Canyon unveils sustainable concept 3D printed mountain bike prototype

Bicycle manufacturer Canyon has debuted a concept 3D printed mountain bike prototype which aims to demonstrate a more sustainable method of bicycle production. 

Working with software and 3D printing service provider Materialise, Canyon 3D printed the bike’s frame and fork as part of Bike Magazine Germany’s ‘Ride Green’ campaign. The finished bike was showcased at the recent Cycle Show in London.

The Ride Green bike

The aim of the Ride Green project was to design a bike that is as sustainable as possible, with all its components being fully recyclable. The materials used also needed to be reusable without compromising the quality of the parts produced, while reducing waste was another key goal of the project. 

Canyon was tasked with building the bike’s cradle-to-cradle frame and fork, and settled on 3D printing as the most suitable, and sustainable, method of production. The firm enlisted Materialise’s selective laser melting (SLM) 3D printing technology to fabricate the components in order to achieve the frame’s desired unique shape. 

Materialise is no stranger to the bicycle sector, having deployed its technology to print 2,000 parts for fellow bicycle manufacturer Pinarello’s Dogma F racing bike last year. In addition to achieving substantial weight reductions for a crucial seat clamp component for the bike, the company also created a full-service, customized production workflow for the project.

Canyon's 3D printed bike frame. Photo via Bike Magazine.
Canyon’s 3D printed bike frame. Photo via Bike Magazine.

In order to meet the sustainability requirements of the project, the frame and fork were 3D printed from recycled aluminum powder. Canyon also wished to reduce the overall amount of raw material used in the fabrication of the frame, not only to improve the bike’s environmental impact but also to lower the frame weight and provide performance benefits.

The frame is comprised of a skeleton that forms its structure, which is enclosed within an outer shell to provide additional protection and more desirable surface properties. 

The frame was 3D printed in three pieces, each taking around six hours to produce. Once printed, the frame and fork weighed just 2 kilograms. While Canyon says there are currently no plans for the bike to enter production, the project could potentially influence how the company’s future models are designed and manufactured. 

The bicycle frame was 3D printed in three parts and glued together. Photo via Bike Magazine.
The bicycle frame was 3D printed in three parts and glued together. Photo via Bike Magazine.

Boosting cycling performance with AM

Given 3D printing’s ability to consolidate multiple parts into single lightweight components and produce components with previously unachievable geometries, the technology’s benefits have been increasingly realized by bicycle manufacturers in recent years.  

For instance, custom bicycle producer Sturdy Cycles has switched the production of its titanium bicycle parts to Headmade Materials’ Cold Metal Fusion (CMF) technology, and has previously worked with RAM3D to print parts for its road bikes. British Cycling even enlisted Renishaw’s help to 3D print aluminum and titanium parts for its new track bike on show at the Tokyo 2022 Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, some 3D printing firms have taken to kickstarter to launch their 3D printed bicycle components, such as Headmade Materials and Element22 who launched their jointly-developed novel Titanum 3D printed bike pedal design on the platform last year.

Elsewhere, the likes of Fizik and Specialized have used Carbon’s DLS 3D printing technology to improve the weight and comfort of their saddles, while Stratasys’ H350 machine has been used by DQBD to produce fully personalized 3D printed saddles that offer increased performance efficiency.

The Argo Adaptive short-nosed saddle's 3D printed lattice. Photo via Fizik.
The Argo Adaptive short-nosed saddle’s 3D printed lattice. Photo via Fizik.

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Featured image shows Canyon’s 3D printed bike frame. Photo via Bike Magazine.