Robot Bike Co R160 - First Look

May 27, 2016
by Paul Aston  
Robot Bike R160

When Empire and Renishaw created a 3D-printed titanium bike a few years ago, it was part work of art, part pipe dream, and partly an unaffordable glimpse into the future. Working in conjunction with some of the UK's heaviest hitting engineering firms, Renishaw, HiETA and Altair, Robot Bike Co have fast-forwarded that future to the now. Their website will be taking your orders by the time you are reading this, that is, if you're prepared to splash out £4390, or roughly $6425 USD for a frame set.


Robot Bike R160
Robot R160 Details
• 3D printed T6 titanium frame lugs with carbon tubing
• Dave Weagle DWLink6 suspension design
• Custom geometry
• Travel: 160mm
• 27.5" wheels
• Internal cable routing
• 73mm BSA threaded bottom bracket
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing
• Lifetime Guarantee
• Weight approx: 3.2kgs / 7lbs w/ shock
• Price: £4395 GBP / USD $6437 approx
• Available to order, estimated 4 week lead time
www.robotbike.co

Geometry

Note the complete lack of a geometry chart in this section. This is because you can have whatever geometry you want. Every R160 is custom tailored to suit your specific body size, riding style and wishes. This R160 bike is designed around the 'enduro' style of riding - Robot has base numbers to work from, and any other changes can be input online and discussed with the designers.

bigquotesIt doesn't matter how good a frame is if it doesn't fit the rider, and this is where Robot Bike Co. sees the weakness in the current market offerings. If you are trying to produce the very best frame it makes no sense to then only offer it in a small number of sizes when the people you are selling it to come in all shapes and sizes. Think of Robot Bike Co. as the Savile Row of the bike world." - Ed Haythornwaite, Robot Bike Co



DW6 Suspension

Robot Bike R160

Robot Bike considered Dave Weagle to be the best suspension designer in the world, so rather than spending years designing their own system they went straight to the source. The DW Link 6 system gains a few extra pivots compared to some of his previous designs. From afar, one could be forgiven for thinking this looks like an Iron Horse MkIII, the smaller brother of the infamous Sunday. The DW6 design uses a simple rocker to drive the shock from above, while the lower link has a very short link and also another pivot very close to the rear wheel's axle. The top rocker link is machined from alloy in the workshop next door to Robot who just happen to make parts for Red Bull's Formula 1 cars. Why not print this too? Because it's one of the few parts that will be the same on each frame.


Robot Bike R160
Robot Bike R160


bigquotesThe DW6 suspension design represents the latest evolution in modern mountain bike suspension. Essentially, the design takes everything that's great about the 4-bar DW-Link design and adds further tunability to meet the goals of a custom designed experience that RBC aims to provide. The 5th generation DW-Link anti-squat performance is there, along with independently tuneable braking and leverage ratio characteristics. This offers a nearly unlimited level of adjustability from the factory. DW6 is a true design for the future and one that will be constantly adjusted and improved to take advantage of the latest in damper technology and rider preferences.

DW6 is not just about suspension performance, though. Structurally, the design was conceived from the ground up to work in unison with RBC's ti-lugged construction. Stiff and compact links attach via angular contact bearings at critical points for long-term maintenance-free performance in even the harshest conditions. - Dave Weagle



Details and Construction

Robot Bike R160

Once an R160's geometry has been decided, a press of a button followed by a 20-second wait has to be endured. In this time the computer software calibrates the exact shapes and sizes of each titanium lug and arranges each piece on the printing board. After that, it's simply a matter of pressing the big green 'Go' button to start the 50-hour printing process. The parts are cleaned up and heat-treated before leaving the Renishaw premises and heading an hour down the road to Robot Bike Co. Here the tubes are cut to an exact length, again determined by the computer. Every joint has 25mm overlapping, double-shear joints that are bonded internally and externally. All strength testing was done using 10mm overlapping joints and we were told these passed with flying colors.

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The carbon tubes are constructed and finished in New Zealand. The finish might not be what you expect a carbon tube to look like, but this is because most carbon products use a finishing layer to make things pretty, but from an engineering standpoint it's useless and only adds weight, so Robot didn't bother with that.


Robot Bike R160

Robot Bike R160
I haven't been this excited about a cable mount since 2004.
Robot Bike R160

Robot Bike R160
Up close the R160 is a beauty.


Robot Bike R160


Why do I think this is the most important bike of the decade?

Customized - built to order, with a short four week, estimated lead time. New hub standard? Change it with CAD. New headtube standard? Change it with CAD.

Low waste - the printing machine only uses the material necessary to build the frame components.

Demand - the order comes in and the machine starts turning. Mass produced bikes will always be going out of date from the second they roll out the factory door. Changing standards, model years and fashions mean that bikes are continually being devalued. There will never be a container of unsaleable Robots stuck in a warehouse or shop stock somewhere gathering dust as consumers clamor to buy the latest and greatest.

Ethics - the impossibility of human exploitation, you can't subject a machine to unhealthy working conditions and underpay it.

Environment - a bike that could be designed from anywhere in the world and emailed to a printer in any country. In the not-too-distant future, bikes could be printed in any continent, country or even town. Maybe, just maybe, in your local bike shop?

Rule Brittania - Another product that re-stamps Britain's faded mark on great engineering and innovation.


Robot Bike R160
The man with a plan, Ed Haythornwaite.


That's a ridiculous price for a bike, I could buy seven used Canyons and three YT's for the same price as one frame!

This superbike carries a heavy price tag right now, but that price will only fall in the future as machines become faster, more affordable and more popular. At £4395 it's still cheaper than an off-the-shelf Trek Session 9.9 frame that somehow comes in at a whopping £4500. People will say the R160 is too expensive, but last time I checked a Bugatti Veyron wasn't what you would call affordable, and neither was a 26 bedroom mansion overlooking Lake Geneva. I could probably afford one side of a chainstay, but there are a lot of people out there with serious moolah that are desperate to spend it on bikes.


Robot Bike R160


My custom frame is currently appearing in the printing machine, so expect a review of the best handling bike in the world, in my opinion (of course, I chose my geometry) later this year. In the meantime, here is Ieuan Williams putting R160 number 001 through its paces:


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363 Comments

  • + 209
 This is cool as fu**, too bad that my wallet is a killjoy and said no to dropping 1 mil cad on this bike
  • + 88
 I didn't check the currency exchange rate but I'm guessing you're pretty close.
  • + 57
 And it has a straight down tube. I wonder if it has a keyed headset.
  • + 32
 @ over $6K USD i will have to compromise my ethics and exploit something...
  • - 6
flag Rasterman (May 27, 2016 at 13:03) (Below Threshold)
 It's certainly cool, but why not use cast/milled AL joints, you can still provide a customized geometry, and would cut down on cost and lead time.

It's a neat looking frame, I doubt most will like it. I wouldn't buy it over an even more expensive carbon frame, because I believe they look better.

Regardless it's a great idea, I hope it finds a market.
  • + 75
 well.... I wonder if this printer can print me some 6500$ .....
  • + 13
 boutique pricing with robot builder?
  • + 46
 @Rasterman: A key part of our design is our double lap shear joints, they are what provide us with such a robust bonding solution. We would not be able to make these using any other means.
  • + 40
 I think i just wet myself. This the trickest frame building concept ever. So if I want a 26" TT, 6.5" HT with 75deg STA and 66deg HTA and 157 Boost+, I can order it up? That is a legit wet dream.
  • + 11
 @fullbug: Who are you bullshitting? Ethics? Just give up food.
  • + 10
 @chasejj: thatz alot of beer industry folks out of work. not ethical.
  • + 7
 Calling all NBA basketball players, this is your next bike. Moots has done custom ti before though

www.outsideonline.com/2064991/reggie-miller-will-drop-you
  • + 3
 @Rasterman: I think the answer to that is rule of cool.
.
This is certainly one of those very cool, heart over head sort of products.
  • + 5
 For that asking price tag they could at least put some water bottle threads in it.
  • + 4
 @chasejj: unless you mount a fat bike q factor crank, I guess you won't vave the necessary heel clearance as it seems to be straight tubes only.

I am personally VERY interested in this suspension layout. Custom geo sounds super attractive but for that price, I would also need to fall in love with the looks. Not the case for me. No big deal, I don't have the money anyway!

