The German company, Urwahn Bikes, has designed an award-winning 3D-printed Gravel E-Bike called Waldwiesel. It has since won multiple awards including Red Dot Design Awards 2021 and European Design Award.
In recent years, 3D printing has rapidly advanced from mere prototyping to fully functional consumer products such as prosthetics, shoes, clothing, and even bicycle parts. The 3D printing technology and material improvements continue to evolve into larger, stronger, and durable prints.
The bicycle frame without a seat tube is not new as we have covered in another post. In 1992, Kestrel produced the Kestrel 500 with a monocoque frame. In 2020, Superstrata launched a successful Indiegogo campaign for their 3D-printed unibody frame using thermoplastic carbon fiber composites. However, the Waldwiesel and Superstrata are both E-bikes, which are entirely different from the Kestrel.
Unlike the Superstrata which is 3D-printed thermoplastic carbon fiber composites, the Waldwiesel is more advanced and using 3D-printed steel.
|The highly complex and thin-walled connecting elements of our innovative Urahn steel frame are realized using state-of-the-art 3D printing technology. |
Applying the generative laser melting process (Selective Laser Melting), the connecting elements are built up in a powder bed of previously atomized, high-strength steel in layers. The individual metal layers are selectively fused using a powerful laser.
By implementing 3D printing into the manufacturing process of our complex connector parts we have accomplished a very short production time and bypassed the need for costly tools. Additionally, this enables us to avoid any restrictions regarding part geometry. The result can be seen in the many integrated technical gadgets, like our LED light system. For this reason, we are proud to call ourselves technology pioneers of the bicycle industry, which we back by setting many technical standards.
Power and Speed
The Waldwiesel has a 250Wh battery with a maximum range of 80km per charge, and a range extender of 208Wh which can be mounted at the bottle cage which extends the range by another 60km. The maximum speed is 25km/h which is similar to most E-bikes.
Drivetrain and Brakes
The Waldwiesel uses belt chain drive instead of the usual steel chain drive, which is quieter,
The rear cog is a single speed. Both front and rear wheels use disc brakes for the best efficiency.
Related Post: Compare Folding Electric Bikes Without Throttle
Certification of Waldwiesel
In 3D printing, there is a question about the strength and durability of the material used. For riding, it should undergo environmental tests similar to the MIL-STD-810 (like the Hummingbird) which may include vibration and jolt tests. Such tests should be conducted over long distances on tracks and uneven roads to simulate vibrations. This is to verify if the 3D printed material will weaken or fail under fatigue.
In cooperation with EFBE Prüfinstitut, we have put our innovative steel frame to the test per international safety standard DIN ISO 4210 (Safety Requirements for Bicycles). The test series included five different load case scenarios, in which a 10-year product use with vertical and horizontal force influences of over 100 kg was simulated. Our Urwahn steel frame has passed all test series without restrictions. Especially our rear triangle clearly showed its elastic properties during the test series, which guarantees you more riding comfort and dynamics in the urban jungle.
– Urwahn Bikes
Apparently, the bike is certified to conform to the relevant ISO standards for Safety Requirements for Bicycles. This takes the worry off our minds and adds a tick to our checklist. All is good.
Below is the essay from the European Award:
|Urwahn Bikes has designed the first 3D-printed Gravel E-Bike and taking outdoor mobility to a whole new level of biking. We have fully exploited the potential of 3D printing technology. Therefore the innovative frame design of the Waldwiesel is unparalleled and especially the elastic rear end guarantees flexibility for unique riding comfort. |
Paired up with numerous technical refinements, such as GPS tracking, integrated LED light units and even an inconspicuously integrated powerful electric drive, makes hunting through the woods with the Waldwiesel a visual and functional pleasure.
With an interdisciplinary composition from Designjunkies, CAD-Jongleuren, mark virtuosos, customer magnets, slide rules & code lovers we succeeded in symbiosis from various authorities, which mutual respect and estimate each other.
We strive for perfection and live the beauty and simplicity down to the smallest detail.
Source: European Product Design Award