Revel Bikes has claimed a world first in mountain biking by 3D-printing a thermoplastic carbon fiber mountain bike. They have called it the Rodeo and the project was intended to push the limits of 3D-printing innovation in mountain biking.
3D printing has been making massive inroads into bike design, manufacturers continue to develop the technology to leverage the unique properties that are made possible with the manufacturing process. While Revel is claiming the Rodeo to be the first 3D-printed carbon mountain bike, they aren't the only brand to print a frame as others have already experimented with its capabilities, including Canyon with their sustainable and bizarre-looking 3D-printed alloy MTB concept. Like the Canyon concept bike, Revel says the Rodeo will not be available to buy. Instead, its design and production were simply an exercise in what's possible with modern additive manufacturing. This isn't just a show bike though, Revel says that this bike is a fully-functioning rideable concept.
The Rodeo downhill bike was designed by Jordan Haffener (Revel Bikes Senior Engineer), who worked closely with 3D-printing experts Arevo Inc who partnered with Revel in the production of the frame.
The Rodeo uses Revel's CBF Suspension platform which is designed by Chris Canfield of Canfield Bikes. The Rodeo features 200mm of rear wheel travel and Revel recommends running a 190mm fork.
Revel might have inadvertently got another world first too as the Rodeo must be the only downhill bike that can fit two water bottles, featuring two sets of bosses on the downtube.
Revel says that they opted to design a downhill bike as downhill mountain biking puts a lot of stress on the frame so there is no room for compromises.
"Starting with a DH bike will allow Revel to trickle down what they learn during the R&D process to make the entire process more efficient for future large-scale production of other models, and they hope that starting with such a daunting task will encourage other brands in the industry to explore the potential that this method has to offer. "
Interestingly Revel gives geometry for two different sizes (S1 and S2), which seems odd considering the Rodeo is a one-off concept bike. Revel doesn't currently have a downhill mountain bike in its range, so this might indicate that a commercially available Revel downhill bike could be in the works.
The Rodeo features a 62.7-degree head angle and a 475mm reach on the larger S2 size, reduced to 448cm for the S1. Chainstays are measured at 443mm on both sizes and the bottom bracket drop is 25mm.
It's only a matter of time until 3D-printed bikes become commonplace in the bike industry, whether it's for rapid prototyping or commercial production. Revel hopes that the work they have done with the Rodeo starts the ball rolling to improve processes and reduce inhibitors like high production costs.
3D printing has some huge benefits beyond product design, allowing brands to localize manufacturing and offer more sizing. A good example of this is Atherton Bikes, who have made 3D printing a key part of their business. With their bikes being raced at the highest level, Atherton Bike's 3D-printed titanium-lugged carbon AM.200 downhill bike, AM.150 enduro bike and AM.130 trail bikes are all designed and produced in their Welsh HQ.
For now, 3D printing and additive manufacturing are still in their infancy, however, we expect to see these processes being utilized more in the future.