Wish the robot lots of success
  • + 1
 @mtbenthusiastsofutah this is your next whip!
  • + 5
 @RobotBikeCo: I applaud this and love and live English engineering, I currently run 2x Empires (the MX6 Evo and VXCool . Did the Empire lead you towards this path?? I also love the look of this and the link, I REALLY hope people buy into this for you.
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo: I see that now, excellent
  • - 4
flag tadgercat (May 27, 2016 at 19:28) (Below Threshold)
 @chasejj: agreed
...ethics?... great. robot. another leap in manufacturing technology to put more skilled people out of work...thic.
  • + 9
 I haven't seen a bike this exciting for a long, long time. Video is cool too. Would be interesting to see this company do a collaboration with Rob from Zerode to produce a gearbox version. That would be ultimate bike geek pron.
  • + 2
 I like it. That being said I wish they hadn't used a Bugatti analogy because it would be incorrect to assume that this bike is to the bike world, what a Veyron was to the car world. You have to combine staggering class leading performance along with amazing manufacturing techniques to make this analogy work. This bike hasn't been tested, it's seven pounds, and it's not reinventing the idea of a bicycle, more the idea of how to manufacture a bicycle. It certainly matches the Bugatti sales ideology of "Someone obscenely wealthy enough will pay for the exclusivity of it".
It is still cool and I wish it was more affordable as I would like to have one, it reminds me of older steel road frames with ornamental lugs.
  • + 2
 looks like different bike brands play a game where they need to set the most high baseless price for frameset. who is winning now? i know, 3d printing and carbon isn't cheap. but 6000+ bucks for that? comparing r160 with bugatti veyron is like comparing match box and treasure chest
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: I wish I knew what this meant. I fear massive creaking
  • + 3
 It looks awesome. I would love to try one. If I was going to spend that much dosh on a frame though, I wouldn't want a crappy Monarch shock. It should have a higher class shock for that money, such as an Elevensix or Ohlins TTX. Add £500 to the price... would anyone notice? Probably not. Would they care? Probably not.
  • + 10
 As a former industrial designer (I had a bike manufacturing company for 4 years) this is the coolest thing I have seen in a long, long time.

The industrial aesthetic is perfect, its a thing of beauty with the perfect balance of form/function

Can I have one please?
  • + 2
 @saruti: why not? That's how the worlds financial system works, if they can just print up more money as they please then why can't we do the same?
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo: can you explain what this is?
  • + 1
 @jaame: I'm sure Robot would sell you one without a shock if you asked nicely!
  • + 1
 I guess they would!
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: Nice idea Ed, can you make one to fit a sealed drive?
  • + 2
 @Murdoch-the-Horse-Fracker: This very well could make that setup easy. Too bad it is so expensive. I have doubts as to the price ever coming down.
  • + 1
 @Motohed: I wonder the same thing.
  • + 3
 @tadgercat: [Serious} Just how many of the bikes on your local trails do you think are truly handbuilt, anyhow?
  • + 1
 @sngltrkmnd: exactly , there's nothing like riding a bike you know has been built by hand. Regardless what people think it just screams the right ethos to me
  • + 3
 @Motohed: Creaking is a result of fretting and our double lap joints (titanium in the shape of a greek letter pi) leave no chance for that.
  • + 2
 @jaame: We offer a choice of three different shocks as standard but talk to us we can probably help with other choices depending on clearance.
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: Personally I'm a fan of bespoke clothing and artisan-crafted carbon helmets. This is why I don't ride machine-built trails. /s Ethos, shmeethos.
  • + 1
 @sewer-rat: hand-assembled is not hand-built!
  • + 1
 @TheUnknownMTBR: Erm Empire cycles are HANDBUILT not hand assembled as are Orange bikes, thats why I ride them because I can feedback to the guy how it rides etc and fits right in with UK Engineering / manufacturing. Everything for the frame other than the shock is sourced from the UK, cast aluminum back end, head stock, seat tower in Southampton. box section sourced from UK supplier then all milled and welded by hand (on jigs obvs) in Bolton UK then finally powder coated in yep you guessed it the UK! then graphics designed / printed at Empire cycles and applied by Chris or Jonathan by hand. That and the fact that they ride frickin awesome and also made the first 3D printed MTB is the reason why I ride their bikes
  • + 4
 @TheUnknownMTBR: You would be very welcome to visit our factory in the Wye Valley in United Kingdom to see us getting our hands "dirty". This is where we cut tubes, perform surface preparation, apply adhesive and load frames into adjustable jigs.
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo: Ok THANKS Will get in touch when get back from Fort William World Cup
But having working with Carbon fibre should wear gloves rather than getting hands dirty
  • - 3
 @RobotBikeCo: I suppose it did take a finger to hit the start button on the 3d printer ...
  • + 5
 @TheUnknownMTBR: I think it'll take a finger to tell you where to go
  • - 3
 @sewer-rat:

Why so personal? You thought that my comment knocks the bike somehow? Not at all. Perhaps you've been scurrying around in the facebook or youtube gutter too long. There was a time when hand built meant HAND-BUILT, as in every single piece. However, my original comment wasn't intended to be as serious as the replies are trying to make it. Those days are mostly gone and we now have wonderful new technology instead, nothing wrong with that, but the same ol' marketing swag is just that. Wonderful technology applies everywhere and can also make "hand-built" a negative. Automated can just as easily be better. As usual, it always depends, mostly on the human element in either case.

If you want it custom, now, and have no concern about cost this might be a good option. We have no long term real-world durability results though so don't get too carried away. All we know today is they have something very new and very expensive for sale. Not trying to knock this product, but in this lifetime I've seen my share of promising products that failed to live up to the initial promotional hype they were sold on. Though most of the excited grasshoppers chirping loudly in this thread likely have no wing$ to fly on.
  • + 2
 @TheUnknownMTBR: nah dont scurry in either mate, just know the bike I ride is hand built as I feed back to the designer regularly on it and have also seen the premises its made in and various articles. What I don't appreciate is the way you try and slap a new company down which is trying to make a way and offer the customer base something unique. Do I take it personally?? You know what yes I do, I say that as I have worked in UK engineering for 21 years now and have seen the way that certain comments can destroy new businesses through perception and inturn what it can mean for those peoples livelihoods first hand. Instead of trying to make a quick sarcastic remark about it try and justify your statement. The industry and manufacturing need these projects
  • + 4
 @TheUnknownMTBR:
Technically all Taiwanese built production carbon frames are also handbuilt. Handbuilt has kind of become a term to describe bespoke construction. Or custom if you don't happen to be British.

I honestly cannot think of a single composite bike that is in production that is not hand laid. Tape laying machines don't really scale down to bike frame sized equipment. That and frames are complex enough that for the most part it just isn't possible.
  • + 2
 @whilgenb: I wouldn't want hand a built if it meant not straight and every part was a slightly different shape. It might be nice in art or furniture but in machinery, not so good.
  • - 1
 @sewer-rat: Wow, you have a very active imagination. I don't have to justify anything to you. We both live in democratic societies and I'm just as welcome to my opinion as you are whether you like it or not. If the industry is being damaged it's only because of some half-cocked, overly sensitive, hot head from within trying to create a excessively negative public pissing match over their own misunderstanding with some nobody on the internet.

Fwiw, I've been an engineer longer than you have ... if the industry suffers it's over it's own blunders, misrepresentations, and inefficiencies, not because of some meaningless comment on an internet forum. If you want to target-fixate on somebody it might make more sense to go after someone who actually posted negative comments. There are more than a few to choose from.

Otherwise I'm not obligated to be on the cheerleading squad for a frame that 99.5% of the potential market can't afford. Nobody "needs" that imo. I also don't subscribe to the "if you're not with us then you're against us" mentality either. The success will solely be determined by the market economics and real world results. So enough with the exaggerations, excuses, and pettiness already.
  • + 6
 Ok guys take it to Pms please. Nobody wants to hear it.
  • + 1
 @jdendy: I wonder if it's as stiff as a slash
  • + 1
 @Camolloyd: Just checked it. The canadian price would be 8411$ I don't think i have anywhere near enough to justify a purchase like that.
  • - 3
 @TheUnknownMTBR: I think we'll have to agree to disagree
On a different subject I can piss 25 metres , beat that!
  • + 2
 @Rasterman: "I wouldn't buy it over an even more expensive carbon frame, because I believe they look better." Yeah, who cares about custom geo, weight, stiffness, suspension design.
  • + 2
 @CanadianMatesMS: for that much I'd buy the latest carbon bike from a number of bike company's. I trust the engineers at devinci or Santa Cruz or transition to design a bike over what I think might work. Great step forward for the manufacturers. The ability to adapt to changing trends has got to be a huge savings to them.
Once that bike is in my hands it stops be innovative. Now it's just my bike till I buy the next one. Also, I like swoopy tubesSmile
  • + 2
 Kill joys make some noise nananana oh wait wrong killjoy sorry
  • + 0
 @Rasterman: You cant't cast the AL joints, customized geometry on every frame, therefore every set is slightly different. You could mill them using the same CAD software, used to print them, but where is the advantage.
  • + 1
 @micko1000: Lighter and cheaper? Possibly faster even, but that point is quite speculative I admit.
  • + 1
 Agree. A Veyron is 2 Golfs and as such it has no spark of intelligence built in. This however is taking manufacturing and customability to something disruptive and it looks very good. So yes the price is right and compared to massproduced full carbon frames - where the tube joining is always weak - lugs are great idea.
Would I buy? Yes..but. I want single pivot rear end like on my Foes. Otherwise 61 d headangle, low bb, long toptube and long rear end.

