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Silca launches Mensola 3D printed titanium bicycle computer mount

US-based Italian bicycle component brand Silca has unveiled its first 3D printed bike product, a titanium computer mount dubbed the Mensola.

Compatible with multiple leading cycling computers, the 3D printed mount claims to be stronger, lighter, and more aerodynamic than a CNC-machined aluminum equivalent.

The Mensola reportedly marks the beginning of a wider 3D printing project underway by the brand, with several World Tour cycling teams approaching Silca in relation to the project. 

The 3D printed Mensola cycling computer mount. Photo via Silca.
The 3D printed Mensola cycling computer mount. Photo via Silca.

The Mensola

Cycling computer mounts are handy for securing a GPS device to your bike’s handlebars or frame when out and about, and there are numerous models and brands available for cyclists to choose from.

Silca’s Mensola mount is 3D printed using 6Al/4V titanium which, according to the brand, makes the component between 10-15 percent lighter than if the component was manufactured via conventional methods. Depending on the model, the Mensola weighs as little as 27 grams. 

The 3D printed mount is also reportedly between six and 12 times stronger than a CNC-machined aluminum equivalent and is designed to improve aerodynamics in comparison to a standard mount.

The brand purportedly chose 3D printing to manufacture the mount as it gave the team the ability to manufacture previously unobtainable geometries without tooling limitations or raw material stock restraints. Structural design elements for the Mensola were borrowed from the architectural and aerospace engineering sectors to deliver a “stressed skin design with internal truss elements.”

3D printing also enabled the Silca team to design the mount in a whole host of sizes and with different faceplate geometries to increase its compatibility with bicycles and cycle computers alike.

As such, Silca has developed multiple variations of the Mensola, each of which is equipped with a different stem faceplate compatible with bike brand giants such as Specialized, Bontrager, Enve and others. The mount is also available with a range of mounting brackets to ensure compatibility with the majority of leading cycling computer brands.

Retailing at £175, the Mensola is certainly not cheap, and in some cases costs more than a GPS unit itself. However, this is unsurprising and in line with Silca’s reputation for producing quality and durable cycling products for a premium.

The Mensola mount is 3D printed to order and is compatible with a variety of bicycle and cycling computer brands. Photo via Silca.
The Mensola mount is 3D printed to order and is compatible with a variety of bicycle and cycling computer brands. Photo via Silca.

Titanium 3D printing in the cycling industry

The bicycle sector has continued to embrace additive manufacturing technologies in recent years, with a number of manufacturers opting for 3D printed components for their enhanced strength and lightweight properties. Titanium in particular is a desirable material for manufacturing bikes due to its favorable strength to weight ratio and recylability.

Last year, global engineering group Sandvik teamed up with e-bike engineering and design consultancy GSD Global to 3D print titanium motor nodes for e-bikes for selected OEMs, while 3D metal printing service provider RAM3D partnered with custom bicycle producer Sturdy Cycles to 3D print titanium components for road bikes. 

Titanium’s benefits have also been leveraged by Huhn Cycles, a manufacturer of additively manufactured mountain bikes, for the design and production of its 3D printed Moorhuhn Bike. The bike scooped up first place in last year’s Formnext Purmundus Challenge, and was engineered to deliver the same stiffness and lightness of mountain bikes manufactured from carbon, but with the advantage of being recyclable and therefore improving product lifecycles.

More recently, 3D printing technology developer Headmade Materials and 3D printing service bureau Element22 launched their novel 3D printed titanium bike pedals on Kickstarter, and have already surpassed their pledge goal.

Moorehuhn Bike won first prize in the Purmundus Challenge 2020 at Formnext Connect. Photo via Huhn Cycles.
The Moorehuhn Bike won first prize in the Purmundus Challenge 2020 at Formnext Connect. Photo via Huhn Cycles.

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Featured image shows the 3D printed Mensola cycling computer mount. Photo via Silca.

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