HackSpace magazine

3D printed bike

By Andrew Gregory. Posted

Fans of 1980s motorbike crime-fighting nonsense, Street Hawk, will love this: it’s a (almost) completely 3D-printed electric motorbike designed by NOWlab, and printed by Berlin-based additive manufacturing company, BigRep.

Obviously, if you were to print a full-scale Triumph Bonneville and expect it to work, you’d be sorely disappointed the first time you fired up the engine and the frame collapsed. So, rather than being a conventional motorbike that just happens to be made of 3D-printed parts, the NERA is full of newly engineered parts, optimised to work with additive manufacturing.

First up, there are the airless tyres – these use a hexagonal lattice to provide a compromise between flexibility and strength, and to stand up to the forces of braking and acceleration.

Instead of forks to steer the front wheel, there are eight pivot joints, increasing contact between the front wheel attachment and the rest of the frame. And, instead of conventional suspension with springs and dampers, there’s a flexible bumper to absorb vibration caused by uneven road surfaces. Including an electric motor, battery, and all other components such as lights, the bike weighs just 60 kg – it’s also completely customisable, so can be adapted to fit smaller riders.

We don’t have any information on performance or range, but really, if you had one of these you’d probably just hang about in front of the Reichstag at dusk: lead designers Marco Mattia Cristofori and Maximilian Sedlak have done a cracking job making this look the stuff of cyberpunk dreams.

Sadly, the NERA isn’t available to paying customers just yet, but a functional vehicle made from 100% printed parts shows the amazing potential of the technology. We can’t wait!


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