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Alutech Cycles, Protolabs Network, and a mountainous challenge

Components for this electric mountain bike required agility, lightweight materials and fast manufacturing. Find out how we overcame the obstacles.

Bicycle in mountains

The breakdown


Alutech Cycles


Ascheffel, Germany


CNC machining


Aluminum 6061-T6 | 3.3211 | 65028 | AlMg1SiCu

Surface finish

As machined (Ra 3.2μm / Ra 126μin)


Motor bridge for an electric mountain bike


High-performance mountain bikes

Why Protolabs Network?

Manufacturing a high-quality product as quickly as possible

The result

A one-piece motor bridge that requires less assembly, weighs less, and can be manufactured at speed

The perfect mountain bike is a balanced machine, riding a fine line between a rugged and lightweight build. It must be able to handle precipitous terrain, as cyclists make their way down rocky slopes, but it must also be relatively portable. The bike’s weight also factors into control – the less you have, the more you get – an aspect of the sport that ranks among the most important of all.

With this in mind, designing and manufacturing such a bicycle is no easy task. It’s also a time-consuming one. At least that’s the case for Jürgen Schlender, owner and CEO of Alutech Cycles.

The Germany-based company manufactures Enduro, downhill, and free-ride mountain bikes, many of which are made to order–meaning there’s no need for a large warehouse of pre-built bikes or a stockpile of extra parts.

“I was travelling up to four times a year to Asia,” Schlender said. “That’s a long trip – up to 14 hours one-way. We also had to place orders in amounts of 100-200, which is often more than we need.”

The switch to local manufacturing, then, was an obvious one. Schlender now uses factories in Germany and Bulgaria to produce bike frames. He also leverages Protolabs Network’s manufacturing platform, which makes it more convenient than ever to price a custom part and schedule its delivery. 

“I can see my prices immediately, choose different lead times, and thus adjust,” Schlender said. “No traditional manufacturer can offer me this in real time.”

Recently, Schlender and Protolabs Network collaborated to manufacture a CNC-milled motor bridge – a component that holds the motor to the frame of an electric mountain bike. When manufactured in Asia, the part was built and shipped in multiple pieces. The new design is a single unit. It’s also 500 grams lighter, adds to the bike’s aesthetic quality, and greatly improves ease of assembly.

“We saved time, we reduced a lot of weight, and we have a more beautiful product,” Schlender said. “Before, it was like a puzzle. We had to worry about alignment and things like that. Now we have one piece, and when we weld it on, it’s finished.”

This efficiency is changing the way Alutech Cycles operates. There are no more cross-continental trips. No more time is wasted on complicated assembly. Instead, that attention can be focused on designing and locally manufacturing the best possible product for its customers, who expect high-quality machines capable of high performance under rigorous conditions

 “That’s really a great benefit for us,” Schlender said. “It’s something we can’t put a price on.”