Silca has unveiled a 3D-printed titanium computer mount called Mensola that’s made in a latticework design to increase strength and save weight. Silca says that it is six to 12 times stronger than designs made by traditional methods, weighs as little as 27g, and takes both Garmin and Wahoo bike computers. Oh, and it's priced at £175.
Mensola is the first 3D-printed product from Silca, a company founded in Italy but now based in the USA.
“3D printing lets you have full control over the design of the product compared to traditional CNC methods because it’s possible to also design the interior,” says Silca. “This results in a lighter and stronger product which can be optimised in ways which are not possible by any other method.
“The [Mensola] mount takes full advantage of this by having a latticework inside instead of being made of solid titanium. This design uses techniques and concepts from architecture and aircraft design allowing for maximum strength at minimum weight, and then 3D printing allows these techniques to be applied at a scale far smaller than is possible by any other manufacturing method.”
Silca says that it wanted a computer mount system without a clamp on the handlebar, so Mensola shares the same bolts as a stem front plate. It is made from 6Al/4V titanium powder which is recyclable.
President and CEO of Silca Josh Poertner said, “We want to make beautiful products that last forever and are working towards creating a range of 3D-printed accessories.
“This technology has been in our industry for a few years and it is the future of everything 10 years from now. There is no tooling involved, there are no material stock size limits, we don’t have to start with a piece of bar, whittle it away and try to recycle the 80% of the metal that ends up on the cutting room floor. Here we start with one raw material and we grow the parts to spec – which is an exciting environmental story.
“The real excitement, though, comes in the look and feel of the product and what the engineering team has done which is not possible with traditional methods. We’re using a stress skin design concept. The load is all in the top and bottom skins, then you connect them with struts and you end up with a part that’s 15% lighter but somewhere in the order of six to 12 times stronger than any of the other products on the market.”
Silca claims that “the stressed skin also allows for aerodynamic design elements to be used resulting in reduced drag coefficient compared to previous designs”, but it doesn't offer any figures.
Stem bolt spacing varies between manufacturers so each Mensola is designed for a specific faceplate geometry. Versions are available for stems from FSA, Specialized, Bontrager, Zipp, and more. Weights range from 27g up to 36g, and each is held in place by two 6Al/4V titanium bolts.
Your bike computer fixes to a press-moulded plastic cradle that’s held in place by a titanium bolt. You swivel this cradle through 90° to swap between Garmin (including the large Edge 1030 model) and Wahoo computers.
We can't say we've had particular problems with the strength of existing computer mounts but maybe you have. The Mensola certainly looks cool and unlike anything else out there. Priced £175, you can file this one under ‘premium product’.
Silca’s UK distributor is www.saddleback.co.uk. It's expecting stock over the next few weeks.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.