hangzhou areas. SB
TRP’s Parabox converter.
the hydraulic lines exiting via the front. There are banjo fittings for a variety of hydraulic line routing options. CR
Author Susanne Bruesch (left) and LEV dealer Sebastian Plog rode fast pedelecs across Morocco.