The only thing that can stop you, is your imagination…
To mark the occasion Kristo wrote a subjective retrospect on 10 facts about the bike and people around it. Let’s go!
No 1 About that mystique cafe that was so inspirational…
You probably already know the story that goes like this – “Viks was born in a small cafe on a late autumn afternoon in 2012 out of idea to have a bicycle which would be little bit different, not a boring one….” Well, that coffee shop really does exists, locating in Tallinn, our home town on a close proximity of Presidential Palace and Park Kadriorg. It’s called Gourmet Coffee and we truly suggest to visit the place that is known for the best coffee and fine menu. During first years of Viks, we used the place as our office while Indrek’s apartment was our workshop. And the bike was heavy – 1/3 or more compared to today’s Viks classic version in stainless steel. That was due to thicker frame tubing and selection of parts.
Here’s the first Viks bike ever made. Known as Viks Classic.
No 2 Word-of-mouth…
There was a plan to make that one bike that looks different from others. “Unfortunately” it turned out as an attention magnet 😊. Probably one of the first internationally known magazines who picked us up was GIZMAG, now known as NEW ATLAS. When you like to read the first story that tells pretty much everything about the start of the Viks bike, please look here. And then others came. Designboom was phenomenal of course. They chose Viks to their list of top 10 bike designs in 3 consecutive years: 2013, 2014 and 2015.
#viksrider Ilmar Kurvits organized these 3 bikes from Designboom top 2013-2015 into one.
No 3 Developing the bike hand in hand with fans and partners…
Development and moving forward has always been the thing for us. Otherwise we would not have disc brakes, belt drive gears and even some frame modifications. As we encourage fans to get involved in the process and work with us to create the most beautiful bike out there, it’s you favor as well dear Viks owners. What you demanded, we mostly executed. And the weight… What’s the weight of the bike? That is a question we can hear pretty much every day. By switching from stainless steel to carbon or aluminum alloy, the weight issue is really not there. If 13-14 kilos for stainless steel Viks is too much, you can easily have Viks GT from aluminum alloy that weights 11 kilos and has both coaster brake and front rim brake. Fair enough? Both alloy and carbon frames we are making have made it possible to have a Viks bike that weights 9 kilos. Happy days 😊 While talking about development you might ask what’s next? It might be Viks GT in carbon…
A Viks Carbon with all bells and whistles to Frank Peter Mäder’s collection.
No 4 Distributorship turns into friendship…
Nico, Oscar and Sjoerd – it’s mostly about you. From time to time we’ll get inquiries with a wish to became a Viks distributor. For most times these stories are misfortune stories. Relatively successful have been these guys who were able to see Viks frameset as a canvas and used it to create their own versions of Viks bikes that were reflecting their taste and local cycling scene.
A result of Auftragsrad’s collaboration with Riesel Design for Eurobike 2015.
Another collaboration between Auftragsrad and Riesel Design boys for the same event.
Patience is one of the key factors here too. It’s you Nico. We met in London back in 2014. You were successful car salesman but you were into bikes as well and you loved Viks. You wanted to make a change. We were standing on the street while inside it was an Estonian party and you introduced me your plans from your iPad. What I was thinking about in this very moment was your passion and ability to sell French automobiles to German clients. We said “yes” to each other.
From left: Kristo, Indrek and Nico during grand opening of Auftragsrad’s first shop.
Now you have Auftragsrad, you’ve created a bike brand of your own and you’re going to open a new Bicycle Shop in Berlin this month. You have made quite a name for yourself in Berlin scene. And yes – Germany is the first country in the world by the number of Viks bikes riding around.
Viks GT Berlin Launch version – 9.3 kilos of riding pleasure.
It’s about you Linde bros from Velowland. You were school teachers and bike enthusiasts who really appreciated design in wider scale. You had a plan to turn a Viks classic bike into wooden looking one. You succeeded and the bike turned out a masterpiece – VIKS WOODaLIKE. We’re really happy to have it at our office 😊. First time we met eye to eye was at Spin London in 2015. You owned the show and it was a perfect match and it still is.
From left: Sjoerd, Kristo and Oscar after successful day in Spin London 2015.
