This new Thok Project 4 eMTB prototype claims to be the world’s first 3D-printed metal full-suspension mountain ebike, and signals a new design direction for the ebike maker. Project 4 is the first real lightweight eMTB for Thok, powered by the latest Bosch SX motor and designed to plug-and-play any of 4 different smaller batteries under the downtube to keep weight to a minimum and tailor pedal-assist range to individual rider needs.
Thok Project 4 lightweight 3D-printed alloy eMTB
Both in carbon and aluminum, the existing Thok eMTB lineup has relied almost exclusively on powerful motors and large capacity batteries to give ebike riders as much support off-road. But the Thok Project 4 signals a new shift in focus to also include the option for a more natural style of trail riding in a lighter full-suspension ebike platform.
Taking advantage of the almost limitless design possibilities of additive manufacturing with Belgian partner Materialise – the same people who printed this sustainable Canyon hardtail – the Thok ebike development team used Selective Laser Melting (SLM) to quickly 3D-print AlSi10Mg aluminum to create the unique shapes of the Project 4 ebike. Working directly with alloy, SLM allowed Thok to more quickly create a functional prototype of their next generation of eMTB that they could ride test, also with less material waste.
As we’ve seen with a number of 3D-printed alloy track and road bikes, SLM allows for unique complex frame shaping, as well as sophisticated structural design not always outwardly visible. But in the case of a full-suspension bike, Thok was also able to print each individual element of the frame and suspension as 1-piece, then machine their interfaces – all while also incorporating features like flip-chips, internal routing, more integrated electronics, and the ability to use modular battery and powertrain protection covers.
Project 4 is still officially in development, but Thok sees light ebikes as a key market they plan to expand into for next year. The plan now is to power the Thok Project 4 with the newly launched 2kg Bosch Performance Line SX motor that cranks out 55Nm of mid-drive torque with a more natural pedaling sensation.
Thok will deliver this new lightweight eMTB platform with max battery modularity and weight kept low under the downtube. Buyers will be able to choose from 400Wh, 500Wh, 626Wh, or 750Wh batteries each with their own specific secure cover to integrate into the frame’s design – plus any ebike rider will be able to add on a 260Wh range extender bottle battery for longer pedal-assist support.
Technical details aren’t yet set in stone, but this prototype is built up with 29″ wheels, 150-160mm of travel between a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork & Deluxe Select+ shock, and a flip-chip at the upper sock mount to either tweak ride height or rear wheel travel. Final geometry is still being refined too, although we’re told it will be a bit longer and more progressive than current Thok all-mountain ebikes.
Thok Project 4 – Availability
Thok hasn’t yet revealed a concrete timeline for when the Project 4 prototype will transition into a commercially available ebike – whether that is 3D-printed in metal or molded in carbon. But they have said that their lightweight full-suspension eMTB derived from this development project is expected to officially launch in 2024.