In a recent review of the Simplon Silk cross bike I promised readers a more in-depth look at the Austrian brand’s history and unique marketing approach. In our country not many are familiar with Simplon’s rich history dating back nearly 90 years. So it’s time to set things straight and give the Austrian brand the esteem it rightly deserves!
Let’s get in our time capsule, and travel back to the shores of the scenic Lake Boden, where lies a small town called Hard. In the 1930’s Jozef Hämmele has just opened a bicycle shop in these gorgeous surroundings. Locals and those from the lake’s region are looking for quality Swiss bikes, but these are not easy to source, so Hämmele – assisted by his two son – decide to take matter in their hands. They begin making bicycles themselves based on those fine Swiss two-wheelers. Since expectations are very high, the family business are obliged to deliver top quality models. Although the brand name Simplon will only come into existence 30 years later, Hämmele’s business proves to be a success. Since we’ve arrived at the company foundation, we should mention that the 1960’s is a vibrant era for bike racing in Central Europe. Although still a relatively small business, Simplon decides to sponsor some prominent riders to draw attention to the brand name. This turns out to be a good decision, and the company soon becomes one of the leaders on the Austrian bike market. In the 1980’s the management is again at the forefront of innovation when they are the first to embrace the emerging MTB trend. Again, the decision proves to be a triumph.
Fast forward to present day. Simplon is still one of the top brands in the region with a relatively modest production figure amounting to about 12,000 bikes annually. Surprisingly the shy numbers are good news for both the company and the customers, since they allow the brand to take steps towards customization of their production. Larger scale manufacturing would have made changes much more difficult. Simplon first created a configurator app on their website for all types of bikes – road, MTB, trekking and even e-bikes – where the buyer has the possibility to design a bicycle from ground up. Such type of service is few and far between in the bike industry, one which caters for the true needs customer as opposed to aiming to sell as many identical bikes possible. It proves that Simplon cares about the rider’s experience with the bike, making sure it’s exactly what he or she needs or desires, taking into consideration other factors such as comfort and style. The level of attention is what sets the Austrian brand apart from the competition. Simplon calls this concept “Individual System”. The idea is that they refuse to sell you a bike that you don’t really require, quite the contrary, Simplon allows you to select a bike based on your previous experience, so you’ll have the right bike for you needs.
A key factor in getting the right bike is taking into account your personal anatomy and preferences. You can do this through the configurator app, alternatively an authorized Simplon dealer will be glad to help you to receive the necessary information and make measurements. The individualization not only includes stem length, handlebar size, shape, seat post and saddle design, but also crank length and other smaller details. Once you’re done specifying the dream bike, employees in Hard will assemble the customized model. The bike is then shipped to the specified bike shop where the servicemen will make the final adjustments according to your requirements. The bike you ordered will be tailor made for you, and hopefully will serve you well for many years to come. Mind you, there is a waiting period, since in reality “your” bike is not in stock. This is the price of getting a unique product, one that is made according to your specifications. If the customer requires, the Simplon dealer can assist with the additional customization, providing advice along with supplying the necessary parts. This constitutes part of the service for the customers of Simplon bikes.
The Simplon product range is especially exuberant if you take into consideration all the options provided by the unique configuration of each and every bike model. You’ll will have no trouble selecting the type of bike you need for your riding, be it the leisure cyclist or a professional bike racer aiming for the podium. Simplon places great emphasis on ergonomics and comfort, which plays a major role in the cycling experience. Only full satisfaction with the bike will drive you to get in the saddle day after day.
The entry point for the made-to-order Simplon lineup is the Spotlight Pure cross-trekking model, featuring a premium aluminum frame equipped with Shimano Deore components and conventional V-brakes. This standard model will set you back 1350 euros while its disc brake trekking variant costs 1650 euros. The selection becomes somewhat more exciting when we enter the sportier segment of the lineup, especially true for the road bike segment, on which Simplon places extra attention nowdays. It might come as a surprise that there is not a single aluminum frame road model to be found in the 2019 range. On the other hand, there are 5 different carbon variants to choose from. The selection caters for diverse needs and application. For example, MR. T2 is Simplon’s top-of-the-line time trial bike, the renowned Pride serves road cyclists and triathletes looking for extra speed using an aerodynamic frame design. Both the Pavo and the Kairo is aimed at the road endurance market segment and finally the Insissio is the perfect rig for venturing off road on a drop bar bike – be it a cyclocross race or a ride on gravel roads.
Here is a rundown on the 2019 Simplon lineup as presented by the manufacturer:
In Hungary Simplon bikes are distributed exclusively by ROADBIKE.hu, where the staff will be glad to answer all your questions concerning the model range and availability. Simplon dealers not only lead you through the process of purchasing your custom bike in the shop, but – if required – visit your home where they can also perform all the details of ordering a personalized model on a tablet.
Link to the manufacturer: