Elian Veltman’s inspiration for building bikes came from a car.
While studying car engineering, Elian worked for Donkervoort – a sports car manufacturer in the Netherlands. In Donkervoort’s small, light filled factory in the Dutch polder, Elian noticed how Donkervoort leaves out electronic aids to simplify motoring. No ABS, no ESP, no power steering and no traction control. Instead, Donkervoort focuses on simple and functional elements: an ultra stiff chassis, simple design, low wheel suspension.
Elian was so caught by Donkervoort’s simplicity he decided to abandon his passion for cars for something even simpler: the bike.
Elian left Donkervoort and became a bicycle inventor. Elian had worked in his uncle’s bike repair shop ever since he was a child, and he could build bikes blindfolded. But his lessons at Donkervoort gave him his true epiphany. He set up a small bicycle factory in Culemborg, and filled it with machines he bought off Dutch and Belgian factories that had gone out of business 30 years ago – unable to cope with competition from the Far East. Elian started building bike prototypes devoid of all frills, in a quest to forge a frame as austere as a Calvinistic Protestant church service.
Elian’s first bicycle became a delivery bike, called ’01-cargo’. The delivery bike weighs approximately half of what normal delivery bikes weigh; each unnecessary nut and bolt has been omitted, each excess gram of steel has been shaved off. The 01-cargo’s front load carrier looks like a horizontal hoisting crane, and gives bike an appearance as urban as a derelict Dublin construction site. With his second bicycle, the ’02-commuter’, Elian has built a dressed down version of the traditional diamond shaped bike frame – and in doing so improved the simplicity of a geometrical form that hasn’t changed since Pythagoras.
Elian doesn’t plan to stop at these first two bikes. His girlfriend currently rides an old concorde (a ladies racing bike), and Elian is working hard to get her a new bike – built by him. Soon after that, his 1 year old son will be needing a bike as well.
Asked what he would like to do 20 years from now, Elian says he secretly wants to build a plane.
As if his bikes don’t make you fly already.