The aluminium profiles in Gymrail’s innovation are manufactured by Mäkelä Alu01/12/2022
Gymrail’s Momentum X1 is a patented Finnish innovation for active cyclists where the athlete’s own bicycle is attached to an indoor cycling training platform, i.e. a rocker plate. The platform tilts from side to side, mimicking the natural movement of cycling in a real outdoor environment.
The man behind the innovation, Harri Salmenautio, originally from Alajärvi, has taken his idea forward with long-term commitment. Salmenautio has been developing the idea since 2018. Momentum X1 entered the market in early 2022.
The idea for Gymrail came from resistance bands, which are difficult to attach to anything in a home environment.
“I wanted to start training with resistance bands. I started brainstorming ideas on the best way to attach them at home. I came up with the idea of an aluminium profile to which I could also attach other home training equipment. This resulted in a home fitness product with a variety of additional components, including chin-up bars and pull-downs. At some point I figured that I could also attach an exercise bike to it – or better yet, my own bike! However, I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t just start selling a rail to the wall, instead, I should make my own product for indoor cycling,” says Salmenautio.
Aluminium profiles from Mäkelä Alu
The profiles used in the production of Momentum X1 are extruded at Mäkelä Alu. There are three different profiles. The use of aluminium profiles in manufacturing has made the production process more efficient and reduced production costs.
“Of course, at the beginning we tested different prototypes, and the production quantities were so small that it wouldn’t have made sense to order a profile right away. Now, however, it is a very reasonable solution,” says Harri Salmenautio.
Professional profile design
Before the final design of the aluminium profiles, Salmenautio sent Mäkelä Alu a request for a quote that outlined most of the details concerning the shape of the profile.
“With the help of our expert design team, we started to plan how we could best achieve the desired vision with extrusion. We refined the plans together with Harri, and finally the profiles were made. Two of the profiles were delivered to the customer without surface treatment and one profile with surface treatment,” says Olli Korkia-aho from Mäkelä Alu.
The surface-treated profiles are finished in further processing.
“We have been really excited about this product. We want to be involved in new innovations, as they also bring growth to our business once commercialised,” Korkia-aho continues.
Gymrail’s products are made at a prototype workshop in Vimpeli, about six kilometres from Mäkelä Alu’s Luoma-aho factory. 80 per cent of Momentum X1’s parts are made by companies in Mäkelä Alu’s immediate vicinity or elsewhere in South Ostrobothnia.
“We think it’s great that such an innovation has been developed in our region, and we want to favour local companies in its production,” says Olli Korkia-aho.
“We are located close to the aluminium cluster of Luoma-aho and Vimpeli. From the very beginning, it was clear to us that the parts would be manufactured nearby and we would be able to scale production volumes quickly if necessary. By collaborating with the network, we are able to buy only what we need,” says Salmenautio.
Working with partners in the nearby area also eliminates the need for the company to have its own warehouse, as it is able to order finished parts that only require final assembly. In this way, there is no need for stock that ties up the company’s capital.
Gymrail’s product has attracted considerable interest around the world. Indoor cycling and related digital sports technology have become very popular in recent years, and Gymrail’s international visibility has been aided by industry influencers and ambassadors consisting of competitive athletes.
The product’s potential has also been recognised at Mäkelä Alu. Right from the start, Harri Salmenautio knew that Gymrail’s products would not be targeted to the Finnish market alone. The company has an online store that serves customers all over Europe. In addition, the company recently started selling its products on Amazon in Germany, which significantly facilitates sales outside of Europe. Amazon has warehouses on every continent.
“We are feeling optimistic, and this is the first indoor training season when all of our distribution channels are up and running. Of course, success is never guaranteed, which is why long-term and continuous development work is necessary,” says Harri Salmenautio.
Caption: Harri Salmenautio (on the left) and Production Manager Mikko Liikala, who has been with the company from the beginning.