Robot Bike Co R160 Custom - Review

Oct 17, 2016
by Paul Aston  




Robot Bike Co. surprised the mountain bike world when this machine debuted in May. The R160 features carbon tubes bonded into printed titanium lugs, made-to-measure geometry, Dave Weagle's latest suspension incarnation, and a hefty £4395 price tag - for the frame. I had an R160 built to my desired shape, size and purpose this summer and have been giving it a thrashing.


Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.

Details:

• Intended use: Enduro, thrashing
• Rear wheel travel: 160mm
• 3D additive manufactured titanium lugs
• Carbon fiber tubes
• Dave Weagle DW6 suspension design
• Custom geometry
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Internal cable routing
• 73mm threaded bottom bracket
• ISCG 05 chain guide tabs
• Raw carbon and raw Ti finish
• Lifetime Guarantee
• Frame Weight: 3046 grams with RockShox Monarch Plus shock.
• Frame MSRP: £4395
robotbike.co


Construction and Details

We took a First Look at the Robot Bike Co R160 back in May at the stunning Renishaw Innovation Centre in Gloucestershire, UK. Head back in time to that article and to the Robot Bike Co website to get all the devilish details about the construction of this bespoke machine.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
Privileged, and stoked to receive RBC06. 007 would have been cooler, though. Custom serial numbers/names are available on request.

Only want the basics? Here you go: a crazy computer program that likes to make airplane parts in its spare time calculates exactly the shapes and sizes of the lugs for your desired frame. Somebody presses the big red PRINT button (it probably says 'Commence Additive Manufacturing' as these engineer types don't like the 'print' word) and 48 hours later, a plate full of lugs pops out of the same machine that normally makes titanium face rebuild kits for unlucky customers. The lugs are cleaned up then head an hour up the road to Monmouth, where the Robot guys cut the threads and finish machine the titanium bits, and then prepare the carbon tubes to make the frame. Tubes are bonded into the lugs, bearings pressed in, the linkage is bolted on and voila, your custom frame is born.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
Internal cable routing is clean and neat.
Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
Dat cable mount tho... the large cable tie I used doesn't do it proud.
Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
Robot chose to use a zero-stack internal headset inside the tapered head tube.

The Robot adheres to current norms, like a tapered head tube, internal cable routing, and ISCG tabs but resists some forced fashions. They have chosen a threaded, 73mm bottom bracket, as they say they are not happy with using press fit units (mainly creaking). Also, they have stuck to 142mm rear-hub spacing, as they see no real world benefit of wider, boost hubs for standard 27.5" wheels. Conveniently, as every bike is built to order, Robot are free to choose new standards and sizing, as and when they please, if a customer needs a particular change, that can be discussed.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
The R160 is a masterpiece to behold: form and function in harmony.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
My bike featured this handy brake hose clip, but this has been replaced by a standard cable tie guide for the future.

The unidirectional fiber, aerospace-grade, Mitsubishi-Rayon carbon tubes are manufactured New Zealand and cut to length at Robot HQ. After cutting, they are bonded into 25mm deep double-lap shear joints This means the titanium contacts the tubes internally and externally, and is bonded to both surfaces. Robot believes that this makes nearly indestructible joint, and a bike that has infinite fatigue life, backed up by a lifetime guarantee. You can read more about the carbon tubing here.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.


Geometry and Customization

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.


Robot's standard geometry for this 160mm enduro/trail bike sees a 65.5º head angle, 73.5º seat angle, 430mm chainstays, and a -10mm bottom bracket drop. Frame sizes are calculated after you input your height, arm-span, and inseam into the 'geometry engine' on the web site. Robot says that their geometry from the calculator should suit 90% of riders who are interested in enduro or trail riding. The feel should be playful and its correct fit and suspension design should make a difference over an off-the-peg bike. Don't want to trust the calculator? Robot will also build one up exactly to your specifications.

Customization is a huge selling point in the mountain bike industry, so when offered the chance to shape a custom frame, of course I took it. I'm not going to lie, the numbers are very close to a Nicolai GeoMetron. Why? Partly because that is my favorite handling bike for the type of riding I do, which is usually a massive pedal up a mountain, followed by racing down techy or downhill style tracks to the bottom. Secondly, I was scared to go crazy, as the printed titanium, carbon and price tag made me extra cautious not to royally F this opportunity up. The only real differences from the GeoMetron were that I went for a slightly higher bottom bracket for better pedal clearance and I chose a longer chainstay. My R160's numbers were: a 63.5º head angle, a 77º seat angle, 450mm chainstays, a 510mm reach, and the wheelbase worked out to 1300mm using a 160mm RockShox Lyrik fork.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.


Suspension


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Robot Bike didn't want to skimp on suspension design, so they went straight to their preferred source of knowledge: Dave Weagle. Robot asked for certain characteristics and Weagle wove it into the kinematics using a six-bar linkage he coined the "DW6 Link." The shock is driven by a seat-tube mounted rocker that is driven by a Horst-Link type seat stay with a dropout pivot located in front of the rear axle. The chainstay/swingarm is connected to the frame by two small links instead of a single pivot location above the bottom bracket.

I chatted to Weagle about the linkage design, and he was coy about his real-world numbers of anti-squat and braking action. As far as I can deduce, the system gives a high anti-squat number until the sag point which drops away as the travel progresses. Anti-rise/brake squat is above neutral, meaning the bike will squat a little under braking, but not a massive amount. The linkage is very progressive and has plenty of bottom-out resistance which should work well with a large-volume air shock as well as coil-shocks.


Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
The linkage gives an average vertical axle path over the entire travel, with 5mm of rearward travel over the first 70mm, which turns to 4mm of forward travel near the full 160mm of compression.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.


Three Questions With Dave Weagle: Suspension Man

Paul Aston: Can you give us a run through of the basics of the DW6 suspension linkage? How much anti-squat, anti-rise and progression is built into the bike, and why do you think they fit the purpose of a 160mm travel bike?

Dave Weagle: It's a pure dw-link, with anti-squat, braking-squat, etc.... squarely in the levels that have made that design so popular. The main reason for the linkage design was to support the unique challenges of building a configurable suspension for a 3D printed titanium lugged bike that's designed to be tailored to each unique rider's wants/needs. The DW6 design makes it comparatively easy to tailor things like chainstay length, leverage ratio, etc... all independently of one another - while still maintaining the dw-link pedaling and braking characteristics. My favorite thing about this bike is that it will give us the opportunity to learn and adapt nearly every aspect of the suspension and geometry as we learn more about how riders interface with their bespoke machines. There are no molds to amortize, so we're free to make updates and improvements as we see fit. That's pretty unique and awesome in my book, and definitely a great challenge and opportunity as a designer.

Aston: After the first couple of rides on the Robot, the suspension felt very progressive, which I loved. I was surprised to find there were no volume spacers in the Debonair shock's air can. It felt similar to other bikes with the same shock but packed with red bands. It also felt like there was a lot of anti-squat in the first portion of the travel. Is this much progression and anti-squat something that Robot asked for, or something you thought should be designed into the linkage?

Weagle: Progressivity wise, it's not exactly an outlier. For example, the Pivot Firebird is another dw-link long-travel enduro class bike that's very close in overall progression. Anti-squat-wise, the difference between the R160 and most dw-links of the last 5 years is negligible. Keep in mind that the R160 is designed to be tailor built, and your particular bike has some extremely unique geometry, forcing you to ride much farther over the front than most production bikes. So, making a direct comparison between your bike, and something else is difficult, as your frame geometry, and therefore riding position and how you are actually interfacing the bike is quite different than anyone reading this.

Aston: Are there any major differences between DW links on other similar bikes like the Pivot Firebird, Ibis Mojo, or the Devinci Spartan with it's Split Pivot system? Are we likely to see the DW6 appearing on any other bikes in the future?

Weagle: I'd say that the R160 and Firebird are cut from the same cloth, and designed as coil-over adept enduro race-bikes, where the HD3 kind of splits the difference between trail and race duties, with an air spring as its primary design. But, directly comparing the particular R160 that you are riding with other bikes, primarily due to it's massively long stays and front end - is kind of a challenge. The geometry change on its own will make the bikes feel very different for a host of reasons. As for whether we'll see more DW6 bikes? I think so!




Build

Robot doesn't offer any off-the-shelf complete bikes. Like their frames, they want to build what you like. Buy a frameset and build it yourself, or work with Robot on your dream build. They can supply nearly anything you desire.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.

My bike arrived heavily laden with SRAM components: a RockShox Lyrik fork and Monarch Debonair Plus shock (they also provided a Fox Float X2 shock), 125mm Stealth Reverb dropper post, XO1 11-speed drivetrain, Guide Ultimate brakes, Roam 60 carbon wheelset and finished it with a Renthal cockpit. The complete R160 weighed a smidge under 29lbs / 12.76kg when it arrived. After I added Superstar flat pedals, a pair of Huck Norris tire inserts and added more tubeless sealant, it's fighting weight was spot on 30.00lbs / 13.59 kgs. My custom R160 bike would set you back £8500, or around $10750 USD.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.
Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.





bigquotesEvery time I have either looked at it, opened the van to see it lying there, or prepared to swing my leg over it, I thought, 'this thing is cool as f**k!'

Before I even rode the 'Bot, and consequently, every time I have either looked at it, opened the van to see it lying there, or prepared to swing my leg over it, I thought, "this thing is cool as f**k!" Only one other bike compares in terms of "f**k me, my bike looks rad as f**k, and I am about to go and shred the living f**k out of this f**king cool as f**k bike," and that was the raw finish, belt-driven Cavalerie Anakin I tested last year. That feeling is a great way to commence any ride.


Climbing

My Robot well and truly flies up the climbs and has the feeling of a bike with a smaller number on the scale. The Roam 60 carbon wheelset with 24 bladed spokes probably played a part in this, especially considering that my preferred Maxxis EXO casing tires aren't for XC racing.

There appears to be a high amount of anti-squat, which helps the bike stay high in the travel when pedaling, but that could also be put down to the steep seat angle and long chainstays, which kept my center of gravity in a more central position and prevented me from sagging back over the rear axle. Pedaling through bumps wasn't bad, but there was more hangup and pedal feedback on square edges than bikes Ive ridden with lower anti-squat figures. On the other hand, the R160's high anti-squat value helped to pull me and the bike up and over steps and sharp crests.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.


