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Reviving Dutch Manufacturing with the MOKUMONO Bike

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Cycling and The Netherlands are synonymous. Almost everybody, even their Prime Minister, uses a bike to get to work, to go shopping, or spend some relaxing hours of leisure time. Cycling has been part of the Dutch culture for centuries.

The first Dutch bicycle factory (Burgers) opened in 1870. At the start of the 20th century, there were more than 30 big bicycle manufactures in The Netherlands, producing 20.000 bicycles per year. It might be hard to imagine, but the production of bicycles has hardly changed over time. Traditionally, a bicycle frame is built by joint welding metal tubes. This is mostly done by hand and therefore labor intensive.

In recent years, all of the big Dutch manufactures have moved their production to cheap labor countries, typically in Southeast Asia, in an attempt to cut costs. That means that in spite of our rich bicycles manufacturing history, bicycles our no longer produced in The Netherlands.

However, MOKUMONO has set out to bring bicycle production back to The Netherlands and revive the vanishing tradition of Dutch bicycle manufacturing.

Inspired by the way cars are produced, MOKUMOMO 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 for automation. By borrowing these techniques, we are able to almost fully automate our production process, significantly lowering labor costs and thus making it possible to build bicycles in The Netherlands again.

Producing bicycles in The Netherlands has a number of advantages. MOKUMONO’s physical proximity to their production facility allows them to closely monitor every step of the production process. This means that they can discover and fix potential flaws fast and adequately, making sure that every MOKUMONO bike is of the highest possible quality.

A second advantage of producing in the Netherlands is the relatively short overall production time. MOKUMONO’s bikes do not have to be shipped from a far away production site to their warehouse in The Netherlands before they can be shipped off to the customer. For example, shipping bikes from Southeast Asia to Europe can take longer than a month. 

 

 

The MOKUMONO frame is the outcome of renewing the way bicycle frames are built. The frame starts out with two opposites halves, that when put together essentially becomes a monocoque. The production techniques are reflected in the design of the strong and lightweight frame. Also, the high edge on the outline of the frame visually splits it in half and reflects the way it is put together.

The head tube, bottom bracket shell and dropouts are not part of the main frame. The reason why is simple. The standards for these parts tend to change because of new insights and cycling trends. Not making them part of the main frame means that our frames can be easily adapted to follow the latest trends and best techniques.

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Fender and rack mounts are part every frame to make sure that you can ride your MOKUMONO through puddles without getting wet. Fenders will come as an option to be purchased after the campaign.

The internal brake cable routing hides the brake cables from view but more importantly from the environment. With the cables inside the frame they are less susceptible to damage and therefore have a longer life span.

MOKUMONO’s choice of components reflect a selection of the best products available. First and foremost the designers have focused on the quality of the product, but if possible they also try to source products from Europe. Not because of a protective patriotistic standpoint, but it is a sustainable business process to source as much as they can, as close as possible to the Netherlands.

The Gates Carbon Belt Drive System is designed to be a stronger, quieter alternative to the traditional bike chain. The durable carbon-fiber belt is grease-free and requires little to no maintenance. It won’t leave any marks on your pants and you’ll never have to pull over to fix a dropped chain.

The Shimano 105 grade hydraulic flat mount road disk brakes bring high performance stopping power. These brakes use a mineral oil reservoir housed in a compact and ergonomic mechanical lever. Heat dispersing pads combined with Shimano’s ICE technology rotors allow for consistent braking performance through all weather conditions.

The Brooks Cambium C17 saddle is made from vulcanized natural rubber and organic cotton top that offers extraordinary comfort and exceptional freedom of movement, The hard-wearing top, die-cast aluminum structure, and tubular steel rails allow the Cambium to stand up to many years of hard use. Furthermore, a distinct dampening effect is delivered by the classic Brooks “hammock” construction, reducing road vibrations and keeping the rider comfortably in the saddle.

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The 32mm wide Continental Grand Prix 4season are robust all-season tires with worry-free puncture protection optimized for cold and wet weather. They are made in Germany, have great lifespan and are by many considered to be the top of the line all-season road bike tires.

The optional Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub strengths are rapidity, silent shifting and is practically maintenance free. The hub basically replaces an 8-speed cassette in a 12-38-tooth configuration.

The optional Curana C-lite fenders are made from aluminium and extremely light yet very durable. The fenders will come as an option to be purchased after the campaign.

At the moment, there’s only one frame size available.

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However, MOKUMONO has designed the frame in a way that it suits riders of different sizes. The frame has a slight slope giving a lower stand over hight and a longer head tube for a more comfortable riding position. A range of adjustments can be made to the rider’s position.

MOKUMONO will be most comfortable for riders between 5’7″ to 6’3″ (170cm to 190cm). If any of the possible adjustments is not enough, it is always possible to replace the stem, seat post, handlebar or crank arms to achieve a better fit.

Early backers of the project can purchase the MOKUMONO for $1290.

To learn more about the company’s crowd-funding campaign, you can check out their Kickstarter page here: MOKUMONO

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