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3D printed titanium road bike

Dutch company Pilot has unveiled the latest development in 3D printed bikes with its Seiren 3D printed 100 percent titanium road bike.

The Seiren represents a turning point for the Dutch company, which established itself in 2013 with the debut of two custom titanium mountain bikes. Just a year later the company began making production titanium bicycles. Now with the Seiren, Pilot [11.0 / C01] has integrated 3D titanium printing into its range of bicycles.

Tim Blankers with Pilot’s 3D printed titanium Seiren road bike

Benefits to the printing process include a thinner wall thicknesses, which results in a lighter and stronger frame without stress points. The Seiren’s frame weight is only 1150 grams compared to the Celes’s 1700 grams. The fully built display bike currently tips the scales at 7.2 kilograms, but Pilot is confident that the Seiren can reach the hallowed 6.8 kg minimum race weight established by cycling’s global governing body with further modifications to the bike’s build.

Printed in Germany in approximately eight hours, each Seiren is first produced in three pieces, which is one of the limitations of current 3D printers. The separate parts are transported to Pilot in The Netherlands where they are assembled. After each piece has undergone surface treatment to smooth over superficial irregularities left behind by the printing process, the pieces are then heat treated to strengthen them. The pieces are bonded with glue and sandblasted to finish. The frame is 100 percent recyclable with minimal waste produced during the manufacturing process.

The seat tube-to-frame connection is the Seiren’s standout – if not attention-grabbing – feature. The S-shaped tube is a deliberate design to accommodate the current state of 3D printing yet Pilot claims it also has performance benefits to yield a cushier ride.

Pilot claims that by producing the Seiren locally, overseas transportation is eliminated, and working conditions can also be more vigilantly monitored and maintained. At the same time, this supports local economies, both directly and indirectly.

In the past, printing bike frames has opened up the possibility of total customization but given the sizing variables and the current state of 3D printers, printing custom bikes may remain aspirational.

“Printing custom bikes has its limits,” said Tim Blankers, marketing and communication manager for Pilot. “We say we make ‘customized mass production’ bikes.”

Instead, the Seiren is “made to order” according to the specific requirements of a customer’s order, which may be misinterpreted if the customer is expecting a custom bike experience. The customer does have some control over the bike’s design, for instance the bike can be printed with a front derailleur mount or not. The pre-production process enables rapid adjustments to personalize the customer journey.

The current version of the Seiren is a prototype that’s slated for a thorough product test in October of this year. The bike will be sold as a complete bike with top-of-the-line groupset options from Campagnolo [11.0 / C08], Shimano [11.0 / A16], and SRAM [12.0 / A18]. Production models of the Seiren will be available at the beginning of 2024. The current suggested retail price for the Seiren is €17,000.

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