Motorcycles

Airbus channels H.R. Giger for world's first 3D-printed motorcycle

Airbus channels H.R. Giger for...
The Light Rider by Airbus subsidiary APWorks features an exoskeleton design
The Light Rider by Airbus subsidiary APWorks features an exoskeleton design
View 7 Images
The Light Rider by Airbus subsidiary APWorks features an exoskeleton design
1/7
The Light Rider by Airbus subsidiary APWorks features an exoskeleton design
The Light Rider frame is hollow creating an opportunity to hide cables and other parts
2/7
The Light Rider frame is hollow creating an opportunity to hide cables and other parts
The Light Rider is set up to use as a daily rider
3/7
The Light Rider is set up to use as a daily rider
The Light Rider is powered by a 6 kw/h electric motor
4/7
The Light Rider is powered by a 6 kw/h electric motor
Only 50 Light Riders will be made at a cost of €50,000 ($56,000)
5/7
Only 50 Light Riders will be made at a cost of €50,000 ($56,000)
The Light Rider is capable of reaching speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph)
6/7
The Light Rider is capable of reaching speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph)
7/7
View gallery - 7 images

Airbus is typically associated with making airplanes, but a subsidiary called APWorks just announced the creation of the world's first 3D-printed motorcycle that can actually be used as a daily rider. Aptly named the Light Rider, given that it weighs in at a mere 35 kg (77 lb), the electric-powered two-wheeler appears to be what would happen if H.R. Geiger designed a motorcycle.

The company said the exoskeleton-like design of the Light Rider came from the need to make the frame structurally able to withstand the loads and stresses of everyday riding. Powered by a 6-kW (8-hp) electric motor with a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), it may not be at home on the freeway, but can be used for daily city driving and commuting.

The Light Rider is capable of reaching speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph)
The Light Rider is capable of reaching speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph)

The frame of the Light Rider weighs all of 6 kg (13 lb) and is made of a material created and patented by APWorks called Scalmalloy. This is a second-generation aluminum-magnesium-scandium alloy (AlMgS) that the company claims is stronger than the aluminum-silicon powder material used in most production-scale 3D printing today.

The use of Scalmalloy allowed APWorks to create hollow rather than solid frame parts, which made it easier to hide most of the cables and other elements that might be more visible on a standard motorcycle. Bionic algorithms were also used to optimize the entire structure, resulting in a cleaner overall design and a finished bike that weighs 30 percent lighter than other eBikes currently in production.

The Light Rider frame is hollow creating an opportunity to hide cables and other parts
The Light Rider frame is hollow creating an opportunity to hide cables and other parts

In 2015, TE Connectivity created what was then billed as the first 3D-printed motorcycle, but it was a prototype only, weighed in at around 200 kg (440 lb) and was powered by a 750-W (1-hp) electric motor.

While the Light Rider might be low on weight, the cost to buy one could be considered pretty heavy for the average motorcycle owner. Only 50 will be made, and APWorks is taking pre-orders for a €2,000 (US$2,450) deposit against a €50,000 (US$56,000) final cost. Delivery is expected to take about a year.

APWorks said it would consider creating different styles of motorcycles, like an enduro or motocross bike, before it would venture into mass producing the Light Rider. So anyone lucky enough to afford one of the 50 currently being constructed may be the owner of one very limited edition motorcycle.

The bike is introduced in the video below.

Source: APWorks

Light Rider - World's first 3D printed prototype for an electric motorcycle

View gallery - 7 images
6 comments
Daishi
For context I recommend the article that talked about Autodesk and computer generated design here: http://www.gizmag.com/autodesk-ceo-making-things/40364/
Autodesk generated a swingarm design for Lightning motorcycles that looks very similar to this motorcycle. It's an extremely interesting concept even though it looks like a skeletal system.
The idea of computer generated designs could create a lot of interesting things and it marries well with 3d printing.
ChairmanLMAO
nice vid depicts a functional display only unit... does it actually work?
John in Brisbane
Another thing I am pleased to see happening. Something this size with this kind of packaging is spot on. Obviously the price will need to come down, by a factor of 15 in my case. That will happen. Seeing the suspension made me smile - the Boxer on the front is the downhill part that can take a pounding for short periods or I presume can be rebuilt for lighter loads for the long run. The design of the rear suspension is also pleasing - I believe it to be the lightest overall shape for a suitable strength.
This is essentially an experiment hence the price but we're getting closer to the ultimate destination - designing things purely based on what needs to be where, rather than what is easy to produce. So much weight is wasted this way. Always has been. The next generation and the imitators will be 10 times cheaper. I think that in the mean time a conventional tube and sheet design with similar drive components would be worthwhile. $3k is the magic number.
DickHolzhaus
I don't know, the bike looks attractive but a fast cut video that doesn't show it working means it could just be 'In between plane news PR'. I also spot there has been no real thinking about the space the fuel-tank occupies on traditional bikes. Surely with some effort this space could have been made useful. 3D printing allows low volume production of ideas too expensive for mass production. That is not what this company is about, I say; PR and I don't expect it to ever see it on the road.
Buellrider
I assume that all the welds shown in the video are because the 3-D printer was too small. If that is not the case then I don't see the point of leading us on that this is a "3D printed bike. Not sure I would trust a bike that the manufacturer doesn't even have the nerve to ride in the video.
Lumen
Glad to see they're introducing novel design and biomimetic algorithms.
DickHolzhaus, Do you really think none will make it to the road? If it's for PR, why wouldn't they produce them? I doubt Airbus or APWorks will run out of capital before delivery, not to mention that non-delivery would produce poor PR, and having all 50 of them on the road (or in the collector's garage) will strengthen branding.
No doubt they're using this to prove the performance of their patented Scalmalloy, which they'll license to interested manufacturers and 3D-print startups worldwide.
Smart.