Descending

Surprise surprise - the R160 trucked hard down the hills. What else from such an extreme geometry? I love the feeling of a slack trail bike with a short stem (Renthal 31mm). I think this allows me to brake much harder on the front wheel, as my body weight drives down into the front axle and tire's contact patch - rather than in front and then over the top making it more likely to lock up and skid.

The same effect can be found when weighting the front wheel in corners. You can drive the contact patch into the ground to create grip, but only if you lean the bike to corner instead of handlebar turning. On the downside, if the radius of a turn is too tight to lean around, it gets tricky. Any corner too tight to turn the R160 this way will require some Euro-endoduro trickery - or a good old-fashioned foot-out skid.

This bike is the final coffin-nail in my brain that big numbers do not mean a bike will be a slouch. The carbon wheelset along with a stiff mainframe meant this bike is incredibly responsive - the first time I have ridden such geometry, combined with a light weight build.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.


Suspension

The DW6 link appears to be on the progressive side of "very progressive." I used the both the Monarch Debonair and the Fox Float X2 shocks with 30% sag and without volume spacers, and I never felt the suspension fully bottom out. Every air-shock equipped bike I have ridden in the last 12 months has ended up with the air-can stuffed with spacers. With the progression built into the suspension, that should mean less heat build up in the shock and better mid-stroke support. Good news also, if you want to consider running a coil shock. Most most enduro frames don't have the progression necessary to support a linear coil-spring. The progressive suspension and mid-stroke support was another attribute of this sharp handling, big bike.



Technical Report

• Clunker: Overall, the R160 was quiet except for chain slap was loud due to the chain running very close the lower link/lug. An extra helping of rubber tape solved this.

• Roam 60 Wheels: SRAM's Roam wheel set was light, stiff, and responsive. They didn't explode (as carbon rims are rumored to), which was nice, and they inflated easily with tubeless tires. But, the bladed spokes on the rear wheel needed adjusting back into line after nearly every ride.

• Maxxis Minion DHR2 tires: Maxxis' Minion DHR2 is officially my favorite all rounder, either in EXO or DH casing - fast rolling, supportive side knobs, and superb braking. The casing is one of the best out there, it's tough, not too stiff and doesn't have the 'dead' feeling of some similar tires. The chunkier tread also lasts longer than a High Roller and still clear well in the mud. MaxxTerra 3C is the choice front and rear.


Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.

Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesRobot Bike Co have entered the market with their guns blazing - and with something unique and well considered. I'm really, really, not looking forward to the day the R160 gets collected by the courier. Lightweight, sturdy, progressive and personalized. The price tag is high, but you get what you pay for - and you will only be paying a small premium for a truly custom chassis, compared to many fancy mass-produced frames made in China. - Paul Aston




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About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 30 • Height: 6'1” • Ape Index: +4" • Weight: 73kg • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None • Instagram: astonator
Paul Aston is a racer and dirt-jumper at heart. Previously adding to the list of non-qualifiers at World Cup DH events, now he's attacking Enduro and has been since before it was fashionable. Based in the UK, but often found residing between mainland Europe and New Zealand allows him to experience a huge variety of terrains and trails.


Images for Robot Bike Co R160 Custom review.





319 Comments

  • + 120
 I don't know if it's because I'm into 3D printing but just reading about this bike makes me smile incredulously because I feel like I'm living waaay in the future. If they were able to slap a Pinion gearbox on it, it would basically be my dream bike when it comes to technologies I'm excited about.
  • + 21
 ...and with time the cost of 3D printing must come down which may even make it affordable.
  • + 10
 @Pedro404: Well, it's 3D-printed custom. Maybe it's an option.
  • + 8
 I do think they missed a trick with the 'lugs'. When you can create any shape/design imaginable but just go for standard old school looking lugs instead of something fancy. The seat/toptube one joint was angled think if they'd have done it with the rest it would of been much cooler look overall. I guess that's looking at it from a design perspective (has to look cool) rather than an engineering one (needs to work/no frills).
  • + 67
 @shakeyakey: Yes we could have gone wild with the lug designs, but our ethos is very much 'form follows function', and the shapes we have used are the best from an engineering perspective. The seat tube joint one is angled because that joint uses a different architecture and so the requirements are different to the double lap joints.
  • + 15
 Looks like a GT Lobo
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: the carbon tubes are probably a culprit as much, that quality doesn't come cheap... Carbon fiber production is expensive and those are expensive carbon tubes, for carbon tubes haha
  • - 10
flag makripper (Oct 17, 2016 at 7:44) (Below Threshold)
 the parts are manufactured in the future, but they are still glued to together. You lost me at "bonding the joints to the tubes"
  • - 3
 @enrico650: hahah it does! and those had tube/joint cracking issues.
  • + 12
 But does the shock say '250psi max" on it?
  • - 8
flag TomWillDave (Oct 17, 2016 at 8:29) (Below Threshold)
 You know nothing about 3D printing man! Don't even try pretend to be excited
  • + 7
 @TomWillDave: o.O Wat.
  • + 5
 @RobotBikeCo: 100% get it from an engineering point of view, and its ace to see a company using modern technology to do something new (plus the fact that you guys are from the U.K. too). Wish you guys the best of luck and keen to see what you come up with as you grow.

Oh and that soapbox 'machine' looks rad as funk!
  • - 1
 @enrico650: Stay polite.
  • + 2
 @shakeyakey: The double lap joints make these pretty novel from a lug point of view.
  • + 2
 @shakeyakey: I agree with your original comment, that there could be missed opportunities here. 'Form Follows Function' is an overused and often incorrecly applied term, which engineers tend to use to justify reducing the numbers of options in favor of something they can more easily surface and analyze. "Going wild" is not the same as trying to find a balance between attractive surfacing aesthetics and functionality. All that aside Robot has done a wonderful thing making this bike and working with DW to optimize their suspension for the process.
  • + 4
 @RobotBikeCo: Beautiful bike design! How do you address water bottle mounts? Do they require separate lugs?
  • + 1
 @enrico650: you`ve got a point. They are both extreme porn-and expensive
  • + 3
 This bike is explosive Wink
  • + 2
 @jaydubmah: If you were laying down 8000 Queen's heads you could probably afford to pay someone to carry your water for you.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: I remember saying that about carbon fibre in 1992.
  • + 1
 Right!? Well, eventually the plans will be open source, then we'll be able to print our own bikes, or parts or whatever! I mean, there are open source plans for AR lowers from a dude out of Texas, now alls I gotta do is invest in the printer!
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Ha ha - no kidding!

But if my butler isn't around to pass me bottles of Evian mid-ride, do I need to hose-clamp a $3 water bottle cage to this lovely steed?
  • + 1
 Yes! Or the effi
  • + 0
 @RobotBikeCo: was just thinkin something along the lines of this www.pinkbike.com/photo/14078749
  • + 71
 I'm banking on a hard brexit to be able to afford this beauty
  • + 39
 At the rate it's going £8k is going be about a buck fifty in two years time. On the plus side I leave the country soon, so when I come back all my Canadian Loonies will be worth inexplicably more, thanks Mr Farage you little rat bastard!
  • + 12
 @Fix-the-Spade: haha, surely you jest! Loonies! Worth more than what?
  • + 7
 @Fix-the-Spade: don't believe Canada is all milk and honey. In the West (ALberta) is in a bad recession. This is my forth (2-UK and 2-Cdn). When there's no work here it's not like the UK. Construction people just get laid off without compensation, regardless of how long you worked for the company. EI for 12-months.

I agree with you though, Farage and Johnson are s***s. Egotistical bast++ds.
  • - 3
 @Fix-the-Spade: I'd take 10 Farages over 1 Merkel any time. Farage didn't point a gun at anyone, people voted leave because they wanted to.
  • + 3
 @Fix-the-Spade: it is on the plus side.bye.
  • + 19
 @Extremmist: They indeed didn't point any guns, they just told a bunch of bold face lies to get the people with the most to lose to vote against their best interest. As predicted the value of the pound went in the shitter, food prices are steadily rising and there's no magic infinite well of money to fund the health services that rely on labour from within the EU. Meanwhile Farage has quietly crawled back under the floorboards, hopefully he'll gnaw on a live wire or two while he's under there.
  • + 4
 @k-too: I'm not expecting sweetness and light, but there's not much of anything here in the north of England either, may as well go to the place with nothing and ski lifts.
  • - 1
 @Extremmist: The gun that he pointed was in his pants and aimed at the arse of the poor (and stupid)
  • - 8
flag unleash (Oct 17, 2016 at 11:34) (Below Threshold)
 @Extremmist: exactly lots of people have been waiting for the chance to vote out for a long time ,remoaners are just whining sore losers.
  • - 4
flag unleash (Oct 17, 2016 at 12:05) (Below Threshold)
 @Fix-the-Spade: @Fix-the-Spade: stop whining every body had a chance to vote and out just so happened to win through democratic means not some tyrannical seizure of power ,then you really would have cause to complain as your voice wouldn't even of been heard ,I cant quite believe how much sobbing and blubbing is being done, get over it move on and deal with it ,negative attitudes don't achieve anything but feed fear and spread division ,if you are leaving because all hope is lost (sarcasm)good on ya have a nice life hope you fulfill your dreams where you may roam ,but all the griping in the world wont change things only positivity and social cohesion can bring about success through hard times.peace
  • - 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: "they just told a bunch of bold face lies"
That happens during every single election campaign and nobody seemed to have an issue with it until recently.

"the value of the pound went in the shitter"
That will only help British export as it will make British products more attractive abroad. Our (Czech) central bank intentionally intervenes to keep the value of our currency low and we have the second lowest unemployment in the EU (after Germany).

"there's no magic infinite well of money"
Nobody ever said there was one. What's more important that you can stop throwing your own money to the infinitely deep well called the EU.

