We’ve seen some terrific titanium rolling about recently. Take TRed’s titanium superbike or the Turner Nitrous Hardtail; two exquisite-looking titanium bikes from last week alone. This week, we’ve stumbled across more drool-worthy titanium in the form of the Sturdy Cycles Fiadh; a British-made bespoke titanium road bike with 3D-printed fork, stem, cranks and seat-post. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Sturdy Cycles Fiadh Titanium Road Bike

ti road bike british made sturdy cycles bespoke geometry
As pictured, the Sturdy Cycles Titanium road bike weighs a claimed 7.35 kg

“If I had to have just one bike”… This was on founder Tom Sturdy’s mind when he created the Fiadh. Pronounced fee-ah, Fiadh is a Gaelic name meaning ‘wild’ or ‘free’. This titanium road bike rolls on 700c rims with generous tyre clearance up to 35mm. 

“It is unashamedly the very best bike that I can make” – Tom Sturdy

sturdy cycles fiadh road bike titanium frame tubing 3d printed junctions

The frame is manufactured using a unique combination of drawn tubing welded to 3D printed junctions. Tom says this creates a structure that blends the efficiency of a monocoque chassis with the inherent qualities of titanium. It leaves him with the ability to fine tune both the geometry and structural performance of each frame.

sturdy cycles fiadh bespoke titanium road bike 3d printed components additive manufacturing bicycle

As Sturdy Cycles are a bespoke frame builder, the Fiadh has no defined geometry, though Tom says it is a relatively long frame for a road bike with the vehicle handling dialed in for use with 32mm tyres.

sturdy fiadh road bike integrated internal cable routing stem 3d printed titanium hide everything
A light bracket was incorporated into the removable computer mount that is held by a custom 3D printed stem

Tom’s use of additive manufacturing is what really allows him to deliver a true bespoke service. A proprietary fork, stem, crankset and seat post are all of his own design, with the majority of the components made in Derbyshire by Metron Additive. 

3d printed titanium fork aditive manufacturing sturdy cycles

The Fiadh’s custom titanium fork has an optimised structure to deal with the huge variation in stresses that are seen along its length. Tom says 3D printing the fork allows him to create a fork with the necessary sophisticated geometry and topology that is still competitive with the weight of composite forks. Of course, it also gives him the freedom to fully control tyre clearance, axle standards, brake formats, and fender compatibility.

sturdy cycles 3d printed titanium stem internal cable routing hide everything design integrated computer mount

The Fiadh’s custom titanium road bike stem offers an additional design variable for dialing in geometry to fit a given rider. When matched with the custom fork, cabling for electronic group sets can be fully integrated without the need for an over-sized head tube.

sturdy cycles custom titanium crankset 3d printed derbyshire metron additive

Sturdy Cycles also offer titanium crank sets made via additive manufacturing methods. This allows Tom to offer custom crank lengths and improved frame clearance without affecting q-factor.

Who’s behind Sturdy Cycles?

sturdy cycles headbadge titanium frame manufacturer uk

In the UK, many an aerospace engineer has been lost to the art of frame building, including Joe McEwan of Starling Cycles and Adrian Bedford of Swarf Cycles. While those guys dabble in steel, ex-aerospace engineer Tom Sturdy of Frome, Somerset, deals only in titanium. As the founder and sole employee Tom is Sturdy Cycles. 

sturdy cycles fiadh titanium road bike 3d printed tube joins

Tom also holds a masters degree in sports biomechanics. He started building bicycle frames to feed his curiosity about the relationship between a rider’s biomechanics and the bike itself. As such, there’s no wonder he has gone down the path of bespoke frame building.

sturdy cycles road bike ti frame bespoke custom geometry

Tom’s use of additive manufacturing started about five years ago when he looked into it to help him streamline aspects of the production process. It is now fully embedded into every stage of the process enabling Sturdy Cycles to offer highly optimised one-off products. 

sturdy cycles cilla titanium drop bar bike

Going forward, Tom will offer the proprietary 3D-printed titanium components across the entire range of ‘models’, including the Cilla drop bar adventure bike and the Tara hardtail mountain bike.

sturdy cycles tara titanium hardtail mtb

Pricing & Availability

The Sturdy Cycles Fiadh titanium road bike starts at £8,000. The Cilla drop bar adventure bike and Tara hardtail MTB start from $5,500 and £4,500, respectively.

SturdyCycles.co.uk

31 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, those lugs look horrible. I mean, they’re so rough, can’t they make them a bit more refined? Is this surface the best 3D can provide?
    Give me a nicely welded ti frame over this any time.

    • Most of the printed material here has been left ‘raw’ deliberately so no this is not as ‘refined’ as it can get at all. In this case it was so that the differentiation is obvious. They can be processed all the way to mirror finish if that’s a preference. Each to their own.

    • Marcel, if you check YouTube GCN did a review/chat with Mr. Sturdy. In the video you can see more on the options Mr. Sturdy mentions above.

    • Its quite variable depending on the specific process. Typically you won’t find any published data so it’s critical to build up a real understanding of the specific material printed by specific processes. Basically a lot of testing.

    • Definitely. This is the first ti bike that I’ve enjoyed ogling since I saw my first Seven Cycles just over a bajillion years ago. And this thing is INCREDIBLE. Aside from the two-tone finish (just not my thing), there isn’t a single element I don’t like – the seat tube juncture, stem, cranks, dropouts, head tube/fork crown…all WOW.

