SRAM Rethinks the Bicycle Crankarm with Generative Design

Heather Miller November 22, 2021 1 min read

Bicycle component manufacturer, SRAM, used additive manufacturing and generative design in Autodesk Fusion 360 to create a new type of bicycle crankarm.

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Have you seen this story on SRAM yet? It’s even been featured in Forbes!  

SRAM is a worldwide bicycle component manufacturer for both road and mountain bikes. But, in this industry, you have to pedal hard to stay ahead. Innovation is crucial for performance, cost, weight, and speed to market. 

SRAM partnered with Autodesk to try generative design in Fusion 360 and additive manufacturing for a new mountain bike crankarm. And what’s the bike crankarm, you may ask? It’s the bar that the pedal goes into, which rotates to turn the crank and chainring. Getting the crankarm lighter means less energy the cyclist spends to pedal. 

Utilizing Generative Design in Fusion 360

The crankarm is a critical component of a bike. But it hasn’t had any revolutionary design changes to it—until now. Using generative design in Fusion 360, SRAM explored multiple (and previously unfathomable) design iterations and selected two designs to prototype based on manufacturing methods. The result was a new titanium crankarm that is twice as strong and 20% lighter. 

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The crankarm is just the beginning for SRAM. The entire process revealed how a new approach with generative design can create a real competitive advantage. 

“The future of SRAM is in our products and innovation, and our end goal is to deliver cycling components that inspire the rider and make bikes faster,” said Will King, senior design engineer, SRAM. “Using new design tools, such as Fusion 360 and generative design allows us to not only optimize performance parameters, but also shorten our development time to try new ideas, evaluate them, and bring them to the prototype phase. In the end, we can deliver the best possible product to our customers.”   

Learn more about SRAM’s journey with generative design here

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