Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Seven Cycles shits bed on Earth Day

High-end bicycle manufacturer Seven Cycles has taken advantage of Earth Day to sucker eco-conscious yuppies into buying a $6000 bike. How? By releasing the Seven "Muse", aka the "Earth Day Bike".

The idea behind this bike is to minimize the environmental impact of it's production. Fair enough. Seven has gone to great lengths to do this, such as sandblasting the frame instead of using adhesive decals, which contain harmful chemicals. The bikes will even be shipped to their buyers in a reused box and packing materials.

Seven's marketing manager's explanation behind the bike's philosophy: "...we designed the bike to promote sustainability and responsible resource use on a daily basis. We're trying to add value for the rider who seeks not only fitness and convenience, but is environmentally conscious."

Sounds pretty admirable so far, doesn't it? Then we get to the part where the whole thing comes crashing down around Seven's ears. The product description contains the following information on the Muse's construction: "For US$5,900, you can be the proud owner of a 15-pound beauty, highlighted with Chris King components, Seven’s titanium Tiberius bar, titanium stem and new titanium seatpost..."

It also mentions later on that the Muse's frame is made of straight-guage titanium.


I guess no one told Seven that titanium refinement is horrendously bad for the environment, and unlike alternative frame materials like steel or aluminum, most of the world has no infrastructure in place to recycle titanium.

A bit more on titanium refinement, from the link above: "Since the early 1950s, titanium has been produced through the Kroll process. Manufacturers first make titanium chloride, which gets processed into titanium tetrachloride, and then mixed with magnesium, which draws out the titanium and produces chlorine gas. The result is a porous material, contaminated with magnesium salts, which requires further processing to remove the salts and make it usable for manufacturing. The process is so toxic that it's difficult to get the permits needed to build a new plant in order to expand production."

Well done, Seven. Well done.

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