  2. I work for a company that uses 3D printed Ti in satellite components, including in pressure vessels and structural components. Yield strength is not wildly different from bulk material if your manufacturer does a good DFM review of the part. It’s fantastic. The surface finish of all sintered metals will look like that. You can absolutely polish it, but then no one will know it’s 3D printed. Keeping the rough surface finish sets it apart, and some folks dig it (including me). To each their own.

    • Yep. The stem, head tube,and fork crown show that the 3D printed parts can absolutely be post processed to have a smooth finish.

    • Is there any advantage to this for a bike? Is this just an aesthetic decision? Can you tell us what, if any. Advantages such printed sections would have on a frame like this? Again, seems gimmicky to me and the article gives no info in this regard whatsoever. Thanks

  3. The printed parts are left deliberately raw here. they can absolutely be more refined and taken all the way to a mirror polish if preferred. in this case it was just a choice of the owner, each to their own

    as for strength you wont find any published data as its all very commercially sensitive to those who will have spent a lot of money learning about it but its is not far off the strength of wrought material and if sufficiently well understood can be more than up to the task at hand.

  4. The benefit of using additive manufacturing for parts of a bike frame is the same as any other part. These components are expensive, but so is machined titanium. With additive manufacturing, the parts can be hollow, or have internal ribbing or structure that can’t be machined on a piece of solid material. It’s also possible to form shapes that may not be possible in a 5-axis CNC machine.

    Read the part about the behavior of the fork and the ability to create many combinations of brake and fender mounting along with custom geometry. That’s basically taking the benefits of custom machining (infinite combinations) with the benefits of monocoque carbon assembly (tuning stiffness and shaping impossible on CNC machines).

    Now, this is going to be really expensive, so it’s not without some downsides, and SLS metal printing still doesn’t have perfect yield, but there are some really cool things that can be done.

    • Aside from the fork the rest is basically tubing so just replacing welded tubes with 3D printed tubes I still don’t see any added benefit please explain what’s special beyond fork…

      • The tubes are formed, not printed. All the lugs are printed, so you get exactly the shape you want with ideal strength and weight characteristics. There’s an internal honeycomb to allow thinner walls with max strength.

        • The lugs allow Tom Sturdy to print each one specific according to the rider – it’s a heavily custom process, with a bike fit included. These are not carbon lugs out of a mould.

          I have a Sturdy gravel bike. It is a revelation whenever I ride it and has kept me sane through successive lockdowns in the UK this year1

      • @Miraloc: IMHO these are the most interesting ti bikes out there. Usually, ti bikes are basically a bunch of tubes welded together. The only things that differentiate them are quality of welds, and quality and choice of tools. Very little creativity IMO. I know ti fans will be offended :-).

        What I love about the sturdy bikes is the combination of ti “forever bike” with the design liberties of a moncoque frame. If you look at his instagram, you see all sorts of variations: e.g., dropped chain stays (like on a carbon Open Up), possibilities for internal routing (if that’s your thing), hidden seat post binder, etc. And they are lighter than welded frames.

  5. The fork seems to be Printing seems exaggerative as it’s much to smooth and at the price everything seems a bit impossible

    • The fork fork crown and the fork dropouts are 3d printed. The legs themselves are Ti tubing that has been cold wrought, I think.

  6. One thing not mentioned is the weight. My guess is 3D printed lugs are not as light as a welded ti frame. The only reason for this is the novelty.

    • My frame came in around 1200g, and the road bike above is a similar weight according to GCN. So, it’s a chunk lighter than most “welded” to frames.

    • Check out Sturdycycles Instagram to see the capabilities of 3D printing. In particular the pictures showing the internally webbed lug features. There’s no way they could be machined. Using 3D printing the application of material can be optimized for whatever shape and structural qualities desired. Old school lugs were cast and defined the geometry. The 3D printed lugs can be designed bespoke for the rider fit and desired ride quality. Hardly a novelty. Other pics show how the stem is printed with specific height and headset top cap as one piece. So clean.

  7. HEY! Old Crotchety-Bike-McScrooge-Grinch here! **PAY ATTENTION!**

    Now back in my days, all we needed was the old magic pill, a little wine, a cigarette, and some French steel to conquer the tour de France. None of this Mumbo jumbo 3D printed trash. My dinosaur bike could beat this bike in a fight any day; with only one down tube shifter, a front tubular flat, and only 18mm wide tires.

    Let me know when you get to 4D printed. This is for children.

  8. Magnificent! As someone who spent an inordinate amount of time designing a tandem frame around single-sided drivetrain, I appreciate just how liberating the ability to print a bespoke lug or two is.

  9. The advantage of 3D printing certain parts comes down to availability of how you can design them. It’s possible to create parts that have internal bracing, yet also be full enclosed and seamless. No need to mill out two pieces of metal and then bond them together. You can put details in places that would be impossible to reach even for a 5 axis CNC. It also opens the door to parametric design principles. You tell the computer what forces and loads the part needs to handle, and an algorithm creates and organic form that meets those specs with the least amount of material.

  10. I give you credit for doing something new and taking some risks and putting yourself out there to innovate. You’ve got some great looking bikes and seems like you put a lot of thought into what you do. I like the geometry a lot too I can tell you know what you’re doing on that front too. Very cool. I’d love to compare the ride to a welded frame like a Moots or Kish that we see more traditionally.

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