Jul 17, 2017 | By Benedict

Italian bicycle company Pinarello has used 3D printed cockpits on some of its latest bikes. The titanium 3D printed components were used by riders Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas during the opening stage of this year’s Tour de France in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The 2017 Tour de France, which began on July 1 and wraps up this Sunday, July 23, has been punctuated by a few major events.

Slovak world champion Peter Sagan was disqualified after knocking British rider Mark Cavendish off his bike, Austalian Richie Porte suffered a sickening crash on a descent, and favorite Chris Froome of Great Britain is currently being pushed hard by Romain Bardet, Fabio Aru, and several other riders.

Way back at the start of the Tour, however, the cyclists were actually in Germany, with the first stage taking the riders on an individual time trial around Dusseldorf. Excitingly for us, the stage provided a special treat for additive manufacturing aficionados.

During the opening stage, yellow jersey wearer Froome and fellow Brit Geraint Thomas sported special 3D printed bike parts on their Pinarello bikes. Thomas went on to win the stage, with Froome coming in sixth.

Versions of the titanium 3D printed cockpits were also used by Spaniard Mikel Landa and Colombian Sergio Henao.

For the aircraft lovers out there, cockpits on bikes are a little different from those in planes. In cycling, the term simply refers to what the cyclist has immediately in front of him as he rides, i.e. handlebars, shifters, and brakes.

The 3D printed cockpits made by Pinarello were designed specifically for Froome and Thomas using both computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis, and are optimized for time trial races.

During a time trial, cyclists must adopt different tactics: they aren’t permitted to ride in the “slipstream” of the rider ahead of them, so their bike must be much more aerodynamic. That means triathlon-style handlebars or aerobars for minimum drag and maximum speed.

A powder bed 3D printing system was used to fabricate the titanium Pinarello bike components, making them extremely lightweight and producing a textured finish that is in stark contrast to the smooth appearance seen on machined components.

(Images: Josh Evans / Immediate Media)

Furthermore, and in what is surely great news for amateur and pro riders alike, Pinarello is planning to make these special 3D printed cockpits available to the general public. Customers can undergo a special body scan to determine measurements and other variables, after which they can get their 3D printed cockpits within about 90 days.

They won’t come cheap though: these are premium products intended for serious time trial specialists.

Froome, Landa, and Henao are all expected to use the 3D printed cockpits again during the penultimate stage of the Tour in Marseille, another individual time trial. Thomas, however, will have to wait to use his 3D printed component again after crashing out of the Tour during the ninth stage.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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