In times of air pollution and impending traffic gridlock in large cities, alternative means of transport are more important than ever. Cargo bikes have become a support of the transformation of traffic: 39,200 e-cargo bikes were sold in 2018 according to the German Two-Wheeler Industry Association (ZIV) - a growth rate of 80% compared to the previous year.
chike from Cologne is specialised in e-cargo bikes. The startup has already won several prizes, among others the Eurobike Gold Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in the bicycle industry. And chike also scores very well in comparative tests in bicycle magazines, and is test winner of the major cargo bike long-term test by BIKE BILD.
What is special about their product?: the cargo bike is compact, light and agile. The spring-mounted tilt chassis ensures that the rider can lean into a curve just like with a normal bicycle.
The developers of chike were looking for suitable rod end bearings and plain bearings for an innovative, spring-mounted tilt chassis that would make their e-cargo bike just as agile as a normal bicycle. The requirements for the components: they should be light, low-maintenance and weather-resistant.
igubal rod end bearings and cylindrical iglidur plain bearings are the perfect solution. The rod end bearings are used on the track rods. As they consist entirely of high-performance polymers, they are resistant to corrosion, dirt and temperatures of up to -30°C. On the transverse control arms and in the tilt lock, the dry-running plain bearings ensure an almost maintenance-free continuous operation. In contrast to metal solutions, the components produced by injection moulding are very light and cost-effective.
Manuel Prager, CEO of chike, tells us how his brother Tobias Prager, a physicist, had the idea of developing an innovative transport system: "When my brother and sister-in-law had their second child, they started looking for a transport bike for the city - as an alternative to the car. However, the bikes on the market were too long or too bulky and cumbersome for them. That's why he developed chike." An electric cargo bike, which at 73 centimetres wide is compact enough to fit through all standard doors, and at less than 2 metres long is as light and manoeuvrable as a classic bicycle. “
The heart of chike is its spring-mounted chassis. It makes the bike manoeuvrable and the rider can lean into bends just like with a normal bicycle. It is also possible to raise the centre of gravity and mount the child seat above the wheels. This results in a narrower track width compared to classic three-wheeled cargo bikes. "The design of this tilt chassis with double transverse control arm system was one of our greatest challenges", recalls Prager. Amongst other things, it was necessary to find suitable components - such as rod end bearings for the track rods and plain bearings for the transverse control arms that are light, low-maintenance and weather-resistant.
chike made a find at igus. The igubal rod end bearings are used on the track rods that transmit the steering movements to the front wheels. The special feature is that they are not made of metal, but instead consist entirely of plastic. "The bearings are corrosion-free in humid or wet environments, insensitive to dirt, resistant to temperatures down to -30 degrees Celsius and thus ideally suited for use in a cargo bike", explains Kai Schmitz, Technical Sales Consultant at igus. "In addition, the bearings have dampening properties, which improves the riding experience. Last but not least, they weigh only a fifth of conventional metal bearing housings and are more cost-effective". “
Products from igus are also used in the transverse control arm bearing and in the tilt lock: cylindrical iglidur plain bearings. Their special feature is that unlike metallic solutions, they require no lubrication. This is due to the fact that a solid lubricant is integrated into the material. In operation, micro-abrasion ensures that particles of the lubricant are released and create a self-lubricating effect on the shaft surface. The advantage: a low-wear and maintenance-free dry operation that is easy on the owner's wallet. "Our cargo bikes do not require more maintenance than normal bikes because the tilt technology is practically maintenance-free", confirms Prager.
Cylindrical iglidur plain bearings are used in the transverse control arm bearing.
igubal rod end bearings are mounted on the track rods. Black rubber linings provide additional protection.
igus products are also used in the locking mechanism for a transport box: igubal pillow block bearings.