"Farage has quietly crawled back under the floorboards"
Farage has no authority when it comes to negotiations between UK and EU. His party is not in the government so what was he supposed to do? He has accomplished his mission.
  • + 5
 @unleash: Social cohesion? Good luck with that.
  • + 2
 @metaam: fair point..
  • - 3
 @Extremmist: yes he did accomplish his mission and they ought to erect a statue of him for single handily taking on the wastrels of Brussels and winning.no one else had the bollocks to stand up to the mindless meddling in people's lives.
  • + 3
 @Earthmotherfu: people will argue because the TV told them something completely different, the TV carries the agenda to the masses and we fight among ourselves, perfect! don't watch tv, go ride and think in nature!
  • + 3
 Now is pretty much the worst time in history to leave the UK. Sell your house, move to Canada and all you'll be able to buy is a camper van. Farage and Johnson are two men only. From what I gather, about 30 million voted to leave the EU.
  • + 0
 @baggyferret: it just f*cking gets on me tits when people say their lives are f*cked now through brexit.oh really?when I stick the tv on and some poor sods getting the house blown to kingdom come by whichever crazy meglomaniac in some dust blown shithole...hmmm I'm not so sure.
  • + 2
 @Earthmotherfu: busy people need fast reasons, what we are going through takes time to understand..there are a group of people that create 99% of currencies (money to most people), by changing the 'value' of the currencies they control our standards of living, they use 'inflation/deflation', the countries that don't want to become enslaved by this system are targetted for destruction, rinse and repeat. we were enslaved long before the brexit, remember we have been using 'emergency' measures in our fractional reserve money system before the brexit, the brexit is an excuse to use as another reason for taking our wealth in various forms, you wont hear this on TV. so i have read..
  • + 3
 @baggyferret: you seem well tuned into it baggy,more than me.im fairly content in life but I have family who struggle on a day to day basis especially with cash flow.they will also be the first to admit that while they'll never have a Caribbean holiday they'll always be ok survival wise.no bombs dropping on they're heads,not getting thrown off a roof if your gay etc.no zika/Ebola epidemics or earthquakes and tsunamis/wildfires/nuclear reactor meltdowns.(mind you someone has broken into the allotment committees hut near me and shit in the kitchen,made the local rag) And if you've got kids like them,the goverment will make sure they'll never go hungry ever.sky tv and a 50" sir?suits you sir.
  • + 2
 @Earthmotherfu: im HYPERACTIVE buddy, great for riding but when im home i need to read or do something to keep my mind active, also love to know 'why and how' about everything, it's a curse really....i don't know anything about who took the dump in the hut...honest.
  • + 2
 @baggyferret: ha I'm hypernonactive after 7.well the gardners weren't happy.one of thems daughter is a SOCO,so it's been bagged and tagged and of to CSI..(cue starting first chords of baba o'Reilly)Smile
  • + 2
 @Earthmotherfu: hahahaaa, dna that bitch! ha ha!
  • + 0
 @Extremmist: excellent rebuttal, sir.
  • + 53
 I feel like that review can be summed up in just a few words. This bike is sick as fuck.
  • + 38
 Should sponsor Team Robot, would be so Skynet!
  • + 2
 Is that still a thing? I thought Charlie went AWOL.
  • + 2
 @ReformedRoadie: He's assimilated...
  • + 1
 @mattsavage: I was wonderint about that. Blogs not been updated in long while. Too bad...
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie: Charlie is still out there stumbling to the occasional race and complaining on Facebook.
  • + 8
 I'll see that Raleigh and raise you one specialized ultimate. s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/87/7d/42/877d42cd01e307a77a83d4d37db3ff71.jpg
  • + 1
 @bsavery: That specialized was after 1984.
  • - 3
 In the ninetes Raleigh had a mountain bike range with this tech. There are better bikes for the money.
  • + 5
 @k-too: What are you talking about? This bike has a DW link which Raleigh has never used and wasnt designed till early 2000's.
  • + 21
 good to hear the wheels didn't explode! what about that Float X2 though?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: gotta love the internet.
  • + 14
 Finally. It feels like bike manufacturing has just caught up with high tech bespoke manufacturing in other industries. The missing part of this business model is the huge R&D that companies like Specialized, Cannondale, etc do (especially on their road bikes). However, I think a back to basics approach of dialled geometry rather than shifting the coefficient of drag by 1% makes total sense.

Well done Robot Co.
  • + 10
 They've used the R&D departments of Renishaw and Altair as far as I know, so not just some cowboys in a shed.
  • + 9
 Big company R&D dept. seems like not a good place for innovation. Too big company, too much to lose with risky ideas and all innovations are risky. Small company has little money thus, little to lose and the only way they can punch through is to make something whacky. Big company is a great place to refine a great idea and give it to the masses, but it ain't going to do the ground work.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Fer Shizzle! All of the most forward thinking stuff in terms of geo numbers and gearbox integration is being done by relatively small guys (or smaller?).
  • + 4
 @BDKR: yep. Kudos to these small players but if you really want to kick off something like gearbox, you need Shimano or SRAM to take it into their hands. 1x was pretty much always there in the underground, needed SRAM to kick it off. Same with droppers, Gravity dropper made some, then CBros, then KS, but it still wasn't a thing until RS made Reverb and flooded the world with hype. Two sides of the coin though... unfortunately 650B hasn't remained a niche product for whackos with no skills and a handful of first world problems...
  • + 2
 If I was getting mine, I'd drop that top tube...

www.pinkbike.com/photo/14055949

I hate that Nicolai frankenstein feel to the bike with slack geo. To me Pole looks waaaay better than Nicolai
  • + 9
 still floors me that I can buy a moto for less. The MSRP on a 2016 YAMAHA YZ250X is $7300, and it has wheels, tires, inverted suspension, brakes, etc. and an internal combustion engine.
  • + 5
 @hamncheez: Economy of scale... Although most people assume a YZ250X is a good bike ( and it is ) it's nowhere near what pro level guys ride. If you look at the erzberg race, those bikes cost way, way more... So pro level motocross are waaaay more expensive than pro level MTBs.
  • + 4
 @Brakesnotincluded: True, but a non-pro moto still has all the components of a mountain bike: drivetrain, brakes, aluminum frame, expensive tires, etc, plus a freaking motor on it.
  • + 9
 @hamncheez: I got back into mountain biking because I thought moto was getting too expensive. It doesn't matter, all the high-quality hobbies suck you dry. You have to either live with junk (like I do) or work so much to afford any of it you never get to actually do it. Ignorance may be bliss, but low standards mean more fun.
  • + 1
 @skidrumr: This is the truth of it, but the reasoning is pretty simple. The industry wants to make the most money possible on their input. There are enough people in this world that make enough money to pay for top-dollar gear that catering to the lower 60-70% just doesn't make sense.
  • + 6
 @skidrumr: sounds like how I deal with women...
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: Yeah and you also can buy a TV for that price which doesn't have any of those.. Or you could buy a bike for $150
  • + 1
 @daweil: You can't compare a $150 walmart bike to a new yamaha. That new YZ has an inverted fork, aluminum frame, same damping tech (if not better) than whats found in mountain bikes, very high quality hydro brakes, etc.

@skidrumr I hear you, but what I tell my wife is that at least I'm not into wakeboarding or slaom; a good boat STARTS at six figures, plus you dump $100 in gas every weekend, plus you got to have a solid axle v8 to tow the boat, docking fees, all before you even by the wakeboard!
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: Can you ride it on a mountain bike trail though? How much cardio do you get in on the climbs? Don't forget the cost of the F250 you apparently need for hauling it around (just based on what I see). I'd have more fun on the Robot, so the fact the moto costs less doesn't make it more appealing, even though I would get to pay for gas...
  • + 5
 @hamncheez: That one's easy: make friends with people who own boats! I bring a strong back, gas $$, & plenty of booze donations so I can slalom all day behind a Malibu I don't own. Been going to a private lake for 17 years and still haven't had to buy a boat! Funny thing about peeps with the cash to own a nice ski boat, most of them hardly put any hours on them. I'm just doing my civic duty making sure all the seals don't dry out.
  • + 0
 @hamncheez: you sound like a leftist today...
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: its the power of your persuasion. Soon I will be comrade like you.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: we do some pretty innovative stuff at Renishaw, big company or not. Robotic neurosurgery, ultra-fast position encoders, tip-sensing 5-axis metrology systems.... plus our additive machines are packed with cutting edge tech. Combine that with innovative bike design and you have a unique product.
  • + 0
 @MarcS68: I checked Renishaw's website - Screw Robotbike Co, when are you creating the Robocop? Ironman? T1000? Big Grin
  • + 14
 Great review Mr Aston but now I'm waiting on your review on the Pole EVOLINK 140 29er. Everyone that bumps into me and my Red Pole EVOLINK176 in the PDS always tell me about you and your blue one!
  • - 10
flag alexcgevans Plus (Oct 17, 2016 at 2:48) (Below Threshold)
 Hey Fred,

When you say people 'bump into you', is that a sexual euphemism?

xoxo
  • + 7
 @al-pine: lol. Nah but I do hear "Man that is loong!" and "How does it go in the tight stuff?" all the time haha. Have you tried one out? Your co-worker Seb Stott seems to be a big fan.
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: Ha you love it Fred!
  • + 1
 @al-pine: I'm no complaining...haha
  • + 15
 I am sure it is a good bike, but I simply don't like the looks of it (at any price level).
  • + 2
 Agreed thought it was just me and I was missing something clean welds and lines all day for me or usual seamless look of carbon frames.
  • + 5
 I think it's gorgeous, reminds me of the carbon steel lugged bikes I drool over at hand made shows and looks absolutely nothing like the popped out of a mold sameyness of carbon high end frames. But I really like Nicolai bikes too, to the point industrial looks appeal to me.
  • + 3
 Looks much better in the flesh, as it were. Saw one on their stand at Fort William and it was a thing of beauty!! If I could afford to buy a frame and spec it out with appropriate componentery I'd have one in a heartbeat.
  • + 10
 I wish these weren't so damn expensive, this may be the raddest bike ever. hmmm I'm just dreaming up what my perfect geometry would be. I feel like once you buy one of these, you stick with it for many years. Think about it, it fits you perfectly, future proof standards, adaptable with components and shock choice, everything about it is so rad. I hope Robot and Weagle come up with some more amazing creations in the future.
  • + 5
 I wish many bikes and components weren't that cheap. One of the reasons they keep on changing standards at the rate H&M keeps pumping out new collections is because everything is so God damn cheap that it becomes nearly disposable. 20k bikes, welcome.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: do you throw money in the air in your sparetime? Sounds like it
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: waki, do you realize how many people would be turned away from biking if the best of the best cost 20 thousand dollars? That makes a 4K bike that someone has been saving up towards for months seem like a piece of shit and cheap.

