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In the fast paced world of professional cycling, product development is at the forefront of the challenge to extract additional seconds. New ideas, materials and shapes are constantly being researched and developed in order to make ever more competitive machinery. Such development requires time-efficient processes in design, tooling and manufacturing, where Penso have significant experience.

Our client wanted to realise a downhill racing mountain bike using low investment tooling and alloy materials. Product volumes would be very small, as these bikes would only be produced for use at the very top level of competitive cycling. This implied that tooling investments were to be minimised without compromising on the design efficiency or perceived quality. Using computer aided engineering, Penso are able to create a finite element model of the space the frame should occupy. Input loads taken from the real world are parameterised into constraints for a numerical optimisation to take place. The optimisation process helps the Penso simulation team understand the work the frame structure must do and indicates suitable sizes and shapes of structural members. Next, the design is further constrained to suit a rapid manufacturing process, ensuring the design remains feasible. The optimisation result is then interrogated further using non linear tools to assess the frames durability performance, before the resulting design is transferred into a CAD model for manufacturing.

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The resulting frame proved resistant to the design and durability loads, and was able to be manufactured within project cost targets. The final bike has gone on to have great success in competitions across Europe.

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