The Moorhuhn is an Additive Manufactured Frame Hoping To ‘Make Steel Sexy Again’

Jun 15, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

Can steel ever be sexy again? In this world of swoopy carbon exotica, sometimes the simple elegance of the straight tubes on a ferrous frame can be lost to all those who aren't seasoned shed dwellers, but German frame builder Ralf Holleis is hoping to change all that with his latest project.

An industrial designer by day, Ralf has been building bikes since 2011, starting with his VRZ 1 track bike that used the titanium lugs and carbon tubes recipe we're used to seeing from the likes of Robot Bikes. This time, he's using the same technique but there's no plastic in sight. Instead, he's opted for a fully steel frame - lugs, tube and all.

He calls this bike the Moorhuhn, coming from the German for Moorhen. Yes, it seems like a strange name but Ralf explains it by saying, "Getting dirty is fun, chickens live in the dirt, yet they look very elegant! Chickens walk forward with their heads up high, while doing so they never lose focus. Last but not least chickens have the skill to fly for short distances, mountain bikes do the same"
Moorhuhn Details
Rear Travel: 129mm
Front travel: 140mm fork recommended
Head angle: 67°
Seat tube angle: 76°
Reach: 469.6mm
Chainstays: 434mm

This time Ralf is using Reynolds 953 tubes for the front triangle and Columbus Zona for the rear triangle, while the lugs are made from either 17/4 PH or 316 L stainless steel. He has a friend who gave him access to a 3-D printer for the lugs and the rest of the bike has been brought together with the sweat of his brow.

The 3-D printed lugs use a honeycomb structure that can be altered for strength where it's needed, for example around the Pivot/BB area.

Probably some of the cleanest cable routing you're ever likely to see.

The Moorhuhn front triangle in the jig and ready for fabrication. Ralf used a mix of welding and brazing to bring the bike together.

The Moorhuhn is a 129mm travel 29er designed to be agile, playful, and "cut corners like a chicken does." Ralf opted for 129mm of travel "because everybody does 130mm and the Huhn wants to be different." It's a project that has taken three years to come to life and Ralf played a lot with linkage on a traditionally built geometry mule to get the feeling he needed before moving on to the additive manufacturing version.


With the construction complete, Ralf painstakingly sanded and polished the frame to a near-mirror finish before sending it away for a chrome coating. Ralf is yet to decide on a full spec for the bike so has only sent us pictures of the frame for now, but he should have a fully built version in around two weeks.

Ralf's frame was polished to a mirror finish before being sent away for chrome coating.


These brake mounts are also additive manufactured then brazed onto the seatstays.

Ralf is planning to sell these frames, but don't expect them to become a regular sight on your trails. He's limiting numbers to 12 per year and they start at €6000 with options to slightly adjust the geometry. Next on his list is a titanium frame that will bring down the weight without a shock from 3.9kg (8.6 lb) to 2.8kg (6.2 lb) and start from €6500, and after that a more agressive enduro version.

More info, here.


240 Comments

  • 296 3
 @jamessmurthwaite steel was always sexy.
  • 26 0
 Thanks James, Reynolds are crying
  • 12 0
 I was about to be a bit cross about the suggestion that steel was not sexy already. Then I read the article. Just made Cotic, Stanton, etc look like supermarket bikes!
(Except I know they are not as I am about to buy my second Stanton!!)
  • 34 2
 @brianpark that’ll be why you recently bought a titanium hardtail and an alloy full suss then?
  • 4 0
 There is fluid of emotion coming from my eyes, and everyone else when I see this bike
  • 1 0
 indeedly so
  • 4 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: .... pick up pop corn and waits eagerly for this weeks podcast....
  • 32 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: We can agree to disagree on the spelling of aluminum / aluminium, but you have to stop calling it "alloy". All metals used in the bike industry are alloys. When you shortened "alumin(i)um alloy", you dropped the wrong half.
  • 9 0
 Am I the only one who'd prefers the look of a standard welded steel frame, like a Cotic or Starling? It is nice that he has managed to use 953 tubing as otherwise it must be a bitch to make those fit. Now he can just cut them straight and attach them to the lugs. That said, he apparently still needs loads of postprocessing ( "painstakingly polished" ) so he's not saving effort everywhere.

With a history at Dirt magazine, I wouldn't have expected @jamessmurthwaite to suggest that steel has ever not been sexy. Have you discussed this with Ed Haythorntwaite (currently at Robotbike/Atherton) and Billy Thackray (currently lost in the woods)?

As for Robotbike/Atherton, at least I like that these lugs have double shear lap joints to avoid delamination at the otherwise free edges of the carbon tubes. And they've automated the detailed design (dimensioning) of the lugs based on preferred geometry and loading, which I think is cool.