We all can't just see through dollar signs, a lot of us like to ride bicycles for fun and still have money for groceries...
  • + 6
 @kev1n: Ferrari's don't put people off driving and buying 15 year old Nissan Micra's?
  • + 2
 @paulaston: if anything, it's quite the opposite
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I actually agree here, mostly because it's a case where every individual part is fairly cheap (the priciest parts of a mountain bike are the frameset and the fork, and every other piece costs at most $350usd to make, so why not do away with an existing standard specification in exchange for a nominal 4% increase in some obscure performance figure if it'll help sell a bike.
I think this is what is driving a bizarre wedge between different parts of the MTB community, because the true cheap arses like myself know it's possible to get more than adequate performance with 9x135qr rear ends and 2x10 drivetrains, yet when I mention how little remains to be gained with some of the new stuff I'm branded as a total luddite because I don't appreciate what incremental development had wrought.
In the car side, where actually meaningful r&d with validation testing is the norm, this only happens because the cost to replace things like engine bottom ends or rebuild transmissions for even a cheap city car ends up being prohibitive - bikes, a design can be a straight up lemon and still be cheaper to release it flawed because it's comparatively too cheap to fix, and if it's a high end offering half the buyers will just buy a one year newer upgrade part instead of hassling with getting the original fixed.
  • + 5
 @tehllama: most of us who were fortunate enough to ride with much faster guys know that high end bike parts are virtually worthless because human is a dominating factor, and because most of us don't race. We ride to be out there, to be healthy, to get a thrill. How many people did chainless run tests recently and they came within 2 seconds per minute. You can't get it with a modern car. If your car is Toyota Aygo and you have a Audi RS4 next to you then daaaaa, you will be smoked by a grandma. In that way MTB tech is a mainly a hobby on it's own. That's why I want a gearbox despite obvious weight increase and potential drag and efficiency losses. Because I don't give a sht about me needing to put more energy. BUT I want nice shifting and nicer suspension feel. COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL. Why did I buy a carbon frame? Because it looks nice. I say to anyone who thinks he gets performance out of carbon, to either show me his position on World Cup rangking or go fk himself. No you don't get much performance from Ti, oR Carbon. You get a nice gadget. That's it. And there is nothing wrong with that.
  • + 8
 Maybe I am in the minority here, but I have never found bikes with geometry like this (geometron and the like) to be good looking bikes. I think they look way to stretched out for their own good. yeah they can roll just about anything, but still dont think its a good looking frame.
  • + 2
 Agreed, first thing I thought when I saw the pic- titanium lugs notwithstanding. Not a fan of steep seat tube angles or mega long reach figures for practical reasons too, but the aesthetics alone would almost be enough to keep me away.
  • + 2
 So you don't like the look because you are not used to it. Don't worry most brands are slowly going in that direction (+10mm each year) so in 5-10 years all bikes will look like this. By then you will have changed your mind because you have been gradually getting used to the look.
Don't forget modern bikes don't look like bikes from the 90s either. Having a bike that looked like 2016 Specialized Enduro in 1998 just looked plain wrong. Everyone would have said that 65º head angle was too slack and that the mega long wheelbase was way too long back then and they would say it would be crap at riding tight singletrack.
  • + 1
 @miles-e: What practical reason are those may I ask? I have not found any downsides to having a steep seat angle quite the contrary.
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: I don't like the forward weight bias that they introduce. Everything in a bike's geometry is a compromise- you don't get to have more weight on the front end for climbing without that effect being there the rest of the time (that you have your saddle up) too.

They also necessitate an even longer reach measurement (to keep a similar saddle-bar distance as a slacker seat tube angle would provide), and at some point the wheelbase just gets too unwieldy to rip around singletrack.
  • + 2
 @miles-e: Yes having a steep seat angle does have an effect on bike geometry. I would say it does not induce a forward bias but rather a neutral riding style. You don't have to ride off the back on the steep decents and on the ascents you don't have to ride on the tip of the saddle to keep the front end from lifting. As for longer front centres and longer wheelbases being unwieldly on singletrack, tight corners or anywhere else that is just nonsense. After a few rides you get used to it and can rip everywhere you used to just as easily if not more so. Plus one thing I hated about slack seatangles was how the bike might have felt comfortable whilst seated but super small once you where standing. If you get the chance go out and test one of these long bikes (Nicolai 2017, Pole, Mojo Geometron) you will be surprise by just how well they ride. I got one and going back to a "normal" bike just feels unsafe!
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: I'm sure a lot of it depends on one's body type and preferred fit. It sounds like you feel it takes you from a rearward weight bias to neutral, but that's just another way of saying it increases your forward weight bias, regardless of how you would qualify your starting point.

On steep descents the saddle is down, so STA has very little to do with not riding "off the back" there. I do agree that a steep one makes for a less dramatic change when standing up, but to me that just underscores my point- if I need more weight on the front end I get out of the saddle; I don't want extra weight on the front end at all times (when seated) just to make that transition smoother.

And yes, for a given top tube length a bike with a slacker STA will absolutely feel shorter than one with a steeper STA (again, for a given TT length/saddle:bar distance) when out of the saddle, precisely because it *is* shorter. If you're suggesting that no agility is lost with these crazy long wheelbases, then you're either being disingenuous or you're the last person that should be giving advice on bike geometry. I'll admit I haven't ridden a 51" wheelbase bike, but based on my experience owning dozens of bikes with wheelbases 43" to >47", I have absolutely no desire to.

I'll say it again: there's no such thing as a free lunch with bike geometry. You don't gain all that stability on fast/steep terrain without losing something on slower/tighter trails. Obviously where each rider finds that point of diminishing returns is a matter of personal preference, but to pretend it doesn't exist is just being obtuse.
  • + 1
 @miles-e: Of course there is a difference in agility between a bike with 1230mm and a 1340mm wheelbase. The thing is 1340mm isn't a deal breaker i.e. you are still able to ride the bike in all terrain without a problem. Now a 1450mm wheelbase bike? Maybe not.
The riding off the back is necessary when a) headangle is steep b) top tube/reach is short otherwise you risk going over the bars when riding steep terrain.
As for not wanting extra weight forward all the time well I'll tell you what I've found to be an advantage to that:
- you don't have to stand up to weight the front and thus spin a low gear and climb to the top. This also gives you more traction
- if you remain seated you don't have to ride the tip of the saddle or lower you body to keep you weight over the front. This allows you to sit in an upright position and breath more easily.

What I'm trying to say is that 1300-1350mm wheelbase bikes aren't over the limit of an allround bike and thus not a one trick pony. It will feel strange in the beginning but you soon get used to it. And of course results will depend on the rider. I just don't like it when people say bike X will ride crap on X terrain when they haven't tried one. It is like the wheel size thing. I like to experiment and AFTER trying stuff out I can then say this or that.
If you ever pass through Chatel bikepark or in the PDS I'd be more the happy to lend you my bike for you to try out. If after that you still don't like it then that is absolutely fine! Wink
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: Okay, I'm glad we can agree that you can't just keep lengthening the wheelbase indefinitely and not give something up in return. If, based on experience, you feel the positives of a longer wheelbase outweigh the negatives right up to 1340mm for your body type/riding style/terrain, then who am I to argue?

On the other hand, if I feel my 1200mm wheelbase bike already gives up something in terms of agility to my 1150 and 1175 wheelbase bikes, and in turn have no interest in going dramatically longer, doesn't that make sense too?

And thanks for the offer, would love to visit PDS. By the time that happens though all bikes might have wheelbases approaching yours, if your prediction of +10mm/year holds true!
  • + 1
 @miles-e: I have no problem with your choice of bike/wheelbase, etc. I was just trying to say that my bike still rides great everywhere. I haven't found it to be a hindrance. I wouldn't mind trying longer just to see where the limit is. Unfortunately, most people pass judgement without ever trying it, that goes for geometry/wheelbase/etc. Well my offer does not have an expiration date so no worries.
  • + 6
 Definitely sexy - mildly surprised at the additive manufacturing - with metal components under high stress it's not used due to the inability to control grain structure during production. Either ROBOT knows something new in the manufacturing world, in which case - excellent, or bike lugs needn't be as strong as marketing would have you believe. The latter is, to my knowledge, correct, but it would be interesting to hear ROBOT's input.
  • + 18
 We've built on years of knowledge from the aerospace and F1 industries where structural use of additive manufacturing is becoming common place. Lug shapes have been topology optimised and finite element checked by Altair. The design keeps stresses in the frame below the fatigue run out limit for titanium manufactured in this way. An infinite life design approach means that load cases can be applied indefinitely without fatigue building up - hence the lifetime warranty. Static strength is four times this level and enough for the rider to pull up to 12 g in some scenarios. So no worries there. The R160 sailed through EN testing with zero signs of distress.
  • + 4
 This didn't explode:
www.pinkbike.com/news/Worlds-first-3D-printed-bike-2014.html

I assume the lugs are HIP'd after being built which improves fatigue life and with current L-PBF achieving relative densities of >99.5% (before HIPing) the mechanical properties are pretty impressive. Surface roughness and porosity having the greatest effect on fatigue life.
  • + 3
 @RobotBikeCo: your lugs are surely a great use for 3D printing, but aerospace itself, including fighter jets, doesn't use it as often as it is portrayed in sci-fi stories of people trying to make market optimistic for 3D printing. They use it a lot for elements joining other elements like lugs, joints, connector rings. I have a 3D printer for plastic prototypes at work and it is not really: download a 3D model and press print. When I hear stories that one day we will be downloading and printing bike frames, furniture, tools and clothes, at home...
  • + 6
 @WAKIdesigns: were you behind the 12" strap on 3/d printed arse annihilator?designed in Sweden I think.
  • + 4
 @Mrstamper: I am not the person behind the "captains of crack" bum stretching accessories. I was the brands ambassador for some time, but couldn't go beyond level 4 of 10. At level 5 of arse stretching wrong kind of gayness you send Redbull.Tv a picture of you and your buddies watching Rampage andrinking Redbull you paid for yourself...
  • + 3
 @RobotBikeCo: F1 uses 3d printing for prototypes. Not in structural components of the actual car on the track.
3D printing is great for the freedom of making changes to a design and quickness of producing prototypes. I would think its quite inefficient in term of the amount of material that you need to use to achieve strengths that you need in these parts, but I guess thats OK since the parts are relatively small. personally I wouldnt trust a 3D printed bike..but I guess I am just a stick in the mud.
  • + 5
 @dman7777: I am afraid I think you will find you are wrong with that statement. One of our team previously led the AM (or 3D printing if you want to call it that) side of things at Renault F1, and they like many others use titanium additive manufactured components on the race track, in the races, and have done for some time.
  • + 1
 You forgot to add BITCH, at the end.
  • + 3
 @diego-b: no,wankers..
  • + 2
 @diego-b: How bout you share a link with us that shows that they use 3d printed "structural components" of the actual car on the track?
I dont see it. I see lots of talk about prototyping, and composite parts such as small Areodynamic components, but not structural metal parts..
  • + 1
 @dragoonxx:
The articles you linked are about parts that are designed for Extreme heat situations.

