REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—Specialized is working with 3D printing specialist Carbon to produce the first digitally printed bike seat from polyurethane.
The S-Works Power Saddle with Mirror Technology incorporates an elastomeric lattice produced with Carbon's elastomeric polyurethane material.
The seat is designed to absorb impact and improve stability. This will help the saddle prevent neuralgia, numbness or even urinary problems. The companies claim the new saddle disperses pressure, and also significantly improves breathability.
The ideal bike seat mitigates the pressure and discomfort cyclists often experience. Carbon said its Digital Light Synthesis technology allowed a lattice design to be created that enables the saddle to rebound quickly, giving the impression to the rider that the seat has a "suspension" system.
"Together with Carbon, we are challenging the norms of the cycling world, from design to production time, to create technology that will allow riders to improve performance, increase comfort, and reduce the chance of injury," said Garrett Getter, Specialized's product manager for saddles. "With Mirror technology, we've only scratched the surface of what's possible."
The development process for the saddle took 10 months, with 70 designs tested. The use of 3D printing greatly accelerated the process of prototyping, reducing each design iteration to one day from the more normal two to three weeks. The seat is set to reach the market in 2020.