You might not that think that the Hummingbird Flax, a folding electric bike featuring a frame made from sustainable plant fibres, has much in common with the raucous Subaru Impreza World Rally cars driven by legends such as Colin McRae and Richard Burns.
Amazingly, though, they’re both engineered and built by the same firm. That would be top engineering firm Prodrive, which is best known for its motorsport efforts with Subaru in rallying and Aston Martin in endurance racing.
Folding bike specialist Hummingbird, which launched in 2015, has partnered with Prodrive on the engineering and build of its range. While previous Hummingbird machines have used carbon fibre and advanced composite frames, the firm has now turned to a new, lightweight solution: flax.
The new Hummingbird Flax, which is offering as an electric bike, features a frame made entirely from the plant fibre, which Hummingbird claims makes it the world’s lightest sustainable folding bikes. The e-bike weighs 10kg – the non-powered version weighs just 6.9kg – but the firm claims it retains the same strength as its carbon fibre models.
Flax fibre has become more common in motorsport in recent years as a sustainable alternative to carbon fibre, and also has other benefits: it’s lighter, and also offers better vibration damping.
The Flax e-bike uses a 250W rear hub motor that weighs 3.5kg, and is powered by a 158Wh battery. That gives an electric assist range of around 31 miles, and the battery can be charged in around three hours.
The bike also gets a Shimano crankset and brake callipers, an aluminium alloy wheel set and high-performance 16in tyres.
The Hummingbird Flax e-bike is prices from £4995, compared to £4495 for the firm’s Gen 2.0 carbon figure-framed e-bike.