It would be easy to look at the Simplon range of E-bikes and think the brand must have launched on the E-bike wave in the last few years. However, the reality is that the brand is very well established, they started out almost 100 years ago in Austria…
In 1928, Josef Hämmerle laid the foundation stone in Lustenau, Austria and started selling cameras, gramophones and their accessories. Four years later, he added bicycles to his range and relocated the business to Hard. In 1952 the bicycle trade becomes a manufactory. Under the name “Falke”, Josef and his son Kurt Hämmerle manufacture the first individual bikes.
Sink the Boats
Kurt and Heinz Hämmerle took over the business from their father and trade in bicycles, boats, boat engines and accessories. The various divisions ran in parallel for several years until the Hämmerle family decided to focus exclusively on the bicycle industry at the end of the 1970s. The bicycle factory in Kohlplatzstraße needed more space due to the demand from Vorarlberg bicycle dealers. The Hämmerle family therefore expanded the company location with a new building.
Racing Through the 70’s
The racing bike experienced a new heyday in the 70s. Simplon started to build their own racing bikes, which Heinz Hämmerle kept testing himself. His experiences flow into the development of Simplon bikes. The motto: “We will build the best racing bike”. Gerhard Zadrobilek won the Tour of Austria on a Simplon bike. This quickly brings the brand attention throughout Austria and further afield. The manufacturing at the Simplon headquarters was bursting at the seams. Nine employees worked at the site. In 1983, the Hämmerle family built a new company building with a warehouse and assembly halls.
Simplon includes the first mountain bike models in its product range of 1988. Kurt’s son Andreas, who used to be a cyclist himself, brings concepts and ideas for this new generation of bicycles from the USA. He pushed forward the development of the new models significantly. and helped enable Simplon to benefit from the worldwide MTB boom.
Simplon were relatively early adopters of carbon fibre technology. They started using full carbon frames for Simplon bicycles for the first time during the 1990’s. The technology made it possible to significantly reduce the weight of the individual bike models. The first Simplon full carbon series goes under the name “Vision”.
Between 2000 and 2004, Simplon continued to rely on producing premium quality bikes. The development of the frames and the assembly of approximately 7,000 bikes per year. In order to be able to meet the increasing demand for bicycles, the company expanded its operating site on Oberen Achdamm. Heinz Hämmerle handed over the management of Simplon to Andreas and Christian – for a well-positioned company: In the mid 2000’s, approximately 50 employees produce around 12,500 bicycles a year.
With the interest in e-bikes, from 2011, a new trend enriches Simplon’s range of products: the motor-assisted bikes segment will grow steadily over the next few years. E-bikes became an important business area for Simplon and one which they would become well known for across Europe.
Together with selected dealers, Simplon offered a standardised digital sales process. A body scanner digitally collected all relevant body data from the customer. In this way, Simplon can adjust the customer’s desired bike optimally and according to their needs. In addition, Simplon opens its product range for the British market for the first time.
Simplon further invested around one million euros in assembly and office space. With the additional floor space, the company continued to modernize its location and facilities. The Experience Center opened its doors to potential new customers. As a premium manufacturer, Simplon relied upon a brand promise that can be best experienced in person, as well as on extensive yet personal advice for its customers, this ensures a good match between customer and bike.
Simplon produce a wide range of bikes, both regular human powered and electric pedal assist. Where Simplon do things differently, however, is with the use of carbon fibre frames across all model styles – not just race bikes. Simplon recognise that even the most utilitarian town E-bike can benefit from being lighter through the use of carbon fibre and high quality components. In addition features such as smart headset technology, with internal cable routing have benefits for all types of riders. As you might expect with a premium brand, Simplon use Bosch electric motors, batteries and contollers. This ensures that the user can enjoy the benefits of riding a Simplon bike, with the peace of mind that premium E-bike technology delivers.