The Rise and Fall of Arevo’s SuperStrata Bike: What Went Wrong?

By on July 5th, 2023 in Corporate, news

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The SuperStrata 3D printed carbon fiber bike [Source: Arevo]

The Arevo SuperStrata 3D printing bike project seems to be heading in the wrong direction.

Arevo developed a continuous carbon fiber 3D printer, capable of producing incredibly strong parts. Rather than sell the machine to the public, the company decided on a unique business model that involved identifying 3D printable applications and then setting up services to produce them.

Their first example was the SuperStrata bike. This extremely lightweight carbon-fiber bike frame would be custom designed for the rider and then 3D printed on the company’s equipment.

The company has since then branched into several other similar products, such as e-bikes, furniture and scooters, all using a similar approach.

The SuperStrata bike was launched on Indiegogo, a popular crowdfunding service. The campaign was extremely successful, with over US$7M raised from backers seeking to acquire one of the custom carbon fiber bikes. I even considered backing this project myself, but was deterred by the price levels.

But then things seem to have gone south for Arevo on this project.

As it’s been often said, prototypes are easy, but manufacturing is hard. That seems to be the case with the SuperStrata bike. The company has seemingly been unable to deliver goods to backers of the campaign. An inspection of the campaign comments shows an enormous number of very unhappy backers that have not received their bikes.

Some quotes:

“They have conveniently ignored all my emails since the refund amount for the carbon wheels due to me is more than the shipping charges, so now they don’t want to ship the bikes and refund the balance. No response to my emails for weeks now.”

“They are liars. Heidi told me that I would have a refund on the carbon wheels by now, That was in December. She won’t answer my emails now?”

“I placed an order in April 2020 #986 Delivery due date have moved from December 2020, March 2021, Jully 2022, March 2023 then May 2023 I’m asking for a full refund but can’t get any answer from Heidi the Bastards or anyone else at Superstrata.”

That is not to say that no SuperStrata bikes have shipped. There are several who have received the equipment. But then there’s more problems, as this comment suggests:

“Mine arrived on 2 days ago took it to a Cycle specialist to assemble and set up for me they called to say that the bike was not fit for purpose here’s their report.” Customer brought in bike for us to assemble. Immediately noticed quality of paint was very poor. Front disc had a large ding in and still does not run fully true. Main issue was found with rear brake.Post mount bracket does not sit close enough to non drive-side chainstay and as a result cannot set brake up without rubbing…”

That seems to be the other problem, in addition to apparent production issues: the bike design just isn’t that good. This highly detailed review takes the SuperStrata apart and reveals a number of design mistakes. The author, James Huang, writes:

“Arevo may claim to be experts in 3D printing carbon fiber, but the company clearly doesn’t know much about bicycles.”

Finally, I’m reading a report from Saigon News that seems to suggest that production may have stopped entirely. They describe how a US$20M project to set up a manufacturing plant in Vietnam to do “production of 3D printers, software services, and product manufacturing services on 3D printers using carbon fiber polymer materials” has been cancelled.

Saigon News continues:

“The reason for the termination of Arevo Vietnam’s operations is the investor’s inability to produce carbon materials, which has led to increased costs and non-competitive finished products in the market. Furthermore, due to the pandemic, the company is no longer able to sustain its research and development team.”

Things are not looking well for Arevo and its projects.

Via Saigon News, Indiegogo, Arevo and SuperStrata

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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