We’ve seen a lot of different custom bikes, unique construction methods, and some pretty amazing finishes from the Czech bike builders at Festka, but their latest one-off project with Nespresso probably takes the cake (or rather coffee) as the most unconventional. The capsule-based coffee produced approached Festka with the idea to create a bike made from the recaptured and recycled aluminum of their used coffee capsules. Festka doesn’t usually do much work with aluminum, but they already work with some mixed material bikes like their carbon & titanium Doppler, so they thought they would give it a try. In the end it seems that it was more difficult than expected, but mostly in the process of getting someone to work with them to turn the used capsules into useable frame tubing. But they stuck it out, built a truly one-of-a-kind recycled bike and in the end auctioned it off to support a local charity for  disadvantaged youth…

all photos courtesy of Festka

The Festka Nespresso was essentially developed along the same concept at their carbon/ti Doppler, which meant that the bike would use a carbon headtube, seattube & chainstays together with carbon lugs that bond to shaped alloy  toptube, downtube & seatstays. Festka says that this give them the ability to work with the stiffness of carbon to build the performance structure of the bike, while using the main alloy tubes to impact the unique ride quality of the metal on the frame.

Of course using recycled metal for these main tubes was a new solution for Festka, but also with the strong cultural connection of cyclists & coffee provided another novel link between rider and material.

Nespresso itself is pretty well-known for producing the consistent quality of coffee that its sealed capsule system deliver, but is often seen as wasteful for the large amount of trash generated by the capsule concept. But in fact the aluminum capsules are entirely recyclable as long as they can make their way to a company that can deal with the waste coffee, so that was the task for Festka to turn them into a raw material from which to craft a bike frame. Nespresso is making big inroads to ensuring that they can manage the recycling process directly themselves, and worked with Festka to turn the used capsules back into raw alloy. The bike then was to become a poster child for Nespresso’s expanding Czech recycling program.

Once Festka had the raw aluminum from the Nespresso capsules, they were faced with the next big obstacle – turning it into tubing. While most recycled aluminum ends up in the auto industry in the Czech Republic, it was really difficult to find a company able to work with the incredibly small volume needed to shape just a few different tubes to build a bike.

In the end the want to give a big shout out to Tomáš Grus, owner of a local aluminium foundry Al-Solid, that recognized the uniqueness of the project and enthusiastically took up the small-scale challenge, to cast the frame tubes out of what had started off as the colorful used Nespresso capsules. Once cast the tubes were shaped and thinned on a lathe to get the final dimensions and desired structural properties.

In the end the tubing in the one-off bike contains around 995 reclaimed Nespresso capsules, took over 3 months from their start as capsules to the finished bike.

The result is a track-ready version of the Festka Doppler for Nespresso made from carbon, recycled aluminum, and a bit of machined titanium for the dropouts/track ends. In classic Festka fashion they had to add a bit more custom finish to the bike, so its disc carbon rear wheel gets decorated with the rainbow of 21 colors of the Nespresso coffee capsules that got melted down to make the aluminum tubing.

The Festka Nespresso was sold at auction for almost 6000€ to support the Tereza Maxová Foundation that provides support to abandoned and disadvantaged children.

Festka.com

8 COMMENTS

    • People are so bad at defining the problem they want solved (as pointed out, rather famously, by Douglas Adams). Are our streets and oceans overflowing with used Nestle espresso cups, or are we heating our planet by burning hydrocarbons that have otherwise been sequestered away underground? I don’t understand why people don’t seem to realize that these problems have different solutions, and that a given effort in solving one might exacerbate the other.

  1. 3 months, countless hours, dollars, and time spent to recycle something is pretty much the polar opposite of sustainability. Props on the bike, Im sure they got paid out the wazoo to build it.

    Nestle is a terrible company and all their “food” is so over processed and disgusting, just like this marketing attempt.

  2. I travel with my Nespresso as Starbucks is trash and I refuse to drink it. But recycling the pods? Really?
    Seems like way to much effort. That said Nespresso is amazingly convenient and very good quality for those that know the difference.

    • +1 on the good espresso. Nespresso makes recycling easy. They’ll include a free, prepaid UPS bag in the U.S. Fill it will used capsules, place in UPS dropbox. Done, except for maybe a leaky bag, but clearer conscience none-the-less.
      This bike would blow away any recycled Keurig cup bike in a race, although I hear K-cups can travel around the world much faster.

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