Cambridge, Massachusetts based bicycle maker Montague Bikes has adopted 3d printing technology to fabricate a new folding bicycle based on their DirectConnect folding system.
The folding system allows cyclists to easily store their bikes in tight spaces.
Montague Bikes is a specialty bicycle manufacturer that has been around for nearly three decades now. Today they have over 10 different foldable bike models in production that are available in 30 countries, and the company insists the strength of it's bikes are not at all affected by their foldability. They have just transitioned into creating 3D printed bikes last year that made a complete revamp of their folding system.
“We make full size bikes that fold, not folding bikes. You don’t miss out on any of the benefits of high end components, but you have the added benefit of being able to take it with you.” All Montague bikes have been made for athletes with standard wheel sizes and all accessories available. The only difference is that their bikes are easily transported and stored.
Utilizing 3d printing, Montague was able to develop a completely new DirectConnect folding system. This system requires just one quick release on the wheel and a lever of the frame to fold the bike in half.
“The beauty of DirectConnect is that it’s totally hidden. It is tailor made for its use and it was very valuable to use 3D printing to design the prototype and have something in our hands in a matter of hours or days.” Montague explained.
The prototype was made using Shapeways, which produced various scaled plastic prototypes that enabled their engineers to test the folding mechanisms. When their specialists finally got a design that worked it was 3D printed in aluminum so the frame could be tested and welded in place.
“What used to be a month’s long process that cost thousands of dollars can now be done in a week for a couple hundred dollars,” Montague said.
“You have to be able to ride a century (100 mile journey) and not know your bike was folded.”