To end on a positive note, the overall shape looks cool. It may not look like a Session, but it does look like an Alutech ICB2.0 (or Portus, as it is steel).
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Being a Starling owner I'm with you on simple straight not overly tortured tubes welded together but I do like where this could go with titanium. It's all about getting the lines right on a straight tubed bike.
  • 4 0
 @R-M-R: ...Thank you! I work in heat treating, and that has always bothered me.
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: +1 for 2nd Stanton. Can't wait to order a Gen3 Sherpa Ti!
  • 1 0
 Steel is real
  • 155 9
 Make steel great again. Its great, it really is, a tremendous material. No one likes steel more than I do. Crooked carbon is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. It just can't stop... carbon, get on with your life and try again in another three years!
  • 46 61
flag jomacba (Jun 15, 2020 at 14:27) (Below Threshold)
 While I respect your opinion, and agree that steel is a great material, it is definitely application dependent. That being said, I disagree in terms of your opinion of carbon. We have only just started to hit the tip of the iceberg of what we can do with it. Its here to stay, and even better when more manufacturers are able to utilize thermoresin. The frames will be truly recyclable, as well as no shelf life for the epoxy.
  • 98 0
 @jomacba: woooooosh
  • 11 0
 @jomacba: I really hope that you're being serious
  • 21 57
flag MikeAzBS (Jun 15, 2020 at 14:40) (Below Threshold)
 @jomacba: this is why Canada never gets a seat at the table.
  • 154 18
 @MikeAzBS: pretty sure noone wants a seat at the American table bud
  • 50 5
 @fries: At least the American table has good Mexican food!
  • 40 1
 @TheCiscokidCA: When over his head like a presidential comb-over.
  • 8 20
flag jomacba (Jun 15, 2020 at 15:07) (Below Threshold)
 @Bike-Rack-Zach: I am being 100% serious.
  • 4 2
 @MikeAzBS: I'm not sure I fully comprehend your thought process behind your comment.
  • 119 4
 When I look out across the country, and many people can tell you... some of the best people, you know, and I see this carbon carnage I think, "Why carbon?" From all of the deals I've made with JINA I can tell you—and they were the best deals— really tremendous deals—the way they make these bikes, we need more American manufacturing. I say, "Why not bring these jobs back to America?" American STEEL. We need to bring back STEEL. Some of the best people—the best jobs I know—they're in steel. I ask people, "Why not steel?" and they can't give me a good reason. So I tell you, American steel, and bring back CLEAN COAL.
  • 17 35
flag jomacba (Jun 15, 2020 at 16:14) (Below Threshold)
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: There is a place for this. Carbon is not the reason the steel industry is lagging. The steel industry is driven primarily to support construction or automotive industries. Given that the majority of everything is made overseas, including structural steel, this has taken away jobs from the blue collar folks your speaking of the other reason is concrete has taken over as a primary building component to structural steel, and in its wake it has left a small place for rebar which is typically made from recycled steel. When you look at the bicycle industry, and even the automotive industry, carbon makes up a minor fraction of the volume. Keep in mind that the cycling industry is still heavily driven by entry level bikes. Most of which are made of aluminum or cromoly. Unfortunately investors want results. While some companies are alloy driven because of their own moral and values, or engineering beliefs, Carbon will always (Or until they can find a way to manufacture something better) have a hoke here. Formula 1 racing is no differant. We're speaking of a sport that's majority of marketing is done through racing. Which is then done on bikes that are as technologically advanced as possible. While companies do have budgets, ultimately whatever makes them win, is gonna take precedence.
Carbon can also be produced with Co2, which in turn would lower your global footprint. While expensive, its possible.
Your alloy bike made in Taiwan was flown or shipped on a container ship burning massive amounts of fossil fuel, and increasing total carbon emissions.
The introduction of thermoresin, as I stated will allow for recyclable carbon. And again it would allow for manufacturers to manufacture bikes with sections, which can be assembled anytime as the resin can be reheated and reformed. This once again allows for larger bulk products, and essentially lower costs to consumers. Given that this could essentially be a sustainable business practice, now you add in your blue collar folk that want and need jobs. Eliminate the overseas shipping, and bring about a north American (or whatever continent your on) built carbon bikes.
When it comes down to it, every single idea has its drawbacks. Just as they all have their upsides. While again, I agree that steel is great in certain applications, i can't agree that carbon (when speaking of most frame styles) can be inherently better. I say "Can be" because I've also ridden some really terrible carbon bikes too. Thing is, not one material will take over. They all have their applications.
  • 83 1
 I will build a great steel frame--and nobody builds steel frames better than me, believe me--and I'll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great steel frame for our trails, and I will make @jomacba pay for that steel frame. Mark my words.
  • 41 0
 @HaggeredShins: BUILD THE FRAME - BUILD THE FRAME - BUILD THE FRAME!
  • 12 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: your not the Donald's speech writer are you?
  • 6 0
 @TheCiscokidCA: Big woosh...
  • 24 0
 @jomacba: Dude... You gotta quit while you’re behind.
  • 7 1
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: the parody is pretty spot on.
  • 1 16
flag jomacba (Jun 15, 2020 at 17:25) (Below Threshold)
 @DirtbagMatt: Please elaborate.
  • 2 5
 @HaggeredShins: Rather interesting theory. Challenge accepted sir.
  • 4 0
 @jomacba: If you took your typical carbon mountain bike to Mclaren they’d laugh at it and tell you to take that resin out of their vacuum sealed laboratory / factory but that’s what’s currently possible with carbon. Given the choice 41304lyfe.
  • 25 0
 @jomacba: the boys have clearly trumped you with their jokes.
  • 3 20
flag jomacba (Jun 15, 2020 at 17:55) (Below Threshold)
 @thenotoriousmic: Maybe so, however I'm simply referring to the mountainbike industry. I'm simply speaking to possibility, not reality. Just like 2 part epoxy resin, everything needs refining. I'm also not pro-thermal resin.
In fact to be very clear, I'm not anti anything but carbon. My statement simply outlined a place for all types of materials for specific applications, as well as differant possibilities for one type of application. My opinions are purely objective.
  • 16 0
 Apparently jomacba is secretly Angela Merkel....
  • 7 0
 @MikeAzBS: and MAKE CANADA PAY FOR IT!!
  • 9 0
 @jomacba: What's your stance on deconstructed riboflavin?
  • 13 6
 @oldschool43: I thought you would never ask! I assume by deconstructed you mean partially broken down. I think any vitamin, mineral, amino acid, carbohydrate, and fatty acid is much easier for your body to assimilate when partially broken down. Given that riboflavin is essential for metabolic energy production, the less "energy" your body requires to produce energy only allows for a more efficient metabolism. Whey hydrosolate is another perfect example of this, and is really the most ideal protien to help replenish muscle maintinance, recovery and growth within the anabolic window.
  • 6 0
 @Andykmn: I’m sure Taco Bell’s in Canada........
  • 5 0
 It was MAGA 2016,...Make Aluminum Great Again, now 2020...Make Steel Great Again? And finally the wall was built around the Whitehouse,...did Mexico finally pay for it? Or the Americans got conned again?
  • 2 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: is it powerful though and can it dominate?
  • 1 0
 @MonkeyBadgerBoy: A highly educated professional ? as in you get Paid or
as opposed to inherent subjective cognition ?
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: have the words „irony“ and „parody“ any meaning to you? If so, what don‘t you get???
  • 4 0
 @Heidesandnorth: I think he's way ahead of everyone after I read the riboflavin comment
  • 9 0
 On making steel great:
"The line of 'Make Steel Great Again,' the phrase, that was mine, I came up with it about a year ago, and I kept using it, and everybody's using it, they are all loving it. I don't know, I guess I should copyright it, maybe I have copyrighted it."

