For €1350 (live now on kickstarter!)you can get yourself a very interesting single speed city bike from Mokumono in the Netherlands, for just €50 more you can get an extra 7 gears. At first glance it can seem quite expensive, but give it some thought, and examine the idea behind the company and the idea makes more sense.
In this day and age we do seem to be after cheaper and cheaper all the time, we like costs to come down, we rarely look at the value and ethos behind it. We pay Primark very little for our clothes without examining the human cost in the supply chain.
€1350 is by no means the cheapest you can get for a single speed bike, even a cursory examination of google will reveal bikes nearly €800 cheaper. But that’s not the point.
One of the reasons to write this is to highlight the effort that’s gone into making the Mokumono. The brothers behind it are looking to do something genuinely different in this day and age. Like Filament cycles (link), they are making in their home country, utilising and adapting techniques that are out there already and bringing production back to their own country (a subject close to my heart after my Masters dissertation examined something very similar).
If you want to ride something a little different, and can value the extra effort and cost that has gone into the Mokumono then it’s certainly a most excellent kickstarter to get involved with!
The Netherlands has a rich history of bicycle manufacturing but in an attempt to reduce costs, most bike manufacturers moved production to cheap labor countries, mostly in Southeast Asia. Founder of Mokumono, Bob Schiller, thinks it is a shame that a nation so known for its bicycles buys most of their bicycles from foreign manufacturers. He believes that it is time to bring bicycle production back to The Netherlands. Mokumono’s innovative production process allows a revival of the vanishing tradition of Dutch of bicycle manufacturing.
Inspired by the way cars are produced, Mokumono frames are made of two sheets of aluminum pressed into form and laser welded together. The European car industry has managed to retain production in several European countries by adapting techniques that lend themselves easily towards automation. “By borrowing these techniques”, Schiller states, “we are able to highly automate production process, significantly lowering labor costs and thus making it possible to build bicycles in The Netherland again”.The production techniques are reflected in the design of the strong and lightweight frame. The high edge on the outline of the frame visually splits it in halve and reflects the way it is built. With the choice of components Mokumono relies on the best products available. That means using the Gates Carbon Drive Belt system and the new Shimano Metrea groupset, specifically designed for urban cyclist.
Mokumono Cycles will be available in two specifications: single speed and 8-speed internal gear hub. Kickstarter pre-order prices start at $1150 for single speed and $1400 8-speed Alfine (all prices in USD). Mokumono will begin shipping worldwide in December 2016.
About the founder:
Mokumono started as a graduation project by Bob Schiller at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
About Mokumono Company:
Mokumono is a cycling startup in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We set out to revive the vanishing tradition of Dutch bicycle manufacturing. Since our start three prototypes have been constructed as a result of countless sketches and design iterations. Furthermore, we have sought and found a very reliable manufacturing partner for the production of our frames. Witte van Moort, based in the Dutch town of Vriezeveen, is a family business that can look back on more than 60 years of experience.
The Mokumono team consists of Bob Schiller and his twin brother Tom Schiller. Bob is Mokumono’s founder and graduate from the Design Academy, Eindhoven. Tom is an Environmental and Resources Management graduate from the Vrije University of Amsterdam. Within the team, Tom is responsible for overseeing the production and supply chain.