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Australia's snapped handlebar 3D printed, since removed from sale, reports claim

Bastion 3D printed cockpit
A close up of what's left of the cockpit from Australia's Team Pursuit bike (Image credit: Eurosport)

As the Australian team pursuit challenge reached the one minute mark, Alex Porter's handlebar snapped off beneath him. 

Porter was luckily at the back of the quartet during the opening laps when the fall occurred, meaning that he did not take down any of his teammates but the fall was very much down to an equipment failure rather than athlete error. That allowed Australia to start a second time but they could only finish fifth with a time of 3:48.448 and so have little hope of fighting for a bronze medal. 

Denmark dominated the qualifying round (opens in new tab), setting the fastest time of 3:45.014,

The culprit for the Australian crash was the one-piece integrated base bar and stem, and the snap came at the junction where the stem area transitions into the outward-facing base bar. 

At first, it appeared as though the cockpit in question was the stock-standard carbon base bar sold by Argon 18 with the Electron Pro track bike. However, on further inspection, it appears the cockpit is in fact the Bastion Base Bar, 3D printed out of titanium to closely mimic the same design. 

The Base Bar has been removed from the Bastion website in an action that, according to reports by Cycling Weekly (opens in new tab), was done after Porter's crash at the Izu Velodrome. 

Bastion is a frame builder and manufacturer of 3D printed titanium parts, commonly using the technology for the lugs on its frames. However, in late 2019, the company announced a partnership (opens in new tab) with Cycling Australia, tasked with providing custom-moulded handlebars and aero extensions for the team's track bikes. 

Comparing the image of the remnants of the broken cockpit with that of the Bastion Base Bar, there is an ever so slight difference that confirms that we're not looking at the carbon fibre base bar supplied by Argon 18. 

As the side of the stem area protrudes outward to form the base bar, there is a slight concave nature to the upper edge. This same concave detailing can be found on the 3D printed Bastion Base Bar. Meanwhile, the Argon 18 base bar is convex as it rounds upwards and outwards to the handlebar area of the cockpit. 

Looking at the Bastion Base Bar more closely, it becomes clear that there are four mounting points hidden beneath the cover that sits on top, and that the snapped handlebar could easily have been as a result of over-tightening the frontal most bolt. 

Bastion 3D printed cockpit

The break occurred at the line which intersects the front mounting bolt hole.  (Image credit: Bastion Advanced)

As shown in the image above, the point of failure occurred very close to, if not directly through the frontal bolt hole, and could suggest that over-tightening of that bolt was the cause of the failure. 

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