Friday, May 24, 2013

3D Printed Track Bike (Mostly)

track bike photo
Most people don't realize that before buying a bike, you should make sure it fits your body. It probably didn't matter when you were three feet tall, and just dying to get those training wheels off, but now that you're an adult, a bike that's a little too small, big, short, or long for you can cause some real issues.

Even the slightest angle change can affect the performance of professional riders, which is why designer Ralf Holleis is developing the VRZ. Using a combination of carbon fiber track bike frame, and 3D printed titanium lugs, Holleis has created a super-light, fixed-gear bike that can be customized for an individual rider in a very small period of time.

Normally obtaining a bike that's custom built for your body takes a) a lot of money or b) a lot of welding know-how. With Holleis' new hybrid method, however, the time and cost are reduced.

"You could change the geometry to what ever fits you best, then the lugs gets generated by a software," explains Holleis on his website. "The generated 3D files are produced with laser-cuseing process. Afterwards the printed parts need to be finished and bonded to the tubes."

Ok, so it still takes a fair bit of know-how. But considering how quickly 3D printing technology is disseminating through our culture, one can only expect that it will become easier and cheaper over time. And the benefits for bikers will be huge.

Not only is the VRZ safer and healthier because it's created just for a specific person's body, it's also lighter than almost every bike we've ever seen. At a trim 4.9 kg (10 pounds 11 ounces) it's the perfect vehicle for whipping around the track in style.


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