Bespoke mountain bike blends carbon and titanium with 3D printing
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.
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.