Reminds me of my 1990 Reflex - Heavy lugs with carbon tubes glued in with a sort of silicon like substance. This is way better.
  • + 122
 Each cell of my troll mind experienced a slight orgasm. This is better than Ecstasy because I want to hug and hold hands with everyone. Future is here. I guess gearbox version is behind the corner. I can't believe what I am seeing, and I can't say that about a press release from Giant or Trek... This thing is better than Interbike feed from last 10 years combined.
  • + 55
 Cheers, it means a lot to hear you say something like that!
  • + 14
 What a bike! It must be, cause this is the first time I think I've agreed with you @Wakidesigns. Just beautiful in looks, engineering and "customness" (not a word, I know, I know).
  • + 22
 @RobotBikeCo: just take with a grain of salt....that is Waki that said it. Wink
  • + 6
 @Triber66: truth.
  • + 0
 Waki-I guess a full on Commie and a unrepentant Capitalist Trump guy agree on something. See how that works. Just don't ask me to pay for yours.
  • + 38
 @chasejj: I self proclaim myself as a human named Wacek Kipszak by parents Michal and Irena. If any of my actions/ opinions resemble a Commie, a Nihilist or a Muslim transgender feminist I don't care. I do not identify myself with any ideology. I piss on ideologies because my geolocation and current economical and political situation allows me to. I use that privilege. That frame makes me moist.
  • + 12
 Kinda wondering if the parts are swappable, could you make it look like a Session?
  • + 3
 Well done Waki - years of deciphering your writings and almost needing to learn a new language ha ha. This is your ultimate post! Glad you mentioned the gearbox!
  • + 0
 From an engineering and patriotic stand point it's funkin awesome.... But I just kinda feel that if you're gonna do super expensive lugs and tubes then go all out, let's see those lugs looking like an flash eighties road bike/ modern fixie. Feels like engineering took over from flare, with a little bit of styling the looks could match the amazing construction.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Moist eh? LOL. Go get a manpon! I agree this is nice. I sure as hell hope the price comes down a bit for those that can't afford 6k on a bad ass fully custom carbon frame. I may be looking to sell a kidney to help offset the cost of one. Hmmmmm.
  • + 0
 @Shinobi13: manpon? I'd rather have some ointment please...
  • + 69
 Now, THAT is innovation. Well done RobotBikeCo! Take notes industry.
  • - 63
flag torero (May 27, 2016 at 11:52) (Below Threshold)
 It's just another plastic bike.
  • - 20
flag BoneDog (May 27, 2016 at 12:15) (Below Threshold)
 full carbon frame makes much more sense.
  • + 17
 @BoneDog: I salute you to start a company making tailored full carbon frames. 100k a frame YES! Would totaly sell in Abu Dhabi if mountain bikes were a big thing around there. Big Grin
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: yes Waki, correct again! This is expensive and if I won the lottery (I don't play it) I'd have one. It covers a lot of bases and looks great in the process. For now though I'm going to buy a BMW 2002 instead with that cash.
  • + 7
 @cunning-linguist: if you think about it, you can buy that frame and build a complete bike cheaper than an ENVE kitted Nomad Cc. It ain't cheap but damn it is an outlier. Nomad or SWorks Enduro are just some carbon frames like any other. You have to dig really deep in the bag of excuses and grt on some high horse to feel better about a Nomad than about carbon Capra or Strive. This thing though is just unique and authentic. It is fkng real m Smile
  • + 4
 @BoneDog: Printing the junctions means they can use off the shelf straight carbon tubes and just cut them to length. They don't need have their own fancy moulds or whatever it is you need to produce a fully carbon frame.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: damn straight. If I was in the market for a full sus (which I'm not), I'd have it. I like niche and different products, but not at the risk of quality, this however gets both in spades! :-)
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Argonaut is already doing that with road bikes by using adjustable molds for custom joints and custom layup with bladder molds. $6500 USD fork included: www.argonautcycles.com/bike.php
  • + 2
 @el-nombre: Our tubes are a proprietary lay-up specific to us using a mix of Mitsubishi fibres and resins. We use straight tubes as this is the most efficient way to connect A to B (see space frames), allows us to cut specific lengths and also distributes the loads as evenly as possible into the carbon.
  • + 3
 @RobotBikeCo: fair enough. The point still stands that cylindrical tubes are easier to make than fancy curvy things though...(based on all my carbon knowledge that is...which is approximately zero)
  • - 6
flag Janosch (May 29, 2016 at 4:54) (Below Threshold)
 Innovation is a strong word for this bike. They didn't innovate, they used existing technology in a slightly different way. It's definitely eclectic and impressive, from manufacturing point of view. And I sincerely hope that one day, someone from the future will come back, and shoot all five of them. With printed hollow points.
  • + 3
 @el-nombre: Yes they are. This is a good thing as it is now possible to maintain complete control over fibre alignment. Tow-steering is possible but only on large structures (wing skins and spars on large aircraft) using automatic fibre placement.
  • + 37
 Obviously the bike Team Robot should be on. Made by Robots for Robots.
  • + 37
 A bit cost prohibitive for those living in a van in their parent's driveway, no?
  • + 7
 @ReformedRoadie: no WiFi in the driveway? The blog is a ghost town.
  • + 2
 As a devoted follower I assume that shock ratio is not good enough for "real" Robots.
  • + 1
 @olsen-chuck: Chuckles has been M.I.A. for awhile.
  • + 35
 Can they make it not look like duct tape?
  • + 28
 that costs extra.
  • + 7
 And extra weight.
  • + 3
 +1....I would much prefer the masking tape look.
  • + 4
 I like the duck tape look. Just needs a WD-40 cage and a place to store your hammer. All needs taken care of.
  • + 34
 Cool bike, looks like tent poles I used to have back in the 90's.
  • + 7
 It actually looks like my old 1988 or 89? Trek 8900, carbon tubes with aluminum lugs.
  • + 87
 Apparently you can order it with elastic inside so you can pull it apart and put it in a little bag
  • + 9
 @browner: F ucking Brilliant!
  • + 1
 @SteveDekker: 1999 Specialized Ultimate, Pretty amazing bike, Ti lugs made by Merlin and Carbon tubes
  • + 1
 @bsavery: Yeah the epic ultimate was cool but it was just a concept/show bike and was never in production.
Still, the tubes are epoxied to the lugs. Adhesives have gotten better; but this bike is still glued together.
  • + 2
 @SteveDekker: It was most certainly in limited production. You could buy one circa 1996-1999, I had one.
  • + 26
 Hopefully they'll get some customer support for the geometry. I personally wouldn't be able to make up the perfect geometry for myself.
  • + 55
 Customers will provide us with some key body dimensions and then from that we will provide them with our recommended geometry. We believe the vast majority of riders will love the way what we suggests rides, but if they have particular tastes/needs then we will discuss these with them.
  • + 13
 I've always wondered that about custom geometry. Even with a decade and a half of riding experience, do I actually know what's best for me? Five years ago I would have scoffed at anything with numbers like the Kona Process, but ... well, it turns out Kona knows best and I love my Process!

Everything about this manufacturing process is very exciting, though! Can't wait for trickle-down pricing.
  • + 1
 Is there a market for custom geometry however, in the mountain bike world? I mean, as the example in the article mentioned, there's a market for Bugatti Veyrons, so of course some people will bite. But I think about the road bike world and the emphasis on bike fitting for that market, which is much more passionate about fit issues than the S, M, L mountain bike world. Along with dropper posts and longer-travel suspension the need for precise fit and geometry seems less important.

