Remember Cake’s ‘Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever’ project? The Swedish electric motorbike maker, together with Vattenfall, first announced their intention to build as fossil-free a motorcycle as they possibly could by 2025. At the time, the pair of companies acknowledged the need to push things further in terms of decarbonization and stated that merely seeking to eliminate emissions during operation of a bike wouldn’t be going far enough to make the kind of change that the world needs. 

A year later, in August 2022, Cake and Vattenfall officially bestowed the ‘Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever’ name on this project. They then decided to analyze exactly what goes into making a current Cake Kalk OR in terms of emissions, looking at manufacturing processes, product design, and transportation to get the finished bikes to their new owners. 

As and where possible, of course, Cake and Vattenfall also planned to incorporate new collaborators into this program—as well as to hopefully inspire other companies to get on board and move the industrial emissions needle toward progress. Bearing that in mind, on April 26, 2023, Cake and fellow Swedish company SKF announced the signing of a letter of intent “to explore how [Cake] can incorporate bearings produced with the lowest possible carbon emissions.” 

Gallery: Cake teams up with SKF to make low-emissions bearings

SKF was founded in 1907 as Aktiebolaget Svenska Kullagerfabriken. One of its cofounders was a man called Sven Wingquist, who also invented the double-row self-aligning ball bearing and went on to serve as the company’s first managing director. For those unfamiliar, the company has specialized in bearings and their manufacture and quickly grew to become an international presence, which it remains in 2023. Bearings are, of course, integral components of any modern motorbike—including the Cake lineup. 

“SKF and CAKE share a common heritage and sustainability ambition. Our expertise as a market leading actor in the two-wheeler market, coupled with our knowledge and experience in producing bearings with minimal environmental impact, means that we can make a tangible contribution towards realizing CAKE and Vattenfall's vision of a clean dirt bike. We are proud to join like-minded industry colleagues who share the determination that change is urgently needed for a sustainable future. Leveraging our combined expertise, we can trigger and accelerate the creation of products that contributes to this industry transformation,” SKF president automotive, David Johansson, said in a statement. 

“When Vattenfall and CAKE embarked on this journey, we knew that we were facing a challenge and were determined to build the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever – from the materials used in its production to its emissions. Down the road, we have inspired industry giants to come along with us and push their limits when it comes to decarbonization of production, making an impact lasting beyond the dirt bike. This is what the project is about – creating a fossil free mindset in every part of the production phase – and that is why we are happy to announce that SKF, one of the world’s largest and most advanced bearing manufacturers, is now joining in,” added Cake CEO Stefan Ytterborn. 

In embarking upon its ‘Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever’ project, Cake and Vattenfall said that they would continue to share updates along the way, rather than simply announcing the project and then leaving us with crickets. This announcement may seem like a small thing—but that’s kind of the point. The devil, as they say, is in the details—and what are bearings if not extremely important details? Maybe you don’t think about them every day (unless you’re a bearings specialist), but they’re very consequential—and worth considering, especially since so many vehicles and other equipment depend on them to function properly.

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