Prodrive and Hummingbird to build a sustainable e-bike

You might not think that the Hummingbird Flax, a folding electric bike that features a frame made from sustainable plant fibres, has much in common with the blazing Subaru Impreza World Rally cars driven by legends like Colin McRae and Richard Burns.

Amazingly, though, it was designed and built by the same company. That would be the biggest engineering company Prodrive, which is best known for its motorsport efforts with Subaru in rallying and Aston Martin in endurance racing. Folding bike company Hummingbird, which launched in 2015, has partnered with Prodrive to engineer and build its range. Whereas previous hummingbird machines used carbon fiber and advanced composite tires, the company has now switched to a new, lightweight solution: flax.

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Offered as an electric bike, the new Hummingbird Flax features a frame made entirely of vegetable fiber, which Hummingbird claims makes it the world’s lightest sustainable folding bike. The e-bike weighs 10kg – the non-powered version weighs just 6.9kg – but the company claims it retains the same strength as its carbon-fiber models.

Flax fibers have become more popular in motorsports in recent years as a sustainable alternative to carbon fibres, and they also have other benefits: they are lighter in weight, and they also provide better vibration damping.

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The Flax e-bike uses a 250W rear motor that weighs 3.5kg and is powered by a 158Wh battery. This provides an electric assist range of about 31 miles, and the battery can be charged in about three hours.

The bike also gets a Shimano kit, brake calipers, a set of aluminum alloy wheels and 16-inch high-performance tires.

The Hummingbird Flax e-bike is priced from £4,995, compared to £4,495 for the company’s Gen 2.0 carbon frame e-bike.

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