On Crooked Carbon
"If Crooked Carbon can't satisfy her roadie husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?"

On Why He's The Material
"I'm the most successful material ever to run a bicycle, by far. Nobody's ever been more successful than me. I'm the most successful material ever run. Crooked Carbon isn't successful like me. Aluminum - I have a Gucci store that's worth more than Aluminum."
  • 2 0
 @Heidesandnorth: everybody thinks that the real donalds are the trolls but maybe @jomacba is the one trolling here...
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: The bottom bracket just got 3mm higher!
  • 1 0
 @MartinKS: you betcha... ????
  • 1 0
 no question marks... supposed to be a wink...
  • 1 0
 @rivercitycycles: good Mexican food and Taco Bell are mutually exclusive!
  • 1 0
 @jomacba .... everyone else saying “woosh” or questioning a lack of sarcastic understanding... I’m over here thinking “WHOA! Next level! Dude knows what time it is (I see what he was doing there hahaha)”.
  • 3 0
 @dfbland: it's Canadian irony like Alanis Morrisette, working a level up.
  • 66 2
 „Ralf opted for 129mm of travel because everybody does 130mm“

sounds like something SRAM would say
  • 54 0
 Sram would do 129.99
  • 60 0
 One of the sexiest frames I've seen to date. Would let eat crackers in bed.
  • 8 12
flag haentz (Jun 16, 2020 at 3:44) (Below Threshold)
 Hey, that's racist!
  • 6 11
flag radrider (Jun 16, 2020 at 11:48) (Below Threshold)
 @haentz: oh look, a german joking about racism
  • 29 2
 Very cool passion project. I dont think he will need to worry about demand though, even if he is making only 12/year. Im not sure where a 8.6lb, $9200 CDN (plus tax) single pivot bike frame fits into most riders wish list?
  • 2 1
 There are at least 4 deal breakers before one even starts spec'ing parts.
  • 26 0
 Thats art.
  • 23 1
 I'm ordering mine with geometry from the grim donut... I'll find out how that geometry rides faster than waiting for the review from Mike!!!
  • 4 2
 Why not try the Alutech Armaggedon while waiting for that donut? In fact, this bike looks quite a bit like their Alutech ICB2.0.
  • 16 3
 That's a gorgeous bike. But I don't get the point of the lugs. They (kind of) make sense where you're mating dissimilar materials, and carbon tubes (maybe) have benefits over a traditional carbon layup. But if it's just steel tubes to steel lugs, why not just weld it? Or if you want curvy fat looking junctions, braze it.
  • 16 2
 Why do anything different? Because it's f*ckin rad.
  • 9 0
 This allows you to design stronger junctions.
  • 19 1
 @rmclarke: Jay Leno: “So whyd you make the cybertruck bullet proof?”