This is not at all what we are talking about here. I am talking about structural components. I specifically asked about F1, and although some want us to believe they are cranking out all sorts of metal structural components on F1 cars for Racing I have not found any evidence of that really happening much if at all.

One again 3D printing in F1 from what I have found is about rapid prototyping. F1 teams Would LOVE to be able to print out any of the components of these cars at the racetrack, but that is not reality today.
  • + 3
 @dman7777: Shucks, I'm really struggling to know who to believe here.

RobotBikeCo: "One of our team previously led the AM...side of things at Renault F1...and they...use titanium additive manufactured components on the race track..."

So, in the Robot corner, we have a guy who has actually led a team of engineers at a real F1 team, in the actual real life world, and he is saying that this is so.

In the dman7777 corner, we have a guy who "[has] not found any evidence of that really happening", and asserts that "that is not reality today", but apparently has no credentials in or links to the F1 industry whatsoever. He does have Google search though, which is almost as good as being there, right?

dman, could you please do us a favour and clarify whether, by refuting what RobotBikeCo are saying, you are claiming:

a) RobotBikeCo are lying by saying that they have real life experience of this technique being used in the way they have described, because you know better

b) RobotBikeCo are morons, because although they *think* they've seen this happen, and in fact their engineer thinks he's led an entire team of people, on the instructions of the Renault F1 team bosses, as part of a project worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to implement this technology in their race cars in the manner described ... well, no, that actually wasn't what was happening at all. Because you know better

or

c) Something else, which hasn't come across clearly in your previous posts.

While you're at it, please also research the difference between 3D printing and SLM.

Thanks so much.
  • + 1
 @mr-magou: It's generally pretty hard to find detailed information of what is or isn't on a formula one car. The design of the cars is very competitive and sharing information openly would defeat the point.

www.3trpd.co.uk/portfolio/titanium-f1-roll-hoop-proves-concept
"However, for each of the teams we work with, this safety critical item is also one of the most important and therefore any work that has been carried out has to be kept strictly confidential. This poses the daily problem for 3T of how to demonstrate the kind of work that is possible in AM, whilst also maintaining customer confidentiality."
  • + 1
 @dman7777: extreme heat, extreme stress environments, and in the case of SpaceX at least- designed for repeated use.
  • + 2
 @hexhamstu: Agreed, and that's essentially the point I was trying to make.

Given the confidentiality surrounding F1 technology, a statement, however loose, from someone directly involved with the industry is the best evidence you're likely to get that this technology is being used. We either have to take that at face value (and why wouldn't you?), or produce hard facts to the contrary. No amount of internet searching is going to prove or disprove this any further, and consequently some keyboard jockey having an opinion on whether it may or may not be happening, based on his own "research", is completely and utterly meaningless.
  • + 7
 I would transfer these components onto another frame. To my aesthetics these are plumbing pipes joint together. No matter how well it works. Is 'thrashing' a new category in mtb?
  • + 24
 No it's one of the oldest.
  • + 9
 Ugly F**ker
  • + 5
 dont most riders NOT require custom geometry, so why would I need this bike? I plugged in my dimensions into their frame calculator and it told me I needed a bike that matched a medium giant reigns geometry almost exactly.
  • + 2
 I'm glad you said that. Let's face it, every bike has been tested and tweaked by pro riders before it hits the market. Even the reviewer matched the geometry of an existing bike - so why bother with customisation?

So you can spend a third of Paul's bike and get an aluminium Reign that has the same geometry you want, but weighs the same. Or, you can buy the top of the line carbon Reign that is much lighter and still keep two grand in your pocket. And you can be riding today or at in two weeks at most. No brainer!!!
  • + 3
 @iamamodel: You are right, most bikes have been tested and tweaked before they hit the market, but they still only come in a tiny handful of sizes, whereas we all come in thousands of different shapes and sizes. Yes you may be one of the lucky ones who finds that the bike you really want comes in size that fits you spot on, but the reality is that for most that isn't true. Yes you can compromise, but why should you if you're already spending a considerable amount on something that is meant to be the best it can possibly be.

You say the reviewer matched the geometry of an existing bike, but that isn't true. Yes he based it on a Geometron that he had loved, but in particular he tweaked the bottom bracket height and chainstay length to get the ride exactly the way he wanted.

You may not think a millimeter here or there will make much of a difference, but I think you'd be amazed. During our development period we have made some bikes with measurements that on paper are incredibly close, and yet everyone who rode those bikes couldn't believe how much difference those small changes made. I guess it is like the difference between a tailor made suit or one off the peg. Yeah the off the peg one will kind of fit, but it will never be quite the same as one made specifically for you.

At the end of the day I think you either get the custom thing or you don't, but that said we certainly aren't solely about the fact that we make each bike bespoke. We set out to build the best bike we possibly could, and then after going to all that effort we wanted the bike to be perfect for each and every customer. In summary we are offering what we believe is an awesome frame, and it comes with the added bonus that it will be made specifically for you.
  • + 7
 I like the way companies publish completely undesirable axle path curves and act like they're proud of it.
  • + 3
 @protour
  • + 4
 For sure the bike is interesting, but I'm not sure the review is helpful to most riders. Unless you're looking for a radically long bike. I think it would've been more interesting to build one with a geometry closer to other enduro bikes for a more relatable comparison. This pretty much summed it up for me - "comparing the particular R160 that you are riding with other bikes, primarily due to it's massively long stays and front end - is kind of a challenge."
  • + 4
 Agreed. I know the whole point is you can make it custom but you basically tested ageometron with a dw link suspension. Most people interested in this bike wont go that extreme so they still have no clue what the bike will be like.
  • + 4
 @bsavery: The bike will be awesome! Seriously though, we believe our R160 offers the best suspension available right now, and when you combine that with our ability to make a bike that fits and handles perfectly for you, and with our incredibly robust construction technique, we think you've got something very special indeed.

As you said, most riders won't want something as extreme as Paul Aston wanted, and for those riders we strongly believe that our suggested geometry based on their body measurements will make them smile like no other bike has done before. Of course, and as Paul has demonstrated here, as well as all being different shapes and sizes, some of us have different tastes, and that's just another reason why a custom bike makes so much sense.

Anyway, we are more than happy for people to come and demo a more conventional geometry R160, and of those that have already we are yet to have someone not fall in love.
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: Oh agreed. I just wish the review reflected that not the extreme geometry. Not your guys' fault!

Anyway awesome bike. I hear rumors of a 140ish travel 29er model? That is what I'm dying to see.
  • + 1
 @bcmrider, @bsavery - I agree here... I wonder at how useful a reviewer is for the everyday rider if they have a preference for such an extreme geometry setup? surely everything will get the same comment - could be longer, could have a shorter stem?! if you're at the point where tighter trails become that awkward then surely thats a compromise too far for the average joe rider that will benefit from reviews
  • + 3
 As a mountain bike mad mechanical Design Engineer, this article is the dogs bollocks.

The idea is so simple, but allows infinite customization for individual customers sizing wise. All they have to do, is change the cut lengths of the tubes in a specific ratio to one naother to avoid having to change the angles on the joints! its brilliant, and i imagine it would be extremely stiff with the unidirectional carbon!!!!!!!

I think alot of the cost comes from the rapid printing of the joints, i doubt they are manufacturable in any other acceptable way...(if they are double lapped id think machining is out of the question)

Could cast them but then would the material used be good enough?


Excelent job Robotbikeco!
  • + 4
 We do have to alter the angles of the joints for each frame, but the use of additive manufacturing and a parametric CAD model allows us to do that relatively easily.
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: i stand corrected! i thought that if you altered one tube, say the chainstay, you might have to alter the seatstay by a certain ratio to maintain the angles! was just a quick think!

thanks for correcting me!

tell me this,...do you have a variable spreadsheet setup with your parametric cad model, that allows you to input the dimensions in a spreadsheet format and have them transferred into the model directly in order to generate your customer specific setups??

the package i use at work has this function, it seem that it might be useful for an pplication such as yourselves!

can you comment on the cost of the additive manufacturing prcess for the joints?
  • + 2
 @adamxrt: I'd love to be able to tell you how we do everything...but then the others here would cut my tongue out!
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: I appreciate the replies at the very least. This sort of thing get my juices really flowing
  • + 0
 Been using multi strand graphite and Kevlar in unidirectional weaves for fishing rods and 16mtr match poles for yonks.
Super stiff.Even after spending upwards of 7000£ on a top line pole,the stuffs bloody fragile and delicate and won't stand quick hard taps.
  • + 2
 @adamxrt: design tables in SW would make this really easy. Especially if you have the entire model driven off one sketch. Or you could just go into that sketch and edit the dimensions you need to change. Honestly the latter is frequently easier.
  • + 5
 Just to clarify: the carbon fibre comes from Japan, goes to New Zealand then flies back to the UK. Seems like the least environmentally friendly frame choice I've ever seen
  • + 5
 Does seem a bit odd considering some of the worlds best carbon fabricators in the world reside here in the UK.
  • + 3
 @deadmeat25: It's not odd. NZ's involvement at the pointy end of competitive sailing has meant $$$ get spent on expensive carbon. There's lots of tubing and wot not on sail boats; www.c-tech.co.nz/shop/Our+Products/C-T+Carbon+tube.html

We moan about dentists pushing up the price of bikes.... but the dentists can only spend $10K in a bike because they are saving for carbon fibre yatchs. True story.
  • + 2
 And it obviously does not fly economy.
  • + 4
 Japan makes the best carbon fibre, NZ makes the best boat masts. If you are that worried about it spend a buck fifty on some carbon credits.
  • + 6
 "My bike is better than yours." -Paul Aston.
Seriously though, this is f*ckin' awesome.
  • + 3
 "Here you go: a crazy computer program that likes to make airplane parts in its spare time calculates exactly the shapes and sizes of the lugs for your desired frame. Somebody presses the big red PRINT button"

Haha this glorifies CAD a little bit. The reality with most modeling software is you spend half the day pounding the escape key and cursing at it.
  • - 1
 It is more than possible that they have a generic program drawing up the mesh of lugs based on input on angles alone.
  • + 3
 I love it and want one but i can't help but look at the unfinished surface of the printed lugs and think after a few rides there will be so much ingrained dirt on the surface it'll look awful, and cleaning it wont be easy either. Especially around the BB and Swingarm pivot.
  • + 11
 Andy, your concern was actually one of our early concerns too, but as you can hopefully see from this photo (www.pinkbike.com/photo/14055690) of one of our early prototype frames that has well and truly been through the mill (predominantly in typical UK conditions), the lugs actually stay remarkably clean, and should you wish to get them properly clean it's as easy as any other bike. For that reason we have left them naked.

