BikeCAD Pro is the ‘go to’ program used by bicycle framebuilders, bike fitters, and riders around the world for designing and drafting bike setups and designs. It really is an indispensable tool that almost everyone agrees is crucial for working in this space. Few things can be agreed on by framebuilders and this is one of them.
I’m a CAD nerd and use Solidworks and other 3D modeling programs when I design but I use BikeCAD to begin every bike that I make. I use it any time I’m fitting a rider to a bike. It may be just a 2D program but it does things nothing else does, quickly and precisely.
Recently, Brent Curry, the author of BikeCAD released BikeCAD Pro 17.5 and BikeCAD Free 17.5. Several things make this one of the more important releases in my mind and why I’m writing today.
FYI, the price of the program will be going up on January 1, 2022 so folks that may have been on the fence about buying a copy should act now. A cool thing about buying BikeCAD Pro is that the license has been perpetual so you don’t need to pay for the regular updates and improvements.
I spoke with Brent about how he develops BikeCAD at the Philly Bike Expo 2021 last week. I really know nothing about software development so you will have to excuse some of my more stupid questions and statements. It is very interesting. My full post on the event should be up in a few days.
Firstly, after years of pushing, a new way to define the rear end of the bike has been added and is working properly. This new feature in the program will save me a lot of work and is a real gain in precision getting my designs layed out. Any folks working with modern bike design need to really understand this new process as it is crucial as pretty much any mountain or gravel bike will have a bent seat tube.
The other major change of note is the new FREE version of BikeCAD that runs just like BikeCAD Pro locally on your computer. Certainly, the goal of this free version is to get people to see the value of buying the Pro version. Brent really deserves your money. Still, for folks just learning about the nuance of bicycle setup, fit, and design and not ready to invest yet, this is a big deal.
This version has been defeatured some to preserved the value of BikeCAD Pro but it’s an important development. While you can’t do everything you can in BikeCAD you can do several important things.
- Save files locally
- Open files locally
- Use templates
- Use many of the possible dimensions and imported components
- Allow customers and builders to better communicate during the design process.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the downstream repercussions of this. The democratization of bicycle knowledge is a personal goal of mine and this is a great tool to help with that.