However if they presented this idea in road bike form, the weight weenies would crucify it immediately.

Super trick though, awesome job on the 3D printed geometry of the lugs, doing physical maneuvers only possible in an additive fabrication process.
  • + 4
 @twozerosix: Yes is the answer
  • + 19
 Pretty soon these machines will become affordable and a household knock around like a vacuum cleaner. The software can be pirated from torrents online and you can buy your material at Target. We'll all be building bikes at home and replacing links as our children grow to make the bike fit perfect again.
  • + 6
 Not quite. Titanium powder is not on sale at your local hardware store (it's explosive), and the printers are a little more costly (think $500k) than your average home printer.
  • + 2
 "The software can be pirated from torrents online and you can buy your material at Target." ... that was my first thought when I read this article. Living in a country where is extremely hard to make money and when you make it is even harder to buy and import a bike of the brand and model you want , I have hopes my luck will change very soon.
  • + 4
 You should Google the 'Carbon Wasp' bike, the guy has done pretty much that.
  • + 1
 Don't forget to buy all the heat treating equipment at Target too Rolleyes
  • + 4
 @T1mb0: I'm speaking of the future here guys. Remember how expensive computers were, Dvd players? That's the way I'm looking at it
  • + 2
 @MarcS68: lol try $1 MIL for the printer. But in the future it is possible it could be a common household item I suppose...not probable, but possible.

I can imagine a future where additive manufacturing is king.
  • + 18
 Hey, literally everything looks damn near perfect on this bike... So i have to pick on the fact that those cable tabs have sharp edges! Common! Seriously... aside from the astounding price tag of the frame. There is soooo much to love about this bike. Here's a question, when you bust one of the carbon tubes, is it possible to have it removed and re-bonded? Compared to say.. repairing the carbon fiber?
  • + 10
 That is a bloody good question, especially at that price point. If you can do that, it might make the price easier to swallow.
  • + 7
 @stumpymidget: Says lifetime guarantee
  • + 13
 @endlessblockades: Yes.. but that goes out the window as soon as you crash it into sometime.. Warranty is against defects or design issues, not stupidity Smile
  • + 2
 @endlessblockades: Keep in mind that companies usually have lifetime* guarantees.
*Lifetime is the expected life of the product... The warranty duration is not for your personal lifetime.
  • + 23
 @ridedh1313: Ours is for the riders lifetime.
  • + 1
 @zion-i: you are correct, I was still a little drunk this AM.
  • + 1
 @RobotBikeCo:
If you crash and damage a tube section or joint. Can this be a simple reprint and tube replacement. Rather than a new front or rear end?
  • - 2
 @Intensevp: That's the main reason I don't like carbon. One crack and game over. If the tubes could be replaced / repaired like a steel frame it would be a big selling point and may well cure my carboniphobia.

Other than that it's a stunning looking bike. I do love straight tubes... the fastest way between two points is a straight line.
  • + 4
 @fartymarty: Actually carbon frames can be repaired fairly easily and inexpensively. Theres a bunch of shops all over that do it. Comes out good as new.
  • + 2
 @SteveDekker: good to know
  • + 3
 @SteveDekker: my friend repairs them for a living. But you can always tell they have been repaired. Unless they have a new paint job. But raw carbon it sticks out terrible.
  • + 2
 @Intensevp: Yup same as any bike of any material, you can always tell. Its just like fiberglass repair.
I was actually pretty surprised at the prices too its pretty economical.
  • + 1
 @ridedh1313: Santa Cruz is lifetime of the original purchaser
  • + 10
 Okay, I respect what they have done here, technologically and entreprenuerally speaking. But the only advantage I really see here is the custom geometry, which 99% of riders probably can't or won't appreciate. But then 99% of riders can't afford it anyway, so there you go.
  • + 2
 I would have to totally agree with your comment. I would also add that hopefully those titanium lugs are burly enough to handle the stress that harder riders would put it through. I am sure they have run the FEA tests, but real world riding always seems to surprise you. I think possibly that is why DVO erred on the side of extra weight with the emerald fork.
  • + 8
 Exciting seeing kinda abstract new developments like this, maybe it will be the way of the future, maybe not but to me this is the element of mountain biking that has been absent for a while. A company daring to be different. Like the AMP bikes of the 90's.
  • + 6
 "Ethics - the impossibility of human exploitation, you can't subject a machine to unhealthy working conditions and underpay it."

are they implying that CNC machines in the far east are underpaid and have unhealthy working conditions?? Wink
  • + 6
 DW is two steps away from admitting he was wrong and just building an FSR frame... :-) That now tiny lower link is all but gone.

Lovely bike and great riding in that vid though - what looks like a proper break through design and manufacturing process...
  • + 6
 "There will never be a container of unsaleable Robots stuck in a warehouse or shop stock somewhere gathering dust as consumers clamor to buy the latest and greatest."

Isn't this a "problem" that the bike industry (SRAM, cough) inflicts upon itself? And why should the consumer care?

"Ethics - the impossibility of human exploitation, you can't subject a machine to unhealthy working conditions and underpay it."

I guess you're not exploiting anybody who just lost their job to that latest robot technology.

But it is a nice bike at least (its a DW Llink). And there are enough gazillionaires to make this business model work.

final thought, I think I need a raise.

final, final thought: Whatever happened to healthy working conditions a fair wage? Please excuse my archaic point of view....
  • + 6
 This is so cool...

The current price sucks of course, but he's right... It's only a matter of time before the machines get cheaper and you'll be able to afford something like this.

My question is can the individual carbon tubes be replaced? I don't see why they wouldnt be... So instead of having to buy a new frame when a tube breaks, you just have it repaired.
  • + 5
 I feel like this is a Ferrari built for rich guys. I mean, my aluminum frame rips, I ride the waffle out of it and when I wipe out big deal. If I see someone with a crazy overpriced bike who isn't sponsored, it's just a guy with a crazy over priced bike.
  • + 4
 True that, but at the end of the day regardless of what they earn, so long as anyone is having fun on two wheels, that's all any of us can ask for. To each their own!
  • + 1
 @cunning-linguist: A Ferrari built for rich guys? So just a Ferrari then Razz not a lot of budget Ferrari's kicking around
  • + 1
 @finnrambo: momdial's go for 20k and stupid twats still buy a new Audi A3 instead!!! Makes me sick.
  • + 4
 Why on earth would you ever want to buy a bonded together bike made of 2 completely dissimilar materials when you can get a full carbon monolithic frame-set with industry leading / standardized frame junctions. This bike is like jumping back to 1995 trek 8700 composite. The only thing that stands out as being on the brink of technology and innovation is the 3d printed titanium. Regardless, in this specific application it doesn't have any bit of improvement over a full carbon frame.

Another bike made for another dentist...

keep em coming PB.
  • + 2
 because it is almost impossible to get a custom geometry monolithic frame unless you are willing to pay th 100k+ for a custom mold
  • + 10
 You may be able to prove us wrong, but we are yet to find a full suspension frame that is entirely made from carbon. They all have some metal bonded in somewhere for things like pivots. Getting the bonding correct is the key, and this is where we feel we have a big advantage over the competition, and some of that advantage can only be gained by using additive manufacturing. We have also moved all the joints away from areas of peak load, something that can't be said for conventional production techniques. We've lost count of the number of carbon frames that have failed where they have badly designed bonded joints. Done right...well it's good enough to keep an aeroplane in the air! Also, as we have said in another comment, composites are not really suited to complex shapes, and there are plenty of complex areas to deal with if you're trying to make a full suss.
  • + 5
 You've completely missed half of what makes this bike unique. The fact that they print the junctions and use off the shelf straight tubes means you can just chop them to the correct length for each geo.
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: I know the focus of this article is on the printing and customization element of the bike, but I actually wonder how these tubes are made and why. If you read interviews and articles about the design and production of other carbon frames, they usually try to get the fibres in the direction of the tubes. This in order to utilize the strength and stiffness of the fibre material. It seems you're using straight constant diameter tubes for your frames which made me think you'd go with pulltruded tubes. That would get you the proper fibre direction right away. But looking at these pictures closely it is more like the tubes are filament wound (or braided, but I think it is wound) under a pretty steep angle. The fibres seem to be almost perpendicular to the tube. Is there a particular reason for this or am I just plain wrong (that I didn't look properly)? Maybe it is just a very different process I'm not aware of. After all I'm pretty sure you can do filament winding right there in the UK so to source it all the way from NZ it has got to be pretty special.

