The Robot Bike Company is no normal mountain bike company. As soon as you see its bikes that is obvious. But it goes deeper than looks. So before we delve into the new R130, lets take a look at what Robot Bike Co. is all about.
First and foremost, Robot Bike Co. makes bikes to order. Everything about them is customizable -- even the geometry. Don’t like that 66-degree head angle? Change it. Want a steeper seat tube? No problem. Truly custom numbers will tack on an extra charge, but if you just want to order a bike and keep things simple, The Robot Bike Co. has suggested geometry numbers and sizing to make ordering easy. Just input your measurements, and the company’s algorithm spits out a set of numbers catered to you.
The Robot Bike Co. achieves this level of customization by mixing titanium lugs with carbon tubing. For the carbon the company makes simple, straight tubes. By avoiding curves and corners in the tubes, Robot Bike Co. avoids areas of stress where carbon is liable to be weaker. In these areas, such as the headtube or bottom bracket, the company works in titanium lugs.
Titanium’s high strength-to-weight ratio inspired Robot Bike Co. to use it in higher stress areas, but in order to make these lugs to order, the company had to work in some new tech. The technology for building the lugs is similar to 3D printing, but it isn’t 3D printing. Robot Bike Co. has partnered with Renishaw to batch process the titanium lugs with Selective Laser Melting. Titanium powder is fused together by a high-power fibre laser then heat treated and CNC machined for bearing, headset and bottom bracket fits.
The lugs connect to the tubes in a configuration called a ‘double lap shear joint.’ Basically, that means the wall of the carbon tubes are supported inside and out by the unique titanium lugs. In addition to the extra reinforcement, this makes for better surface distribution of the bonding epoxy. The double lap shear joint can be much more refined and precise than it would be if machined or cast, thanks to the innovative manufacturing processes used by Robot and Renishaw.
Manufacturing and customization isn’t the only thing going for the Robot Bike Co. though. The company has also partnered with suspension- extraordinaire Dave Weagle. The result is the dw6, which is based around the four-bar dw-link but designed with more ability to tune for custom frames.
There is more tech involved in these frames, but those are the big ones. You can read about all the different tech here. All of this customization will cost you though. A bare R130 frame will run your tab well over $4,000.
All of Robot Bike Co.’s bikes are designed and manufactured in Monmouthshire, Wales.
Now that we have an idea of what Robot Bike Co. is all about, let’s take a look at the new R130. The bike is, of course, customizable, but there is a baseline of technology and recommended geometry. The bike has 29-inch wheels with 130 millimeters of rear travel. The frame is boosted, the bottom bracket is threaded, the headtube is tapered and there is an ISCG mount for all your chainguide and bashguard needs. Keeping with industry trends, the R130 also has a trunnion-mount metric shock. The frame has been designed around a 140 millimeter travel fork, but since every bike is custom made, this is easily adjustable.
For an idea of the general measurements you can base your opinion of the R130 around, here are some specifications. Just remember, the numbers are not set in stone.
Recommended head angle - 66 degrees
Recommended seat angle - 76 degrees
Recommended chain stay length - 430mm
Recommended bottom bracket drop - 38mm
ZS44 - ZS56 headset
73mm threaded bottom bracket
31.6mm seatpost - stealth dropper compatible
'Custom fit' Frame Price - £3,246 ($4,593)
Purchases in UK & EU+ 20% VAT = £3,895 ($5,511)
Purchases from outside EU subject to taxes. Full builds are available on request.