We like to give our readers an insight into the brands at OPUMO. This might take the form of an interview with a founder or even a city guide. In the How We Work series, we focus on the production process, finding out about the procedures that drive some of our favourite brands. While we’ve already seen what it takes to make a Gloverall coat, we have absolutely no idea where to even begin with the design of a bike. That’s why we got in touch with Ole Svendsen, the CEO of Copenhagen Bike Company, to talk us through the journey of a Copenhagen Bike Company city bike.
Copenhagen Bike Company’s mission is simple: by producing stylish, comfortable and durable bikes, the brand aims to raise the profile of sustainable transportation in the world’s largest cities. Each of the company’s commuter bikes is made using high quality materials and is made for the customer by hand to ensure that it’s the perfect size. Not only do the bikes feel great, the classic styles are timeless, so you can look forward to your daily commute.
How and where do you gain inspiration?
Copenhagen is a city where almost everyone rides a bike to work, so a normal day here provides a lot of inspiration for us, just seeing the kind of bikes that people are riding. We can see everything that’s already out there and therefore have a good idea of what we might change to make something new and exciting. Simple, functional bikes already exist, so when we designed the City Cruiser we wanted to make something even better. The final result is a bike that can be used as happily today as in twenty years.
What are the first steps in the design process after you’ve found inspiration?
At Copenhagen Bike Company, we focus closely on meticulous design and craftsmanship. This means that every detail on the bike has been considered because each bike is built from scratch by hand. So as soon as we have inspiration, we begin mock up designs of the frame which are then sent to our production arm in Germany. The frames are made using CR-MO tubes that are considerably stronger than normal steel while remaining lightweight. Each Copenhagen Bike Company bicycle is adjusted to fit the cyclist’s height.
When does a bike go into production? Where does this happen?
After the customer has made the order and specified which bike accessories they would like and the size of the bike, the measurements and specifications are sent to our smiths in Germany. This process means that it takes between three and five weeks for an order to be completed.
How long before you get your first sample?
When we’re working on a completely new design it will normally take around eight months before we get the first samples. Once the samples have been received and approved, we begin the marketing cycle. That means taking photos and videos of the build, uploading them all to the Copenhagen Bike Company website and hoping that people like them as much as we do!
Who are the people involved at each step?
The bikes are designed in Denmark in collaboration with Norm Architects – Copenhagen itself plays a role in this, we take a lot of inspiration from the colours and shapes of the city’s streets. After the design, it’s all handed over to the manufacturers in Germany who design and build the gears, brakes, and tires. Then it’s back to us in Denmark to approve it all and get the bike on the road.
How long did it take to work out your workflow? Is it still developing?
This is a tricky one, our workflow is still developing every day, we’re always working on streamlining it and that means that it has to be at the front of our minds at every step of the journey.