Also compliments for getting the bonding done right. Everyone notice they bond the tube both on the inside as well as on the outside to avoid delamination to start there. Indeed if you want the lug to be a single piece, you won't have any other option than to use additive manufacturing.

@Luneec, these molds are expensive because they have to be durable. If you want to produce a very limited number of products (or just a single product), you can use less durable materials. These are easier to machine (quicker and less tool wear) hence cheaper. So for a single product you could use a mold out of styrofoam. Machine the coarse shape, then add a thin layer of ceramic paste and let it dry. Then machine the accurate shape. It is obviously going to be more expensive than a mass produced monocoque carbon frame, but it is nowhere close to the numbers you mentioned there.
  • + 0
 @RobotBikeCo: Very well stated. I like the idea you guys are going with. Really so many design options that can be implemented. It is just so crazy expensive for a bike i want to barrel down a mountain with as my man toy.

But i may be giving you guys a call here, having some ideas with this.
  • + 1
 @vinay: I don't know for certain, I'd guess it's something to do with which ever company makes the masts for the America's Cup yachts (all the top boats for that are made in NZ).
  • + 3
 @vinay: Thanks for the good questions and spotting our double lap shear joints. The tubes are roll-wrapped using use aerospace-grade Mitsubishi-Rayon TRH50/NB301 and MR60H/NB301pre-preg on to male tools before a compression tape (which leaves the witness marks you can see) is applied to provide consolidation pressure for curing. Carbon fibre reinforced polymers work by far and away better when fibres are kept in close alignment to the loading direction. A deviation of just 0.25 degrees (~4 mm in 1m) reduces compression strength by 1/3. The uniform shapes of tubes guarantee fibre alignment, both in-plane orientation and out-of-plane wavyness, for maximum strength and stiffness. The lay-up schedule for each tube and fibre is proprietary and specific to each tube to ensure that each tube is optimal. We avoid sharp corners, such as those found in square section tubes, as these lead to “corner unfolding” when the composite is loaded through-the-thickness rather than in the plane of the fibres. Our approach means that we utilise 100% unidirectional fibres and not woven fabrics as we believe that performance is more important than what is perceived to be the ‘carbon look’. The result is our tubes are as strong and as stiff as they can possibly be giving you a lighter more resilient frame.

Additive manufacturing allow us to extend the aspect ratio of the bond surface considerably versus machining or casting. Furthermore we can use thinner walls and have fine control over the 'ramp' (tapering down the thickness) where the metal parts 'run out' (finish) to bleed out the substrate thickness. All of this contributes to minimising the peeling forces in the bond line for maximum strength and durability.

Our testing has followed aerospace the 'test pyramid' philosophy so we generated lots of coupon level data on the composite materials before performing element level testing on the joints. The testing went very well and the joints exceed our conservative sizing. They were so strong, in fact, that we broke the fixtures on the test rig and before the bond, tube or lug showed any signs of distress.
  • + 2
 @mbikes1: You're spot on. We use a first class company in New Zealand whose main business is manufacturing carbon masts for racing yachts.
  • + 2
 @vinay: Should also say that we designed our carbon tubes in a way to ensure poisson ratio compatibility with the titanium lugs. What with many load cases, resulting axial, compression, torsion and bending loads and the poisson ratio compatibility there's a lot that goes into the design of the lay-ups!
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: Thank you so much for your elaborate response! You also answered questions I was hesitant to ask like indeed whether the joints were tapered to actually utilize the "give" in the metal to get an even shear stress distribution across the bond. And yeah, I was pretty sure you must have been aiming to have the fibres aligned with the tube axis. Those marks at insane angles indeed got me confused whether you may have opted for winding to tune some compliance in the chassis. (A discussion on the purpose of a curved downtube got a bit out of hand in another PB article on some new bicycle from Trek.) But yeah, compression tape makes absolute sense. In fact I also did the same thing when I tried design a filament wound air spring and, because I wanted the rubber layer to be particularly thin, had the robot wind the compression tape in order to apply very even tension. (The spring never made it. It wore out too quickly because of, as I found out later, something fundamentally wrong in the basic concept Frown . Still, as always, the spin off from related bits make it worthwile.)

A question I still have then is whether these complete UD frames are up to out of plane loads. Ideally such straight tubes are subject to tensile and compressive loads. You already mentioned that the loading near the joints (because of moments on the headtube because of forks and handlebar, for instance) are too complex to take proper advantage of fibre reinforced plastics (you'd add so many different layers in different directions that isotropic materials like metals make for a better choice there) so you've got that covered. But a mountainbike, especially with that kind of suspension travel, is going to receive blows from impact and crashes. These could split/delaminate the fibres even if the tubes are round. This is why weaves are being used on the outside. Pulltruded (carbon or fibreglass) tubes therefore also get this braid around the structural (UD) bit. Compare this to a wooden chair. If the seat and backrest are thin (which are also loaded out of plane), typically multiplex is being used. If these would be out of solid wood with the same thickness, it would just split. A few weeks ago we had a friendly conversation on PB with Cesar Rojo from Unno bikes (he also designed bikes for Mondraker) and he claims the weaves are definitely there for protection, not solely for cosmetic purposes. So I'm interested in your views on this. Is it really because the tubes you're using have a round profile which, as you claim in your post above, have much better out of plane impact resistance than the tubes with an angular profile as commonly found on modern day carbon bikes?

Thanks again for taking the time and effort to clarify this on PB!
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: Damn, only just noticed it is tech editor Ed from Dirt Mag UK at the helm! The hardtail lover before Billy came around and took that spot. Now I trust it even more! So you made it from bike manufacturer to editor and now (when Dirt went out of print) back to bike manufacturer again. Pretty cool. I've been thinking of trying to build a bike out of these pulltruded tubes (either carbon or fiberglass) considering how cheap they are. The complexity of the joints put me off. Obviously these tubes you are using are much more advanced but if I drop the "performance" aspect for starters it could be fun. Just have the joints printed in a tough plastic like PP and start with something small like a kids' balance bike could be doable.

Please don't overlook my previous post, still have some questions pending. But just wanted to wish you luck on this new adventure!
  • + 2
 @vinay: Yes the taper is to flatten the shear stress in the adhesive. The maths was quite hardcore.

Regarding lay up there are always competing drivers. Each of our tubes is a specific mix of 0 degree, 90 degree and +/- 45 degrees. The 0 degree carrying axial and bending loads, the 45 degrees carrying torsion and the 90 provide hoop strength and resistance for crush. There are various rules as to where the plies are located in the laminate but for us with our bonded principle all of the outermost plies are at 45 degrees (like a wing skin). The combination makes for a robust lay-up.

To tweak your interpretation of a previous post the round tubes are good for avoiding 'corner unfolding' resulting from square corners when the laminate is in bending. The comment was directed towards static loads but edges are generally speaking more vulnerable to impact so a round tube is indeed beneficial in that regard.

There are pros and cons for having a woven outer ply - but for us the compromise on outright properties on the most highly loaded ply in bending plus the reduce bond performance tips the balance. If the demand is there we can add a woven outer ply but it will add weight.
  • + 2
 @vinay: Ed's having a well earned weekend off with the family so I'll let him reply to this one!
  • + 2
 @RobotBikeCo: Thanks again! Really cool to see how companies approach the application of carbon fibre in frame design so differently. Some (including my teachers actually) claim that monocoque is the way to go to achieve the greatest stiffness and strength by simply creating "height". Whereas you imply that as fibre orientation is key and the load paths in a monocoque construction are so complex that it is near impossible to orient the fibres perfectly. So instead use isotropic material like metals for the complex areas and only use tubes with closely controlled fibre orientations for the bits in between where the load directions are clear. It is excellent really. I think that even though you pride yourself on far exceeding the strengths you were aiming for, your frames aren't competitively lightweight as well. Next step for you is probably to further push the limits of lightweight engineering and sacrifice some (excess) strenght in order to shed some weight.

I was always surprised to see the carbon versions of a frame resemble their aluminium versions so closely, it can't be good. Either one of the two is being compromised. So, great to see your won't fall for that trap.

Only thing I still haven't figured out is how that suspension system works. You've got some extra pivots near the bottom bracket while you already had an FSR type suspension. But now you've added two more links and along with that two excess degrees of freedom (so now having a total of three). Can you link to some information on that system and what it is supposed to do? Thanks!

