It may be impossible to re-create the wheel, but there are plenty of other parts and systems that can be redesigned for the greater good of the bike culture. Bicycling embraces health, reduced environmental impact, affordability, and often speed in competition as well. Most of us began riding bikes at a young age, enjoying independence in travel and free time in the fresh air; however, many bikes today have progressed in design far beyond what we imagined as kids. The electric bike is a perfect example, often accompanied by additive manufacturing for prototypes, modifications, and customization, and in the case of the Superstrata Terra—consumers can look forward to a design that is 3D printed “all the way to the spokes.”
Produced by Superstrata as an offshoot of Arevo, the Terra is somewhat unique in the bicycling industry, featuring a completely 3D printed unibody for an electric bike. Even more impressive, the thermoplastic carbon fiber frames can be printed in around ten hours.
The bikes are said to be “remarkably lightweight” while still extremely impact resistant. Two models are about to be released:
- Superstrata Terra – light in weight, customized and designed for versatility in riding styles with a frame weight of 2.8 pounds
- Superstrata Ion – Class 1 e-bike featuring the following: rear-hub 250W motor, a 252Wh battery, 24.2-pound frame, and an estimated 60 miles of range
Electric bicyclists should be enthused about the sleek design and lack of a downtube, as well as the mag-style wheels.
“There’s no glue, no joints, no seams or anything like that,” Superstrata CEO Sonny Vu said in a recent interview. “And so you get a lot more strength.”
Vu worked with Bill Stephens for expertise in cycle design—and especially carbon fiber bike frames. Hailing from StudioWest Concepts, Stephens has also worked with other companies like Schwinn and Yeti. In creating the Superstrata, Vu and Stephens aimed for a “soup-to-nuts” bike meant to put the distinct benefits of 3D printing for bicycles on full display.
The custom fit may be more expensive, however, according to Vu, who expects niche consumers to accept paying more for the bespoke features. Areva states that they are able to make up to 250,000 different combinations of the 3D printed electric bikes, with the Terra retailing for $2,799 and the Ion priced at $3,999. (Pre-orders can currently be made for $1,799.)
The latest releases reflect the evolution of 3D printed bikes from Areva, building on the Emory One prototype, considered an “exploratory project,” resulting in several sales. The frame of the Superstrata is similar, however, Vu claims that the new design is “five versions iterated since then.”
[Source / Images: The Verge]
“We don’t really care about margin that much,” said Vu. “This is about almost a market demonstration of the tech. Rather than knocking on the doors of these big bike companies and begging them to make stuff for them, screw that,” Vu said. “Let’s just ship a product that people love. And if the big bike companies want us to make carbon fiber frames for them? We’ll totally do it.”
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