In keeping with the full custom nature of our frames though, if any customer wanted the entire frame (tubes and lugs) painted then that is something we can offer, but that obviously adds weight and whilst raw titanium will continue to look beautiful until the end of time, even the best paint job will eventually start to look a bit tired.
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo: Well i stand corrected, There is something to be said for a Raw finish as paint can be so subjective and showing off the forming work is something to be appreciated. As for saving weight, on aircraft true but on a bike? ;-)

Would there be any mileage in a lacquer / waxed finish to keep that Ti lovely and dirt free?
  • + 4
 @Andy-ap: The tubes have a clear lacquer to protect them from UV, so although we haven't tried so far I am guessing it would be possible to extend that over the lugs too if a customer requested.
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: how about just polishing the ti parts? my ti frames look fantastic after a muddy ride and a quick hose off, i removed the clearcoat and polished the frames..a couple of mins on a machine buffer before putting the parts together might be worth it?
  • + 3
 @baggyferret: This is something we have looked into and experimented with, but to do a decent uniform job of polishing all the lugs, especially the more complex ones like the BB lug, isn't quick or easy...and therefore it is far from cheap to do. As you may have already gathered our approach is very much towards the function end of the spectrum and the current finish works a treat, so that's why we have left it as it is. Once again though, if a customer really wanted the lugs all polished then we could quote for this...that's just one of the many advantages of a custom made frame!
  • + 1
 Retracted.
  • + 2
 @Andy-ap: this is a myth, cannondale don't do that, it looks like they have but it's due to the welding tecnique they employ for better and stronger welds, it's called 'double pass puddle' tecnique, they do linish the welds and tubes for a superior finish but that is to remove any spatter and clamp marks.
  • + 1
 @baggyferret: I'll shut up now.
  • + 2
 @Andy-ap: lol, it does look like you say and lots of people thought the same, but if you weld (i used to) you'd hear about it, if you ground down a normal alloy weld it wouldn't have the 'footprint' size of pre 2010 cannondale's welds. now you love your dale more!
how did you remove your comment?
  • + 2
 @baggyferret: Now you mention it I think I might of heard that type of welding prior but my ignorance got the better of me.

As for removing the comment just edit it, delete it all and type retracted or something. Simples.
  • + 1
 @Andy-ap: lol, it's one of those bits of info that gets put to the back of our minds, rarely called upon

is there a time limit on editing posts?
  • + 2
 @baggyferret: Choice of terminology was wrong for me too. linishing not grinding, I should know that. Duh.

Dunno about the editing it seems entirely random at times. Sometimes i can edit something a few times, others once you've posted it, that's it can't do nowt.
  • + 2
 is there a way to remove the carbon tubes? as if you could, it'd make the frame reusable if you broke some of them, and it'd be less of a wallet hit than to scrap the whole frame as carbon tubes themselves aren't that expensive, and providing the lugs aren't damaged, although even if they were they'd still be cheaper than a new frame to replace.
  • + 4
 We are working this very subject...
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo: Couldn't you just burn away the CF and resin?
  • + 1
 @hexhamstu: there are a few possibilities.
  • + 2
 You have to consider the up front investment these guys have put out there to even be able to manufacture something like this... the big names could do it on a much larger scale, more than halving the per-unit cost, but are still going to charge you $10K. You think that carbon S-Works actually cost Specialized $7K to build? More like $2K with their scale of materials, and they are pocketing most of the remainder. You are paying for all the marketing. This bike is waaaaaay out of my league but I appreciate the idea behind it and hope they (along with the other specialty builders) continue to offer genuinely unique innovation that actually caters to the end user rather than the other way around.

If I did buy this bike I would change my ringtone to R2D2.
  • + 2
 This is class. I've been an advocate of the geometry you seem to love for a while @paulaston, I ride a Bird Aeris at the moment and love it on most trails. However, when you talk about putting this thing through tight corners and doing "an old fashioned skid" I grow a little sceptical. I do a fair amount of enduro racing and the Bird is my only bike, I must say that at tighter venues it well and truly sucks balls compared to a conventional bike. I had a Mondraker Foxy XR with the 10mm stem and it didn't seem as bad, I've slapped one of these stems on the Bird to see if it helps. Have you any experience with such short stems? I feel you may appreciate them given your talk of putting weight directly through the front axle.
  • + 1
 I have a Pole EVOLINK 176 with a wheelbase 40mm longer than Mr. Aston's custom bike and have no problem going around tight corners. Slow flat hairpin corners with little gradient require nose turning but all others can be railed or skidded through. The greatest advantage is through steep and tight corners where the added length of the bike actually becomes an aid. I have the large frame (520mm reach) and run a 10mm stem on it. I feel it helps compensate for the slack headangle. No problem weighting the front with the right handlebar height off the ground.
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: What 10 mm stem do you use?
  • + 1
 @sicmoto: I'm running a OnOff (Mondraker components brand) 10mm stem. They also make a 20mm stem. Initially I wanted to buy a Pacenti stem but they haven't come out with the 15mm stem only the 25mm. The bar is above the clamp so you have to cut off quite a bit of steerer tube to get the right bar height.
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: yea that's the same one I have on. Bit of a pain having to cut the steerer to get a decent bar height.
  • + 1
 @sicmoto: Yeah a bit of a pain but in the end you just run less spacers which always looks better Wink
  • + 6
 How about the Huck Norris inserts? Do they work?
  • + 0
 I didn't flat mine yesterday...
  • + 2
 That is so cool. As a tinkerer of electronics, and someone with a product design background, I'm so amazed at this effort. And that it's only 5K for the frame is actually kind of reasonable. Do they own the titanium 3D printer, or lease time?
  • + 2
 I know this is custom but this need to compensate slack head angles and tall and large front centers with steep seat tube angles is too much. We are going to end up with 90° seat angles and don't tell you would be confortable riding like that.
  • + 2
 How do you know it's too much?
  • + 2
 i like the custom geometry but its a tad on the heavy side for the price point. I get that its built to last but if i purchased another manufacturers carbon bike for half the money i would still expect it to last a long time and i could buy a couple of other decent bikes that weigh similar to this for the same price. I know the custom sizing is the big sell here though so i can see that's the real focus of this and it does look well made but i think something that's all carbon that has more blended lines would suit me better as i have managed to find production bikes that fit me fine. kudos though for doing something different.
  • + 5
 Don't like the look of frame looks like galvanised pipe connectors for joints its got a homemade look to it.
  • + 4
 Agreed.
  • + 2
 I still can't get my head around that linkage. There are too many pivots so that the linkage has two degrees of freedom instead of one. Or is it the same kind of thinking like with the Kona MagicLink where the linkage settles in a stable position (only this time without a spring)?

Why would the courrier pick up your bike again? Sound silly, it is custom geometry. "Please have a go and feel what custom geometry feels like. It has actually been build to suit Paul Aston but you might fit reasonably fine if we replace the stem and handlebar". It defies the whole point. Please explain this to PB. They'll understand, you can keep it.
  • + 2
 Think of the linkage at the bb as a miniature regular dw link. Such that the chainstays movement is controlled by a four bar linkage which gives it 1 DOF(equivilent to just having one pivot at bb). Then the rest of the linkage( rear-most pivot and rocker) is just a horst link setup.
  • + 4
 @Dhminipinner: Ah thanks, now I see it. I missed that (when unsprung hidden) lower link between the front triangle and the chainstay. Incredibly busy down there in that BB area. If that survives UK muck it will probably keep up anywhere. So yeah @paulaston, say you need a (very) long term review to see if it makes it through UK winter. If springs comes around over here, take it to NZ to chase eternal winter. You wanted to keep it, right?
  • + 2
 Cool! Finally a bike I'll be able to print once I land on Mars thanks to Mr Musk! Enduro reaching for the sky.


PS: Wishing you all the success you seem to deserve for it truly is disruptive innovation in the bike world! I can easily picture myself as an owner. Wink
  • + 1
 If you could para-metrically drive the model then customers could simply enter in their dimensions and models, drawings etc could automatically be produced... which would be awesome! But I'm guessing you guys already do this?

Are you planning to do any sort of design refinement and what is the estimated lifetime of the bond used between the carbon tube and brackets etc.
  • + 1
 Yeah, that's what we do in terms of the parametric model. As for design refinement, we are very happy with where the R160 is right now, but of course we will never stop seeking to make improvements to our frames (more are on the way), and additive manufacturing allows us to easily introduce design tweaks should we feel them necessary. With regards to the lifetime of the bonded joint, every frame comes with a lifetime guarantee, and if anything the bonded joint is the most robust part of the design.
  • + 1
 The idea of bonded tubes scares me quite allot in the sence of durability long term. I have had single crown forks develop the creaking crown syndrome and they are bonded also. Whats stopping this from suffering the same outcome in an area of high impact like the headtube or bottom bracket.
  • + 1
 if 5 different bike companies all took your body dimensions & personal requirements, surely you'd end up with 5 different bikes? then if you rode all 5 bikes surely you'd have a favourite & a least favorite, despite all 5 bikes being purpose built for you.