And sure, take the weekends off. Ed got that right Smile !
  • + 6
 Am I the only one that saw that dude in the video tear out of that corner (1:20) like he was on a moto?!
  • + 2
 Came here to prop the rider too. Sick style! He'd probably rip as much in any other bike though.
  • + 6
 Can't wait for Andrextr to do a suspension breakdown of DW6, hard to see all what's going on in there.
  • + 2
 Mega dittos......
  • + 5
 its an FSR bike with a mini-DW crammed into where the main pivot would normally be. So therefore it rides 67.9365% better than both FSR and DW combined!
  • + 1
 Yeah - that guy is awesome!
  • + 4
 Big Grin I was looking for more details in this article or even a video showing the mechanism working, but I didn't found it Big Grin I'm still figuring out how it works... Typically a 6-bar allows for further degree tuneability and isolation of the parameters of the suspension. With a 6-bar you can have a better control on how the IC moves along the travel. So for engineers is cool Smile Bye
  • + 6
 OK, already build a DRAFT model, the anti-squat curve is similar to a VPP (good and stable anti-squat values on the first half of the travel, then they decrease a lot on the 2nd half). Normal Brake-squat (around 70%) and very progressive leverage ratio (as said on the bike website). Progressivity around 60% (similar to YT Capra). Here's a picture of the model (I believe it's this way how it works, but I'm not 100% sure... it seems to me that the chainstay has 2 small links conecting to the frame):
www.pinkbike.com/photo/13540835
  • + 4
 Found this picture, I guess that's it!
14761-presscdn-0-15.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Robot-Bike-R160-Bespoke-Bike-9-810x477.jpg

Overall I would say that you can get similar performance with a traditional VPP layout.
  • + 1
 @andrextr: Good find on that last photo. That seems to be at full compression, looks like that top link isn't moving too far. kinda reminds me of the switch infinity slider, where there's not a lot physical movement to achieve the design they're trying to accomplish.
  • + 2
 @groghunter: yes, the switch infinity also produces a similar movement... indeed both infinity, vpp or this dw6 have a similar antisquat curve shape. I tried to play around and increase the lenght of the links and that can give pretty crazy results btw Smile
  • + 2
 @andrextr: It would be interesting to figure out, or hear from Weagle himself, exactly what he's tuning with that upper link.
  • + 3
 Excited to see if this works. The ability to pick geometry is sweet! Yes the price with this technology will drop over time, fingers crossed it can stick around long enough for that to happen.

A little nervous of "bonded tubes and joints" in years previous this hasnt worked well. But it's possible technology has found a better way and those problems wont arrise.

Good on them for trying old/new/different ways to advance mountain biking!
  • + 2
 I wouldn't be too sure the price will drop over time. The road world had GURU bikes for years offering custom frame sets, and the price was still at the boutique level. Custom bikes will always be a luxury.
  • + 6
 A little nervous of "bonded tubes and joints" in years previous this hasnt worked well.

remember that next time you're on an airplane....
  • + 4
 at 6'1 with an above average ape index, a Large is always tall enough but not long enough. XL is long enough but too tall. Would be amazing to have a bike that fit like a well tailored suit
  • + 5
 The future looks bitchen! Time to upgrade my Dentist license to Maxillofacial $urgeon.
  • + 2
 Amazing piece of innovation, as well as art. It looks incredibly amazing and I love how you guys made the impossible possible. This is REAL innovation. Big props for that! Sadly my wallet won't allow me to buy one, but if it did this would definitely be the frame I would buy.
  • + 4
 Anyone remember the Specialized Ultimate? Titanium lugs, carbon tubes.

s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/87/7d/42/877d42cd01e307a77a83d4d37db3ff71.jpg
  • + 2
 i have one of these frames kicking about. pretty trick at the time.
  • + 1
 @xy9ine: They're worth a little bit these days I think...
  • + 2
 A bit late in posting but some guys called ideas2cycles in Finland did something similar a few years back with a road frame; www.3ders.org/articles/20130925-how-to-use-3d-printing-in-lost-wax-casting-of-custom-lugs-for-a-bicycle-frame.html
  • + 5
 Ed Haythorhthwaite is behind this. Awesome! ... Finally something positive has come from the demise of printed Dirt.
  • + 4
 Then it is printed Dirt... in a way. Who would have thought!
  • + 3
 Good luck with the warranties on your £4k frame after the lugs crack and the company doesn't exist anymore...

3dprintingindustry.com/news/3d-printed-titanium-fatally-flawed-80100
  • + 8
 The article clearly states this is based EBM and not DLMS. It's easy to design around that problem anyway, you've probably flown on a plane with DLMS printed structural parts and didn't even know it.
  • + 4
 @PhoS: Structural parts, not yet. laser metal sintering is getting there though, just very expensive and as such usually used for prototyping.

"Even when a design has been optimized specifically for the process, it often takes dozens of tries before a functional part comes out of the printer. And the process of troubleshooting a failed build — even at the most advanced DMLS shops in the world — still involves a lot of trial and error."
pencerw.com/feed/2015/3/15/3d-printing-titanium-and-the-bin-of-broken-dreams


fwiw I work with DLMS parts from time to time.
  • + 1
 @atrokz:

Boeing has an obscene amount of patents for 3d printed aircraft parts, you should take a look you might be surprised at what they're using the tech for. That quote is correct, DLMS is super fickle and the machines require 24/7 babysitting to produce good parts. Its getting better on a daily basis though. Processing materials is hugely expensive (mostly energy wise) but there's a lot of other stuff coming that will help that. It's also only a matter of time before someone produces a frame using other existing technologies that will be vastly less expensive than this. It's cool none the less.
Source: I work specifically with additive manufacturing technologies.
  • + 1
 @atrokz: strictly speaking this is laser melting rather than sintering - important when it comes to component strength. DMLS is used to make millions of dental and orthopaedic implants each year.

Spencer's right that residual stress can result in failed builds, especially in titanium, but we've paid a lot of attention to this in developing the support designs, laser modulation and build strategy.
  • + 2
 @atrokz: that was a great link, the subsequent feeds on his progress are an interesting read too
  • + 3
 We saw this article too and it is misleading. The reason for this is the presence (or absence) of defects above the critical defer size. Not withstanding the lack of an original citation the 2 micrometer pores quoted in this article are below the critical defect size.

We apply an "infinite life" design approach, where the stress allowable is set to below the fatigue run-out strength, which takes into account the naturally occurring presence of defects which occur in any manufacturing process. With appropriate control over material inputs and process, which is currently being finalised by the SAE (standards.sae.org/wip/ams7003), combined with post-process heat treatment a highly repeatable process is achieved.

The Laser Powder Bed Additive Manufacturing process we use has already been jointly certified with the FAA and EASA for safety critical fuel injector applications by GE and Airframers such as Airbus are currently in the process of qualification using the same titanium composition as us for airframe applications.

Via the collaboration with our industrial engineering partners Renishaw PLC, HiETA Technologies and Altair Engineering we are confident in our product and the longevity of our company.
  • + 1
 @atrokz: This can be the case when starting from scratch but we have many years of experience earned in Formula 1 and aerospace which means that we design for the Additive Manufacturing process from the off. The build for our first prototypes over a year ago came off the machine right first time.
  • + 0
 @PhoS: not in use for structure or items likr landing gear yet. I am a boeing, safran, HDI, MBD, Etc landing gear supplier. We are monitoring it closely since it is a nice technology.
  • + 0
 @RobotBikeCo: having the experiencr from renishaw must help off the bat. Do you NDT or even DT your parts to determine the voids present in the process initially or was that done through testing of the process but not the specific part?
  • + 2
 We're about to drop off the bottom of the first page of PB so we (Ed, Andy, Ben, Robot & Dave) wanted to say thank you for the comments and feedback. It's all inspired us to keep pulling those long nights, that have got us to this point, to push on with our next stage of moving into production. We're all at Fort William this weekend so come and say hello to us, ask questions and have a look at our stand to see lugs, tubes, frames and built up bikes. See you there.

