Tech: SRAM silences environmental critics with new fully biodegradable drivetrain

By James Huang Component maker SRAM has developed a wholly new, and ultra eco-friendly, component...

By James Huang

Component maker SRAM has developed a wholly new, and ultra eco-friendly, component group creatively dubbed RE-cycle, partially in response to some environmentalists who have expressed criticism of the company's decision to use plastic packaging for some of their high-end componentry. Not surprisingly, the new group is aimed squarely at the commuter market and will consist of a single-chainring crankset, front and rear hubs with internal drum brakes, and a rear derailleur and corresponding shifter.

European automakers have long been praised in heralded in the eco-community for having long been labeling individual components with universal material codes that ease recycling upon the end of a product's useful life. However, SRAM has elected to go one step further with RE-Cycle by actually making the group 100% biodegradable.

Using similar technology to that found in cornstarch-based packing materials, SRAM engineers have managed to form all of the individual elements of the group from a high-density compression-molded version of the material. According to SRAM engineers, their proprietary molding process imparts enough mechanical strength and rigidity to the normally weak material such that highly functional components can be reliably formed.

A SRAM PR and product testing guru, said, "dude, you can also now eat your bike parts to keep from starving in the event that you get lost or stranded somewhere".

If RE-cycle actually makes it to production, it certainly may have far-reaching impact on how other companies develop product and may also set a new standard for environmental responsibility within the industry.

We at Cyclingnews certainly have high hopes for the new technology, and stay tuned for a complete road test of the new group as soon as it becomes available.

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