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Most bike frames consist of metal tubes that are welded together. It's the way bicycles have been made from the start. It's also labor-intensive, and one of the reasons bicycle manufacturing shifted to low-wage countries.
Two brothers developed an alternative that allows them to produce frames in the Netherlands, by borrowing a technique from the auto industry. Instead of tubes, Mokumono bikes are made of two sheets of aluminum pressed into a frame. No welding required, and the process can be automated, leading to lower labor costs.
The result is an eyecatching, lightweight and locally made e-bike that customers can order in 60 different colors, priced from EUR 2990. Mokumono's innovative process and design — with form following production — have won it several industry awards. The startup also just reeled in EUR 800,000 in investments to facilitate further growth.
According to Mokumono, 97% of all bicycle frames sold in Europe are made in Asia. Their ultimate goal is to build bikes made solely using European parts, which won't be easy. But growing awareness of supply chain fragility paired with robust consumer demand for e-bikes are favorable tailwinds for reviving regional production.
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