3D scanning technology has been used by the Italian national cycling team to improve their aerodynamics in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In the world of professional cycling, speed is everything. With the Tokyo Olympic Games fast approaching, Pinarello and Hardskin came together to find ways of enhancing the aerodynamic efficiency of the Italian cycling team in order to improve their chances of success.
The companies approached a team of 3D scanning specialists to provide digital scans of the athletes and bicycles at a Velodrome in the province of Brescia. The equipment was used to produce 3D scans of the athletes during warm-up and race simulations in order to find the most aerodynamic riding position. The athletes wore bodysuits and helmets to fully simulate the race experience.
The scans contained all the necessary information to analyse the athletes’ riding position and design a tailor-made handlebar that perfectly fits the athletes’ arms in order to obtain an optimal symbiosis with the bicycle. The handlebar will then be manufactured by Pinarello and integrated into the bike to increase the athletes’ aerodynamics while riding.
Multiple Olympians have previously leveraged additive manufacturing for their sporting equipment in order to gain time and weight savings, among other benefits. Examples include Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s 3D printed running shoes used at the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and the latest 3D printed 4DFWD midsole from adidas and 3D printer manufacturer Carbon which will be worn by several athletes at this year’s games in Tokyo.
The sport of cycling in particular has sought to leverage the benefits of 3D printing for Olympic success, with the French Cycling Federation also deploying customized handlebars to yield aerodynamic efficiency gains using 3D printing technology, which were on used on the team’s bikes during the Rio 2016 games.
Similarly, global engineering firm Renishaw is looking to bolster the chances of the Great Britain Cycling Team ahead of Tokyo 2020 with the design of a new track bike. The firm partnered with Lotus Engineering and bicycle engineering company Hope Technology to design the bike with 3D printed parts to help deliver improved track performance with lightweight parts and an innovative design.