Elon Musk: “Well because its badass.”
  • 3 0
 He did braze it. You can see some gold coloring in the brazing around the rear triangle. This is just an internally lug and brazed frame. Literally nothing new here. Schwinn and Raleigh did this back in the day on their cheap frames.
  • 8 0
 A lug greatly increases the strength of the joint by distributing the molten filler metal over a larger surface area via capillary action through the overlapping of tube and lug. Honeycomb shaped structures are used in aerospace. This provides a shape with minimal density and relative high out- of plane compression properties and out-of-plane shear properties.

Not only does it look good but makes all the connections much stronger, and the fact he put honeycomb pattern in the lug for a STEEL FRAME? Cock'a-doodle-do!!!
  • 1 0
 connection of stainless steel lugs and normal steel tubes seems odd... Did he heard about Electrochemical corrosion? They are not welded because welding two different materials is not so easy. Fun fact brazing is more flexible than welding.

This project seems like bag full of opposites...
  • 1 0
 @Kptzbik: Does Reynolds 953 even corrode that easily? I understand it is quite a bit like titanium. Calling them "normal steel tubes" doesn't quite cut it in my book. I think 953 is quite special.
  • 1 0
 @atrokz: I'd believe that it's stronger. But is strength really an issue? I don't see a lot of traditionally constructed heavy steel frames failing, and it's not like this thing is light.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Oh 953 i see. Reynolds says it is stainless and it has some titanium but i cant find anywhere how much.
But my bad. Pardon me.
  • 2 0
 @Kptzbik: Late to the game here, but I just wanted to say, plenty of bikes old and new have mixed steel alloys, without any problems with galvanic corrosion. You don't even need to use exotic tubes like Reynolds 953- there are plenty of normal 4130 frames on the market that use stainless steel dropouts, like this All-City for example.
https://allcitycycles.com/bikes/big_block

I don't think galvanic corrosion is a huge deal between steel alloys, at least for bicycles. All the elements used to make the alloys have fairly similar electropotentials. Even with exotic stuff, iron is still the main ingredient, which should keep their electropotentials in the same general ballpark.

You are way more likely to see your alloy bike components begin to corrode, such as an inadequately greased aluminum seat post in a steel frame, or an aluminum BB shell improperly bonded to a carbon frame. (This is the real reason the bike industry has moved to press fit BBs and integrated head sets.)
  • 1 0
 You can most definitely have galvanic corrosion between steels. I'll post this picture from Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion#/media/File:Stainless-steel-mild-steel.jpg) but I noticed something similar on the steel washers under my stainless steel stem bolts. The corrosion on the washers doesn't bother me at all as it won't cause them to fail. But just look at steel utility bikes that spend a lot of time outside. Lots of galvanic corrosion everywhere.
  • 1 0
 @vinay:

Yeah, I'm not claiming galvanic corrosion between steels never happens.

What I'm saying, is that stainless dropouts or lugs built into a non-stainless bicycle frame is not inherently problematic. If it were a serious problem, the thousands (if not millions) of bicycles with that construction technique would have serious rust issues, and they do not.

Your picture shows clear galvanic corrosion, but don't forget mild steel has basically no application on a bicycle. Even the cheapest bike frames will be hi-tensile steel, which contains more alloying elements.

Also your example of the steel washers and stainless bolts is very anecdotal, and probably not galvanic corrosion. Your typical plated steel washers/fasteners will flash with surface rust extremely easily when exposed to moisture. Combine this with the fact that most bikes and parts ship with the fasteners completely dry, and receive a dab of grease on the threads (at most) during assembly, and it's no surprise to see surface rust. Brand new bikes will develop surface rust on the bolts in a few hours if you leave them in the rain. Galvanic corrosion between similar metals does not work that fast. Well-greased threads, and periodically covering the bolt with a few drops of light oil will stop the surface rust.
  • 1 0
 @Kptzbik: 953 is stainless
  • 12 1
 Currently going to school for frame manufacturing and design. This gives me big of a bike boner.
  • 1 0
 Is that the school in Minnesota (Southeast)? I would love to go there
  • 1 0
 @rosemarywheel: it is! super cool program.
  • 1 0
 @Nschmidt: awesome! what type of components/frame will you be making as your capstone?
  • 2 0
 There's a school program for bike frame manufacturing and design? What university and what's the program called?
  • 6 1
 @cedrico: its a two year called bicycle design and fabrication at Minnesota state collage southeast
  • 8 0
 I was trying to figure out what are the advantages of using 3D printed metal in this particular case, there is nothing on that in the article, just chickens... Why steel? - chickens.
  • 7 1
 Seriously, the lugs could easily be forged and machined post forging while being made faster, cheaper, stronger. The cable routing guides could be brazed in place. I don't understand the fascination with 3d printing on anything other than prototypes or exceptionally complex parts that can't be made with any other process.
  • 19 1
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: With a forging you will be stuck with a set geometry once you've cut tooling. With additive manufacturing each frame can have unique geometry. Also the tooling cost for forging is going to be way out of reach for someone looking to make a small batch of frames.
  • 3 0
 @shirk-007: --- This guy gets it
Edit...tried to make an arrow point back to username but PB is censoring arrows haha
  • 1 1
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: prob weight. But your points are valid.
  • 2 2
 They can use it as a prototype. Take an idea and 3D print it, and continue to tweak it on the computer then hit print instead of trying to fabricate ideas from metal. Saves a lot of time.

