I’m not sure what’s in the water in Germany, but it’s a hotbed for molding industrial designers. Marvin Henschel is yet another and he has dreamt up a creative plan to produce an enduro bike using a mix of materials with customizable geometry in an efficient, CO2-conscience manufacturing process. The idea behind the frame goes deeper than the visible high pivot suspension or gearbox drivetrain and is based heavily on an automated process where single fabricated pieces are cut and manipulated to the dimensions of any rider size.
Marvin Henschel, the brainchild behind GeoBend, is a 26 year-old, passionate mountain biker and industrial designer. He’s been riding mainly downhill and enduro bikes for well over a decade and studied industrial design at the University of Kassel, in Germany.
During his studies, Marvin put two and two together; his hobby of riding bikes and industrial design skills, and then applied for an internship at Canyon Bicycles, a company well known for an industrious look to its frames. The GeoBend project became a blend of Marvin’s work at Canyon and his thesis study.
Believe it or not, the idea for GeoBend sparked in Marvin's head one day when he was rolling up a garden hose.
The three main components; head tube, rear triangle and subframe, and two tubes with curved ends.
The geometry is totally customizable. The reach, stack, and head tube angle can be easily tuned independently and quickly. The single form tubes can be cut to any length for sized frames and the CNC'd head tube block catches the desired angles.
We’ve seen prototype or concept bikes use other methods of construction before, like Atherton Bikes’ carbon tubes and 3D printed, titanium lugged frame or Production Privee’s downhill frame, which is made from two halves CNC machined and then bonded together, however, GeoBend separates the selected frame manufacturing method in portions, according to complexity and cost.
Canyon wanted adaptable geometry and Marvin wanted to produce in the EU, so his proposal was to use local manufacturing firms, which would optimize time and limit emissions. The benefit of sourcing local manufacturing would cut Canyon’s CO2 impact. Keep in mind, this is all a concept at the moment.
The creation of this frame would involve three main manufacturing techniques. Marvin went on to explain, “The technology for the main body (shock basement and seat mast area) and rear triangle would be automated fibre placement, a process of feeding fibre reinforced tapes through a heated roller system under force. The tubes would be made from radial carbon braiding, which is basically strands of carbon rope woven around a mold, by Munich Composites. For the custom milled CNC headtube I was in contact with Evocut, which already does a lot of cool products for the bike industry.”
So, we have the three components of the frame and lowered emissions, but what does the word “bend” have to do with it?
The top and down tubes of the frame have individual radii or bends at one end, while the other end is straight. They can be cut at various angles on the curved surface. This allows the length of the frame to change using only two tubes in combination with the custom-cut head tube junction. The seat mast is also cut to the desired length and the head tube angle can also be adapted independently of the tube joints.
Marvin didn’t skimp on the aesthetics of the frame either. From the low, horizontal shock orientation to the clean line that runs from the seatstays all the way to the stem, proving his knowledge of quirky, mountain bike consumer requests and showcasing his keen eye for industrial design. There is even room for a water bottle inside the front triangle and a hidden, on board multi-tool.
Who doesn't love a good suspension animation?
Of course, there would be engineering roadblocks and constraints, but the GeoBend project bridges the gap between a napkin sketch and a rideable prototype.
The Pinion gearbox lends to a low center of gravity, lighter unsprung mass, and cleans up the image of the bike without a derailleur hanging off the back or a large cassette. There’s no reason why this idea couldn’t work with a conventional Horst Link suspension design or a standard derailleur drivetrain, but you may as well go all-in with a high pivot and gearbox with a custom geometry, concept bike, right?
I’m sure you’re all wondering when you can order one. For now, it’s just a concept, but this could be the next great leap in the custom geometry bike market. Marvin even built an app to guide a theoretical customer to the correct frame geometry based on inputs, such as, body dimensions, trail styles, and riding technique.
It seems plausible that GeoBend could become a super high-end branch of Canyon, possibly under a moniker like Specialized's, “S-Works”. We reached out to Canyon Bicycles for more information and will continue to monitor the project with keen ears.
Marvin has moved onto other projects since his internship at Canyon, but proudly displays a 3D printed mockup of the bike in his office that will live on, regardless of GeoBend’s future.
Thanks to Alex at The European Bike Project
who first brought GeoBend into the limelight and immediately got us excited to learn more.
Marvin would like to thank the gravity department at Canyon Bicycles for this great opportunity, as well as Pinion for the support during the process.