Bridge Bike Works isn’t simply any bicycle startup. Quite than design one thing and outsource the engineering, manufacturing, portray, and meeting, they opted to create all of that capability in-house, in a model new manufacturing facility.

Based mostly in Toronto, Canada, BRIDGE has been quietly constructing, testing, and iterating on the design for his or her first mannequin, the Surveyor all-road bike. With a wholesome recruitment of former Cervelo engineers and seasoned designers to the founders’ deep expertise in biking retail, distribution, becoming, and constructing, plus manufacturing and composites trade information, they’re near launch.

I visited their headquarters and manufacturing facility to see how they’ve put all of it collectively…

Probably the most spectacular strategy to enter isn’t by the workplace doorways. There, you’ll discover the standard sectioned-off rooms, desks, and computer systems.

The higher manner is for them to roll up the double-sized supply door and reveal the impeccably clear workshop. They’ve assembled a small machine store with a HAAS CNC vertical mill because the powerhouse, and different machines and instruments together with presses, bandsaws, handbook mills, and even a small CMM (tolerance validation station) desk.

bridge bike works factory tour - bar stock for tooling

Aluminimum bar inventory ready to be reduce and machined into tooling for body manufacturing.

bridge bike works factory tour - tooling machinery

The equipment, properly researched and scavenged off the secondary market to protect capital, permits them to obtain uncooked aluminum bar inventory and machine it into the molds, inserts, mandrels and tooling wanted to provide the carbon fiber body tubes and joints on web site.

freezer for storing prepreg carbon fiber rolls

Pre-preg (quick for carbon fiber that’s impregnated with epoxy) rolls in the identical bay door and goes straight into the freezer till it’s wanted.

At room temperature, the resin contained in the uncooked carbon sheets will slowly remedy -first it’ll soften and get cheesy, then harden and grow to be unusable- so it’s saved at -20ºC (-4ºF) till it’s wanted.

bridge bike works factory tour - plotter and carbon cutting table

The sheets are reduce into smaller shapes on this Autometrix reducing desk inside a good cleaner room. This room is saved air-tight with sticky mats on the entrance to drag any mud and dust off the underside of your sneakers as you stroll in.

It’s additionally local weather managed, in order that they pull the carbon rolls in right here in a single day to melt to the best degree for reducing the subsequent morning. If it will get too heat and cheesy, it may well’t actually be reduce or assembled correctly, so this lets them stage it.

The CNC reducing desk permits for precision shapes in addition to optimizing materials utilization. All scraps are saved to them be used as chopped carbon fiber for his or her dropouts.

After the carbon is reduce into the required items, it’s kitted in batches and put again within the freezer to allow them to pull out simply what’s wanted to make an element. Or, it goes straight over to the tables to be wrapped round a mandrel or bladder in the event that they’re prepared for manufacturing.

bridge bike works factory tour - 3d printed molds and mandrels

3D printers kind the mandrels that the pre-preg is wrapped round, in addition to laminating guides (proven above and beneath). Additionally they 3D print elements and a few instruments prior to creating them in metallic, “de-risking” a number of the product improvement.

Not solely may this allow them to supply customized geometry sooner or later, it makes it very easy for them to tweak the designs and check new shapes and layups throughout improvement. It’s additionally a lot quicker and cheaper than outsourcing it or making them out of metallic.

bridge bike works factory tour - 3d printed molds and mandrels

For sophisticated elements just like the headtube, BB, and seat/prime tube junctions, these 3D-printed pre-forms or mildew guides are used to help the laminators. With a stuffed up latex bladder, the laminator can wrap pre-preg round it and customarily make the form of the half.

Nonetheless, slightly than utilizing a 200+ pound mildew, these types make it simple for his or her composites specialists to work with and make sure the correct match into the precise mildew. As soon as all of the carbon is laid up, the bladder is then emptied and the bladder and laid-up carbon are positioned into the mildew. Air is then pumped into the bladder to offer strain onto the mildew haves and the mildew is positioned right into a heated press.

bridge bike works factory tour - 3d printed molds and mandrels

For straight tubes, The mandrels are wrapped with a non-stick movie, then wrapped with carbon. This lets them simply slip the mandrels out after the tubes are molded.

bridge bike works factory tour - aluminum molds for carbon bike manufacturing

As soon as prepped, the tubes and joints are positioned contained in the molds and air tubes are run to inflate a bladder and press the carbon outward, which is important for evaluating the carbon to form it and successfully make all of the layers one piece.

Small slits known as resin channels give the surplus resin someplace to go, which finally ends up as “flashing” that’s simply sanded off after the tube has cured.

bridge bike works factory tour - heat press

The software, or mildew, is then put right into a warmth press, the place strain and temperature are managed to heat and soften the resin whereas all carbon layers are compacted to create a stable piece.

Notice how a lot open house there’s of their manufacturing facility. As they develop, they’ll merely add machines to extend manufacturing quantity. They could even open up manufacturing for different manufacturers (years from now) who need to transfer some or all of their carbon bicycle manufacturing to North America.