What is blowing my mind is how did he make the honeycomb filler inside the lug? I'm guessing it has been pressed in?
  • 1 0
 I stand corrected. The lugs are 3D printed.
I just went to their site: huhncycles.com/MOORHUHN-129
  • 4 0
 @Busted-Up-Biker: Those are internally printed structures. Usually FEA analysis is performed and the pattern, shape, orientation of the internal support is optimized for the system. You can basically add support where you need it, remove it where you don't. That "pattern" could look different depending where you took cross sectional cuts of the part.
  • 1 0
 @An-Undocumented-Worker: Investment casting might be an alternative. Not sure how well these cast parts still like to be welded but obviously they could also glue them instead.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: cast materials are a bad option for this application. Castings are basically the weakest way to make something out of metal.
  • 2 0
 @atrokz: Yeah, I was already afraid they couldn't be welded. Casting probably isn't that tough but I wasn't sure whether 3D printing as they do here is that much tougher. Turbine blades in jet engines are investment casted, aren't they? So they sure must be up to something (though of course in that application it is more the thermal loading).
  • 2 0
 @vinay: those are inconel and go through extremely rigid process control. I used to machine hotside vanes and make tooling for them. Have a 2nd stage on a Keychain. They do that to get internal profiles for cooling etc. Regardless of improvements casting has its issues that need mitigation if possible. Def not suited to bike industry.
  • 1 0
 @atrokz: Thanks, I know you have practical experience in that business so I trust you on that. That said, I recall Empire has (or used to have) cast bicycle frame (VX8 and AP-1). They eventually went with machining and 3D printing so in a way they were ahead of both Pole and Robotbike (though obviously Robotbike took it to another level). Either way, I haven't heard of issues with the cast parts on the Empire bikes. Outside of frame construction, we see enough cast parts on our bikes. The big companies can forge stuff, the smaller ones rely on CNC. But the cheaper yet large quantity stuff can still be cast. Which includes heavily loaded parts like cranks and, relatively speaking (in terms of size vs loads), brakes.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: cranks are a perfect example. Cheap crappy cranks that break easily are cast. Grain structure issues. Porosity. Etc. Expensive ones are forged and or cnc machined. Better grain structure and strength esp in the case of forged aluminum vs cast. The strength difference is massive.
  • 10 1
 Or. Buy a Dartmoor Bluebird. Some 400 grit sandpaper and some autosol. Then spend the difference on coke and hookers.
  • 3 0
 Two of my favorite things.
  • 6 0
 @Thirty3: ...which two?
  • 16 0
 @OceanPhil: sandpaper and autosol
  • 9 3
 No one:

Absolutely, totally, for sure no one:

Guy making this bike: “Hey guys I made you an 8.6 lb (no shock!) steel full suspension frame. It’s SUPER PRETTY!!! Did I mention I’m making 12 a year, max, and that each of them costs €6000 or $9200 CAD??!? YEAH BOI YA HEARD?!?”

It’s a good looking frame. And if I needed a frame to hang on my wall this would be a top contender. But to ride? As a bike? No one is asking for this. Come on. Plus production is going to be a nightmare.
  • 7 1
 As an engineer this is very cool to me. I certainly appreciate the research, design, and use of additive manufacturing. As a mtb rider and a realist, this is silly.
  • 3 0
 @yoimaninja: As an engineer what exactly has been researched and designed here? What use of 3d printing has provided a meaningful gain? And of those answers do they justify the massive cost? The best engineering solutions are simple and cheap. Nothing here is simple or cheap.
  • 2 0
 @JoshieK: As a machinist-in-training who is learning how to manufacture things out of metal, I absolutely agree. It is very pretty, but I hope that if I ever have enough money that I could buy this frame without blinking an eye, I will have enough sense to instead go help someone in need, and stick to a $2500- frame. I am glad the gut is doing something creative, though. Some people couldn't come up with the imagination to design a footstool Smile
  • 5 0
 3D printing is such a f*cking marketing buzzword and I'm getting sick of it. Seriously, try doing a big project on a 3D printer and come back to me talking about "fUtUrE oF mAnUfAcTuRiNg".
Yes, 3D printers absolutely have their place in the industry, mainly for custom parts, prototypes and very small production runs, but you will never get products that are competitive price wise, let alone large quantities of them. 3D printing takes very long, is very expensive (especially when printing steel) and very maintenance heavy. I don't see this taking of anytime soon, as the production capacity alone restricts this to a very small niche product.
I hope for the best for the manufacturer tho, good luck with that Smile !
  • 1 0
 They said the same thing about ... Everything. Stuff doesn't magically improve overnight. It takes a lot of work.
  • 1 0
 @schofell84: ah yes, this argument again. Stuff does indeed improve over the years, but it can't overcome the laws of physics,
  • 4 0
 Not sure if anyone wants a bike with 3d printed components in the most stressed areas of the frame, but I can imagine a lot of independent frame builders wanting one of those frame building jigs. Thing looks like a beautifully crafted tank.
  • 4 0
 Apart from looking pretty and showing off your ridiculous salary, what is the point.
Its heavy, really heavy. 3d printing metal isn't cheap or efficient. The swing arm is made of ZONA??? And its a 6000ero bike and you made it with ZONA? What engineering problem was solved? Which part of this bike frame actually justifies the outrageous price tag? What does this frame offer that a frame 1/3 of the cost doesn't? SRAM level Marketing BS exists even in the world of "hand made" bicycles.
  • 3 0
 Ralf's fascination with chickens is amazing.

