Meet Tom Sturdy, Sturdy Cycles
For over 6 years, RAM3D have been working with bespoke bicycle companies and more recently have been metal 3D printing titanium parts for Tom Sturdy from Sturdy Cycles who are based in Somerset in the UK.
Titanium is Tom’s main choice of metal for his bikes; he likes how titanium bikes ride and of course the lightness aspect that boasts one of the highest strength to weight ratios of all engineering metals.
Tom used to compete as a professional athlete in Triathlons in the UK and Europe and even competed as far afield as Australia. He did this whilst studying and has a background in Aeronautical Engineering and Sports Biomechanics. It was while he was studying Sport Biomechanics, he started to get interested in bikes and started to think more seriously about bike design whilst competing.
During one of his training sessions he got run over and that put him out of racing for about 3 years. After that, he realised he would never get back to racing properly again and decided to focus on design optimisation, where the performance of a design can be made dramatically better for a particular rider. His interest has always involved engineering and biomechanics.
With his broad range of expertise working in bike shops and R & D, it was a natural progression to get involved in frame-building. With bikes, he feels he is in control of the whole process from start to finish; from creating the design, engineering, and fabricating them.
In his own words:
“There aren’t many products that you, as one person, can cover the whole life cycle of. Even with the addition of metal 3D printing, it is still quite technical and challenging.”
Tom embraces the use of additive manufacturing in his frame building and feels this cutting-edge technology allows him to create designs and structures that couldn’t be manufactured any other way. He explains:
“There is the purist element with titanium, it doesn’t need to be painted or finished and for a lot of people, that is quite a big appeal.”
RAM3D have been 3D printing parts for his 3 models, the Road Race, All Road and XC Race and involve Tom in the print process, advising on any new designs to get the best outcome for his bespoke bikes. The road bikes are the most popular because that market is more aware of the concepts of a custom bike.
Tom is currently working and developing a TT specialist bike to the Sturdy bike family and will be launching this in 2021. Time Trial riding is popular in the UK and a very specialised market and he is keen to pursue it because of his love of the Triathlon.
With the explosion of E-Bikes worldwide, Tom doesn’t rule out designing and building one and believes it’s only a matter of time before that happens. Although he can’t see it being the main stay of his business, he can see there being an E-bike model at some point. He feels it would be a bit more complicated because of having to integrate everything in it.
What does the future hold for Sturdy Cycles?
Tom will continue to play a hands-on part building his wonderfully simple yet highly refined bicycles using additive manufacturing. He has got things efficient now in terms of the design and manufacturing and has a lot of capacity to build more bikes and will continue to introduce new bikes and update his current models. Tom is adding new products like cranks and forks other than just the frame and we are now in full-scale production of his frames.