Californian 3D printer manufacturer Carbon has entered into a partnership with fizik, a US-based cycling equipment manufacturer, to create Adaptive, a 3D printed bike saddle.
Announced by fizik at Eurobike 2019, the Adaptive saddle is manufactured using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) 3D printing technology. The bike seat is the latest addition to the company’s line of consumer products branded under the ‘Crafted by Carbon’ strap line. It follows the news last week that Carbon had entered into the bike market with U.S. bicycle manufacturer Specialized to 3D print yet another bike seat.
Through its partnerships with both Specialized and now fizik, Carbon is aiming to establish its DLS process as the standard in saddle technology. Luca Mathia Bertoncello, fizik Brand Director, is excited by the possibilities enabled by 3D printing for cycling saddles: “Digital Light Synthesis unlocks a new era in saddle design and manufacturing, driven by athlete data and agile manufacturing processes. It means we can fully release our creativity — transforming not just what we make, but how we make it, bringing a whole new way of thinking to cycling saddles.”
“Our aim is to provide riders with bespoke performance products tailored to their individual biodynamic data.”
Fizik seeks to innovate bike saddles with Carbon 3D printing
Founded in 1996, fizik creates saddles, shoes, bar-tapes and component designs for cycling with a focus on performance, comfort, lightweight technology, and innovation. The company targets everyone from pro-riders to amateurs with its offering of cycling gear.
Fizik’s partnership with Carbon for the 3D printed Adaptive bike saddle was borne out of the company’s ‘Concepts’ initiative. The scheme is a cross-disciplinary collaboration of leading industry experts and academics that aims to position fizik at the forefront of cycling innovation.
Adaptive represents fizik’s first 3D printed bike saddle in its portfolio of cycling products. Using Carbon DLS technology, a fizik team of designers, sports scientists and engineers were able to precisely tweak the properties of the saddle. The team was able to address specifications such as power transfer, shock absorption, stability and comfort according to cyclists’ needs, without the limitations inflicted by traditional manufacturing methods and materials.
Creation of the Adaptive saddles involved the implementation of nine years worth of accumulated pressure mapping data gathered by fizik from professional cyclists, according to Carbon. Adaptive’s lattice structure was then tuned according to the data to offer an optimized response profile. The cycling brand is now working to create an entire range of saddles using Carbon’s EPU 41 material, which provides the benefits of zonal cushioning and superior support and power transfer properties. Fizik’s first Adaptive saddles will be based on its Versus Evo 00 platform, a performance racing saddle made entirely from carbon fiber.
Carbon also states that any design can be adjusted and customized with its Carbon DLS 3D printing according to personalized data. Therefore, fizik can consider the prospect of eventually collecting customers’ pressure-mapping data and 3D printing their bike saddles in stores to create a fully personalized consumer experience.
“We’re proud to partner with fizik to unlock their unique product vision to push the limits of saddle design,” states Erika Berg, Head of Application Development at Carbon. “fizik used the Carbon Lattice Engine to match optimized response profiles based on rider feedback and create a digitally tuned lattice geometry for the Adaptive — enabling differentiation based on their unique product vision and design.”
Consumer 3D printing at Carbon
The Crafted by Carbon imprint was first revealed when the company unveiled its collaboration with Specialized in late August 2019. As well its partnerships with the two cycling companies to create 3D printed bike saddles, Carbon’s consumer 3D printing alliances with adidas and Riddell have also been branded underneath the Crafted by Carbon name.
Collaborating with Riddell, an American football equipment provider, Carbon has 3D printed lining for the company’s SpeedFlex Precision Diamond helmet. Working with German footwear giant adidas on the other hand, DLS 3D printing has been used to create ADIDAS 4D, a new form of midsole technology that has gone on to feature on various adidas sneakers.
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Featured image shows the ‘Adaptive’ 3D printed bike saddle. Photo via Carbon.