Robot-Bikes_R160_custom-3d-printed-ti-carbon_all-mountain-enduro-trail-mountain-bike_drop-in

As we’ve seen the rapid prototyping concept grow technologically into an actual method to manufacture components, a lot of design limitations that have previously governed bike design start to disappear. Bike shapes can become more fluid or flexible, and things like custom geometry full-suspension bikes can become reality. One such promising bike is the new R160 from the young Robot Bike Co.

The 160mm travel trail bike starts with a set of 11 individually made-to-order 3D printed titanium lugs that get heat-treated, precision machined out, and joined up to 8 carbon fiber tubes to build a unique bike for each customer. With Dave Weagle onboard as a founding company partner, the R160 gets shaped around a progressive DW6 suspension design to give it the confidence to fly over steep and technical trails, while still pedal well enough to get back up the hills and enjoy all-day adventures.  Drop past the break for a close look at the new bike…

Formed back in 2013 as a partnership between a handful of engineers, designers, and frame builders plus suspension guru Dave Weagle, Robot sought out to build lightweight custom geometry full-suspension mountain bikes that would truly be tailored to the individual rider. With really technical backgrounds in titanium and carbon, 3D printing or rather ‘additive manufacturing tech’, frame building, and suspension design, the Robot team had the technical know-how to build something truly unique.

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The resulting R160 is Robot’s first and currently only bike. But they don’t really seem worried by that. With a new DW6 suspension design and sure to fit custom sizing, Robot is confident that the bike can serve everything from all-day epic trail riding to proper aggressive enduro racing. The heart of that is suspension designed with a progressive leverage ratio that aims to deliver a supple start of the travel to maximize grip, ramped up support in the middle for a more linear feel and stable pedaling on everything from small to medium hits, and a seemingly bottomless end of the travel for confidence when things start to get out of hand.

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The bike uses 27.5″ wheels with a 12×142 (not Boost) rear end and sticks with a standard 73mm threaded bottom bracket for trusted reliability. That is where threading of the ti lugs ends, though. The rest of the bike, and most importantly suspension pivots, forgoes threading the frame, but instead using captive threaded hardware. That way you’ll never have to worry about stripping the threads out and ruining a frame. Any problems, and you just replace some hardware.

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Key to the feel and function of the bike is  the custom fit and geometry. All the effort that Robot put into developing the tech could be worthless if the bike didn’t fit well, and that’s why they believe so much in the custom fit. The unique lugged construction and parametric design tool they’ve developed lets Robot and their engineering partners quickly generate the lugs from individual rider fit.

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The root of the frame’s construction is of course the titanium additive manufactured lugs. By pulling tech from aerospace manufacturing, Robot gets the flexibility to shape the 6-4 ti specifically to handle the more complex loading at the tubing junctions and suspension pivots. The Selective Laser Melting process also gives them the precision to create a double lap joint that better locks onto the carbon tubes without the need for extra wasteful resin, and actually ensures better resin coverage through it precise shape.

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Once Robot has each rider’s measurements they work on tailoring the geometry to you.  The have a basic set of guidelines that they work from, but are happy to work with any rider who wants to further tune the ride for their own mix of a blend of speed, fun, stability, and agility.

The standard bike starts off with a recommended head angle of 65.5°, seat angle of 73.5°, 430mm chainstays, and 10mm of bottom bracket drop. The R160 uses a tapered steerer headset, gets ISCG tabs, and uses a 31.6mm seatpost, with stealth dropper compatibility. The frame uses a 216 x 63mm shock and M8 x 22mm shock hardware. Pricing is set at £4400 for the custom fit frame, with options for builds limited only by your imagination and budget.

RobotBike.co

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Cookerq
Cookerq
6 years ago

I foresee a Split pivot/DW combo with eccentrics down the road.

HDManitoba
HDManitoba
6 years ago

“Bike shapes can become more fluid or flexible, and things like custom geometry full-suspension bikes can become reality.”

Um… Ventana makes custom geometry full suspension bikes and has for years. And for quite a bit less money and with a proven track record. And built in the USA.

JNH
JNH
6 years ago
Reply to  HDManitoba

1. This is a new way of making a bike to order. Of course it’s expensive.
2. Plenty of Europe based custom builders work in Alu and Steel (and even Ti) that make cheaper FS frames than this. This is irrelevant, they don’t make one quite like this one.
3. If it works out for these guys the technology will spread and become cheaper. Maybe not this decade but the prospect of made to measure bikes becoming more normal is hugely exciting.
4. Rule of cool.

myke2241
myke2241
6 years ago
Reply to  JNH

I thought the same but the methods deployed are supposed be cost effective and have a greater reduction in manufacturing waste.

The price seems high because if you purchase one your essentially a beta tester to a extent….

