CNC machining has some serious potential to shake up the way mountain bikes are manufactured. Frames could now be manufactured at plants locally, rather than being shipped around the world after production in East Asia. Plus, there's potential for frames made custom to riders with sizing and geometry to precisely suit their needs. There's just one problem at this point, it comes with a cost.
Currently, only a few brands are trying producing frames this way, most notably Atherton Bikes
using the lugs and tubes method and Pole
creating fully CNC'd frames. The latest brand to try the latter method is Alutech. The German brand has produced a CNC version of its eFanes eMTB, and if you thought the other brands listed were expensive then hold on to your hat, because this one is on sale at €16,000 ($19,000 USD).
170mm front and rearWheelsize:
29" front / 27.5" rearHead Angle:
Shimano with 504Wh internal batteryWeight:
21.15 kg / 46lbs (claimed)Price:
€15,999.90More info: alutech-cycles.com
So what do you get for the price of a down payment on a house?
The main advantage, Alutech says, is lightness. Shedding weight is still the holy grail for eMTBs and by machining special structures within the aluminum of the frame, the German brand can reduce the amount of material needed vs a conventional aluminum construction. The weight of the full bike is listed at 21.15 kg (46lbs), which isn't exactly what we'd call featherweight, but it is significantly lighter than, for example, the similarly specced Focus Sam2 we recently reviewed
. That bike weighs 25.89 kg (57 lbs) but does have a larger capacity battery, which will account for some of that weight.
Alutech claim this bike is made using "aerospace technology" and this gives the bike a smooth finish that you might not normally see on bikes milled fully from aluminum. Apparently these machines have much smaller tolerances than the machines used by other brands and this allows for a smoother finish. The other difference in construction is that Alutech aren't using bonding or titanium bolts to hold their frame halves together, but welding. Alutech uses a shielding gas that allows them to weld at a lower temperature and therefore not distort the material around the join. The weld has been left visible on the top of the downtube, but Alutech has mirror-polished to the top tube to keep the smoothness of the machining and hide the seam.
Article updated for clarity
The 170mm frame is specced as a mullet bike with a 29" wheel in the front and a 27.5" rear wheel. The motor comes from Shimano and it's powered by a 504 Wh battery with the option to upgrade to a 630Wh battery for an extra €250 ($296 USD). Only one spec level is available and it comes with full Fox Factory suspension, a Shimano XTR drivetrain and DT Swiss HXC wheels. Finishing kit comes from Bike Yoke and SQ Lab and there are Maxxis Minion tires fitted front and rear.
The bike is available in medium and large for €15,999.90. More info, here