Bridge is even making their very own forks for the Surveyor, which they’ll additionally supply to different body builders.

bridge bike works factory tour - carbon fiber bicycle head tube

Every Bridge Surveyor headtube has about 70 distinctive items of carbon fiber.

The elements are impressively clean inside and outside. The design of the elements lets all the tubes be sleeved collectively, then bonded and overwrapped to attach them.

Whereas this isn’t as light-weight as a one- or two-piece monocoque body, it affords a number of benefits. First, they’ll produce fewer distinctive primary tubes, merely trimming them to size to suit the assorted body sizes provided. So, fewer manufacturing and tooling elements saves time, cash and house.

bridge bike works factory tour - carbon frame parts ready to be assembled

Second, and extra importantly, it lets them use the absolute best manufacturing technique for every specific half with out having to compromise wherever.

Headtubes, backside bracket junctions, and many others., are greatest molded with a customized bladder as a result of it may well develop inside to correctly fill the extra complicated shapes. Straighter tubes like a downtube or head tube can simply be made with stable mandrels that may be slid out after laminating and changed with a particular diameter bag for correct compaction.

bridge bike works factory tour - frame assembly workstand

As soon as all of the elements are made, they’re put into this Benchmark framebuilding jig for meeting. These jigs dial in all the obligatory geometry particulars for every measurement. Bridge has additionally created customized elements to index every essential tube to make sure good alignment at each step.

bridge bike works factory tour - frame assembly workstand

bridge bike works factory tour - frame assembly workstand

After tubes are overwrapped with carbon, every joint is wrapped with a vacuum bag and/or compression tape and put into an oven to compress and remedy them to create the body, nevertheless it’s not completed but.

bridge bike works factory tour - painting and sanding booths

Within the again nook are two sealed chambers with doorways product of filters. On the left is the paint sales space, and on the best is the reducing and sanding sales space.

bridge bike works factory tour - painting booth

A massively outsized Duroair system pulls air out of the rooms (therefore the filter-screened doorways to let contemporary air in), conserving all mud and overspray out of the power. It even UV cleans and charcoal filters the air, so staff are respiration fantastically clear air and so they don’t have to fret about capturing all the expelled air.

As soon as the whole body comes out of the oven and has completed cooling and curing, the now utterly purposeful body must be prepped for paint. The overwraps are full of top-end aerospace grade filler and sanded clean earlier than going into the paint sales space.

bridge bike works factory tour - autoclave

Additionally they have an autoclave, which isn’t in use… but. They are saying it may turn out to be useful for future element manufacturing.

For now, it simply appears to be like cool.

bridge bike works factory tour - impact test jig

Their affect testing jig let’s them check body sections for 2 primary ISO 4210 requirements: Falling Mass, and Failing Body. These assessments are essential to move for security and to insure it’s as much as requirements earlier than sending out frames for extra complete lifecycle testing with a 3rd celebration.

For this check, a really inflexible metallic fork and having the top- and down-tubes each locked into place, it places nearly all the power from a falling weight into the headtube. If it passes assessments like this, there’s nearly no manner that very same power may really break the body whereas driving, the place there’s fork flex and human flex taking on extra of the affect forces.

The important thing for many of those assessments is that issues received’t catastrophically fail beneath a tough, blunt affect. And so they’re normally measured at forces that might in all probability eject you from the bike earlier than it broke anyway.

bridge bike works factory tour - prototype bike

Right here’s their first rideable check bike. Cables are taped outdoors the body right here, however will run totally internally on manufacturing bikes. They’ve put all kinds of riders of all talent ranges and dimensions and shapes on it to get totally different suggestions that’s gone into refining the layup.

This prototype has already been ridden a number of thousand miles, with rider suggestions despatched to the design and engineering staff for refinements which have gone into their subsequent spherical of preproduction testers.

bridge bike works factory tour - surveyor all road bike

Right here’s what the completed product will appear like, with a number of element builds and choices accessible. Select from pure street to extra gravel-focused builds, benefiting from their 40mm tire clearance (which they are saying is near trade main for a “street” bike). Examine the total tech particulars in our launch publish to see all of the little particulars.

bridge bike works factory tour - color choices for all road bike

They’ll supply 5 colours, all of them painted with Cerakote…which is an attention-grabbing a part of the event course of in itself.

They are saying an entire Cerakote paint job will solely add 60g, versus a mean of 150-200g (or extra) for paint. And it’s more durable and longer lasting, and doubtlessly much more eco-friendly. However they’ve been working with Cerakote for some time to get the method proper, testing base coats, and extra.

bridge bike works logo painting

This portray within the lobby illustrates the emblem. Whereas it resembles a motorcycle, too, it is smart of the title Bridge…and is a reasonably killer piece of artwork painted by a BRIDGE buyer.

Need to hear extra about their enterprise and bikes? Hearken to my podcast interview with the founders, and pre-order your frameset or bike on their web site to get in early. BRIDGE expects manufacturing bikes to be rolling out of their facility in October 2022!

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