I love the look of this bike (i've owned ti lugged carbon frames in the early 90s) i'm just wary of fully custom. this isnt a dig at robotbikes, just my feeling in general. at least with mass produced bikes you can demo test ride them, until you find a bike you like. then when you come to sell it, its still a stock size that should be an relatively easy sale.

anyone remember the specialized allez? that also had internal & external lug joints
www.pedalroom.com/p/specialized-allez-epic-15518_2.jpg
  • + 1
 @paulaston It would be helpful to understand these geo numbers if we knew how tall you are & what your ape index is.

For instance, this is about 95mm longer reach than my bike, but how much of that is because of the geo, or because you're taller than I am? I have no frame of reference to determine.
  • + 2
 gives this information at the bottom of the article.
  • + 1
 @hexhamstu: Thanks, Kept looking everywhere but must have missed the bio at the bottom. my bad!

That said, I'm guessing he's easily an XL (or bigger, +4 is a lot of ape index) on typical bikes, while my bike is a medium, so no, to scale, he's not riding 95mm longer reach than I am.

My bike (Spartan) isn't particularly long, in XL, 510 is 61mm longer , -11mm for his shorter stem.
By comparison, the new Devincis with longer geo, like the troy, put an XL at 480, so with the stem difference, it's actually not that far off the geometron: 19mm.
  • + 3
 DW is a suspension genius and I'm sure this bike performs like the best of them but in all honesty.... This bike is down right ugly...
  • + 1
 I am curious about the bare frame weight - I think it may be slightly on the chunky side as my current AL framed 6" rig with very similar build kit ( I use KS Lev post, and running rubes instead of tubeless, also i9 wheelset) and mine tips the scales at 28.5 lbs for a size medium.

Really like the idea though -so many possibilities.......
  • + 3
 Dam that's ugly reminds me of a bike I had in 1995,
An Audi Quattro bike.
Back then it was quite novel but now it's just fugly.
goo.gl/images/TcuoQy
  • + 2
 I think you're confusing the bike shown in the pictures (which has a Nicolai GeoMetron geometry) with the bike that most people would get from this company. The bike in the pictures looks ridiculous because it has a GeoMetron geometry, because that's what the person who spec'ed out the bike wanted.
  • + 2
 I am just glad that I don't have to sell those to make my living. The fraction of a fraction of a fraction of people who'd ever be interested in that, I am just surprised it could be sustainable.
  • + 2
 Very cool bike and well written review. I doubt I'll ever be in the market for a bike of this price, but maybe as 3d printing costs and carbon prices (see Lemond's new venture) come down that'll change.
  • + 4
 Best bike I've ever ridden, very very tempting to blow my house savings and lose my girlfriend for one...
  • + 4
 Saw this bike in the flesh @ the forest of dean, It's a cool idea... but it is also a lot of cash to part with!!
  • + 4
 I love everything about that bike. Sit down super bikes, enter hyper bikes Big Grin
  • + 4
 Finally a company daring to push the price into, so far, unexplored territory!
  • + 1
 I investigated this idea at university as my friend was running a project in it as a cheap way to build a carbon frame; maybe even as a home build. The use of tubes between the nodes also makes it much easier and more reliable to produce FE models. Apparently 3D printing the nodes in Ti has a negative impact on cost though.
  • + 2
 Wheel needing work after every ride - that's a fail in my book. Also like the DHR2, but in 2.3 size it loses out to a Magic Mary 2.35 hands down IMO.
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo
Did you adjust the pivot positions etc for the longer CS so that the kinematics are the same for the standard length CS?
Just wanted to understand if this bike is representative of the normal kinematics?
Thanks
  • + 2
 The kinematics are representative on this bike, but as DW said it is a little difficult to compare sometimes when you have a geometry at this extreme end of the spectrum, simply because you're in a different position on the bike.
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo:
Thanks, that's helpful
  • + 2
 Well didn't think I wanted a new frame until I read about this company a few months ago... this review made it look all the more tantalizing!
  • + 1
 Seems the materials push the price. Can't they just use some aluminum, instead of the titanium. We bemoan expensive bikes on this site but somehow this bike is seen differently.
  • + 1
 Because it's breaking mold's, literally. Like the hope bike they're breaking from convention and taking their own approach. Plus their manufacturing process offers them a flexible method of change without significant retooling costs. Correct me if I'm wrong but I would imagine that Aluminium lugs would be twice the size roughly of the titanium ones and the fatigue/stiffness issue probably too.
  • + 1
 Gonna head straight for the Neg's by saying that is ugly as f###. Along with the Pole and Nicolai. Maybe I just don't like the look of slack bikes that look Josh Bender just did one of his signature huck to stack on it...!
  • + 1
 Bender's bike wasn't as slack as these new super long bikes.
  • + 1
 Looks cool so now all the kids want it, reality is, full carbon construction is far more superior. "but I need custom Geo", there are a million manufacturers making carbon frames, go find one that fits.
  • + 1
 We'd be interested to know your thoughts on why a 'full carbon' structure is far more superior. It's just one of our team led the composites development unit at Airbus, so knows a thing or two about carbon, and he would disagree. Like I said, interested to know your take on the matter.
  • + 6
 @RobotBikeCo: Full carbon structure is monolithic. The weak point in your design is the fact that you have all these joints and areas where you are mating parts of dissimilar material properties. The titanium lugs are far more stiffer then the carbon fiber tubes. As a result your going to have a more localized stress at the lug / epoxy / carbon interface. Whereas with a full carbon frame, the stress is more equally spread across the monolithic structure of homogeneous material properties.

They may use it in aircraft structures but that's more to do with manufacturing limitations of making huge monolithic carbon fiber structures. If we shoot over to F1, there is far more effort to use full carbon construction for reasons as stated above.
  • + 4
 @BoneDog: Carbon and titanium bonded hybrid structures are used extensively in the suspension, roll hoop structure and gearboxes of Formula 1 cars. Specifically take a look at suspension end fittings. Likewise the Airbus A350XWB is 53% carbon and 14% titanium by weight not including the landing gear and engines - the titanium is there because of its compatibility with carbon... In former lives we've made these things in both industries. Our layups are driven primarily by ensuring Poisson ratio compatibility and the geometries are designed specifically to blend out elastic modulus. Don't forget that composite properties are great in plane but when, like in a bike, loads are out of plane the properties are poor. It is very difficult to in practice to realise "textbook" weight savings from full composites structures in many applications for this and other reasons such as open- and filled-hole compression and compression after impact properties. Moreover the poorly designed metallic inserts to seat bearings and pivots in other composite frames where failures often occur (we know this because our CEO used to test bikes for a living) are absent.
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: It falls short compared to a full carbon layup because it doesn't allow you to use carbon to it's full potential. It's an anisotropic material but it's getting used only in the form of tubes. All the lugs could be much lighter if they were carbon as well since you could control the load paths easily.

I appreciate the innovation and I certainly don't think its useless, but like anything it has downfalls. Sure it might not be quite as optimized as carbon, but you couldn't do a one-off full carbon bike for that price, which is a huge benefit.

Let your Airbus composites guy know that what I really wan't and what would be extremely innovative is an AFP type machine for bike frames.
  • + 3
 @taquitos: The loads in lugs are multi-axial and benefit from the high isotopic specific strength of titanium. The loads in the tubes are far more uniaxial where it is possible to take full advantage of unidirectional carbon fibres. This is classical aerospace thinking but often the challenge is offsetting the weight of the joint. We've solved this by using additive manufacturing to make very high aspect ratio double lap joints. Interestingly this same approach conceived for the R160 is now going full circle and finding interest in aerospace and automotive applications. We've shown these joints to a top F1 team and they exceeded what has historically been possible in similar architectures but machined suspension end fittings. AFP (automated fibre placement) is a great technology for composites but it still has limits in achieving fibre steering control (whilst achieving acceptable tow gaps) and alignment and doesn't solve the issue of poor through thickness strength (about 80 MPa for the best aerospace multifunctional interleaved toughened pre-pregs).
  • + 2
 @taquitos: An analogous situation is "corner unfolding" in composite wing spars where although AFP improves fibre alignment and reduces concessions versus hand lay-up it doesn't change the sizing of the corner thickness which is driven by fuel over pressure during a hard landing.
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: here is one example of where carbon will outperform titanium lugs: the pockets that holds the head set. When the front wheel hits a bump it applies a moment that's resolved in the bearings. This loads the top bearing into the front of the head tube and the lower bearing into the back. These locations wood benefit from carbon because you could create essentially a hoop that redirects the load into the top and down tubes. The fibers themselves fail at around 4 times the load titanium fails at while having a much lower density. Sintered Ti is probably even lower tensile strength. So clearly carbon joints could cut weight and decrease stress concentrations by controlling your fiber placement. This isn't really debatable. Carbon is stronger, lighter, and allows you to add strength only where you need it to deal with the loads at a specific location and direction. Again, you'll never best a full carbon bike that's well designed when it comes to weight, but he price and lead time of a full carbon bike is way longer. In the design world it's impossible to win on every front.

