In a new approach to crafting lightweight carbon bikes, the Superstrata Terra road bike brings 3D-printing to life in a unique one-pass unibody composite frame that can be customized to each rider, and available before the end of the year. We’ve already seen the underlying Arevo 3D printed carbon tech here before, but now with as the company has optimized production and scaled up capabilities, the Superstrata bike company gets official with the Terra all-road bike and Ion e-bike that you can pre-order now.
Superstrata Terra & Ion 3D-printed carbon road bike & e-bike
Superstrata is the new bike brand of Silicon Valley-based additive manufacturing company Arevo. And with their brand launch come two all-new, unconventional 3D-printed carbon bikes – the all-road Terra road bike, and the similarly multi-purpose Ion e-bike. Both will be custom “made-to-measure” thanks to the flexibility of their manufacture, created with an “impact-resistant unibody carbon fiber frame” made from carbon reinforced composites. Superstrata promise “over 500,000 possible [geometry] combinations” to accommodate every rider. Bike buyers will simply supply their measurements, weight & riding style, and an Arevo algorithm will generate the programming for your custom bike printing.
Arevo are launching Superstrata in a crowdsourcing campaign via Indiegogo now, as they scale up their existing production capabilities, promising first bike deliveries before the end of 2020.
How is the Superstrata 3D-printed bike made? Tech details
The core of new Superstrata Bikes is the continuous 3D-printed carbon fiber tech of parent company Arevo (as we’ve seen before). Carbon bike construction conventionally meant embedding carbon fiber in various orientations within a thermoset resin binder to create a frame – most often, individual carbon plies painstakingly laid up by hand over a mold and left to cure. The Superstrata Bikes however, are made of carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) substituting the resin for a binder that melts at very high temperature by lasers, allowing it to be extruded continuously like a lot of other 3D printing.
But unlike the additive manufacturing (AM) process of stacking layer after layer of material, Arevo’s AM tech has a multi-axis robotic head literally laying down continuous strands of CFRTP carbon composite in “optimized continuous fiber paths” to align with the forces the frame is subject to while riding.
Much like individual plies of carbon would be hand-placed to resist forces in a conventional made carbon frame, Superstrata lets the repeatability of robots precisely lay down those fibers, taking human error or variance out of the frame production equation.
Arevo also says that their 3D printing also promises better distribution of carbon in the final composite structure vs. many conventional carbon+resin layup applications, with less than 1% void throughout.
No separately molded carbon parts bonded together with joints to create a complete frame. The Arevo/Superstrata process means each ‘unibody’ frame is created in one continuous pass of the carbon fiber thermoplastic composite.
Superstrata Terra 3D-printed carbon all-road bike details
The biggest surprise about the carbon reinforced composite Superstrata Terra is probably the claimed frame weight. While Superstrata isn’t going head-to-head with the lightest carbon frame in the world, their claim of 1300g for the all-road capable Terra.
Superstrata calls the Terra a road bike, but with flat mount disc brakes, 12mm thru-axles and clearance for 700c x 40mm tires (or 650B x 47mm), this should be a bike to take on plenty of mixed terrain. And that missing seattube… I’d have to guess that it should make for a compliant ride?
The regularly $2800 complete bike they are selling for limited pre-order pricing atrting at just $1500 complete as part of the Indiegogo campaign looks to be geared more towards of an urban commuter bike setup, although the details aren’t entirely clear. For that price you apparently get conventional alloy wheels, a straight 1.125″ steerer, mechanical disc brakes, the option for drop or flat bars, and the option for 28/35/40mm tires, and what is either a 1×8 or 1x 11-speed Shimano drivetrain. Whatever that truly means, the claimed weight of 7.5kg/16.5lb depending on size isn’t bad for an all-road or gravel bike at this price.
Let’s also not overlook the rechargeable LED front & rear lighting that are integrated into the bike frame. Both the Terra & Ion are said to include integrated data & power wiring for things like lighting, power meters, speed sensors, anti-theft features, device charging, and additional add-on electronics.
Superstrata Ion 3D-printed carbon all-road e-bike details
On the e-bike side of the equation, you’ll get the $4000 Superstrata Ion for a pre-order price starting at $2000 that will look much like the Terra, but includes an internally-mounted 252Wh battery and use a 250W rear hub motor to provide pedal-assist for up to 96km/60mi. With recharge time of 2hours and total bike weights around 11kg/24.2lb, the Ion should power you on mixed surface rides, as well.
Superstrata 3D-printed carbon bike manufacturing & availability
Both the Superstrata Terra all-road/gravel bike and the Superstrata Ion e-bike are available for pre-order starting today via Indiegogo in black or white finishes. Delivery of this first production round of bikes is expected to start in December 2020. That probably aligns with parent company Arevo’s recent announcement of a new 2nd generation of their 3D printing “composite material deposition technology” technology that is said to be 4x faster than the original process that we first saw two years ago.
While crowdfunding always brings risks, this won’t be the first real 3D-printed ride you can get from Arevo. Partnered with Emery Bikes, they’ve already built a number of California-printed e-bike that you might spot out on the road or trail. Superstrata just opens up further possibilities for custom manufacturing their “lightweight, impact-resistant” carbon composite bike frames to more riders and riding styles – “racing, street, gravel, and touring”.