I had a chance to take a close look at a prototype of a new superbike project.
Belgium-based Saroléa has an interesting history. Apparently they were originally founded in 1850, 170 years ago, making bicycles. Eventually the company made its way into motorcycles and aero engines. However, the company stalled in the 1960s as they faced stiff competition from Japan.
More recently the brand was taken over by the current group who intend on producing high-performance super bikes, with certain models tweaked for high-level competitions. Their plan is to first demonstrate the super bike at the Isle of Man TT race, an annual race so competitive there are usually several deaths. Eventually they intend on entering the 2021 Le Mans race.
N60 Superbike Specifications
The N60 super bike has some incredible specifications:
0-100mph in 2.8 seconds
0-200mph in 7.0 seconds (Yikes!)
80% battery charge in only 25 minutes (Chademo)
218kg weight (100kg is the battery)
Smaller battery available for racing, can be swapped in one minute
We’re told the superbike is entirely custom components except for the electrical inverter. This meant the project had to perform a considerable amount of prototyping.
That’s where their use of Polymaker’s materials came in. Saroléa in particular had to design a very complex air ducting system to enable the N60 to properly cool itself. They found that producing prototypes in composite materials was far too expensive, but were able to use Polymaker’s PC materials to produce the required parts for fit and airflow testing. The materials provided more than sufficient electrical and chemical resistance to be used in testing.
3D Printing Motorcycle Prototype Parts
This is a very good example of how 3D printing can be used successfully within a product development project. It also demonstrates that just as production parts must be made from specific materials, it’s also frequently the case where the prototypes require engineering properties that are obtained with specific materials. You can’t just make a prototype out of any material.
Saroléa is currently selling the superbike for €80,000 (US$88,000), and they are building them in batches of 20. After each batch is finished, they tweak the design and begin another.