Metal AM part failure sees Australian cycling team crash out of the Olympics

August 12, 2021

August 12, 2021

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the failure of a metal additively manufactured bicycle handlebar caused the structure to snap while being ridden by Alex Porter, a member of the Australian cycling team (AusCycling), during his fourth lap in the men’s team pursuit challenge.

The resulting crash left Porter with friction burns and damage to his face, arms and legs. While the Australian team was permitted to ride again under a rule allowing second opportunities in case of mechanical failure, the team did not qualify in the top four, but, rather, placed fifth. This ranking meant AusCycling could no longer compete for the silver or gold medal in the event.

The failure occurred in the bike’s one-piece integrated base bar and stem, at the junction where the stem area transitions into the outward-facing base bar. The exact cause of the failure is unknown, but speculation in the metal Additive Manufacturing community on LinkedIn has been that the break was due to the type of brittle fracture which is a known risk in metal AM parts, which can have a lower ductile strength than forged materials.

However, an analysis of the fault in Cycling News by Josh Croxton suggests that the failure may have been caused by an over-torqued bolt, with the snap having occurred very close to the location of the base bar and stem’s frontal bolt hole.

The titanium part was produced by Bastion Cycles, Fairfield, Australia. In a statement issued by the company, a Bastion spokesperson said, “The team at Bastion Cycles is working with the Australian Olympic team to understand the cause behind the failure of one of its handlebar units during the four-person, Australian pursuit challenge at the Tokyo Olympics.”

AusCycling has announced a full investigation into the incident.

August 12, 2021

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap