Carbon fiber mountain bike frames are typically cast from a mold, which makes having one custom-built rather a tall order. The UK-based Robot Bike Company, however, has developed an alternative. Its full-suspension R160 incorporates carbon fiber tubes joined together by custom-made 3D-printed titanium lugs.
Clients start by giving Robot Bike their measurements, along with stating the type of riding that they intend to do. A frame is designed according to that information, with the angles of the lugs determining its client-specific geometry. Those lugs are then created in a 3D printer, in which a laser selectively melts titanium powder, building the parts up in successive layers.
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Once the lugs are ready, carbon fiber tubing is cut to size and then bonded into them. The end result is a carbon/titanium frame, uniquely fitted to each buyer. A complete bike should reportedly weigh in the neighborhood of 29 lb (13 kg), depending on how it's equipped.
If you're interested in getting an R160 of your own – frame only – be prepared to wait four weeks after placing your order, and be ready to part with £4,395 (about US$6,364). Should you be more interested in road bikes, you might instead want to check out the similarly-manufactured Road Disc bike from Australia's Bastion Cycles.
Source: Robot Bike Co.View gallery - 3 images