Empire Cycles designed the mountain bike to take advantage of Renishaw’s additive manufacturing technology, allowing them to create a titanium frame that would be both strong and light using topological optimisation – the new frame is one third lighter than the original.
The frame has been additively manufactured in titanium alloy in sections and bonded together. Renishaw claims to be the UK’s only manufacturer of a metal-based additive manufacturing machine that prints metal parts.
Empire managing director Chris Williams said there were lighter carbon fibre bikes available, but, “The durability of carbon fibre can’t compare to a metal bike, they are great for road bikes, but when you start chucking yourself down a mountain you risk damaging the frame. I over-engineer my bikes to ensure there are no warranty claims”.
Williams had already produced a full size 3D printed replica of his current bike before he approached Renishaw, so had a good idea of what he wanted to achieve.
Renishaw originally agreed to optimise and manufacture the seat post bracket only, but after this proved successful, decided the whole frame was a practical goal. The design was updated with guidance from Renishaw’s applications team.
Renishaw said the potential performance has not been completely explored yet, but hopes to continue to develop the project.
The wheels, drive train and components required to finish the bike were provided by Hope Technology Ltd.
Copyright Ken Hurst 2014