Wildly modular Plug&Go bike swaps body tubes to turn into all of the bikes | Digital Noch

French startup REF Bikes is trying to revolutionize bicycle design and, maybe, the whole trade. Rather than the mounted, welded tubes which have dominated bicycle design ceaselessly, its bikes use a modular tube system that works extra like PVC pipes. Every tube secures into place through three hubs, rapidly build up right into a full body. Not solely does the design enable for sooner manufacturing, it makes bicycles that may swap out broken tubes throughout restore and adapt as a person grows bodily or when it comes to biking stage and elegance. An city commuter can turn into a mountain bike can turn into an ebike can turn into a cargo bike and extra.

The bicycle is already one of the vital overtly user-customizable merchandise you will ever purchase, loaded with elements that may be swapped out for comparable gadgets to save lots of weight, increase efficiency, add coloration, or in any other case adapt to an proprietor’s wants and preferences. Drivetrain elements, wheels and tires, deal with bars and grips, brakes, saddles and a mess of different items and components may be upgraded or modified out. Actually, it is common to simply purchase a body and construct it up with handpicked elements from the get-go.

The one a part of the bicycle that is not user-customizable is the body, the fundamental foundational block of any bike construct. REF Bikes seems to be to vary that by blowing the body up right into a sequence of interchangeable elements that may be rapidly assembled into completely different configurations. Its patented Plug&Go ecosystem consists of chromoly metal tubes and body segments and interconnecting aluminum hubs and fittings. The inflexible fork can also be constructed from aluminum.

A look at the components of the REF frame design
A have a look at the elements of the REF body design

REF Bikes

REF Bikes factors its modular design on the aim of slicing down on waste. It imagines its bikes lasting longer than the typical bicycle by adapting to the evolving proprietor, providing simple body repairs/tube replacements and offering a manner for secondhand homeowners to raised tweak their frames to their very own wants. The design also needs to (hypothetically) save homeowners cash on new and further bicycles by letting them use the identical basis a number of methods and for longer life cycles.

Together with making the bicycle shopping for and proudly owning expertise cheaper and extra adaptable, REF believes its framework will streamline manufacturing. It says that assembling bikes through prebuilt tubes will reduce body constructing all the way down to minutes, as an alternative of hours. It additionally helps the corporate to construct its frames domestically in France quite than outsourcing the work to Asia, like so a lot of in the present day’s bicycle firms do.

The tubes connect to the hub segments via connector fittings
The tubes connect with the hub segments through connector fittings

REF Bikes

After forming in 2021 and growing its modular imaginative and prescient right into a viable product ecosystem, REF has launched its first bikes for preorder. Every bicycle is accessible in purchaser’s selection of sport body, a standard geometry with excessive prime tube, or consolation body with a decrease, steeper prime tube. All three listed fashions are city commuters, with the Important basing in as the best and least costly, accessible as a single- or seven-speed.

REF's closed sport frame (left) and more open comfort frame
REF’s closed sport body (left) and extra open consolation body

REF Bikes

The Important Enhance provides a Zehus all-in-one rear e-drive for versatile, light-weight pedal-assist with an estimated vary of 37 miles (60 km) and a full bicycle weight of round 35 lb (16 kg). The City Enhance steps the Zehus-assist platform up for critical each day commuter sorts, including options like fenders, a rear rack, and entrance and rear lighting.

Listed base costs vary between €890 (approx. US$1,000) for a single-speed Important to €2,690 ($3,000) for the City Enhance, and customary elements throughout the lineup embrace a Gates Carbon belt drive, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and Mach 1 wheels. As of publishing, REF is promoting 20-percent low cost pricing for the primary 100 preorders, bringing that base vary down between €712 and €2,152. Deliveries will start this month, in response to the corporate web site.

Based in France, REF has been developing its modular bike design for several years and plans to begin the first deliveries this summer
Primarily based in France, REF has been growing its modular bike design for a number of years and plans to start the primary deliveries this summer time

REF Bikes

Personally, we might be holding off on shopping for one till REF releases extra of the modular packages and elements it has within the pipeline – or a minimum of gives some estimated pricing. A modular bicycle is admittedly solely as helpful because the modules accessible. Up to now, REF has talked about plans for a cargo bike package, a extra highly effective electrical bicycle package with battery-integrated down tube, a gravel package and a fats bike package, to not point out spare body tubes, rear body members, and add-on elements.

REF has been touring main bicycle occasions this summer time, together with final month’s Eurobike present and this month’s Paris Bike Present. It is usually providing demos in Paris and Lyons, with plans to broaden to different French cities sooner or later.

Supply: REF Bikes

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