Revel Bikes, a bike company based in the United States, has unveiled what it claims to be the world’s first fully 3D printed downhill bike. It is a full suspension mountain bike that is 3D printed from composite materials and uses the CBF suspension platform.
This is a concept bike that demonstrates what is possible in today’s additive manufacturing and bicycle industries. This bike is not for sale, but Revel wanted to show off what its team has been up to because this stuff is exciting!
Revel Rodeo- The fully 3D Printed downhill bike
Revel is no stranger to experimenting with and pushing the limits of carbon fibre, having used aerospace engineering techniques to develop the world’s first fully recyclable and environmentally responsible method of producing a carbon wheelset using thermoplastics. However, thermoplastics are not new to the bicycle industry, having been used on the GT STS throughout the 1990s.
Revel, on the other hand, has taken the material a step further by collaborating with Arevo Inc, a company that has already brought a functional 3D printed bike to market. Revel, on the other hand, saw this collaboration as an opportunity to push the envelope.
As of now, 3D printing a downhill frame is an ambitious project because these bikes are subjected to the most abuse. Though the reason for the creation of a downhill bike is so that the brand can apply what they’ve learned to enduro and trail bikes, having created something that can withstand the rigours of the harshest riding possible.
While this technology is still in its early stages, it represents a more efficient and cost-effective method of prototyping potential bikes, as well as improving development processes for brands, safer conditions in manufacturing facilities, significant environmental benefits, and greater customisation for customers.
The Future in 3D
Revel has been involved in this project for a long time, and it believes that the benefits of using 3D printing could mean significantly improved prototyping and development processes for bike brands, safer conditions in manufacturing facilities, significant environmental benefits, and greater customization for the rider at lower costs.
Revel believes that this method of frame production could be the future of carbon bicycle manufacturing, and the Rodeo is proof that this is a real possibility that, with continued technological advancements, could become more of a reality for practical, low-cost full suspension mountain bikes. A 3D printed carbon mountain bike is feasible, and with further development, this thermoplastic composite material may even be fully recyclable.
This technology is still too new to bring this bike to the masses for the time being. The entire process is extremely time and energy consuming, not to mention prohibitively expensive, and bringing the Rodeo to production at this time is not realistic. However, as advances in additive manufacturing and thermoplastic technology continue, the possibility of mountain bikes like this reaching the market becomes more realistic.
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