The frame is pretty but I think if I were to get a steel frame I'd go for a classic look. Functionally, this thing isn't really better than any 'common' frame for a third of the price so I'll have to give it to @Insectoid that he's got a point about the whole business model.
  • 2 0
 I think the number of people who have thought of it in the way I did is close to nil, so this dude's chance of success is probably high! With the amount of labor he puts in if it's a failure, he can keep working his day job in the meantime. It's simply reality that scum floats to the top!
  • 3 1
 Legit question - I can see the benefits of steel for hardtails, but seems like it would be too flexible of a material on full squish frames... does it not put extra loads on pivot points? The frame is gorgeous fwiw but just have always wondered about that.
  • 3 0
 There are many reviews that talk about how some of fs steel frames are flexy or rather springy for bigger or agressive riding. They all look pretty thats for sure.
  • 7 2
 Steel is much stiffer than aluminium, people think it isn’t because steel bikes have skinny tubes whilst aluminium bikes need much fatter tubes to compensate for the bendy material.
  • 2 0
 @threehats: I had two frames I designed and had built back before long, low and slack was a thing. Both had six inches of travel. The steel front end was fillet brazed and weighed six oz more but rode better than the frame with the AL front end. While the AL front end was stiff, the steel front end could be led into turns. It was heavily gusseted but had that give that steel frames are known for, not to be confused with flex.
  • 3 0
 @Thirty3: steel dampens vibration better than aluminum too.
  • 2 1
 @Busted-Up-Biker: I think although we perceive steel as damping vibrations better than aluminium, that’s not what’s happening because they’re both metal alloys and will resonate strongly with only the air and paint providing damping. But the steel used in tubes is denser and thinner so the resonant frequencies are much lower than the less dense and thicker aluminium tube walls.

Basically aluminium buzzes whilst steel hums octaves lower, and that buzz is much more unpleasant. Annoyingly my alloy hardtail is too good for me to bother getting a similar steel frame to solve that problem!
  • 3 0
 It's a lovely frame but for the cash give me beautifully welded and brazed steel frame anyday. Dont see what printed lugs add. Ti lugs and carbon tubes like Athertons then fair enough.
  • 7 1
 I'm going to be 'that guy' and point out that Moorhens are not chickens Wink
  • 6 0
 Climbs like a goat, corners like a chicken.
  • 4 0
 I'm a carbon frame riding, lycra wearing XC weenie, but hot damn, that is a great looking bicycle. Seriously. Well done, Mr. Holleis.
  • 2 0
 Considering how stout an aluminum enduro bike is, steel might be a viable alternative. I wonder what something like this would run scaled up by a big builder like Giant or Merida. If the price was at or below carbon, it'd be a viable alternative.
  • 1 0
 It would not run at all, because 3D printing is only kinda viable on a small production scale. 3D printing is only good, when you want the customer to be able to have full reign on the design (in this case frame angles and lengths). Other than that, 3D printing is slow af, expensive af and really really work intensive.
  • 2 0
 It's truly beautiful, great to see additive tech working with steel, and no there's nothing wrong with brazed and welded frames either. In other news, I'll be riding a cheap alloy shitbike, suits my skills set and I can blow the spare 4000EUR on a luxury holiday within 60 miles of my house.
  • 3 0
 He chose to limit production to 12 per year because there are twelve months in a year, and he wants to earn 6000 euros each month for doing around twenty hours of work. The only winner in this offer is him.
  • 2 0
 Long version:
As a value proposition for riders, an 8.6lb frame for 6000 euros is utter bunk.
As a way of earning money, it is very smart, and sadly probably will work, although the dupes are going to be rich people, which makes it less reprehensible in my view.
First, his risk is low. Even if he sells nothing, he's only using a printer he borrowed from his friend and the welding equipment he's probably got laying around.
Second, supply of similar products is low- almost no one uses steel to build FS bikes. In other words, his product is rare. He further reduces supply by arbitrarily refusing to make more than a dozen frames in a year (although- I think he's lying- would you refuse 6000 euros to make a 13th frame for around 25 hours of labor?). Then he jacks the price up to 6000 euros, which also is a marketing ploy to heighten the feeling of exclusivity.
If he succeeds in finding just two rich morons to buy this, then he has enough money to survive. If he finds a dozen rich morons, then he will have a solid income of 72,000 euros in a year for working, what, 25 hours a month? That's like Tim Ferriss's 4-hour work week. Even if he gets only half the amount of customers he's looking for, he will still have a solid annual income of 36,000 euros. Basically, this guy can't lose- even if no one buys a single bike, he'll still not have risked anything.
  • 2 0
 The technology for the lug making is cool. But frankly I'm really tired of looking a "swoopy" carbon bikes. Straight steel tubes look pretty awesome to me. I like telling other riders that my Cotic has a whole bunch of carbon in it. Puzzled looks ensue.
  • 2 0
 Looks: f-n A+++
Torsional stiffness: questionable at best. Only one main pivot holding the two triangles together + soft round-shaped tubing... 29 wheels... Can anyone explain how this thing is not going to rub the clevice against its seat tube under a slightest side load?
  • 1 0
 1. How much torsional stiffness is enough and at what point is it too much. Every single comment I've ever read about flex/stiffness has never actually quantified this. 2 what is soft about steel? 3. Can you explain your belief that it will rub against anything with the slightest side load?
Im not a fan of this bike. Mostly down to the cost versus whats being offered (a heavy bike with no apparent engineering solution to justify the cost). But this obsession of "stiffness" that the cycling consumers have is point proven that marketing works even when its lies just to get you to buy the latest stuff. The cycling community is full of mindless consumers.
  • 4 0
 Additive manufacturing of steel is effing expensive. Don't expect to be able to buy this any time soon!
  • 5 2
 As a manufacturing Engineer I'm having a panic attack thinking about the production of this, currently the speed of production.
  • 10 0
 1 a month Big Grin
  • 1 0
 It's sort of what I expected the pole to be like when I first saw the photos, a smooth beautiful piece of craft work. I think a steel fs bike must be a nice ride, when I used to have steel dirt jump bikes and bmx, thay always felt better than alloy, especially one that was made of Japanese seki steel, it had the best pop of any hardtail iv had, think it was an avant, can't remember the name.
  • 1 0
 Also, I get the fact that the lugs would be lighter, and they have those lovely internal routing tunnels, but wouldn't machining be a lot cheaper (comparatively, as $60 per 1/2"-3 flute carbide cutter isn't cheap, not to mention $100 an hour for a machine shop to make the thing)
  • 1 0
 $60? U.S? Mate, you're getting gouged. Find a new supplier :p
  • 3 0
 Depends on how you look at things. Investment cost of the machines, cost of powder vs wrought, how many hands have to touch it to get to it's final state. Setup time is huge in the machining world. De-burring between setups or prepping a machined part for its next phase.

