Urwahn and Oerlikon Celebrate Booming Collaboration With Forbidden Gravel E-Bike

Oerlikon Edition Gravel E-Bike 7 photos
Photo: Urwahn Bikes
Vagabund EditionVagabund EditionVagabund EditionOerlikon Edition Gravel E-BikeOerlikon Edition Gravel E-BikeOerlikon Edition Gravel E-Bike
Technology is affecting the world around us in ways we are still discovering. One industry running with as much tech as it can carry is the cycling industry. Take Germany-based Urwahn Bikes as the perfect example of a company embracing technological advancements.
Folks, the image before you isn't just a cool-looking bike with seamless welds and a geometry like few others before it. If we look behind the paint job of the Oerlikon Edition bike from Urwahn, you'll meet a technological story like very few others on the market.

Germany-based Urwahn Bikes has been producing bikes that seem to reinvent cycling altogether for a few years now. Looking on the manufacturer's website, that quickly becomes apparent. All their bikes follow a signature "Fair Frame" design that stands apart from other bikes on the market.

However, frame geometry aside, there's another neat trick that each Urwahn bike has up its sleeve, it's 3D printed! Yes, in the way that some major automotive manufacturers are creating components for their cars through additive manufacturing. To do that, Urwahn isn't working alone; they've been walking hand in hand with another major player in the additive manufacturing game, Oerlikon.

Oerlikon Edition Gravel E\-Bike
Photo: Urwahn Bikes
If you've never heard of Oerlikon before, it's time to get acquainted. This component manufacturing company traces its history back to 1853 when Franz Saurer established a small foundry in Switzerland. Later on, in 1907, Schweizerische Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Oerlikon (say that three times fast) was founded, the predecessor to Oerlikon-Buhrle AG.

Today, this crew is known as a manufacturer that employs state-of-the-art materials and manufacturing processes, of which one branch specializes in 3D printing or additive manufacturing. It's this branch that is directly implicated in every Urwahn bike.

This story began several years ago when CEO and founder Sebastian Meinecke approached Oerlikon to introduce an entirely new bicycle concept by implementing additive manufacturing into as much of the building process as possible.

Why go through all the trouble of building a bike by 3D printing it? Well, there seem to be countless benefits, of which the manipulation of shapes and materials in unimaginable ways are leading factors.

Oerlikon Edition Gravel E\-Bike
Photo: Urwahn Bikes
To understand why Urwahn sought out a partnership with Oerlikon, Meinecke says, "The collaboration with the team around Oerlikon was always on an equal footing with a fair amount of creativity and pioneering spirit. With their knowledge of materials and technology, we were able to develop a process chain that enabled us to generate new and unique product features." What else needs to be said?

As for the bike you see here today, this is the freshest beast to leave the Urwahn drawing board and has been designed and built as a tribute to the long-standing collaboration between Urwahn and Oerlikon; it represents the production of the 1000th 3D-printed component to come out of the partnership.

In the event's spirit, the new bike has been dubbed the Oerlikon Edition, a gravel e-bike in line with current bicycle trends; gravel riding has seen a significant push in recent years.

So far, there isn't much information regarding the bike's components. Even more of a bummer is that this bike is not commercially available for the time being. But, it is most definitely an e-bike and features components that even raise some questions regarding what is going on. Check out the fork, brake mounts, and offset to see what I mean.

Vagabund Edition
Photo: Urwahn Bikes
Even though we don't know much about what's included on the bike, it doesn't stop us from widening our eyes and letting our view ooze all over that seamless steel frame. As for the paint job, it's impact-resistant Balint Croma Plus coating provided by Oerlikon's aerospace branch, the Balzers team.

To get a clear idea of what a raw Urwahn frame looks like, welds and all, I've added a few images to the gallery that reveal the Urwahn Vagabund Edition bike, a bike with a raw look, for lack of better words.

I understand you may be upset with me because I chose to show you a bike that can't even be bought or owned, but some apples really are forbidden, "for the time being." But don't worry, Urwahn has a whole lineup of bikes and e-bikes meant to showcase just what can be achieved with today's technology.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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