One of the more usual bikes to hit the bespoke custom frame segment, is the urban cruiser called the EREMBALD – from builders Karel Vincke and Tobias Knockaert.
Produced under the name, ElevenTwentySeven, the EREMBALD is made from stainless steel, which features an intricate pattern of laser cut-outs, that not only give the bike its distinctive organic look, but also serves to shave away material – thus reducing weight.
But, perhaps just as interesting as the Erembald’s frame, is the design of its unique fixed stem/handlebar and fork, which the duo says is made to measure – therefore eliminating the need for separate components.
The Erembald is limited to just 50 framesets, after which, Vincke and Knockaert are hoping to expand upon their vision with other models.
The framesets are handmade in Bruges, Belgium, and are available to customers world-wide.
“We want to offer beautiful bicycles with an identity that is made around the rider: tailor made and highly personalized”
How this all started
Karel had been around for 2 years with the idea to make a bicycle using a tubelaser. Though, nobody within the company itself would have time to figure the whole thing out. Until Tobias accidentally walked by in search of an internship/master thesis. This gave Karel the perfect opportunity to work things out. As the company’s core business is far from bicycle making, this subject was uncultivated terrain for all of us.
Originally the intention of the master thesis was to reduce weight by lasercutting a kind of truss structure out of a (square tube). After a lot of testing and measuring it seemed clear that is was unattainable to obtain lower frameweight than carbon frames.In the end; what’s the point of reducing frameweight from 900 to 850 grams? The cut-out struss structure was much weaker and tended to kink. So this was a dead end road.
During this process, we however found out that we could use lasercut snap connections and parametric design which enhance flexibility and speed in the whole manufacturing process. This enables us to make every bicycle bespoke without extra costs or reorganisation. Every bicycle comes out of the machine like a puzzle and clicks together before welding occurs. That’s where our true innovation is about.
We started thinking of using cut-out pattern as design feature and to showcase our technology. We knew we would lose strength so we overdimensioned our tubes (40 x 2 mm). Such tubes are approx 10 times stiffer and 5 times stronger than a 25 x 1 mm tube (often used in bicycles) (this is not completely correct and depends on a lot of other material/section properties, but I will not go in detail about this). But we cut away half of the material, so the tube gets weaker. We did some CAE studies and found out our cuts would cause peak tensions. You can see, this was kind of a trial/error case: How much material can we cut away to maintain a reasonable strength-stiffness-weight ratio? CAE can help a lot but such bicycle structure is complex and boundary conditions are hard to define.
We then just decided to start making some bikes and test it for real. We performed lab tests and our frames are 1,5 times as stiff as a competition carbon race frame. Thereafter 6 prototypes rode 4 months here in Belgium. None of them showed failure. So we’re pretty sure our frames are solid. They are a bit overdimensioned ( a complete bicycle weighs 12 kg) but we don’t care. We’re making exclusive personalized bikes, not race machines.
Eventually we believe that we can be competitive and bring back bicycle manufacturing to high-wage countries like Belgium. In the end, we don’t want all this knowledge and heritage to get lost because of untenable economic situations, right? People liked our bicycles and we decided to kick off for real!
Cycling is hot nowadays. Since driving cars has become expensive and traffic jams dominate the city landscape, bikes have become the number one urban transport manner. However, the vast majority of bikes are mass produced and lack an identity that matches their riders. There’s too little that separates your partner in transport from any other object you own. A rider deserves better. Much better. A rider deserves the Erembald.
Thanks to innovative laser-cut technology, every single Erembald bike is tailored to the needs and wishes of its rider. The saddle and steer are fixed according to the rider’s specific dimensions, thus eliminating the need for a stem and seatpost. Moreover, it comes with a laser engraving of the rider’s name, in between the bike’s integrated bike lock. But what really makes this bike unique is the remarkable organic pattern, inspired by cellular structures. Made fully out of stainless steel and stripped from all redundant features, this bike is made to last. The Erembald is just what you need to cruise downtown in style.
The flexible laser-cut technology enables small batch production without the need of costly calibers and machines. Therefore the production of the Erembald will be limited to 50 bicycles whereafter a new innovative and exclusive bicycle will designed and “batched” All made in Bruges, Belgium. Farewell mass-production, welcome micro-manufacturing.
When Karel the good one offended the Erembald family publicly, they arranged a conspiracy to murder Karel in 1127. This important occurrence in the history of Bruges is still remembered with a statue of Karel near the “Burg”, where he was killed. Our first model looks a bit racy and aggressive, and therefore we named it after the Erembalds, referring to their aggressive position in the conspiracy.
All bikes are made to order on size. Seatpost and stem are fixed. Therefore, please fill in the right dimensions if you’d like to get your hands on one of our exclusive bikes.
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