The golden success of Britain’s Olympic cycling heroes including Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton has been built upon the design talents of a Plymouth University graduate.
Dimitris Katsanis, a composites engineer, designed all of the high performance carbon fibre frames and bike parts used by Team GB, providing the platform for the likes of Jason Kenny and Laura Trott to dominate in the Velodrome.
His company, METRON Advanced Equipment Limited, has been working with British Cycling and UK Sport since 2002, when the ‘Athens Project’ was launched. Since then, METRON have redesigned and revolutionised every aspect of the bikes.
Dimitris said: “From the outset, this was a very British endeavour to draw upon the technical knowledge and expertise commonly used in Formula One and aerospace.
“To harness the immense power of the riders we used computer design and stress analysis techniques to make a whole raft of improvements – from optimising the shape and size of individual parts, to the choice of materials used.”
Dimitris’ involvement with cycling goes back even further, to his time at Plymouth University on the BEng (honours) Composite Materials Engineering, from which he graduated in 1998. His potential was evident, when in his foundation year Dimitris designed a bike frame that was used by cyclist Lambros Vasilopoulos to set a number of Greek national records.
The following year it was agreed that he could study part time to enable him to concentrate on producing bike frames, which he did for a number of teams from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games onwards, as well as the Commonwealth Games and the World Cycling Championships.
After graduating he moved to the East Midlands and went on to set up the Nottingham-based engineering consultancy METRON – which brought together a host of manufacturers to produce the components that would ultimately transform into precious metal – seven golds, one silver and a bronze medal at London 2012.
Dimitris added: “I will always be grateful to Plymouth University and the academics in the engineering team. They provided me with both the support and the basis for me to follow my passion for engineering to start with by working on aircraft, motorsport and defence projects. When the opportunity arose to work professionally in cycling, all of my previous knowledge and experience came together to support the biggest party in 2012.”