New Zealand-based Vélos Advancements is building its new Holocene road bike from recycled Toray carbon fiber. According to Vélos, its focus is on “taking a novel and possibly world-first approach to manufacturing its range of race bikes from waste, recycled and surplus Toray carbon fibre provided to them by SailGP Technologies and the New Zealand aerospace industry.”
The carbon fiber sheeting scraps retained from the boats and aircraft are stored in a freezer until they’re needed, as the scraps will otherwise degrade over time.
Vélos founder Dan Burrows explained that the traditional process would be for SailGP to cure its scraps and send them to be used in forged carbon fiber or to a landfill. Recycling the scraps into forged carbon fiber is an improvement over sending them to the landfill but is still a very energy intensive process when compared to Vélos’s process.
“There are no issues with using recycled fibre although for frame building, not all carbon is equal. There are only certain weight and modulus fibres that we can use to build an optimised race frame,” said Burrows. “We select only what we can use in the frame and all other fibre is diverted to other products where weight and performance are not as important, such as our carbon fibre bike boxes/travel cases.”
When explaining how the carbon fiber supplier was selected, Burrows said, “The performance attributes are exactly the same as you will find in any high-end performance-orientated race bike. After all, we are using the same supplier and the same carbon as most of the big players: Toray.”
The frame of the Holocene road bike is one piece with no joints, leading to a stiffer frame with lower weight and superior ride quality. Only 100 custom manufactured Holocene Superbikes will be available beginning in 2024.