3D Printed BicyclesConsumer ProductsMass CustomizationSports Equipment

Fizik launches fully customized 3D printed bike saddles

One-to-One saddles are customized based on pressure map data

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In the past few years, bicycle saddles have emerged as a consumer product that is ripe for optimization through additive manufacturing. Since saddles function as the main interface between bicycle and rider, their design and construction has a huge influence on rider comfort and performance. 3D printing, and particularly Carbon’s DLS 3D printing, has presented cycling companies with a new solution for creating cutting-edge saddles that are optimized for comfort through data-driven padding via lattice design.

Italian company Fizik has emerged as a key innovator in the field of 3D printed bike saddles, having teamed up with Carbon in 2019 to bring its Adaptive 3D printed saddle to market. Now, the company is taking the next step in its product evolution by offering fully customized 3D printed bike saddles. This new offering, known as the One-to-One saddle, leverages rider pressure map data in the generation of custom lattices, which are then brought to life using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology.

Fizik one-to-one 3D printed bike saddle

Central to this customizable saddle is Fizik’s collaboration with GebioMized, a German company that specializes in bike fitting and pressure map data. Together, the companies engineered a system to gather pressure map data from individual riders on which to base the custom saddle design. This system, which consists of a pressure sensor mat, captures dynamic pressure data, meaning that pressure measurements are taken while the rider is both stationary and in motion. The pressure sensor mat is placed on a saddle and can measure pressure at 64 points across the saddle’s surface. This approach goes beyond more traditional cycling measurement tools, which measure sit bone distance and sacrum angle, as it is based on the actual sitting position on the bike and gathers vital data on peak pressure identifiers, pressure hotspots and pelvic tilt.

“We know that a good, accurate fit depends on many factors: bike geometry, intended use, saddle shape, and position,” explains Giovanni Fogal, Brand Manager at Fizik. “But most importantly every cyclist is unique: experience, sensitivity, history of injuries, body shape, riding goals. All of this can affect the way we sit on the saddle. It’s clear that a traditional one-to-many saddle design can only provide an approximate solution to very specific problems. With One-to-One today we achieve what every saddle manufacturer has always dreamed of: bringing to life customized support available to every cyclist.”

Fizik one-to-one 3D printed bike saddle

Customers can have their pressure map data captured on their own bikes. Retailers that offer One-to-One simply have to mount the bike on a roller and guide the rider through the One-to-One fit session using a mobile app. After answering a series of questions about the current bike setup and saddle position, the customer then rides in an array of positions, including drop position and on the handlebar tops, and pressure data is recorded. Results are then cross-checked and processed into a pressure chart that shows the mean pressure across the saddle, comparisons of pressure in different zones, the maximum pressure points and more.

This first round of data tells Fizik what shape of saddle the rider is best suited for and from there the customer undergoes more data gathering with the recommended saddle shape. This round of pressure data is then used to inform the design of the 3D printed padding structure, which is customized to the rider’s load pattern,  pressure hotspots and instabilities.

Fizik one-to-one 3D printed bike saddle

Of course, it would be incredibly time consuming to manually design or alter each rider’s bike saddle, so Fizik is employing Carbon’s Custom Production Software to automate the design of the customized saddles. Specifically, the software converts pressure data into an elastomeric lattice design for the saddle’s topper. Depending on the rider data, the software will generate more cushioned areas using thinner lattice struts and denser areas using thicker struts.

This software and Carbon’s scalable DLS technology have been central to Fizik’s new product offering, as they enable a degree of mass customization that would previously have been impossible using manual design processes. Once printed, the custom saddles are inspected and assembled by a team of experts at Fizik before being shipped to the client. Once the 3D printed saddle has been mounted on the rider’s bike, they can go back to their cycling retailer to capture new pressure data and compare the difference. Fizik’s new One-to-One offering launches today and is available through a selection of retailers.

Research
Consumer Products AM 2024

1,346 polymer and metal AM companies and 143 end-users. Consumer products AM generated $2.6 billion in 2023. Segment expected to grow to $28 billion by 2033 at 26.8% CAGR. This new market study fro...

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