The first Métier Vélo Mountain Bike is a collaboration with Poly-Shape, an additive manufacturing company based in Salon-de-Provence, France. As it happens, Salon-de-Provence is near the famous Roc d’Azur mountain bike festival—races, rides, and bikes—from 4-8 October 2017, and Poly-Shape will be there with the Métier Vélo MTB!
I hate seatposts. Hate them. They slip, creak, sieze, and the collar bolts have a bad habit of breaking at inconvenient times (who carries around a spare 5mm allen bolt? I’m racing, that’s 2 extra grams!). Speaking of extra grams, seatposts are heavy: manufacturers always claim low weights, but when you measure, they are always 250g or more. Seatposts don’t hold your seat very well, especially single-bolt designs, I once rode 140 miles in a race with numb…well, lets just say the saddle angle slipped after I hit a pothole hard early in the pre-dawn dimness. AND seatposts are hard to adjust; usually it is impossible to adjust the angle without messing up the fore-aft. Don’t get me started on the side-clamp designs—they only accommodate one type of rail, and it is always the wrong type. 7mm? 10mm?—AND they catch on the insides of your shorts.
Thus, I am pleased to offer the Métier Vélo Micro-Adjusting Saddle Mount (MASM).
I believe I have solved all of the problems associated with mounting one’s saddle to one’s bicycle securely, and adjusting it easily so that it stays put in the correct position. No more numb, well, TMI. Plus the MASM looks nice. Sort of like an upsidedown sock. The MASM has the following features:
The only problem is the price: currently (2016) $3,000 made to order or $2,800 option on a Métier Vélo frame. I wish I could give them away because I think everyone should have one.
For much of 2015, I’ve been working with GPI Prototype & Manufacturing Services, Inc. to optimize lug design for titanium 3D printing. Designs needed to be optimized for shape, amount of material, and build orientation; GPI was very generous with time and expertise in helping come up with the final lug shapes and other designs. They have been excellent to work with and the quality of the titanium prints continues to exceed my expectations. Titanium printing is pricey, and GPI has worked hard to help reduce the cost of a set of parts by approximately 40%, putting Métier Vélo bicycles in the same price bracket as a top-end manufactured bike from Trek or Cannondale.
In addition to bicycle lugs, GPI prints rocket engines, implanted medical devices, among many other cool things. You can learn about GPI in this video (keep an eye out at 36s for a Métier Vélo head tube lug in production).
Here are some of the final lugs after printing and cleanup:
3D printing describes a number of new manufacturing techniques that build a part by adding raw material one layer at a time to the three dimensional design. One advantage of 3D printing is that it allows complex shapes and details (such as cable guides and internal bracing) that can’t be achieved by machining (removing material from a billet) or molding. Métier Vélo uses two 3D printing processes: one for plastic and one for titanium. Printers that make things in plastic are relatively inexpensive so Métier Vélo has its own; the machines that print in titantium are expensive, big, and complex, so for printing the final titanium parts I send the final designs out for production
In the shop, I use a MakerBot 2X to rapidly produce plastic prototypes. It prints in durable ABS plastic, so I also use the 2x to produce usable custom plastic parts. Once I have a final design, I send it to GPI Prototype for production in 6/4 titanium. There are important differences between printing in plastic and titanium, and GPI has been super-helpful in making sure Métier Vélo designs produce top-quality parts in titanium.
Below are a few photos to give you an idea of the process:
What builders and brain surgeons should have in common
The topic of this post has been keeping me up at night so I am going to get it off my chest. One of my upcoming builds is (of course) a disc-brake gravel bicycle (gravé, not pavé, no grinding here, just floating over the washboard like The Professor over cobbles). Everyone wants one. The data are clear that a disc brake bike should have thru-axles to control frame flex during braking; the rear thru-axle is essentially part of the frame (the front thru-axle is part of the fork). I designed custom rear thru-axle dropouts to accept the Syntace X-12 axle and a derailleur compatible with Shimano/SRAM road and SRAM cyclocross derailleurs. When I was at NAHBS 2015, one of the first bicycles to catch my attention was the Broken Arrow Cyclocross Bicycle by No22 Bicycles because it also uses a Syntace X-12 thru-axle. It was tricky to design a road hangar for the X-12 system, so I was eager to see No22’s take on the problem. However, I was disappointed: The Broken Arrow uses a standard X-12 hangar that was designed for a subset of mountain bike derailleurs, not the SRAM Force CX1 derailleur. At this point, you may have labelled me a obsessive quibbler, but being an obsessive quibbler is important in certain contexts: like brain surgery, flying an airliner, and framebuilding. The rest of this post is about:
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