At the beginning of 2024, the three riders Mike Fuchs, Oliver Gehrking and David Arlandis will set off on a sustained journey: at Frankfurt's main train station, they will board the first of numerous trains bound for southern Spain, from where they will take the ferry to North Africa. Then it is: get into gear and pedal diligently ... To master the approximately 1,300 kilometers through mountains, snowfields, and the hot desert and to prove: Bicycle frames and components made of thermoplastics can withstand even the toughest demands.
Three extraordinary personalities with a common passion: Mike Fuchs, an experienced photographer and accomplished expedition manager, meets Oliver Gehrking, a versatile athlete who is at home in cyclocross, MTB and road racing, and David Arlandis, who has been tackling all sporting hurdles for many years as well - on road bike, MTB and gravel bike. Together they set off on an exciting adventure that will take them to North Africa. This unusual partnership promises not only unique impressions and experiences, but also a captivating story of three people who use their ability and passion to discover new horizons and explore boundaries together.
Their respective bikes are as unusual as the three riders: the Buddy X1 e-bike. Behind this are Buddy Bike and ISOCO/V Frames. Together, the partners develop high-quality e-bikes that stand out for their innovative designs and outstanding quality. The brand is known for its environmentally friendly and durable bikes. With their clear vision for sustainability and mobility, ISOCO/V Frames and Buddy Bike have made a name for themselves as providers of modern bicycle solutions. In Central Europe, the bikes are available and for sale under the name ISOCO X1.
Buddy's frame itself is manufactured in Germany - by ISOCO/V Frames, based in Saalfeld, Thuringia. Thermoplastic carbon fiber plastics from LEHVOSS are used for the production. The frames convince with four main features:
- V Frames bicycle frames have a 68 percent lower carbon footprint than traditional aluminum frames.
- V Frames are lighter than aluminum frames
- V Frames frames are 100 percent recyclable at the end of their service life.
- The Buddy X1 frame has passed all tests relevant to this class of bike with flying colors as the first tool-drop, injection-molded frame.
The thermoplastic bicycle frames were compared with welded aluminum frames. Aluminum, like the LEHVOSS material used here, is recyclable. Composite frames are based on a mixture of thermoset resin and carbon fibers and cannot be recycled in a technically or ecologically sensible manner.
Behind the bikes and their riders are powerful partners
Bikes and riders form the core team around which everything revolves. They are joined by a number of partners who contribute their technological expertise to make this cycling expedition a success:
Baier & Michels: the specialist for fastening technology/connection solutions and manufacturer of corrosion-resistant special screws for carbon fiber reinforced plastics.
BLOOVS Eyewear: The emerging label from Barcelona develops and manufactures sports eyewear perfectly adapted to the needs of athletes. For the Extreme-Tech expedition with polarized and photochromic lenses.
Buddy Electric: one of the largest e-bike manufacturers in Norway with more than 20 years of experience with electric vehicles.
Ergon Bike Ergonomics: innovator and industry leader in ergonomics for the contact points between rider and bike. The products developed in Germany - gender-specific saddles, handlebar grips, pedals and other ergonomic accessories - are noticeably better.
FESCHD: Innovative and fully recyclable holder for smartphones. Made from LUVOTECH eco materials.
Hufschmied Zerspanungssysteme: the renowned manufacturer of high-performance cutting tools, especially for machining carbon fiber reinforced materials.
INVERSE: Since 1969 the producer of high-quality clothing - made of materials tailored to every type of cycling, triathlon and running, allowing optimal performance - both in training and in competitions. INVERSE is the outfitter of the Spanish World Championship and Olympic teams with its own production in Barcelona.
ISOCO / V Frames: System provider and manufacturer of injection molded sustainable thermoplastic carbon composite bicycle frames as well as other bicycle components, producing exclusively in Thuringia.
LEHVOSS Group: Develops, manufactures and distributes specialty chemical and mineral products worldwide. The Customized Polymer Materials business unit develops and produces thermoplastic materials that demonstrate performance far above market standards.
ORTLIEB: The world's leading brand of waterproof premium equipment. Bags and backpacks: Made in Germany.
Rohloff: The inventor of the 14-speed high-performance bicycle transmission - Speedhub 14. The epitome of the modern manual transmission hub and brand name for the highest quality, availability and durability.
ZF Micro Mobility: an innovator in the field of micromobility systems. Supplier of high-performance e-bike drive systems. The ebike motor with 112 Nm is used as part of the Xtreme-Tech expedition.
A test site like no other
Extreme temperature fluctuations, intense sunlight, strong winds. Fine sand and dust that can get into mechanical parts. UV radiation that extremely accelerates the aging and degradation of materials. These are the characteristics of the Erg Chegaga, the largest sand desert in Morocco, and thus also the test conditions to which Mike Fuchs, Oliver Gehrking and David Arlandis will expose themselves with their Buddy X1 bikes in early February 2024.
The journey will take them through deep mountain gorges and dried-up riverbeds, once crisscrossed by raging streams but now parched by the merciless sun. They will climb high mountain passes on ancient mule and camel trade trails and scree tracks that once served as connecting routes between the royal cities and Berber villages.
They will encounter Noor - one of the world's largest solar power plants, which converts the Sahara's relentless solar energy into clean electricity and provides a prime opportunity to recharge e-bike batteries. And they're likely to encounter snow, too; in the north, in the high Atlas Mountains around Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa, whose peaks are covered with snow in winter, causing heavy rainfall. Precipitation that can cause paths, rivers, and trails to become impassable and
The linchpin is sustainability
Mike Fuchs, Oliver Gehrking and David Arlandis will be on the road in a very sensitive and challenging ecosystem. On e-bikes and with components that are all heavy-duty, they will prove that such a demanding expedition is also possible while consistently implementing the idea of sustainability.
With partners who are all committed to sustainability: They produce extremely durable components and equipment parts in Germany; use raw materials from the EU - where they occur - and live the principle of the circular economy. The best example of this is the bicycle frame from ISOCO/V Frames: At the end of its life cycle, it is reprocessed, and the material is used as a recyclate for new high-quality components.
The Xtreme-Tech expedition will show just how resilient riders, e-bikes and components will ultimately be.