Can you imagine riding a bike that is designed completely differently than the one we know today? Well, German designer Stephan Heinrich has brought this idea to life using additive manufacturing. The Infinity is a concept that could break the rules of design as we know them today. It is an all-wheel drive bike that at first glance seems like an idea of the future, but it could be closer than we think. Although the marvel of modern engineering is currently still in the concept stage, 3D printing has made it possible to bring the idea of this bike to life and prove its long-term viability.
It is not the first time that 3D printing and bicycles have come together in a project, especially in the development of parts. In general, this technology allows the production of optimized bicycle frames to reduce the final weight of the bicycles. In this case, however, 3D printing played a completely different role than what we are used to. It was used to build the small prototype of this revolutionary all-wheel drive concept bike. However, it remains to be seen if the idea will be realized and if 3D printing will be used to make some of the parts.
The 3D printed bicycle prototype
The all-wheel drive bike would have a monotypic chain system that forms a temporary tire on the wheel sections and a toothed belt drive in the inner spline. The method by which the bike is powered is on the center wheel, as the crank generates the power needed to move the wheels. Thus, the bicycle is started with the help of the short chain and an 8-speed gear lever, which is not comparable to that of conventional bicycles. Heinrich used selective laser sintering technology from manufacturer Sintratec to develop this small-scale prototype.
The bike’s name, “The Infinity”, comes from the structure of the four-wheel drive itself, which is shaped like the infinity symbol. As for damping, Heinrich says the 3D-printed bike will have independent front and rear suspension. This will allow the bike to adapt to and handle all kinds of bumps. The designer is still working on the development of this concept, but he is sure that it could revolutionize the market and break current design norms. “If the necessary funds are raised and strategic manufacturing partners support the project, the bike could soon go from concept to prototype and then to a commercially viable product for the masses.” He concluded. Regardless of what the future holds for this idea, we’ll keep you posted on any new developments.
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*Cover photo credits: Stephan Henrich