Sonny Vu ​​talks 3D printing, e-bikes and more (video)

Sonny Vu ​​runs a company that manufactures carbon fiber composite parts on a large scale. The company is now 3D printing a range of fully customized e-bikes. Sonny is the most engaging person I’ve interviewed for Clean Technica. He’s kind, educated, and caring—so much so that I immediately felt the bike company he runs, Superstrata, needed to be outspoken and enduringly intentional. It is also science based and scientifically oriented.

Sonny Vu ​​at CES. Screenshot of “A Bike Points the Way to a New Way of Manufacturing #CES2022”

Speaking with Sonny, I found more than I expected in terms of sustainable efforts. Along with that, a new twist. I’ve been a cyclist all my life, but found this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride the Superstrata, a bespoke bike. It is more or less like a made-to-measure outfit designed specifically for you. Your height, weight, wingspan and bike fit are literally printed to fit you, your size and your style.

The Superstrata Bike is the world’s first carbon fiber unibody composite bike and e-bike made with 3D printing!

Our conversation went similar to this interview below with Sonny Vu ​​at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. Sonny spoke about the value of the material – originally used for aerospace, drones etc. – and now more geared towards e-bikes, e-mobility products and e-vehicle parts. He explains: “All you need strengthweight to weight ratio ​– and ​you need it right away.

The 3D printing process is relatively quick – around a day – compared to being much longer in other composite processes. “There is no way to set up a composite line and get a sample part in it daytime​. Thisis usually,​ ​w​to one, ayear​.​“

During our personal interview, I felt that Sonny was expressing how many of us feel about living in this bike versus car world. He and I spoke of the same belief and had similar knowledge. What will significantly help overcome the obstacles our children and grandchildren face in this climate-changing world? Mobility without bulky, insulating, large and bulky vehicles.

Human Transit, The photo that explains so much, courtesy of Human Transit.

Back to this bike: another thing I love is the utilitarian beauty and simplicity. Getting the e-bike in a box that the house kitten and I could easily unbox and put together was a modern day dream. It’s still hard to believe that this is a 3D printed bike and didn’t require a trip to the bike shop to assemble.

Custom e-bikes are now possible thanks to cheap 3D printing technology

The job is done. Thanks, kitty, expert help. The 3D printed Superstrata e-bike is fully assembled and charging for its first ride.

Mobility is the key. Most people know that we need clean, fresh air – and clean transportation benefits us everything. And the ability to properly size our transportation needs with custom e-bikes – made possible by cheap 3D printing technology – is one of the best ways to do that.

In a changing landscape, it’s better to have more bike access and protected bike lanes in place, along with less affordable but equally important electric cars, trucks and SUVs. This type of broader mobility gets stuck in traffic rather than squeezing into small spaces. And this one is suitable for the rider. As Kyle suggests,

“Why buy a bike that’s just a hair too small and have to adjust the seat to fit perfectly, when you can just print the perfect bike from the start? That was basically the premise behind Superstrata, and if the nearly $4 million in pre-orders on Indiegogo are any indication e-bike buyers are extremely interested in the proposition.

“3D printing the entire frame in a single pass means there are no additional seams, bolts, adhesives or joints in the frame. This saves weight and cost. increase strength right from the start. Bike customization goes beyond frame size, as Superstrata even offers buyers the ability to customize frame stiffness.

Another thing I would like to share is this notion of “Why an electric bike; why not an ordinary bike? As a young teenager, yes, I ferociously cycled a narrow, winding road for 5-20 miles through hills and small mountains – never dreaming of a battery charge. At that time, no batteries were needed. But in my mid-60s, to drive 20-30 miles through a sprawling city in brutally hot Florida – I could pass out if I didn’t have the battery to make the ride home easy!

Here is some older information about what Sonny and I discussed in terms of viable change for societal mobility issues:


Superstrata was covered on Clean Technica forward by Kyle Field. His August 2020 comment: “Carbon fiber bikes aren’t new, but when the technology combines with 3D printing, things get crazy. It’s crazy awesome, that is.

It’s not just me and Sonny. There are many in Paris who feel this vibe to and from work, the theater, dinner.

I’ll be back with a full bike review—after a few rides on long trails—to tell you how the Superstrata and I travel together. In the meantime, here are some other favorites:


 

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Wiley C. Thompson