Calfee’s Manta endurance road bike is one of their models that uses a lugged construction, a design that had some limitations when it came to custom geometry. Since Calfee has a local guy make their metal molds, carving a new one out of metal for a single custom bike wasn’t cost effective or practical. So, those customers were steered to their wrapped carbon bikes.
The solution came with the purchase of a 3D printer. Now, any angle is possible. The machine takes about 13 hours to print one half of the mold, so it’s not super quick, but it also doesn’t require constant oversight. The process works because they use a room temp cure for the lugs to set them, then they go in the oven for a post cure out of the mold…
From there they can save the ABS plastic molds or melt them down and reuse the material to make new molds. Craig Calfee said the process wasn’t quite as cheap as they’d hoped since they have to make the molds pretty thick to avoid deformation when being pressed together, but it lets them do things others aren’t…yet.
As for the Manta, they’ve added a LizardSkins cover for the inline suspension. They found that dirt was getting in there and could wear the parts down, so this cover slides over it by opening up the rear end. That means no Velcro closure, just a clean, smooth cover.
They’re making the move into e-Bikes, and they’ll build them around the new Bionx D-Series motor.
This particular one has the Bionx parts bolted onto an existing model, but Calfee will be making a custom frame with oversized downtube. Inside, he’ll hide the same Samsung battery module, which has an impressive capacity and service life, and electronics, just without the Bionx case.
We expect the typical attention to detail with regards to cable and wire management. This is simply beautiful, and the Bionx system is quite fun.