Video: Designing & Manufacturing a Bike Frame

Aug 30, 2018 at 5:25
by Giacomo Großehagenbrock  
We have been in the bike industry for many years and besides our components, we also design bike frames. We are particularly interested in optimizing the kinematics for long travel mountain bikes. Some years ago we realized that there is something going wrong with the development of the axle path on long travel 29er bikes, so we started to analyze the market. One year ago when we found the solution to the problem, we started this project. The goal was to design and build a virtual high pivot point bike with an idler pulley for optimized anti-squat and no braking issues, and then document it on video. Now we are already riding the first prototype and we are super stoked about the performance. Today we would like to share the production videos with you and in the next article we will feature more details about the bike itself.

As a German Developer we recorded the videos in our mother language but we provide English Subtitles for our international audience (click CC in the lower right).

Watch episodes 7-10 of our YouTube series featuring the production of the first prototypes:


We Develop a Bike Frame / Episode 7 // CNC Milling the Rocker



In this episode, we take you to our friend Jonathan Debus from debus-fraestechnik.de and show you how the Rocker is made for this bike.

Left: Jonathan Debus at work / Right: The Rocker half donel


We Develop a Bike Frame / Episode 8 // CNC Parts



In this episode, we show you all the CNC parts that are needed for the welding assembly group of the frame. We do some QC and explain some technical details.

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The CNC parts ready for Quality Control


We Develop a Bike Frame / Episode 9 // Tubing



In this episode, we show you how we save 200 gram on the tubes using a CNC lathe. This only makes sense for prototypes as the industrial process would be butting from inside.

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Standard tubes losing some weight on the CNC lathe


We Develop a Bike Frame / Episode 10 // Welding



In this episode, we finally take you to our frame builder and give you some interesting insights.

Left: Welding the mainframe Right: Controlling the trueness

Chain Stays, Seat Stays and Main Frames ready for the heat treatment

The main frame on its fixture

Proud of his work the welder Ingo Müller

Kinematics
Final 3D Modell
Left: The Kinematics Modell / Right: The 3D Modell

The Final Geometry Sheet - Seattube can be 420 - 450 - 480

You can read more about the development process here.


61 Comments

  • + 34
 Hey, instead of blowing $10,000 on a new Yeti, I can just buy some of the tools, a welding kit and a welding and tubing masterclass online course and I can make myself a new bike every 6 months. Thanks!
  • + 64
 Yes you may... that will be $30,000+ for the kit, tools and materials and five/seven years of your life for an engineering degree

thank you.
  • + 77
 @enduroNZ: However, that engineering degree has allowed for a water bottle option.
  • + 9
 @enduroNZ: Or go full old school and get a set of torches, hacksaw and some files. It'll get you going sooner and will teach you a hell of alot. Especially patience..lol
  • + 3
 @enduroNZ:

...and still some hundred hours of mechanic's workshop!

Thank you all!
  • + 3
 @enduroNZ: So, if I where a engineer, buying a new super bike every year, you are saying that I get even on my investment in three years time
  • + 5
 @enduroNZ: You are not the life of the party I can see...
  • + 4
 @enduroNZ: however, no electives will be needed. and i'm doubtful that you'd really need to learn everything required of an engineering degree to build a bike frame. also, instead of buying all the tools for machining, he could just learn CAD and have them machined for him.
  • + 10
 @demoflight: for sure, I learnt almost nothing apart from the basic concepts from my mechanical engineering degree. And I just made a steel hardtail with none of the knowledge that I did gain
  • + 3
 Or you could just buy a Giant...but welding is cool to.
  • + 5
 In all honesty I think just the tools and a bit of a clue are enough, it's a bike not a space rocket @enduroNZ:
  • + 6
 Degrees, tools, computers....
Funny how nobody mentions the most important "skill" necessary to design a bike.
Which is riding... a lot... can't understand geometry if you don't have at least 10 years of serious riding. Reading about it is not the same as felling it.
  • + 4
 @crazy9: ^ How every bike shop employee feels ^ I'm to old to figure out how to eyeroll emoji, but I would if I could.
  • + 1
 @enduroNZ: You dont need a engineering degree, everything your would learn doing a degree can be found on Google, unless you like the bit of thick paper that cost you $30, 000?
  • + 2
 @silentbutdeadly: NO Welding is hot not cool
  • + 1
 @enduroNZ: I agree except the part that you "really" need to get that 5-7 years engineering degree.
  • + 2
 @aljoburr: Naah, course not, everything is online nowdays, why bother? I mean if you can read it you can definitely understand it and apply it, right?

While we are thinking, im off to read up about spinal surgery as I fancy a go at that on the weekend, what do I need a doctorate for?

Out of interest, you don't have an engineering degree, do you?
  • + 5
 @RedRedRe: I think you can design a good bike without being a super experienced / fast rider, after all the people that design F1 cars wont drive them, the moto GP guys wont ride those - This is why Cesar Rojo is pretty unique, to be able to ride at his level with his understanding of engineering principles is rare, but I would expect many bikes are designed by guys that don't ride nearly as much or as well and rely on the expertise of other riders to test the bikes for them, race teams etc.
  • + 5
 @enduroNZ: You don't need an Engineering Degree to understand the concepts of building a bike frame. I learned mathematically how to build a bike frame in High School. Too many being snowballed into believing degrees are mandatory to succeed. What a shame! Only the banks succeed by taking your loans interest.
  • + 1
 @almacigatrailrider 6 Months lol...Do you plan on quitting your job as well?
  • + 23
 @enduroNZ:

No engineering degree and only about $3000cad in tools.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/16145875

