We have regularly published photos of our new MTB stem on our Instagram account, we can now officially launch the final version. This product is the first produced 100% by us due to the milling machine we bought earlier this year (even if the Fusion sprockets were almost produced by us...), we now manage the whole loop : CAD, CAM and machining ! To be honest, this project was very demanding and stressful, in fact stem production is much more complicated than a sprocket, requiring up to 6 different opérations and clamps (change of position of the stem in the machine), while a sprocket needs a single operation. A stem is a massive part in three dimensions (in comparison, a sprocket is a flat product, like two dimensions) with accurate dimensions (steerer tube and bar, several thread holes...etc.), geometry to be respected (ex : perpendicularity between steerer tube and bar). It requires thoroughness and rigor throughout the manufacturing process, without forgetting a need for specific cutting tools and also fixtures (wedges and interfaces for clamping the part, guide for tapping, etc.).
This stem is called "Noseball", beacause of these many surfaces produced by machining using a tool called "ball end" or "nose ball". For the explanation, these tools allow to obtain almost any surface / shape, by controlling the point of tangency between the spherical end of the tool and the surface to be produced, while dividing this surface / shape in very thin slices (from 0.01 to 0.1mm depending on the level of finish). It generates lots of tool back and forth movements, we love using these 3D operation carried out with ball end tool, opening up almost endless possibilities !
The Noseball stem will be available later this year, a first prototype has been tested on the boss' fat bike for two months, a small batch is also finished (including a black anodizing one) and is dispatched to three riders in order to approve the product. In terms of characteristics, the stem match 31,8mm bar, it's 50mm long and 0mm high, full stainless steel 6mm bolts, a total weight of 198grs and at least each stem is numbered by engraving (00 to 03).
This project is a success, it requires many hours of programming to achieve toolpaths allowing to obtain the expected end result, also many hours of machining and lots of (too much) reflection and questioning. We take this opportunity to thank several people who support us for this project : Pierre @ OP.N (FEA study, listening during the whole process of machining), Benoît @ LG Tech (many tips and support for cutting tools), Charles @ Versatil Motorcycle (supply for wedge and interface, guide for tapping), finally the riders who will ride and test the first stems were also source of support and motivation (Laurent @ boss' father, François @ ROD29, Pierre @ Royal shore).
Below, we present to you steps of machining (in chronological order) of the Noseball stem, from raw aluminum billet to the first prototype built up and also photos of the very beautiful black anodized version.
For the end of the year wishes, we chose to use a logo which left in the boxes and unused so far... It is obviously inspired by the famous American trash band Slayer (which the boss is mega fan), redesigned by Shape and "inspired by trail" too.
Through this superb logo, we wish you a Merry Christmas and an happy New Year 2022, to you and your loved one.
We are happy to welcome a new Shape bicycles retailer in the West of France, more accuracy at Caen in Normandy, at the shop Les trois roux. A huge thank you to Paul for his interest towards our products and to trust our Made in France approach. Find below some photos taken by the shop, to illustrate the Fusion sprockets, which are available at the shop and on their website.
Shape bicycles riders have all enjoyed the last few sessions of the year, wether it was during a jam or a daily session with friends. Each of them was able to enjoy their home spot or appreciate their friends' trails while immortalizing this feeling on photos as its shown below.
- Bérenger should be the only Shape bicycles' rider to keep on riding his home trail (thanks to the South weather). He often rides at Peynier, all the different lines are well maintained with a strong crew, Peynier never dies ! Photos by Gilles Fina
- Jems was able to enjoy la Source before its end, especially during the last jam in September as shown with those photos taken by David Andre & Paul Lavigne
- Bruno took advantage of Septembre to make a road trip to the South, la Source trail jam being the point of arrival. During the trip, he made a stop to warm up at Banos, along with Gillian (GRO trail). Photos by Toine
- JB never stops riding or traveling, he took part of every jam or session, without to forget to maintain the Martine trail along with Alaric. Below, some beautiful photos at Etbos trail by Paul Lavigne and another at Martine trail by Simon Cassol