Radical new 3D printed Mythos Elix stem launches with £500 price tag
British brand Mythos have launched what they claim to be the first commercially available 3D printed stem.
Behind the radical looking Mythos Elix is Dimitris Katsanis, who has worked with British Cycling and Team Sky and whose additive manufacturing (3D printed) gear has already been used to win races at the highest level. Bradley Wiggins used custom 3D printed titanium bars made by Katsanis to break the hour world record in 2015.
The Mythos Elix is not made of titanium but of Scalmalloy, a metal alloy based on scandium, aluminum and magnesium developed for 3D printing by Airbus. Scalmalloy has a high strength which makes it ideal for aerospace and professional cycling applications.
The skeletal appearance of the Mythos Elix is due to the ability of the 3D printing process to, in the words of Mythos, “eliminate areas of high stress with small local reinforcements and reduce weight around other areas by expertly removing any non-essential materials.Not only that, but the fact that it all happens in-house, without the need for part-specific tooling, means we can create unique products and prototypes in days that would normally take month.
Mythos claims that with the Elix stem they were able to significantly improve useful stiffness – 15% more torsionally stiff than an equivalent alloy stem – and “implement a new contemporary design”.
3D printing may not have had the best press last year, with a basic bar used by Australia’s team pursuit team failing spectacularly at last year’s Olympics. It turned out that the particular components weren’t made to the correct specifications and that the 3D printing itself was not at fault. However, Mythos provides a detailed description of its manufacturing process starting from the beginning.
“Additive manufacturing (3D printing) works by adding layers of powdered material and melting that powder to our design. This builds up layer by layer, which means we can adapt our design to have functionality that cannot be replicated using traditional manufacturing methods such as CNC machining.
There is also a reassuring paragraph on testing.
“To arrive at this design, we basically started with testing. Using a manual topology optimization method, we switched between FEA (finite element analysis) simulations and CAD software to identify the load paths and therefore the areas requiring more or less material, then made these changes iteratively.
“It’s this method that allowed us to increase the stem’s torsional stiffness without affecting the flex stiffness. Once the final design was approved and passed our FEA stress analysis, prototypes for each size were printed and fatigue tested using the test methods outlined in the ISO 4210 test standard. Prototypes were also sent to a selection of riders around the world, who rode the rod on road, gravel and even won the second race of the 2022 Italian Fixed Cup.”
The rods are all produced in Britain and come in all sizes – as you would expect from a 3D printed component – and available on the Mythos website.
The £500 price tag of the Mythos Elix puts it among the most expensive stems on the market. The widely available THM Tibia carbon stem costs £459 while the AX-Lightness Rigid stem costs €529.
A stem that Bastion produced for Australia’s Argon 18 bikes for the Tokyo Olympics (not the ill-fated base bar) was priced at AU$2,040, or $1,450 or £1,152.
- Material: Scalmalloy®
- Length: 100-130mm
- Rise: +/- 8 degrees
- Clamp diameter: 31.8 mm
- Material: Titanium M5 x 16 mm
- Stack Height: 45mm
- Weight: From 150g
- Compatible with FSA ACR Integrated Cockpit System
- Compatible with internal cable routing
- Price: £500