Bicycles

Gorgeous F160 mountain bike is milled from a single aluminum block

Gorgeous F160 mountain bike is...
Pricing for complete bikes should start at €7,500 ($8,419)
Pricing for complete bikes should start at €7,500 ($8,419)
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A complete F160 tips the scales at a claimed 16.3 kg (36 lb)
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A complete F160 tips the scales at a claimed 16.3 kg (36 lb)
The F160's rear suspension incorporates a four-bar linkage, providing 160 mm of travel
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The F160's rear suspension incorporates a four-bar linkage, providing 160 mm of travel
Pricing for complete bikes should start at €7,500 ($8,419)
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Pricing for complete bikes should start at €7,500 ($8,419)
The F160 has been trialled by two pro riders
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The F160 has been trialled by two pro riders
The frame's main triangle, in the process of being milled – the other sections of the frame are milled from the same block of aluminum
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The frame's main triangle, in the process of being milled – the other sections of the frame are milled from the same block of aluminum
View gallery - 5 images

With their big ugly welds, aluminum-framed mountain bikes generally aren't quite as pretty as their carbon fiber or titanium counterparts. That said, the German-made Frace F160 is a huge exception, as its frame is milled from a solid block of aluminum.

The F160 was initially created by Bernd Iwanow, who previously worked as a CNC machine operator and production manager.

"Two years ago I got an order to help design a bike and then mill two prototypes," he tells us. "When the construction was finished and we had milled the first parts, the company filed for bankruptcy. So I stood there with my many ideas and could not implement them ... The idea was born."

Since he's not a mountain biker himself, Iwanow proceeded to have two pro riders try out his prototypes. Their feedback was reportedly quite positive, leading to the current fifth-generation version of the F160 that is now slated to enter limited production.

The F160's rear suspension incorporates a four-bar linkage, providing 160 mm of travel
The F160's rear suspension incorporates a four-bar linkage, providing 160 mm of travel

Each frame begins as a 70-kg (154-lb) slab of 7075 aluminum, which isn't weldable but is very stiff. That slab gets machined into eight separate segments, which are subsequently joined together using titanium screws (it should be noted that Pole Bicycles does also manufacture milled aluminum frames, although they're made of two halves that are glued together).

The resulting frame has passed strength and fatigue tests conducted by Germany's EFBE bicycle-assessment group, and it certainly is pleasing to the eye. With a complete 27.5-inch-wheeled dual-suspension bike tipping the scales at a claimed 16.3 kg (36 lb), the F160 won't be the lightest bike on the trail – but definitely one of the coolest-looking.

The F160 has been trialled by two pro riders
The F160 has been trialled by two pro riders

Plans now call for production and sales of frames to begin next month, with first deliveries following in September. Availability of complete bikes should commence in October. Iwanow tells us that he hopes to manufacture 50 frames per year, each one priced at €5,000 (about US$5,612). Complete bikes will cost between €7,500 and €12,000 ($8,419 and $13,472), depending on the components.

And should anyone be interested, Bernd is presently looking for a North American distributor of his frames. He can be reached via the Source link below.

Source: Fracebike via Pinkbike

View gallery - 5 images
13 comments
Username
the picture of the mid section clearly shows it's not made from a single piece.
AEIII
That is definitely a unique design. This will be a conversation piece on the trail for sure. Bike design is evolving quick.
Worzel
It may look pretty, but it also looks extremely fragile. The point where the latticeworks join the main components looks especially fraught, with sudden changes of section.
During the last century, bicycle design reached a level of perfection, for reliability, and, fishtailed connections between the main components and the connecting tubes was found to be the best solution.
My conclusion is, that this frame will break, and as its not weldable, will very quickly become scrap.
Kpar
Labor (and material) intensive. As 3D metal printing moves forward, this will become a curiosity.
Scott Little
not as nice as my original Klein
sonic
So what does the frame weigh?
paul314
Luckily all that machining waste is completely recyclable.
sk8dad
It's definitely eye-catching, but definitely not a bike for muddy conditions.
ljaques
Ooh, ooh! Keen-o-jet! A billet bicycle frame. Wowsers, Bruceski. I'm stoked. And only 150 times the cost of my Wally World Granite special, too! [Disclaimer: OK, so it was only 149.68x the price.]
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Would like to see this sort of beautiful design enhanced by FEA-driven inputs and printed out in metal. This could result in a more organic looking trellis that is structurally strong in precisely the way in must be to face the specific forces it encounters on the trail. Then, it could truly be "made in one piece". And, it might possibly be cheaper to manufacture.