Recently Instagram brought us teaser images of a new bike from bespoke bike brand Robot Bike Co. It was a bike one of the brand's founders, Ed, alluded to in our visit last year but aside from saying something very exciting and a little more accessible was on the horizon he was tight-lipped. We contacted him again to extract more info and this time we got lucky and able to bring you news that Robot Bike Co. will soon be selling custom carbon and titanium hardtails using the same 3D printing tech used on their full sussers.
Robot Bike Co. say they are currently in the final stages of development and testing the bike which will be called the R-Zero Platform, they say will be ready for release in early Spring 2018. The R-Zero Platform is essentially a blank canvas for an aggressive hardtail to be built which will weigh around the 2kg (4.4lbs) mark.
Due to the CAD model and construction method, from this blank canvas Robot Bike Co. can produce a hardtail to be fully custom, which includes any wheel size (even 26” if you want), any hub standard, geometry and of course custom sizes, as per the other bikes in the range. Fully custom means that if a bike suited to covering more miles or bikepacking round Europe is more up your street, then the guys at Robot will be more than happy to create it for you.
So, just like the R130 and the R160, the brand's full suss machines, the new hardtail will use titanium additive manufactured lugs coupled with double lap shear Pi joints and carbon tubing. If that all sounds a bit like gobbledygook to you, then check out our feature created with Ed from the brand for more information on the build processes involved.
Robot says "The construction method and material combination comes together to allow the R-ZERO to provide the comfortable and compliant feel of a titanium hardtail coupled with the pedalling efficiency of a carbon fibre frame." We certainly felt an amount of flex and compliance when we rode the R130 and deduced this not to be a bad thing at all, with our tester, Adam, concluding that this constitutional flex in the R130 resulted in more grip on the trail.
The first bike off the press, or out of the printer we should say, is for designer Andy Hawkins. Andy told us his bike, the first prototype, is a 29er with 130mm fork, boost front and rear, with 66 degree head angle, a 74 degree seat angle, 435mm of reach, 420mm chain stays and a 65mm BB drop, all his personal preferences. You can expect features as seen on the full suss bikes too including neat internal cable routing, a threaded bottom bracket and of course, all the engineering beauty you could wish for!
Andy also told us that he is still ironing a few things out with regards to the most effective way to make the titanium lugs so therefore pricing cannot be confirmed, suffice to say it will be cheaper than their full suspension frames.
Stay tuned for more info and a test ride, plus keep up to date on Robot Bike Co.'s Instagram!
You might also like: