Our latest Bike of the Week is the Superstrata Classic, a crowdfunded road bike without a seat tube and a novel carbon construction.
Superstrata is the bicycle brand of parent company Arevo, which manufactures carbon parts for the aerospace industry for clients such as Airbus.
The 3D-printed bicycle was initially crowdfunded via the Indiegogo platform. Crowdfunded bicycles, such as the SpeedX Leopard, have seen mixed success.
The Superstrata Classic now finally sees the light of day at BikeRadar HQ.
Let’s take a look at this quirky build.
Thermoplastic carbon construction
At the heart of the Classic is the ‘industrial grade’ thermoplastic carbon frame.
This is not the first time we’ve come across a thermoplastic frame, with Bristol, UK-based Starling’s prototype another example.
We asked Superstrata to provide further details on its use of the technology and the brand says it manufactures the bike “using a thermoplastic filament composed of carbon fibre and a nylon polymer”.
Virtually all carbon fibre frames are manufactured from a mould with epoxy resin, whereas the use of thermoplastics generally results in a frame that is tougher, more resistant to impact and uses less energy to manufacture.
Like traditional epoxy-based carbon fibre frames, it cannot be properly recycled, but it can be repurposed when heated up.
The end result, according to Superstrata, is a bike that is more compliant and forgiving, while also being more resistant to impacts and fracturing.
The brand says the frames are manufactured in-house using a proprietary process, a few hundred metres away from its 3D printers. The advantage, according to Superstrata, is that it can continually make tweaks to achieve the optimal frame properties and ease of manufacturing.
The brand also says it can control the individual orientation and angle of each strip to provide a custom layup.
What is Bike of the Week?
Every fortnight, we’ll bring you a detailed first look at one of the latest bikes (or framesets) to arrive at BikeRadar HQ – from road to commuting, gravel to enduro, and anything in between.
This is our chance to introduce the bike and everything that makes it unique before hitting the road or trails.
Head to our Bike of the Week hub for previous editions.
Who needs a seat tube?
The most visually striking feature of the Superstrata Classic is that it lacks a seat tube.
According to the brand, the seat tube omission is “to challenge not only our own technology but what is possible in carbon fibre bicycle manufacturing”.
The brand also says it saves weight, given there’s an entire tube missing.
On the subject of custom geometry, Superstrata says customers input their dimensions before buying and have an optional step of submitting additional measurements “to ensure the perfect fit”.
The frame is claimed to weigh in the region of 1.3kg for an unspecified geometry.
Outside of these headline features, the frame can accept up to a maximum 700 x 45mm tyre.
The fork uses a 1-1/8in steerer, and both the frame and fork use flat-mount disc brakes with 12mm thru-axles.
There’s an electric version too, which features a 250w bottom-bracket mounted motor that’s said to have a range of approximately 60 miles / 96km.
An unconventional spec list
The Superstrata Classic, in its non-electric guise, retails for $2,800.
Our test bike uses an 11-speed groupset from a mixture of brands, with a 1x drivetrain.
The shifters and rear derailleur are from Chinese brand L-Twoo’s R9 range, with a Campagnolo-style thumb-shifter used. It’s much smaller than the Italian groupset powerhouse’s version and is located towards the end of the lever body.
The front end of the Superstrata is integrated, using FSA’s ACR system, lending a clean aesthetic.
The unbranded road bike wheels feature 32 spokes at the front and 36 at the rear, and come wrapped in Kenda K193 700 x 28mm tyres. Superstrata says you can also choose to spec the bike with Casumina 700 x 35mm or Hutchinson 40mm tyres, should you wish to ride on rougher surfaces.
The seatpost is a Controltech ONE SB10, with a Selle Italia Model X BB FEC saddle installed atop it.
All-in, our test bike weighs 11.64kg without pedals.
We’re currently testing the Superstrata and you can expect a full review soon.