Complexity of the design has to be taken into account depending on the machines you're working with. Printing, the design engineer doesn't really have to think about limiting their creativity. Once it's designed, other than pushing the go button (maybe setup the printing machine for the job) it's hands off until the end. Printing times vary a lot depending on design.

In the industry I work in, a lot of times the limiting factor is the supplier of the material...ie castings, forgings etc. If your supplier can't get you what you need, you're out of luck. Lead times are long, demands are high. Printing, well, if it's in-house, you eliminate the chain, other than your powder supplier. Printing is going to be where it's at in the future. There's some incredible materials right now that are being printed and laser welded that everything science and physics disagree with. It's so early in that stage of technology and material properties of printed are starting to become equal or surpass their wrought/billet counterparts. All cool stuff!
  • 1 0
 @ajayflex: Really? for carbide? I should tell my teacher... he's the one who told us how much they cost.
  • 1 0
 He would need to prove that the printed lugs are lighter. The advertised weight suggests they are heavier. This whole "project" sounds more like SRAM - a solution looking for a problem.
  • 3 0
 I was interested before I saw 6000euro per frame... I bet Athertons carbon with titanium lugs are way less than that. Otherwise it's gorgeous
  • 2 0
 Holy crap, that is gorgeous and I will never be able to afford it but DAMN that's a good-looking frame.

Seems like a good fit for a @dangerholm build though!
  • 3 0
 what's he gonna scrape off?!
  • 1 0
 How is @dangerholm going to turn this fat turd of a frame into a weight weenie special?
  • 1 0
 forget the engineering circle jerk...the most important point here is that a moorhen is a small waterfowl species and a chicken is...well.....a chicken #makewaterfowlgreatagain
  • 2 0
 Im not sure pink bike knows what engineering actually is. This isn't engineering. Its just an exercise in extravagance.
  • 2 0
 Looks absolutely amazing, shot himself in the foot abit thow with a 67 ht nowerdays...
  • 2 0
 I'm glad he went with chicken. Imagine buying a bike then finding out that the name is German for cock.
  • 2 0
 I was just thinkinging the other day; Man it would be cool to see a new chrome MTB... BAM.
  • 2 0
 I thought this bike was named MoorHUNG.... I was like uhh wtf! would be a cool name tho
  • 3 0
 My old SC Bullit weight without a shock less then 3,1 kg Razz
  • 3 1
 I am sorry to point out that this basically looks like an old handmade water tap in the chrome finish. Sorry.
  • 1 0
 Bikes and all engineering design are going to go through a whole new level of amazing change. Postpone your next purchase, wait for the new titanium, steel, aluminium frame.
  • 1 0
 And the new wheel size. 26 inch will be a revolution.
  • 1 0
 When a steel bike frame starts to look like a chromed carbon frame I start to wonder............... Just kidding. This is wonderful. Bravo.
  • 3 0
 Sure is pretty!!
  • 2 0
 Take my money! This is outstanding.
  • 3 0
 Shit that’s nice!!!!!
  • 5 5
 Can I get the titanium version In oil slick coloring to match my eewings cranks that I plan on buying when I finish dental school?!?
  • 6 0
 you have to get a job first to pay for dental school.
  • 1 0
 I find steel 26 inch wheeled DJ frames to be very sexy and fun. And Still available. Quite the unique looking frame.
  • 2 0
 Very nice indeed, but if no frame option for under €2,500, no thanks
  • 1 0
 Always loved steel. Still find the Altruist Enduro to be one of, if not the nicest bike I've ever seen.
  • 2 0
 Is it cheaper and lighter than carbon?
  • 2 0
 Shoulda gone 131 mm. Cuz more is better
  • 1 0
 Very nice, hopefully it'll pave the way to more sexy and more affordable steel bikes
  • 1 0
 EWR29er!! 10 years old and the bike is still amazing! Steel’s always been great, always will be!
  • 2 0
 That's the most German thing I've seen this year.
  • 1 0
 Yes, she’s beautiful...
But is she also delicious drenched in buffalo and bleu cheese?
  • 2 0
 But does it go mach chicken?
  • 2 0
 Never heard of chickens being "elegant" but hey, gorgeous project
  • 2 0
 Moorhuhn… 90s kids remember!
  • 1 1
 This shows what the Atherton bikes could look if they cared to pay for a designer... :/