Something like AFP will never exist for bikes if no one even thinks about it. It would be a pretty cool innovation. Unless you've fully wrapped your head around every possibility it seems silly to just dismiss it.
  • + 2
 @taquitos: Everything you've described makes sense, but ultimately (think a decade or two along) AFP on mass produced carbon monocoque structures will still rely on a lot of manual labor to integrated those elements into a final design, whereas the weight penalty for utilizing sintered titanium in a design which accommodates those loads with a bit more material, but can leverage continually dropping costs of metal additive machining and eventually distributed manufacturing paradigms will lead to a cost and weight competitive offering.
We may also see some neat cross breeds of the two system concepts, with off-the-shelf front triangles but custom linkage and rear triangle setups that can make semi-custom bikes with a lot of of the weight savings from high initial investment carbon monocoque in fairly static (design-wise) areas, but extensive AM titanium and composite (cf, polyaramid) where customization is beneficial, which is not unlike current F1 cars.
  • + 3
 I'm sorry, but I don't like this bike. Yes, I admire the tech, but the look's doesn't do for me. I like more curvy tubes....
  • + 4
 $4k + for frame, and the word "thrashing" ... thats stupid funny.
  • + 2
 @robotbikeco Could you please make this in a 180mm 29er? I'm pretty sure that would be the last bike I would ever need to buy Smile
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo: seconded here....maybe not 180mm but maybe a 160mm Spesh E29 killer with a geometron-esque smell to it. Is it customizable to take 29" wheels?
  • + 1
 @drudge: We plan on making an entire range of frames, and a 160mm 29'er is on the list, but sadly for you not at the top of the list.
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo: No problem it will be a while before I can rationalize one anyway.
But honestly a 180mm option is the future. spesh already turned it up to 165 and 180mm 29er lyrics are available.
  • + 0
 Great concept but man this bike has the looks only an engineer could love. Add to it the ridiculous cost to end up with something that you put together in your garage after a trip to the home improvement store? No thanks.
  • + 1
 RobotBikeCo - How is the lateral alignment on these (what misalignment tolerance)? What QC is there on alignment in final assembly?
  • + 1
 All the various sub assemblies of the frame (front end, seat stays, chain stay) are assembled on specially designed jigs that control all of the critical interfaces. i.e. head tube axis, bottom bracket axis, suspension linkage axis, rocker axis, rear wheel axis, etc. These jigs are adjusted (as all our bikes are custom build) to within +/- 0.5 mm. The frames stay in these jigs until the adhesive is fully cured (5 days at room temperature). Using adhesives in this way means we aren't subject to any of the deformation issues associated with welding so our frames are about as true as is possible.
  • + 1
 I dunno.... There's something unsettling about your head tube being bonded to the down and top tubes. How's the glue gonna hold in 5 years?
  • + 2
 I'd be worried about creaks with all those titanium/carbon joints. Valid concern?
  • + 1
 No need for concern on this front simply because all of the joints are fully bonded, i.e. no movement is possible within the joint.
  • + 2
 relax man. it's got a 73mm threaded bb... hahaha
  • + 2
 Robot Bike Customer Service Rep: Your bike should be ready in... oh, wait. Printer jam...
  • + 2
 can i get a 135mm rear end? and switch out the top tube to a Ti tube? oh and 26"? Now thats custom
  • + 3
 custom geo... monarch+????
  • + 3
 THIS IS THE FUTURE!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 3
 Raleigh MTRAXX, used to have one back in early 90's
  • - 1
 Piece of shit Lugs are from the dark ages. Talk about a bunch of steps back just so someone can say they're the first to 3D print bicycles. But hey. If someone rich enough, which usually means dumb enough, thinks it's cool you've got profit and the bike business lives on making trash toy landfill.
  • + 6
 Dont hold back man. Tell us how you really feel
  • + 2
 When titanium, and specialty carbon fibre custom bikes are no longer good enough, who ya gonna call? jflb!
  • + 3
 All that carbon and titanium and still just under 30 lbs?!
  • + 3
 ~2kg (~4.4 pounds) for the fork, ~2.4kg (~5 pounds) for the rubber...and it's also a huge frame.
  • + 1
 @dragoonxx: True, but for that money, though it is a custom frame of Carbon & Titanium, this price must be more than a custom aluminium frame and the weights will be similar if not the same? OK, aluminium does not have that bling factor, but with the exception of the rear suspension geometry i am struggling to see the "wow" factor other than no one else is making frames this way. That maybe it and i need to get some cash in my pocket ;-)
  • + 1
 @chadgmail: wow factor is certainly a lot of the cost... and i'm sure a bike with a mode "normal" geo would probably lose a few pounds too
  • + 1
 As I said elsewhere...Using our construction technique we could almost certainly make the lightest frame in its class, but that isn't what we set out to achieve. The last thing we want to be doing is making bikes that end up in landfill, we want to make incredibly robust frames that can well and truly deal with the kinds of riding that they could encounter. We have designed the frames to have an infinite fatigue life, even with extreme forces, and that is why every single frame comes with a lifetime warranty. We believe the relatively small amount of weight that needs to be added to make a frame this robust is more than worth it. Even with a cheaper build than the one tested here the bike still 'rides light', which is what we think is the most important thing at the end of the day. Some of this quality can be attributed to the efficiency and performance of the dw6 suspension system.
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo: Thanks for explaining that.
  • + 1
 Reminds me of my dad's '70 Motobecane road bike with carbon frame tubes and steel lugs. Fast forward and this bike looks timeless and cool.
  • + 1
 Wow, seems that nobody has noticed that this is the first bike ever that almost matches rhental colour scheme! This is absolutely groundbreaking!
  • + 1
 Beautiful bike but ... isn't it heavy? 3046 grams (6.7 pounds) seems a bit of a lot ... almost a pound more than Ibis Mojo Hd3. Can it be customized lighter?
  • + 1
 @paulaston may I ask where the photos were taken? Doesn't look like 'Birmingham' to meWink
  • + 2
 Looks a lot like a build it yourself kit.
  • + 2
 Looks like something Tomac, Ned, or Herbold were riding in 1992.
  • + 1
 So how many weeks in advance do you have to book in to thread a tight switchback with those geometry numbers?
  • + 1
 The answer is zero. I recommend testing an actual long bike (Mojo Geometron, Nicolai 2017 or a Pole) before assuming it won't turn.
  • + 0
 @SintraFreeride: to each it's own. I don't think Freightliner style bikes are the deffinitive answer. They are clearly thought to be pointed downwards, but I have a lot of trouble thinking of them is slowee trails.
  • + 1
 @southoftheborder The problem here is that you and others are assuming that these bike will behave in a certain way without actually having ridden one. I have one (Pole EVOLINK 176) and after 4months of riding in different conditions I have never thought "man I wish I could go back to a normal bike". Now I'm sure these bikes aren't for everyone. However, if you have never ridden one you can't really have an opinion on them aside from looks.
  • + 2
 I'll add it to the list of bikes I can't afford. sweet
  • + 1
 When I first saw Robot I thought that maybe Charlie had got off his Ellesworth rant and started building bikes
  • + 3
 Wow 4400 ok thanks
  • + 1
 Dear mountain bikers. Your sport is totally ridiculous. You're all being taken for a ride.
  • + 2
 Can we stop calling turners ugly now?
  • - 2
 Can't imagine paying almost double the price of a custom Nicolai Geometron frame for this. Geometry has clearly been taken from the Geometron, it's pretty much identical. The difference here though is you get carbon (which will fail) and a DW link (which will eat bearings every couple of months).
  • + 5
 He states in the article that he chose geometry from the geometron.
  • + 1
 Damn! I'm gonna start working for Pinkbike now to aaddord 10,000 dollar bikes
  • - 2
 I was thinking of buying a new bike, but decided to stick with my Tallboy LTc and buy a dirt bike with a motor, instead. I've ordered a Beta X-Trainer, worlds greatest trail bike. It cost (much) less than the Robot, and a lot of the other bikes reviewed on PB! BTW, the X-trainer can even be made street legal in my neck-of-the-woods..
  • + 1
 the great part about this is that it can literally be anybody's dream bike, due to its custom-printed nature.
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo can I get a discount if I can use my own Renishaw machine?
  • + 1
 £4395 = $5341 USD for the frame only
  • + 1
 Screw that flat deposit I was saving for, TAKE MY MONEY!!
  • + 1
 Looks like a Nicolai...maybe to long and slack if that's possible
  • + 1
 Looks like Paul didn't have to shove the seat forward on this one.
  • + 1
 It's ROAM 60 not RAIL 60!
  • + 1
 vitus nightmares imo, wouldn't touch it at a reasonable price personally.
  • + 1
 73 mm threaded! Yeah......!
  • + 1
 It's not fully customize-able until I can choose a wheel size.
  • + 1
 If you break a tube, can you replace it?
  • + 1
 Looks like that Robot has a built in self-destruct..
  • + 0
 Make certain to check out the fine print on the details before purchasing a frame Wink
  • + 0
 Comes with a suicide bomber shock?! Good thing these are trail bikes and won't be rode so much in built up areas!
  • + 1
 Bike of the Year? It gets my vote.
  • + 2
 time to sell a kidney
  • + 1
 The retro bicycle look is upon us.
  • + 1
 Can anyone see what the lower link pivots are doing?
  • + 1
 I think I'll buy a Mach 6
  • + 1
 Any association to Bastion bikes in AUS? bastion-cycles.com
  • + 0
 My god, this is what riding a bicycle has come to...A stick it together frame for £4400.
  • + 1
 I am disappointed theres not as much weight savings as I wold assume ti/carbon would allow, and especially at this price point.
  • + 2
 @meltboro: Using our construction technique we could almost certainly make the lightest frame in its class, but that isn't what we set out to achieve. The last thing we want to be doing is making bikes that end up in landfill, we want to make incredibly robust frames that can well and truly deal with the kinds of riding that they could encounter. We have designed the frames to have an infinite fatigue life, even with extreme forces, and that is why every single frame comes with a lifetime warranty.

We believe the relatively small amount of weight that needs to be added to make a frame this robust is more than worth it. Even with a cheaper build than the one tested here the bike still 'rides light', which is what we think is the most important thing at the end of the day. Some of this quality can be attributed to the efficiency and performance of the dw6 suspension system.
  • + 1
 Never afford one, but would love to ride one.
  • + 1
 werid
  • - 1
 Entire bike made from Carbon tubes pressed into Titanium bits - but they avoid pressfit BB due to creaking.
Good one Smile
  • + 2
 If you bonded a pressfit BB into a frame with the adhesive we use you would wouldn't have any creaking problems...but you would never be able to get it out again! That's the difference, our tubes are securely bonded in place, a bottom bracket is not.
  • + 1
 Cool bike.
  • + 1
 Im a buyer!
  • + 0
 If I ever win the lottery, I know what I'm buying...
  • + 11
 Me too, a bike company Smile
  • + 0
 Great review....
  • + 0
 looks like a specialized
  • - 1
 Back away, that shock looks like is gonna blow!
  • - 1
 Sorry, but no thanks! An the name is ridiculous.
  • + 20
 Shouldn't you be at the gym?
  • + 0
 Fapped myself dry!
  • - 1
 such an uncool name
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