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

The cost is high because only a REALLY BIG bike company can buy one of these for in-house use. They’re basically renting the tooling. Its just too expensive for them to do this any other way and we need to pay for that service. Of course, it’ll be much cheaper to buy one of these ti printers in the future but we’ve gotta wait.

Personally, I think this is great for a road bike, not a big deal for a mountain bike unless you have an extremely obscure body shape.

James Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

Such is life on the bleeding edge.

JNH
JNH
6 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

Cost effective is relative term. Compared to individually fabricating and machining every Titanium piece on the bike this is cheap, the market for £35k frame is even smaller than for a £4.5k frame. But it’s still new technology and I can’t imagine the cost of the machinery and software was small.
.
As for being a beta tester, to an extent yes, but every bike sold in Europe has to confirm to minimum strength and deflection under load standards. If they’re selling it it’s at least safe, to an extent you are the test pilot on any individually made product, I take DW’s involvement as a huge vote of confidence.

Rohan
Rohan
6 years ago

Make one with a Pinion gearbox and I’ll buy one, right now I’m eyeing the new Zerode.

Ol'shel'
Ol'shel'
6 years ago

People with that much money play golf… or ride road bikes.

myke2241
myke2241
6 years ago
Reply to  Ol'shel'

That’s a lot to pay for process that is supposed to be more cost effective.

satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
6 years ago

where’s a machine get the ethics to overcharge me?!!! skynet?

Craig
Craig
6 years ago

This is the most awesomest suspension frame I’ve seen in a long time. But I just checked out the price, and sadly I will not be a buyer. I would need to get another job, or two.

Luiggi
Luiggi
6 years ago

Can’t wait for the GeoMetron version !

Chader09
Chader09
6 years ago

I would love to know more about the DW6 design. It looks like a micro DW-Link on the swingarm at the seattube junction, then connects to the seatstays with an FSR/Horst link.

I wonder if the FSR link is done to release the forces from braking and reduce/eliminate any braking input that may be present on a regular DW?

Does anybody have a link to more info?

Mr. P
6 years ago
Reply to  Chader09

Bikeradar.com had a sentence or two about the DW6 when they did a write up on this bike. Your thinking in the right direction.

greg
greg
6 years ago
Reply to  Chader09

i didnt even notice this until i read your message. all of a sudden, much more interesting.

TheKaiser
TheKaiser
6 years ago
Reply to  greg

Yeah, I had been wondering the same…never seen a reference mentioning DW-6 before and given that this seems to be the first implementation of it I think it merits more discussion, although I it looks to just give even more ability to tune wheel and load paths, via the 6 bars vs. 4. While I say “just” most manufacturers are so willing to pretend that they have re-written the rules of physics on their rehash of another design that you would think a genuinely new one would get more fanfare.

mark
mark
6 years ago
Reply to  greg

I’m intrigued as to whats goign on behind the bottom bracket, i can’t seem to visualise it??? anybody?

Cryogenii
Cryogenii
6 years ago
Reply to  mark

Looks like the piece behind the BB controls the virtual pivot point location, the ‘FSR’ link decouples brake torque and the seat stay pivot affects progressiveness.

duder
duder
6 years ago
Reply to  Chader09

Interesting. I’ve always thought one of the advantages of DW is increased stiffness due having one-piece seatstays/chainstays instead of pivots right next to the axle.

dustytires
6 years ago

That aint even cost effective in dollars, but I think that funny little symbal means GB pounds and that makes it even less of a possibility. My dentist couldn’t even afford that…

Cryogenii
Cryogenii
6 years ago
Reply to  dustytires

Funny little symbol? Dude you need to get out more.

chase
chase
6 years ago

Pretty damn sexy if you ask me. That DW6 is blowing my mind a bit.Weagle has been sandbagging obviously. This is too rich for my blood. I have a hard time justifying this or a new Husqvarna 501 dual sport motorcycle. Somehow I think the motorcycle may win the tug of war with my wife and the checkbook.

motarded
motarded
6 years ago

NARBS show is going to be a blast

LCP
LCP
6 years ago

3D printing has it’s advantages, mostly for making patterns or modeling, but it’s not the manufacturing solution it’s portrayed to be in popular media. It’s not great for lug production for several reasons including cost, poor precision and questionable structural integrity. By the time they’re machined, these have more $ in them than traditional methods. This looks more like creative marketing rather than a real manufacturing advantage. Besides, do we really need individually designed lugs for each bike? That’s just a waste of time.

Marc Saunders
Marc Saunders
5 years ago
Reply to  LCP

Additive manufacturing is used to make aerospace parts, medical implants and F1 components, and will soon be used in laptop computers and automotive applications. GE has just invested several millions dollars on this tech to support its manufacturing of jet engines, reckoning it’ll save them billions each year. It’s cost effective in making complex parts, but is not suited to making simple or bulky parts. As volumes rise, the cost of these frames will drop significantly.