It's not a super bike, but it's my super bike.

www.pinkbike.com/u/shirk-007/album/NPC144
  • + 2
 @richierocket: so true haha
  • + 2
 @richierocket: So true. Nailed it!
  • + 1
 @aljoburr: $30K?? Geez, sign me up, that's cheap these days!
  • + 1
 @shirk-007: Good work, your bike looks awesome.
  • + 1
 Double post...
  • + 6
 @aljoburr: I have a degree in mechanical engineering, and I'll be one of the first to say that degrees are highly overrated, I could have learned everything useful that school taught me, much faster by studying it on my own.
It was mostly a huge timesink just to get a nice piece of paper.
  • + 2
 @richierocket: comment of the day
  • + 1
 @shirk-007: out of interest, what kind of tools did you get? Fixture, torch, vice and hand tool? I want to start building my own workshop for this kind of thing
  • + 1
 @justanotherusername: YES that is how I know it is a waste of time & money, If you want to get in to bike industry dont even think of going to a Uni that has same patent agent as shimano, Murgatroyd, OR sign a disclaimer
  • + 2
 @enduroNZ: I have an engineering degree. Two, actually. I'm good at doing mathematics. But I'm not building bikes.

My Dad left school at fifteen. Learned his trade on the job. Can build anything.

Degrees ain't everything.
  • + 2
 @lozzerbiker: Torch, home made jig, vise, files, tube blocks, and a benchtop milling machine. The mill was about $2k cad and I'd say I have about another $1k in the rest of it.

I build my first hardtail and first full suspension bike with just vise, files, and a torch.

It's a bike not a spaceship, you'd be surprised at how crude you can build something and it will still ride well. Geometry is more important than fancy tools and pretty welds. Alignment just needs to be sorta okay, you don't notice a few mm's of misalignment when shredding trails.
  • + 1
 @enduroNZ: An engineering degree to build a mountain bike frame? What would he need that for? This is not rocket science.
  • + 1
 @shirk-007: Have to say. That is DOPE.

Thats honestly amazing really. But isnt the geometry a bit extreme?
  • + 1
 @RecklessJack:

Thanks

The North Shore is my backyard, plenty of steep trails where this geometry is really nice. Steep seat angle is great for steep technical climbs, the slack ha is great for steep technical downs.

With that said I am planning to make the next one a touch less slack so that I can extend the reach and keep the wheelbase about the same as it is now. I also plan to bring the bb height up a touch.
  • + 9
 Nice! Thank you 77designz!
  • + 2
 Butting the tubes using a CNC lath will give you more accuracy in wall thickness and where you have butting , butting length ect. And the tubes would look trick with the machine marks . Like an affordable Pole. Then anodize all the aluminum instead of paint.
  • + 2
 Meanwhile, I ride 90% of the time an aggressive steel hardtail with all the right measurements at the right place and it works perfectly well. I don`t know what to do with rear suspensions curves when I can still bend my knees at 43y-o...
Anyway, joke apart: that`s a great job and being transparent about it makes it even richer. Thank you.
  • + 5
 Truely special and great video series, hope there will be one or two more coming Smile
  • + 2
 We want to continue this till final product!
  • + 4
 Great videos, guess who can learn a thing or two about alu frame welding...
  • + 1
 The only thing I don't like about the bike is the chainstay shape, it looks awkward going downward this way, but I know we tend to be conservative design-wise. Just for the sake of "style" you could make it go down first then bend it rearward, but of course a straight tube is the more logical shape, and the lightest, maybe also the less prone to break.

Very interesting serie. You get to see those little things you wouldn't guess, like the headtube getting slightly oval after welding.
  • + 2
 Thanks mate apreciate your feedback. As we are German Developers we route the Chainstays straight to save weight and cost by having max stiffness as you already got it.. Design wise I can follow your suggestion it might be worth to scetch it once. Thanks G
  • + 2
 @Giacomo77: Hehe ok, I also follow the "form follows function" moto, well, I would say at 90%, I keep those last 10% for a few compromises in favour of style Smile
  • + 2
 @Will-narayan: that´s the right proportion but we had also to consider manufacturability in this early stage of the project. Keep it up!
  • + 4
 Very nice write up and insite into designing and building a bike!
  • + 3
 Very cool series! Thanks for pointing it out. Bike looks amazing.
  • + 3
 when will the frame be available?
  • + 1
 We are just about to get few more prototypes running. Geometry and Kinematics are perfect and don´t need improvement but making it to production is the next big task. So we can´t really predict a availability date at the moment.
  • + 1
 Anyone know of a place where I can learn how to make bike frames in Australia? Always wanted to make my own 26 inch hardtail
  • + 2
 Just a joke, however it looks like the new GT fury sans paint.
  • + 1
 Upcoming Sanction? Smile
  • + 2
 Trek engineers approve of rocker link design.
  • + 1
 what a productive session...
  • + 0
 it's not a matter of manufacturing cost it's more the cost of tuning...and fine tuning... and reach that sweet spot!
  • + 3
 Actually we are on spot with kinematics and geometry first try so the mass production and serial are our challenges but for that you can find the right partners to team up with.
  • + 1
 @Giacomo77: hi!Giacomo. I wasn't specifically refering to your project (That I actually like & follow on youtube). my comments were actually for those that think it's "easy" if you have the right tools and it's a matter of toying around...and voila! A "strava" KOM bike!
  • + 2
 @TDMAN: thanks for that. It´s so true tools don´t do anything it´s stil the minds behind it. Otherwise you could buy all bikes straight from asia and you would not need to pay the brands for creating and inovating.
  • + 2
 Nice????????????
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