Using Robo 3D Printers to Develop the SureStop Braking System

Guardian Bikes is committed to developing the world’s safest children’s bikes. Their bikes, which range from 16″ to 24″, feature a new, innovative braking system called SureStop, which was developed using Robo 3D printers. The team used 3D printing to develop and test the system before bringing it to market successfully.

Children love bikes, and that first bike ride is often one of the earliest joyous memories we have. Guardian Bikes simply want to make the experience even better for children by improving safety so they can ride more.

An Innovative Braking System


The idea for a new type of braking system comes from the danger a traditional front bicycle brake brings – the danger of hitting it too hard and being thrown over the handlebars. This danger poses a serious risk of injury (and even death), so Guardian Bikes set out to make it work better. Their solution? A one-lever component braking system that uses the rear brake force to activate the front brake. They call it SureStop.

The SureStop braking system is similar to anti-lock brakes in cars, since it provides a uniform, balanced stop. It eliminates the danger of going over the handlebars and improves braking performance, helping children stop faster even on slippery ground. It works flawlessly, delivering what it sets out to do, and its development was done with the assistance of 3D printing, a technology that wasn’t financially viable back when the SureStop story started in 2009.

Guardian Bikes founder, Brian Riley, experienced a significant amount of trial and error early on while prototyping the braking system. He went with traditional manufacturing methods to prototype his designs, but this proved extremely costly and took too long. After several years and 50 different product iterations, he finally had what he wanted – but the braking system needed to be redesigned for different bikes. Enter 3D printing.

3D Printing for Prototyping


“We finally developed a market-ready product, but it took us several years and probably 50 different product iterations,” Riley said. “This whole process would have gone much faster if 3D printing was where it is at today.”

Riley used 3D printing to prototype his SureStop braking system in-house. This allowed him to reduce costs, reduce manufacturing time and prototype more efficiently than ever before. With traditional prototyping methods, the cost per part was $820. With 3D printing, the cost per part was reduced to $19. With traditional prototyping methods, there was a 14-day wait time but with 3D printing, Riley could make up new parts in less than 1 day.

One of the areas the team found Robo 3D printers most impressive was the speed at which they could print their ideas. This allowed the team to manufacture prototypes and new parts within hours.

“3D printing really gets you thinking about so many other touchpoints of a product’s functionality once you’ve physically made something you’ve been thinking about,” Riley said. “There’s so much more that I love about it — that speed of taking an idea and iterating out problems to create something that actually works, and how it allows you to devise concepts quickly and make product improvements in a matter of days instead of months.”

The team also see 3D printing as a tool for the future – and a snap-fit for the industry. “Robo printers really helped us take the concept of our technology off the design software platform we use and begin working it as a physical object within one day,” Riley said. “We could make our print and immediately throw it on the bike to actually see how it worked and fit.”

3D Printers: Robo C2, Robo R2

This information was first published on the Robo website.