Thok was displaying its latest prototype e-MTB at Eurobike which has been 3D printed using aluminum in partnership with Materialise, a Belgian company that specializes in 3D tech for the aerospace, automotive, and medical sectors.
The prototype which is currently named “THOK Project P4” (P4 is the abbreviation pending the bike's final shape and name) is the prototype of a new lightweight electric mountain bike from Thok. The frame design looks like it takes inspiration from Thok's current all-mountain MIG and their enduro TK-01 and will use the new lightweight Bosch new Performance Line SX.
The prototype frame is made using Selective Laser Melting (SLM) out of an alloy of aluminum and silicon (AlSi₁₀Mg). Thok are claiming that this type of prototyping for a full-suspension e-MTB is a world first and has allowed them to rapidly produce and test concepts.
The prototype is constructed out of six 3D-printed pieces which are then welded together to form the complete frame. The finished product is expected to be made from carbon and the additive process not only allows them to replicate the shapes of carbon but also the right weight, stiffness, and flexibility. On top of that, this prototype is fully rideable and Thok CEO Stefano Migliorini has been testing this prototype on the technical trails of Finale Ligure.
"It's one thing to test prototypes made with round tubes, because it limits the shapes that can be obtained and almost never allows the optimal integration of the parts that make up an e-MTB. it's another challenge to carry out tests of this kind with double-suspension prototypes that look very similar to the final product," explains Thok industrial designer Luca Burzio, who follows the projects from the engineering side.
"It is impossible to obtain a rideable prototype and reproduce the necessary battery and motor integration with a traditional method. There are components that are made by hydroforming, which require molds, and which would not otherwise be prototype-able. Even carbon prototypes are not functional, they do not hold up on long field testing sessions. In this sense, the first fully molded full-suspended e-bike we made solves a big problem," Burzio continues.
The Thok Project 4 is still in the development phase and will undergo further geometry, battery positioning, and technical fine-tuning before it is ready for release. Thok is expecting to launch this new bike at some point next year.
While details on spec aren't currently available Thok has alluded that the new bike will have a modular approach to battery size (400 Wh, 500 Wh, 625 Wh, 750 Wh, plus 250 Wh range extender), allowing riders to customize the length of time in the saddle and the weight of the bike according to his needs.