With its latest design, Pinarello eyes a future where any cyclist can have a 3D-printed bicycle that’s tailor-made for their body type.
From computer simulations to advanced 3D printing to the study of humpback whales — the newest bike from Pinarello takes inspiration from many sources.
The Italian bike company announced today what it calls “the first high-performance 3D-printed bike ever built.”
It made the Bolide F HR 3D specifically for Filippo Ganna, leveraging the greater flexibility of 3D printing to produce custom-made parts to fit his body better. Pinarello hopes this greater personalization will help Ganna set a new UCI Hour Record.
“3D printing allowed us to introduce new shapes and features that are impossible to replicate with existing carbon fiber techniques,” the company said in a press release. “With this new method, we have created a unique aerodynamic shape and reached an incredible level of stiffness.”
Yet Pinarello sees a more significant impact on cycling by expanding 3D-printed bicycles. If it’s possible to make custom-design bike parts for Filippo Ganna, why not everyone else?
“The next step will be to make it more affordable by finding ways to scan riders with more affordable equipment and automatically design each unique bike,” said Federico Sbrissa, Pinarello’s chief marketing officer. “From a world champion to every World Tour rider, and eventually to each and every cyclist out there.”
Bolide F HR 3D Features
While Pinarello may have taken 3D-printed bikes a step further, it’s not the first company to toy with the concept — or take inspiration from aerospace engineering.
In September, custom bike-builder Reeb used 3D-printed aerospace parts to release a full-suspension steel MTB. In 2015, Titanium frame-builder Dave Levy joined an industrial design company to make a 3D-printed Super Commuter bike.
But with Bolide F HR 3D, Pinarello spent months of “intense research.” That included taking inspiration from the University of Adelaide’s study of humpback whales. Since 2006, the university’s researchers have been looking at recreating the whale’s tubercles (protrusions in the front of their flippers), which allow them to make tight turns and incredible leaps from the water.
The university leveraged that research to create new designs for both aircraft wings and bicycle frames that reduce drag. Pinarello then built on the breakthroughs, adding what it calls AeroNodes to the bike frame and perfecting their placement through computer simulations and wind-tunnel testing.
Through 3D printing, Pinarello’s designers were able to create new shapes that would be impossible with existing carbon fiber techniques, the company said.
They made a new head tube shape and added internal reinforcement. They also created the bike frame and fork from a new alloy called Scalmalloy — an aerospace material designed for 3D printing.
Thus far, testing of the bike has been promising. The Bolide F HR 3D proved itself the fastest bike, supporting Dan Bigham in his personal 55.548 km Hour Record, achieved on Aug. 19.
The new Bolide F HR 3D is available for ordering at Pinarello’s official retailer starting this week. Due to the 3D-printing production technique, it will be built only on demand, the company said.