This bike is such a stunner!
Excited for the Enduro version!
  • 1 0
 The first picture makes me think of the 1980’s film ‘Flight Of The Navigator’.
  • 1 0
 Sexy? Steel?? Who cares - can't you see it actually floats in midair - tell us more about that feature!!
  • 1 0
 Steel has never stopped being sexy. That you lot think plastic is sexier is another thing.
  • 1 0
 Love steel..all my bikes are steel. 2 konas and a cotic flaremax...love them all. Steel is real.....heavy. ????????
  • 1 0
 67 head angle, I was thinking is that German, Swiss, or Austrian? Then I looked, German
  • 9 1
 Don't care, I'll gladly read about this twice.
  • 3 1
 @madlyrotating Photos of the finished frame are probably worth waiting for ????
  • 1 0
 For that pricetag it had better be sexy! Wow!
  • 6 5
 That seems super heavy for an xc frame.
  • 4 5
 How is a 130mm 29er an XC frame? I guess you’d call the Forbidden Druid an XC bike then. I’d ride the Moorhuhn pretty much anywhere here in B.C.
  • 1 0
 It is. 8.6lbs. XC frames are usually around under 5lbs. I do respect and appreciate the engineering of the frame, but not sure what kind of rider he is targeting.
  • 3 0
 @tacklingdummy: He's targeting people one percenters who are dumb enough to pay that much for a boat anchor so he has to work only 20 hours a month making them.
  • 3 1
 NSFW
  • 2 0
 MORE please Hun
  • 1 1
 Absolutely sweet looking frame and awesome use of thechnology combined with excellent craftmanship!
  • 1 2
 It's art, but is it a good idea for a full suspension? Traditionally steel has been too flexy for anything but a hardtail for MTB.
  • 4 1
 Tell that to Cotic and Stanton...
  • 1 0
 I expect Hell sell dozens of them! Goddamn is it ever sexy.
  • 1 0
 It's the weight of the downhill frame...
  • 1 0
 Lemme see, Farmers welfare check is cashed ready to buy!!
  • 1 0
 Looks better with the raw matte finish.
  • 1 0
 A Fs Steel bike? What a steel!
  • 1 0
 Hot damn! That looks sexy AF!!!!
  • 1 0
 Denists everywhere are losing their shiit.
  • 1 1
 Fuck Yeah! Keep it Steel! No Beer can or Fagplastic between my legs thankyou...
  • 1 0
 boner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 looks like Padme's ship... Which is awesome!
  • 1 0
 I'm so excited for this technology. looks incredible.
  • 1 0
 Are you telling me Chromags are not sexy. Cmon man.
  • 1 0
 No water bottle?????
By the way, where the F?#k is the Grim Donut????
  • 1 0
 I had to read that twice, 67 Deg HTA you say?
  • 1 0
 Comments on this post are wild
  • 1 0
 I simultaneously love this and would also never spend 6k on this
  • 3 3
 12 bikes/year.... R.L.O.F.
  • 3 0
 The idea is to work for 20 hours a month, and make 72,000 euros doing it.
  • 1 0
 That is lush!
  • 2 1
 this frame is pure dope
  • 2 5
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: My grandfather was a big-wig w US Steel. Steel is awesome. Ever hear of man steel...? Guns, Cars, knives, steel Makes America Great Always.
  • 1 0
 Make chrome sexy again!
  • 1 0
 Bottle mount. Go.
  • 1 1
 Oh god. I didn't bring a spare pair of pants to work today...
  • 1 0
 Nice click-bait title!
  • 3 4
 What would WAKI say?
  • 6 0
 I hear, he has been riding with Dick Pound?
  • 1 0
 Did WAKI get banned
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