www.robotbike.co

#robotbikeco #engineered #bespoke
  • + 5
 Brilliant! A custom geometry bike with a 4 week leadtime! That alone is awesome! Keep pioneering!
  • + 1
 I'm always amazed at people's constant attempt on here to elevate themselves either morally , technically or intellectually above a concept. I'm always disappointed by responses that dignify shitty sarcastic comments. Fair play to the manufacturing process that may wave good bye to 6 month long seasonal trends and can generate a broad choice within bike specifications. Scaling up production should mean cost reductions but until that point if someone wants to order a Raleigh Chopper and pay for it then that's cool by me. Everyone has been an engineer longer than me as I ain't one but then I do not give a flying fuck in a rolling dough nut.
  • + 1
 brings to mind my old dyna-tech raleigh not sure if thats a good or bad thing really,, also is it not possible to make one using something other than expensive titanium to get a cheaper version to the masses as well to grow the brand along side the posh Ti versions
  • + 4
 Looks like an awesome performer But....I'm sorry but it's, well... Ugly, reminds me of PVC plumbers pipe.
  • + 1
 I like the whole concept about it and am a huge DW Link fan. Unexpectedly the one thing I don't like is their logo and how huge it is...from an aesthetic standpoint. I guess this is a good thing so long as the bike rides great....if they could just make that logo less obnoxious....
  • + 2
 More DW marketing bullshinto. The laws of physics don't changes from one generation suspension design to another. What does change is frame makers willing to buy into the hype.
  • + 3
 suspension kinematics ... it's never too late learn something new!
  • + 1
 haha weagle maybe full of marketing bs, but he does have some good ideas, this is pretty clever.
  • + 1
 Agree, but his stuff works - look at Evil...
  • + 1
 The reality is that this is no longer a cool home mechanic/brilliant engineer concept, as expensive as the frame may be... The future is here, you can place an order. That is very cool. Expensive for now, and most likely a long while, but rest assured, opinions aside people will buy these frames. I personally will never leave good quality aluminum frames because I like them and trust them, but I'm very excited to see intelligent minds turn thought and concept to action and progress our sport forward.
  • + 1
 All in all on pixel it appears to be well executed. Materials really used where they show real benefits, however not that new and imhe with carbon tubes glued into titanium lugs separation will occur sooner or later. In my racer days I had a Specialized Carbon Titanium S Works Hardtail that separated more than once and a Kuwahara....memories. My favourite was the Pace RC37where the dropouts decided to go left with the wheel and I was pointing right. Pace just glued back in the dropouts and good to go...until a tight left berm in Guisborough Forrest. Let us see how it holds up and how far we have progressed with bonding processes.
  • + 1
 I think this is far away from being affordable, but being able to super high-end custom frame with a DW suspension design seems incredible. As a steel hardtail rider, though it seems like I'm not the right demographic. Not sure if I missed it, but if dropouts etc. could be removable you'd never have to worry about "standards" ever again. Watch the Giant Sprek buy'em out. If the future is custom bikes for all I'm into it!
  • + 1
 This is it, final stop, everything that came before this bike is now obsolete. Just weird that such an old method of building bikes took so long to come back and in such an innovative way. Thank you for creating this, Robotbikeco, this will be the next one to have!
  • + 6
 Looks like a Scaffold...
  • + 1
 What's your take on 3d printed Aluminum lugs, and complete 3d-printed front / rear triangle pieces to move away from joining tubes?)

Do you forsee a market at some point providing users the ability to submit complete part designs for printing? (I.E. could a customer design a complete frame and have you guys print it?)
  • + 5
 you can easily do this already, 3D printing is here, but there are far more manufacturing process which are faster, more precise and provide higher strength components. 3d printings main advantage is removing material where a milling machine would otherwise not be able to. However, the grain structure left behind is nothing like forging. Even casted parts acquire a better grain structure than 3d printing.
  • + 1
 @BoneDog: 3D printed material properties typically fall somewhere in between casting and forging, for both aluminium and titanium.
  • + 1
 Wow, wow, and furthermore wow... I assume it is possible to swap broken parts of the frame too, for example when cracking the down tube on a rock it can be replaced..?

Maybe a version with the bearings swapped into Igus polymer bushings would make it even more futuristic and long lasting.
  • + 1
 As with anything new there will be a heavy price but my guess is it won't drop significantly of they can find a market of buyers willing to pay $$$$...the only hope is that others pickup on this idea and create competition to make it more affordable for the other 99%
  • + 2
 Expensive but not compared to some of the other overpriced not so wonderful bikes out there.

Proud of British engineering once more Smile congrats robot, its bootifull (UK oldies will get this).
  • + 4
 It's BOOST! Work of the devil!
  • + 4
 If they can drop 1lb from the frame and I might be interested .
  • + 1
 And maybe they could drop a couple grand too. A carbon patrol w/shock is 6.5lbs and costs half as much.
  • + 2
 If they can drop a couple thousand pounds from the cost of the frame, I'd be interested. I just can't afford it, but that's OK -- this is a really cool concept.
  • + 1
 Seems kind of heavy, doesn't it?
  • + 1
 I do wonder if the could alter the carbon or lugs for lighter or heavier riders, though.
  • + 1
 I was thinking the same thing. I like the look of it, and the idea, but it's two pounds heavier than my carbon Blur which I bought when 26 inch bikes stopped being popular for a quarter of the cost of the Robot. Now granted I have one of the more flexible rear triangles, and it's less travel, but two pounds?
Progressive thinking, but it seems like you give a little and then have to take a little for that custom geometry.
  • + 2
 @MorganBH: Ti is lighter than steel, but still a lot heavier than CF. Plus with printed Ti being weaker than conventional Ti they likely have even more heft to them for strength. The only advantage is the custom factor for people with cash to burn. Assuming it all stays together long term ....
  • + 0
 @TheUnknownMTBR: this guy is making custom steel full suspension frames. Similar weight, fraction of the cost. And better looking, if you ask me. nsmb.com/lichen-bikes-matchstick-ridden
  • + 1
 @MorganBH: yep, lacks the cool factor of CF and Ti though, because egomaniacs with cash to burn gotta throw impressive sounding sh-t around to impress the kiddies
  • + 0
 Given an entirely blank canvas that 3d printing and cad provides, why the hell do all the lugs still look like they're machined with faceted edges and sharp internal corners? All printed bikes seem to end up like this mind....
  • + 0
 The design is an output of a topology optimisation process. Combined with good engineering practices this drives the form. The only sharp edges are the run-outs (edges) of the double lap shear joints which are there to bleed away the substrate stiffness to minimise peel forces in the bond line.
  • + 3
 but I just read on other article that 12 x 148mm rear spacing is over, its the past.
  • + 5
 WANT!
  • + 5
 It can HUCK TO FLAT !!!!!
  • + 3
 Very disappointed Robert Downey Jr didn't pull a cloth off the bike while saying "Welcome to, the Future!" in that video
  • + 4
 Future and present meet the past - Lugs are back!
  • + 2
 So the lugs are compilant, while the tubes connecting them are stiff.
Shouldn't it be the other way around, to take andvantage of these 2 materials?
  • + 1
 The lugs are made from high specific strength Ti6Al4V and the tubes from a high specific stiffness Mitsubishi carbon composite material. The titanium is great for dealing with complex and high loading around the intersections in the frame and the carbon is great for connecting it all together.
  • + 4
 "Printed titanium" gave me a half chub... the price killed it instantly!
  • + 0
 Santa Cruz bikes all use bonded alloy to carbon. I know, I've pulled the alloy insert out off the seatstay on my carbon Blur LT.

Also, I have cracks in the gel coat (for want of a better description) around the lower pivot of my Nomad. Its been like that for over two years and its never progressed - purely cosmetic.

