It had to happen – someone, somewhere had to create a motorcycle with a 3D printer.
Well it has happened and the credit goes to APWorks, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus – the European aeronautics giant responsible for many of the planes we travel in.
APWorks unveiled its “Light Rider” in Germany this week, a lightweight electric powered machine that can be used for daily city driving and commuting.
The bike is incredibly light and weighs just 35kg.
It’s powered by a 6kW electric motor and is capable of a top speed of 80km/h.
It doesn’t appear to have a great range, with one report giving it about 65km. That should be sufficient for commuting, but that’s about all.
However, once the battery is depleted, you can do a straight swap with a replacement so the bike can be up and running again instantly.
It’s certainly an odd looking bike.
The frame looks more like an organic exoskeleton than a machine, and overall it looks more like a mountain bike than a motorcycle.
The bike is 3D printed using Scalmalloy® material, a second-generation aluminum-magnesium-scandium alloy the company claims is virtually as strong as titanium.
Each part is made up of thousands of layers of the material only 60 microns (0.06mm) thick, melted together with the 3D laser.
The material and process allowed APWorks to create hollow rather than solid frame parts, which made it easier to hide most of the cables and other elements that might be more visible on a standard motorcycle.
APWorks plans on doing a limited production run of the bike, with just 50 available.
They’re not cheap – around $77,000 Australian.
What’s probably more important about this bike than its performance, weight or even that it’s electric, is that a company has shown the capabilities of 3D printing and that’s something we can expect to see more of in the motorcycle industry in the not too distant future.