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TRUMPF and Elementum 3D Solve INTENSE Cycles’ Redesign Challenge


Reimagining and improving the iconic INTENSE M1 downhill bike’s suspension required additive manufacturing to produce its new central “backbone” bottom bracket/suspension foundation.

Erie, Colorado; Farmington, CT; and Temecula, CAElementum 3D, a leading developer and supplier of metal additive manufacturing (AM) advanced materials, print parameters, and services, is pleased to share that, working with TRUMPF Inc., its A6061-RAM2 alloy enabled a redesigned, additively manufactured “backbone” for INTENSE Cycles’ re-visioning of its legendary M1 downhill race bike. Competition between mountain bike manufacturers is just as extreme as among professional downhill riders racing to get down the course first. The bicycle industry is increasingly exploring the use of additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D metal printing, to prototype and print groundbreaking production parts.

INTENSE has been a bicycle industry and downhill bike leader for three decades, producing high-end carbon fiber and aluminum rides proven on the race circuit and coveted by riders at all levels of the sport. The company’s drive to keep improving its products and help its team compete in the most elite races has led to its adoption of additive manufacturing technology.

INTENSE Founder and CEO Jeff Steber is a designer, artist, and craftsman with a hands-on approach. He’s enthusiastic about integrating AM into bike frame and part production. “I work and ‘think’ in aluminum, so AM opens a new world of creative opportunities for me and my team,” he said. “We say INTENSE merges artistry and engineering, and I am no longer limited to metal sheets and tubes. I have the freedom to create almost any shape I want.”

To reconceive the M1 downhill bike, a model that has edged other riders and their sponsors off the winners’ podium since the mid 1990s, Steber’s team planned to design and produce the M1’s backbone from one piece of 6061 Aluminum. The part and the material are critical to optimizing the bike’s suspension performance. The innovative new design incorporates internal ribbing to make it stronger and lighter; but this made it impossible to create using traditional machining techniques.

Intense A6061-Ram2

That naturally led the INTENSE production team to AM. They partnered with TRUMPF, which makes a broad range of manufacturing solutions, including 3D printers. The keys for INTENSE were TRUMPF’s experience printing bicycle parts and that it could print parts using weldable 6061 aluminum – Elementum 3D’s A6061-RAM2 – the same alloy INTENSE already used for its aluminum frames.

The first backbone designs were not ideal for printing, so TRUMPF advised INTENSE engineers on removing low-angle overhangs to improve printability. TRUMPF’s updated build processor, “TruTops Print,” increased downskin printability from 45° to 25° so the backbone printed with much less overhang-supporting material, reducing the chance for errors, material use, and post-processing effort.

TRUMPF contacted Elementum 3D for delivery of its A6061-RAM2 feedstock material. Delivery and finalizing technical details were completed faster than expected, allowing TRUMPF to immediately confirm the powder performed well with their existing infrastructure. It convinced INTENSE A6061-RAM2 was well-suited for in-house bike frame prototyping because it is easily welded and heat treated with other frame parts, including thin-wall tubing.

Christian Lengwenat, TRUMPF application engineer for metal 3D printing, was pleased with Elementum 3D’s involvement, stating, “Elementum 3D is professional and responds quickly. It’s comforting to work with a reliable, friendly group. Their advanced material properties and surface finish exceeded our expectations, and we plan to use more Elementum 3D powders in our machines.”

From the first test build, INTENSE appreciated A6061-RAM2’s weldability, finding it exactly like working with billet-machined 6061, with no porosity or contamination issues. TRUMPF liked the predictable processability, which enabled developing a working print parameter in two weeks and required printing just two DOEs (designs of experiments) to reach the material’s expected relative density value.

Both companies found A6061-RAM2 ideal for this project, particularly given the printed parts’ surface finish and accuracy. After the backbone was welded to the frame it was nearly impossible to determine which parts were printed, machined, or forged.

Steber remarked, “I’m thankful for the great work TRUMPF and Elementum 3D provided. Their guidance and expertise played a critical role in successfully producing our new M1. I am happy to report the M1 finished 2nd at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.”

Based on this project and the bike’s performance, INTENSE is ramping up M1 production for consumers, and plans to incorporate AM into future prototyping projects and other production parts.


About INTENSE Cycles

INTENSE is a leading manufacturer and designer of high-end, full-suspension mountain bikes. The company’s story is one of passion, innovation, and creativity. In the early 1990s a young thrill-seeker from Ohio decided to head out west to chase his California dream… that person was INTENSE founder and CEO Jeff Steber, a designer, artist, and craftsman with a hands-on approach and a drive to make things better.  Founded in Lake Elsinore, CA, in 1993 and crafted with more than 30 years of racing heritage, INTENSE mountain bikes have been crafted to inspire confident riding on striking designs. Early on Jeff sculpted and welded aluminum frames in his garage creating bikes that went on to set the competitive cycling world on fire. The legendary M1 and racing success was soon to follow, and the rest, as they say, is history. From World Cup downhill races to your first trail ride, experience the INTENSE difference.


About Trumpf Inc.

TRUMPF Inc. is the North American subsidiary of TRUMPF SE + Co. KG, based near Stuttgart, Germany. The TRUMPF Group is a world leader in sheet metal fabrication machinery and industrial lasers. TRUMPF’s North American headquarters is located in Farmington, CT. “Trusting in brave ideas”​ – this is our promise to everyone who works for us. As a family business, we decide long-term and provide our people with the trust and stability needed to bring their ideas to fruition, even the unconventional ones. Being a market and technology leader in machine tools and lasers, we courageously shape the networked manufacturing of tomorrow, meeting every challenge with bold, fresh thinking.


Patrick Callard Chief Marketing Officer

Patrick Callard earned a B.B.A. in advertising from Western Michigan University in 1990. He provides over 30 years of experience in marketing communications, new business development and market outreach.
He has managed multiple marketing projects and budgets for a variety of services and products.

Patrick also successfully grew an IT consulting business from a two-man basement business to a profitable eight employee business in 4-years. Patrick’s daily focus is to unify customer experience, brand purpose, creative communication, and marketing technology to drive the growth of the business.

Tyler Blumenthal

Tyler Blumenthal

Sales Manager, RPM Innovations, Inc.

Tyler’s message will key on blown powder Directed Energy Deposition (L-DED) for AM and repair and why this process is being realized by industry as one of the key pillars in printing thin wall part structures and large part envelope requirements.

Shawn Allan

Shawn Allan

Vice President, Lithoz America, LLC

Shawn will reveal how Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing (LCM) is producing high resolution, high performance technical ceramics that can serve a wide range of applications and structural materials, such as alumina, zirconia, and silicon nitride. He will also touch on how LCM has progressed into multi-material components incorporating ceramics and metals.

Jeff Lints

Jeff Lints

Founder/CEO, Fortius Metals, Inc.

Jeff’s presentation will focus on the advances in wire DED, including welding processes for wire DED (arc, laser, and e-beam), next-generation alloys for large format metal 3D printing, and use cases that can benefit from replacing large forgings, replacing large machined billets, and producing advanced tooling — enabling next generation designs.

Dr. Jacob Nuechterlein

President/Founder Elementum 3D

Dr. Jacob Nuechterlein is the founder and president of Elementum 3D in Erie, CO. He earned his Bachelor of Engineering, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy at the Colorado School of Mines. Jacob has been researching, teaching, or consulting on topics such as casting and powder metallurgy for the last 14 years. Elementum 3D’s work with powder bed laser additive manufacturing is based on these principles. In addition, is thesis work in thermodynamics and formation kinetics of metal matrix composites is directly related to all 3D printing processes.