When sustainability-focused designer Satoshi Yanagisawa of Japanese firm Triple Bottom Line approached the production bicycle, he saw opportunity in material optimization and customization per user. The result of his efforts is the DFM01, a cleverly designed and weight-competitive (the concept is 15.4lb when built into a complete bike) carbon fiber and titanium frame that can be reconfigured and printed custom around each user through an evolving geometry algorithm.

Triple Bottom Line is currently testing the product to establish viability with the goal of making it available to the public. It will be on display at the London Design Festival this Fall, but you can take a sneak peek here…


The carbon fiber component of the frame consists of simple round profile tubing. The titanium components, which comprise the bottom bracket/chainstay, seat cluster, and head tube junctions, are produced using an additive manufacturing process called selective laser sintering (SLS), which bonds powdered titanium together at high heat (but below its melting point). By nature of only using the material sintered into the final product, SLS is a low material waste process. So, by allowing for complex three-dimensional forms that are impossible in more typical manufacturing techniques, Yanagisawa is able to more sustainably produce a complex design that can be structurally optimized (via simulation) prior to fabrication and produced efficiently, without additional material removal processes.


But the really exciting capability of this process, according to Yanagizawa, is its ability to print custom structural elements to make each bike function its best with the user:

“This is a key factor of this frame. Basically, our geometry generating system, currently under development, allows us to create a perfectly optimized frame geometry from an individual user’s information (height, arm and leg length, flexibility, and so on). The system takes those numbers then creates optimised 3D geometry. Obviously, the majority of bike manufacturers are doing this phase – creating different frame geometries – by hand at the moment.”


At this time, there is no time frame or price scale available for the DFM01.


  1. It’s neat, but things like this have been tried before. In the end, it comes down to price. 3D printing isn’t cheap, and you have people doing full custom tube to tube carbon frames already.

  2. If he is sustainability focussed shouldn’t end of life be a consideration? Steel or Aluminium better from a recycling standpoint. Not as cool or high margin (production in those materials pretty efficient already) so not worthy of a ‘designer’ perhaps?

    I think it’s a cool concept. I just have an issue with claiming it is about sustainability.

  3. I like the concept if they can get the titanium cinthering to a significantly lower pricepoint than custom carbon.

  4. I don’t know how anyone can justify the viability of making 3D printed parts on a production level. I work in a large machine shop doing aerospace work. The only way 3D printed parts is working in the aerospace industry is 1. Low volume. 2. Extremely high mark up. Unless you have some crazy geometry, 9/10 times it is quicker to machine a part than to print it.

  5. Same process, Caliente. With metal it is typically called DMLS, and it is notoriously slow and therefore expensive.

  6. I am doing something similar (

    The advantages of 3D printing lugs rather than machining them are:

    1. You can design features that are impossible to machine. Examples include complex internal cable runs, integrated cable stops, brake mounts, and cutouts that keep the lugs as light as possible. I also am able to use internal sleeves in the lugs so that the carbon tubes are bonded on both inside and outside.

    2. Zero waste. The Ti powder in the print bed that does not get made into the part is reused.

    3. Complete customization. I use complex cutouts and patterns that look nice (I think) and lighten the lugs. I can also rapidly accommodate new industry “standards” such as the new 148mm rear hubs, the dual-mount Shimano road brakes (like on the Trek Émonde), and I can modify standards for a particular purpose, like putting a custom Syntace-derived derailleur hangar on a gravel bike.

    The disadvantages of 3D printing lugs are cost and tolerances:

    1. 3D printed Ti lugs are expensive, and so only make sense on one-off, fully custom boutique bicycles. You won’t see them on production bicycles for a few years. However, the costs of 3D printing should come down rapidly in the next decade. Ballpark is currently $10k USD for a frame. For comparison, a Firefly Carbon-Ti frame is $6,500.

    2. The tolerances on 3D printed parts are way worse than on machined parts. I get around this problem by designing the Ti parts a little bit proud and reaming them or hand-finishing them to machined tolerances, depending on the joint.

    The advantage of using Ti lugs with carbon tubes over all carbon tube-to-tube is that the C-Ti frames can be easily repaired: the joints can be unbonded to replace a damaged tube. You race, you crash: If you’ve ever cracked a carbon frame and had to send it off for repair, you can appreciate a fast, easy repair. I keep standard tubes on-hand for quick repairs. Depending on your point of view, repairability might be part of “sustainability”.

    I hope you find the information interesting.


    Disclaimer: I own Métier Vélo LLC and make Ti-C frames.

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