Bolide F HR 3D is the new name of the bike developed by Pinarello that incorporates 3D printed parts. The Italian brand claims that it is the fastest 3D printed bike in the world, designed specifically for Filippo Ganna and his hour record, the cycling event that consists of covering the greatest possible distance in an hour. The bike’s frame and fork were 3D printed on a metal machine from a Scandium-Aluminum-Magnesium alloy, traditionally used in the aerospace industry.
Additive manufacturing is often involved in cycling, enabling better performance for both professional and amateur riders. The goal is to design optimized, lighter and more comfortable components to enhance the racing experience, regardless of the end goal. The technologies and materials used vary and it is not uncommon to use 3D metal printing or composite processes to provide maximum strength. This is the bet of Pinarello, which has turned to this way of processing the metal.
This process allowed us to introduce new shapes and features that are impossible to replicate.Pinarello
In terms of the frame and fork of the bike, it is a laser fusion process on a powder bed that has been used. Pinarello chose a Scandium-Aluminum-Magnesium alloy, known for its high resistance. “The frame was made up of only five parts, with the front triangle being made in three pieces and the chain stays/tracks in two other pieces,” the company said. “These pieces were individually fabricated and after meticulous cleaning and removal of the brackets. The parts were glued together using an aerospace grade epoxy.” As for the handlebars, they were also 3D-printed but from titanium.
The teams behind this project were greatly inspired by humpback whales, a new proof that biomimicry and 3D printing go hand in hand. They relied on research conducted by the University of Adelaide since 2006, which shows that these whales are able to make very tight turns and large jumps out of the water thanks to their tubercles, i.e. the protuberances located at the front of their fins. These help them to better drain water and therefore reduce drag and improve lift.
Inspired by the fins of these humpback whales, the Adéläide researchers imagined a sinusoidal hydrofoil design on a bicycle frame. They realized that it would reduce the drag on the frame: the ridges imitating tubers allow to generate some kind of vortices between the bumps on the seatpost, thus reducing the separation between the seatpost and the frame. This design would allow the bike to go faster. For Pinarello, this is an important design but not enough so the brand worked with an aerodynamic R&D specialist, NablaFlow. This allowed Pinarello to come up with a unique AeroNodes design to dramatically improve the bike’s aerodynamics.
The new frame has been designed to reduce as much as possible the frontal area also taking advantage of the removal of the 3:1 UCI rule. There have been some substantial gains from making the wheel hubs as well as the bottom bracket (BB) narrower than normal. The BB was narrowed down to 54mm (from 70mm), the wheel hubs from 120mm down to 89mm on the rear, and from 100mm down to 69mm on the front.