Most of the great things begin out of passion and knowledge. The same was in NIRI Grips case. Passionate off-road riders – Riccardo, mechanical engineer and Andrea, the medical doctor with interest in the modern technologies used in sports, decided to improve the quality of extreme biking. Combination of their experience and skills paved the way to produce 3d printed, vibration absorbing bike grips. During the prototyping process, they met Sinterit, producer of desktop 3d printers operating in selective laser sintering (SLS) technology.
For extreme bikers, shock absorbance is crucial. According to the report “A prospective study of downhill mountain biking injuries,” forearm injuries are among one of the most common. For Andrea and Ricardo it was crucial to find a way to protect athletes against those injuries.
Implementing the changes in bicycle hardware, replacing some typical parts for other, more shock absorbance could improve quality of biking, make this experience better and healthier. In this case, NIRI founders believed that bike grips were the parts, which needed to be improved at the beginning. They transmit the most oppressive forces. Using 3D printing, one of the most innovative technology in the 21st century would benefit in redesigning bike grips and changing the whole experience.
One of the fundamental aims of the 3d printing industry is to change things easier, faster and in the most affordable way. One of the earliest application of additive manufacturing was rapid prototyping. You can quickly fabricate models and test it before the real production starts. But for some companies, 3d printed models could be the end products; customization enabled. The same was with NIRI Grips.
The idea behind NIRI Grips is personalization. You can find the product that matches your needs the most. Depending on your weight and experience, you can choose the unique solution, tailored for you. Until now, there was a lot of rubber bike grips, which would only prevent our hands to slip down the handlebar. Now you can go one step forward, and get a solution that will also absorb vibrations that are natural during the off-road biking.
– We collected and analyzed data and compared many different products and prototypes until we felt we made it. Than we found the optimum absorbing behavior for different riding conditions (heavier or lighter people, riding level, terrain type) – says Andrea.
– From a backyard to a small operational headquarter we made our way to make our idea come true, we tested day by day on the field, doing what we like to do, following a dream – says Riccardo. – We built a testing machine, to keep progressing even when the weather was too bad to get out and test and to speed up the process… few minutes on this test bench could reproduce a day riding – he adds.
Thanks to SLS 3d print, the final products are not only durable but very light as well. Unconventional possibilities of SLS printing helps to make solid lightweight, lattice structures (only 49 grams each), hard to make if not utterly impossible in other technologies. Their shock absorbing capabilities converts them into a final product shortly after print. But for many years SLS printing was reserved only for big, wealthy companies. Industrial printers cost more than 100K $ and to fill them with printing powder you need to spend a few thousand more every time you print. Thanks to desktop models, like Sinterit Lisa, you can have a printer for about 5000 euro. And the printout is still industrial quality. With that, the real revolution begins.
– In Sinterit we believe that human creation is unlimited and from the start of our company this idea was our driving force. Producing 3d printers in a game-changing technology, available to everyone who has a remarkable, unique concept – says Konrad Głowacki, one of Sinterit’s co-founders. – NIRI Grips are a role model of that philosophy. I am grateful that we could print some early models of this remarkable grips, that will surely change the off-road riding quality – adds Głowacki.
Now, NIRI Grips are on Kickstarter, looking for the first customers of their revolutionary product. You can support it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/624037227/niri-grips-vibrations-absorbing-bike-grips