Browsing articles from "June, 2015"
Jun 9, 2015

3-D Printing Helps Sir Bradley Break World Record

On Sunday Sir Bradley Wiggins broke the UCI Hour record- the record for the furthest distance a cyclist can travel in an hour.  His distance of 54.526km (33.88 miles) beat the old record of 52.937km set by Alex Dowsett just weeks ago.  The UCI has seen a lot of impressive numbers, with the record being tackled every few years and the peg being moved a little higher every time.  The cyclists take the credit and do most of the work, but the technology that they ride has come across in leaps and bounds as well.  With aerodynamic clothing, carbon fibre bikes, and now custom 3D printed handlebars.

In order to ensure he had the best possible chance for his attempt, Wiggins’ handlebars were specially designed to be ultra-lightweight and have maximum aerodynamic efficiency. To achieve this they needed to ensure that they kept his shoulders as narrow as possible to give him the most streamlined shape.  However, he was riding for a full hour so they still needed to be comfortable for him to rest his arms on for the entire duration of the ride.

In order to achieve this, the parts were printed in metal allowing his team to make small changes right up to the final days before the race and customise the parts as they saw fit.  Building in metal ensured that the handlebars were light enough so as to not provide any unnecessary extra weight, but strong enough to support him throughout the race.  Not content with cars, aeroplanes and medicine, metal sintering is now making its mark on sport.  It won’t be long before custom printed handlebars become an increasingly common sight in professional cycling and beyond.