The bottom bracket is an alloy insert set in the carbon, as are all the pivot points. Look online you find plenty of pics of alloy inserts / joints in these apparent full carbon bikes.
  • + 0
 Custom geometry. Tick Proven suspension platform. Tick No new standards. Tick Something a bit different and very very cool. Tick Company answering questions on a forum. Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick. Awsome job. Never see giant or trek do that hmmmmmmm
  • + 1
 It's rad to see other forms of manufacturing filtering through, but it seems along way to go to sub contract the carbon tubes, surely it would be an investment to bring that process in house?
  • + 2
 Why would anyone pay 6500.00 USD for a frame built from unproven technology when you can buy or build any number of great complete bikes with a proven track record for less?
  • + 4
 One like this with a good light gearbox.
  • + 2
 Does anyone remember Raleigh with their bonded lugs? There's a reason it's not used any longer
  • + 1
 Thing of beauty, art, and masterminds. I love it. The only thing I would want to see more proof of is bonding strength of carbon inserted into titanium.
  • + 1
 I'm trying figure out the appeal of a $6500usd frame that isn't overly light, and actually is heavier than my hand built frame that has a steel rear end?
  • + 0
 Spend all the money on the printer? Hire some good designers , the CAD surfacing is sh*it, common, the concept is cool overall, but for that kind of money one would expect real attention to details...
  • + 2
 no thx! I'm having flashbacks from the old Vitus days. in the end the tubes are still bonded to the lugs, no thank you.
  • + 1
 At that price point they at least need to anodize the titanium so it doesn't look like it was put together with plumbing parts from a hardware store.
  • + 3
 NO thanks. Looks like plumbing. IMO
  • + 1
 yeah...but I want to meet the guy who wrote that program. Smartest plumber of all time.
  • + 3
 put a water filtration system through it and you can clean windows
  • + 2
 I haven't felt my heart beat faster over a mtb in a while. This one sure did it!
  • + 2
 Is it just me, but whats going on at the bottom bracket? Can't get my head around the 3???? visible pivots?
  • + 2
 Innovative and really cool. It's a lot of money but I get it. I would love to see a long-term review on one of these.
  • + 2
 Damn ! This is fucking sick ! Cool to see companies coming with stuff like that
  • + 3
 Needs another pivot on the seatstay
  • + 1
 So Awesome! lets get the best engineers around to build a bicycle! Not a rocket ship,an exotic car or a luxury jet. A fricken bike YES!!!
  • + 3
 That thing is sexy and cool!...but too expensive
  • + 3
 *does not look like a session*
  • + 3
 That looks absolutely amazing
  • + 2
 I work in Robotics, i need this. Good business model - excited to finally see the market head in this direction!
  • + 3
 I approve!!!! for once...
  • + 2
 Love the aesthetics! We'll call it a push threaded bb/boost combo. Time to sell a kidney i guess...
  • + 2
 Pretty cool. Really simple looking bike with a nice shape to it. My kind of style for sure.
  • + 3
 That first bunny hop into the grass...so satisfying
  • + 2
 Good thing the front derail is dead. Just mate this with the Eagle and your wallet (or wife) will never forgive you.
  • + 1
 Haha couldn't agree more!!!
  • + 2
 Mpffff.... damn, this and the Hope prototype. Want bad. Want very, very bad.
  • + 2
 Will there be "Stock Geometry" for the dentists that want the best bike they can buy but have no idea what to order?
  • + 1
 As an engineering geek, this is awesome and it's the ultimate "function over form" but man that bike has looks only a (robot)mother could love.
  • + 0
 I don't think so really, and even if it's geometrically not to your taste, they're all custom. To me it looks very high quality.
  • + 1
 Wait what.....DW-Link with a pivot located near the axle? How is still considered DW when the rear triangle isn't one solid piece now? Very confused
  • + 2
 Because its made by Dave Weagle, therefore...
  • + 0
 It's not DW-link it's DW6. Read the article.
  • + 1
 Still says DW-Link on the chainstay tho. I don't see a 6 in that sticker anywhere!!!!
  • + 1
 BOOST 148 rear spacing? Nah. I think I'll pass on this one and wait for the SUPER BOOST PLUS 157 version.
  • + 1
 Innovative ? mould breaking ? modern ? technological ? Dunno........ all i know is it ain't pretty.....
  • + 1
 Sending your customised bike to be 3D printed in your LBS, now that is an interesting idea!
  • + 2
 Whew lad that bike is dead sexy!
  • + 1
 Sooooooo this thing is all build by robots / CNC machine / 3D printers and it costs that much! F**K off!
  • + 2
 It costs more AND it weighs more. win win...
  • + 1
 jesus so many comments! the video was great haha loved the little "horses intermission" good job
  • + 1
 Check out our glued together bicycle. its like a vitus from the 80's. Except we're charging you 5 grand.
  • + 2
 o.O I have just seen the future, and it gave me a chubby.
  • + 1
 That looks amazing. I will wait for more affordable version tho. But great job guys !
  • + 1
 Right..... I'm selling my car and buying one!.... Just kidding but fook me thats amazing!
  • + 1
 When I'm a millionaire - I'm spec ing this

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raleigh_Chopper
  • + 1
 Reminds me of Alan aluminium frame i had. Aluminium lugs & tubes, glued together...
  • + 1
 Anyone remember GT RTS,LTS,STS LOBO with this tech? This will not end well.
  • + 1
 We remember that too but Robot Bike Co. technology is totally different. We use thermoset materials which make great substrates for bonding (it is very difficult to bond to thermoplastics in the case of the examples you cite) and we employ all the latest best practice in joint design from aerospace and formula 1 in our double lap shear joints before moving the joint away from the region of peak stress. Have a look at our technology page to find out more:

robotbike.co/technology
  • + 1
 So it looks like Paul Aston can be added to the list of people who can't spell Ieaun. It's an i not an L...
  • + 1
 I added @thealmightybryn to my little black book of people who can't read a capitalised 'i'
  • + 1
 @paulaston: You've fixed it, but the video caption absolutely had a capital "L"
  • + 1
 Wow, I actually like it a lot, but feel like they missed the rubber slapper guard for the drive side chainstay.
  • + 1
 Waiting for a hardtail version that is magically 1/10th the price, and magically makes me 10x better at riding. Lol.
  • + 2
 @paulaston I'm with you. This is significant.
  • + 2
 Dig the DW6 rear suspension design, but could pass on the rest of it.
  • + 1
 Too many derivatives to figure out the virtual pivot point. I just broke my brain.
  • + 1
 Best looking bike I've seen in a while though...
  • + 2
 Domo Arigoto Mister Robotobikeco...
  • + 3
 Nah
  • + 0
 Looking good Ed. Some good technology in your bike.

Shame it's not as pretty as mine: www.starlingcycles.com

Let's arrange UK custom built bike test!
  • + 0
 Google printed Titanium. Not as strong as billet Titanium. Cant come close to matching 6Al 4V Titanium.
Printed Titanium on road bikes maybe. Mountain bikes?
  • + 1
 Custom geometry sounds awesome, so what are you're reccomendations for me? I'm 6' 200lbs and need a bike that doesn't crash.
  • + 1
 I can only imagine how wonderful it must feel to have a bike custom made to my specs.
  • + 1
 PS I like the ability to have a custom frame. I know exactly what I want - just too bloody expensive right now.
  • + 2
 Oh man, I hate being poor.
  • + 1
 should've printed some internal gear boxes as well.
  • + 1
 @robot, what's the BB axle width and Q of the standard chainset?
  • + 1
 i would love to try it out it sounds great!
  • + 1
 Was Charlie Sponsel and Team Robot consulted?
  • + 1
 I'd much prefer a Sunn Kern lt
  • + 1
 i nominate rob warner to do a full test review video with commentary.
  • + 0
 Great to see a company that dares to do things differently, most of the bikes on the market look the same.
  • + 1
 Wait so we can start printing bikes now!!
  • + 2
 WTF is that?
  • + 1
 @emosedale This is what I was talking about Tuesday night
  • + 1
 That's a lot of coin for not having super boost!
  • + 1
 finally i can have the 36er of my dreams.
  • + 1
 can't you just get a 3d printer for cheaper?
  • + 1
 Can't...... Contain....... Boner........
  • + 1
 "It's not broken, it's British."
  • + 1
 That rider shares some genetic traits with phill atwill. Definitely!
  • + 0
 Its interesting how Dave Weagle is now incorporating a "horst link" in his latest revision.
  • + 2
 Great!!
  • + 2
 cool plumbing
  • + 0
 Bonding plastic to metal didn't work wit the GT STS, has the process improved since those days?
  • + 0
 Most things have so why wouldn't it?
  • + 3
 the plastic wasnt cured it was comolded the bands in the aluminium stretched and the lugs came loose there was no adhesive as it was a thermoplastic matrix
  • + 1
 @Compositepro: Those were thermoplastic composite materials which are very difficult to bond to because of the lack of chemical functionality. Robot Bike Co. bonds to thermoset materials with careful surface preparation, an aerospace Henkel two part epoxy adhesive, careful control over poisson ratio compatibility between the carbon lay-ups and the titanium and the latest in joint design - the double lap shear joint which is enabled by our use of Additive Manufacturing.
  • + 1
 but does it come in superboostDH157????? pfft
  • + 1
 Great riding in that video. Cool bike. I'd ride it.
  • + 1
 This is still cheaper than the ubiquitous S Works.
  • + 0
 Once in a while you can see on pinkbike something you really want to have. This frame is a freaking cool thing!
  • + 1
 aaron gwin in the mix?
  • + 1
 it is wonder indeed
  • + 1
 Meh
  • - 1
 Tent pole couplers and a sawn up roach pole..I also have nightmares but keep them to myselfFrown
  • - 1
 Fckin PERFECT !!! Take my money !!!!
  • + 0
 F**k that's sexy!
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