The Airbus Group casts a wide net across the globe, and one of its subsidiaries just made the history books. APWorks, the additive layer manufacturing (ALM) branch of the Airbus tree, revealed the world’s first 3-D printed motorcycle on May 20th, 2016, in Ottobrunn, Germany, and it is certainly unique under the sun. While the overall shape of the “Light Rider” is more or less, motorcycle-like in appearance, the frame and swingarm look almost like a trophy on a Predator ship, which is to say it looks like some alien exoskeleton with the meat flayed off. APWorks designed an algorithm to engineer the frame to withstand the stresses of road use, and the resulting “bionic structure” looks very organic indeed.

Continue reading for more on the APWorks Light Rider.

Airbus Reveals Its Newest Aircraft? No, It's a {Motorcycle}!
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APWorks used Scalmalloy, a proprietary, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy it claims is “literally” as strong as titanium, and laid up the frame members one 60-micron layer at a time. The members are hollow, which not only keeps the bike light, but it also keeps it clean with all cables and wired routed internally and out of casual view.

This process yields a frame that weighs in at a mere 26.4 pounds, and an overall weight of only 77 pounds. In keeping with its futuristic bent, the Light Rider uses a 6-kilowatt electric motor for propulsion that cranks out up to 95.8 pound-feet of torque, provides a top speed that’s just a hair South of 50 mph and can deliver a range of up to around 40 miles out of the rechargeable/exchangeable battery pack.

Airbus Reveals Its Newest Aircraft? No, It's a {Motorcycle}!
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To be fair, this isn’t quite enough to serve as much of a commuter bike, but I would point out that these are the same folks that just built and flew an electric airplane across the English channel, so I expect improvements to come in leaps and bounds if development continues.

For the now, APWorks offers the opportunity to own a piece of history and pre-order one of 50 Light Riders scheduled for production this year. The price is a little steep at 50,000 Euros, something the manufacturer will have to improve upon if it makes a serious bid for a slice of the burgeoning ’lectric-bike market, but this is a glimpse of what’s possible with sound programming and 3D printer technology.

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Source: APWorks Light Rider

TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
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