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by Dave Rome
November 8, 2019
Photography by Dianne Manson & Bastion
Late last month British Cycling revealed a wild-looking track bike it had developed (with Lotus and Hope Technology) with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in mind. Australia mightn’t have an eye-catching new bike for its Olympic track campaign (not yet, anyway), but it does have some fascinating new components, developed in partnership with boutique Australian bike brand, Bastion.
An undisputed early innovator of 3D-printed titanium in the cycling industry, Bastion has worked with Cycling Australia to create three new titanium components for the national track team. The stems, Madison handlebars and cranksets were all designed to fit the team’s Argon 18 Electron Pro bikes.
Bastion recently invested in its own in-house 3D printer and made its design and manufacturing services available to others. All three of the new track components are made with 3D-printed titanium (Laser Power Bed Fusion) and feature variable wall thicknesses and Bastion’s internal structural lattice.
While the components are claimed to out-perform composites in strength-to-weight ratio, the big benefit with 3D-printed titanium is one of total customisation — each stem, handlebar and crank can be sized and optimised for an individual athlete, all without the need for expensive tooling or moulds.
Pictured is an example of the lattice structure made possible through additive manufacturing (3D printing). This is a titanium mountain bike dropout made by Bastion for Prova Cycles.
The track crank is said to be “aerodynamically superior with class-leading stiffness.” It offers a large airfoil shape which seamlessly blends into the chainring spider. The crank spindle itself is made of titanium, while the available crank lengths range from 160 to 180mm.
Built for track bunch events, the Madison bars offer a unique double-drop shape that’s designed to offer several riding positions in an effort to improve rider control and stability, all while helping with aerodynamics. Stem length, angle, and handlebar width are all customised for the athlete in question.
As raced by Sam Welsford, the Madison handlebar features a truly unique shape that would be difficult (or extremely costly) to achieve with other manufacturing processes. (Image: Dianne Manson)
The sprint stems are designed to be a direct fit for the fork of the Electron Pro, and go in place of the stock pursuit bars. The stems will be available in lengths up to 160mm, in various stack heights and angles between +17/-17 degrees.
While Bastion and Cycling Australia are being tight-lipped about how much improvement the components offer, Bastion’s press release states that “significant amounts of wind tunnel and real-world testing [have] confirmed the efficiency of the components and subsequent performance improvements.” However, Bastion does give all credit for those aerodynamic designs and concepts to Cycling Australia’s own contracted engineers.
The new components will be raced at this year’s Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup series in order to be approved for racing next year.
Another angle of the new 3D titanium printed crank.
A close look reveals the new 3D printed stem in use, too. Image credit: Dianne Manson
The Madison bars are noticeably different to bars that are more commonly used. Image credit: Dianne Manson