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Kairos bicycle racks with roof

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Greener cities with bicycle racks from Kairos – optimized with Hydro EcoDesign

"Our big goal is to make transport more climate-friendly and socially acceptable," says Christoph Breuer, Managing Director of Kairos OG. With the help of low-carbon aluminium and Hydro EcoDesign methodology, their innovative bicycle racks are contributing toward that goal.

More and more cities are banning cars from their downtown streets to create space and low-traffic zones for people wishing to walk or bicycle their way through town. Parking spaces are being transformed into attractive public areas or turned into bicycle racks. The latter, however, demands innovation: It requires bicycle racks that suit their surroundings, that are elegant, compact, durable, easy to clean and modular.

This is why the Austrian company Kairos, which specializes in mobility and communication solutions, developed a trend-setting solution together with product designer Bernhard Breuer. Hydro supported them with the optimization of their aluminium profiles and through the technical implementation.

Practical solutions needed

"Individuals cannot save the world, but together we can make it better,” says Christoph Breuer. “Our ambition is to use our knowledge from the impact research to reduce the negative ecological and social effects of our way of life – with innovative products."

With this approach, Kairos wants to make it obvious for people to choose the most suitable transport medium for their particular purpose. And not automatically to get into a car. Why? Because the alternatives are healthier and often more practical.

A major challenge is to redesign public spaces so that alternatives to the car become more natural and apparent. With regard to cyclists, this requires convenient options for parking traditional bicycles and e-bikes safely and protected from bad weather.

Breuer says "just like it was with the comic series character Lucky Luke, who could tie up his horse outside the door of the saloon, it should be with bicycles in the future. You drive into a good bike rack, get out of the saddle and simply lock up the bike without having to mess around. That was our development goal."

What it’s all about

Traditional bike racks are bulky and do not perform particularly well with today’s e-bikes. They either hold the heavy e-bikes inadequately or, worse, damage wheels, brakes or frames. And charging stations – when available at all – tend to be screwed to the wall, difficult to access and so far from the charging socket on the bike that the bike can only be charged with difficulty.

For this purpose, the power supply must be somehow clamped to the bike, protected from moisture and theft.

Based on these learnings, Kairos collaborated with product designer Bernhard Breuer to develop a new type of bicycle stand that can integrate an e-bike charging station if desired. Hydro assisted them in profile optimization using Hydro EcoDesign, technical implementation, and in the selection of an aluminium product with an ecological footprint that was as low as possible.

Here is a closer look at the new bike stand:

Elegance: Aluminium is in itself an attractive and corrosion-resistant material and therefore ideal for an attractive and timeless design. The bicycle stands are designed to be filigree and visually appealing. In addition, they require little space and the floor around the stands can be easily cleaned.  

Flexibility: The bike racks are built to easily park and securely hold all popular bike models. The integrated brushes in patented geometry hold the bike effectively and protect it from damage.

Electrification: A box can be attached to the bike racks in which the charger can be plugged in and locked away to prevent theft. In the future, people will be able to rent a bicycle parking space in their apartment complex and will only have to plug in the charging station to charge their bicycles. If necessary, the chargers can be quickly removed from the box and taken with them on vacation, for example. And if the size of the standard charger should change in the future, that's no problem either. The box was designed to change and replace individual parts without having to replace the entire construction.

bicycle racks from Kairos

Partnering toward a greener future

In Hydro, Kairos found a partner who could contribute expertise in the development process from the very beginning. In fact, the entire system was designed according to the sustainability principles of Hydro EcoDesign.

"We appreciate Hydro's know-how. Starting with the raw material aluminium, to the extruding and bending of the product to sustainability – there are no unpleasant surprises waiting for us," says Christoph Breuer.

Breuer explains that he knew about Hydro since his school days at the Higher Technical Institute in Austria, where he studied mechanical engineering.

"Hydro is well-known in Vorarlberg for its top quality, and the engagement of the different contact people throughout this whole process has been awesome," he says. "We would prefer to have everything produced in Vorarlberg, which makes this partnership with Hydro very important to us."

Looking ahead, he adds that Kairos and Hydro are collaborating on a modern and aesthetic roofing system, which will then be offered to future customers as a complete system with the bicycle racks.

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Extruded profiles Hydro EcoDesign can help you make better products with smaller environmental footprints Aluminium extrusions for E-charging stations

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