It’s cool that you still have time to teach these kids in your home town Meppel, Netherlands while having to take good care of BEASTYBIKE web store, a coolest bike shop in Holland L’Hirondelle Bike Shop Meppel that just opened its doors and your growing dealer network. Would be great to have our mutual Lithuanian friend in London back on board as well because the only thing that can stop you, is your imagination 😊
Viks GT Merc Edition in Düsseldorf.
No 5 People starting to act weird…
2 years back we launched Viks GT Edition bike. You can read the long story here. It was about material choice (by switching from stainless steel to alloy we saved 40% of the weight of the frame kit) and sharper curves that changed the looks of the frameset. To be honest – there was a third aspect as well. Inspiration to create that bike came from Lamborghini super cars – that is something we are not even supposed to say out loud today. That was basically written in the letter (actual letter on the paper) from Lamborghini HQ. In their opinion, we can’t be inspired by that Italian supercar, as well it’s not okay to put the bike and that car to one photo. We’re have to respect that but cannot stop others to do so…
Lamborghini Avendator and Viks GT stainless steel prototype in Netherlands.
It might be alright though, if you own both…
Roni from Finland is travelling like this.
It all happened like year and a half after the launch. During the building process we remained close contact with Lamborghini dealer in our hometown. I’m sure they did send all the details to Lamborghini HQ as well. They even gave us the yellow Lamborghini Huracan for photoshoot…By the way, the idea and first sketches of Viks GT were already there like 3 years before the actual launch, that is right after classic version of the bike was ready.
No 6 6 quick and short ones…
• One of the first guys who noticed the bike and became the owner, was engineer and developer of Eddy Merckx bikes Dave Luyckx.
• Almost every Viks bike is unique because of endless ways for customization. We are approaching to number 400 soon. See the video of the process of Viks making.
• Almost every Viks bike is unique and normally ordered one by one until a fitness company from Germany Flexx Fitness ordered 32 identical Viks GT bikes for their team members. Identical by looks of course. Frames were built according to riders measurements.
• You already know the country that has most Viks bikes rolling around. Yes, it’s Germany. Followed by Estonia, Benelux countries, Italy, France, USA, UK and Australia. When talking about our homeland Estonia – we have some 30 unique Viks owners here. There are at least 3 couples who can share their riding experience. As well we have some riders who have 3 or more Viks bikes at their possession.
Viks meetup 2016 in Tallinn, Estonia.
• Geography of Viks bikes is wide and goes beyond markets we think are standard for a small workshop as we are. Viks riders can be noticed in Brazil, Argentina, Bermuda, Mexico, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, South-Korea and Hong-Kong and Taiwan.
Big in Japan (no photoshop have been used).
• There is almost half a meter between shortest (classic XXS 26’’) and tallest (GT XL 28’’) Viks rider. You can check it out from here, how Viks XXS 26’’ was born.
Viks Classic in size XXS with 26” wheels
No 7 Bikeshows turning into useful contacts and lot of fun…
We’ve been travelling. All over Europe. Us or our dealers – Eurobike, Spin London, Berliner Fahrradschau, Bikemotion Benelux, Cyclingworld Düsseldorf, EXPO Milano and so on. When Berlin show always has the greatest urban vibe (read more about our adventures here), Düsseldorf has been great success for us (read more about how we did last year here), world fair EXPO Milano was the most honorable for us (read more about our participation here), Eurobike 2015 was our first and probably most memorable one (read what happened here). That show in Friedrichshafen, Germany was quite a preparation (we had our own booth to build and fill) and 5000-km long road trip. We had a great team of Auftragsrad, Happarel Bicycles, Riesel Design and Bellitanner Bikes. Our booth was filled with innovation, beautiful design and one awful electric chopper bike, grabbing a lot of attention and interest. We worked hard, listened a lot of Estonian Tommy Cash and communicated.
Making contacts: on the left side Ailar, on right Kristo who has Jure Berk from Berk Composites next to him (Jure is the mastermind behind carbon tubing for Viks Carbon bikes).
And the story? Well, one magazine we wanted to be in straight from the beginning was Monocle. Normally we are not pushing our bikes like this. But that one time we did. Unsuccessfully. 2 years later there he was, standing in our booth in Eurobike stared at the Viks Carbon – Henry Rees-Sheridan, a researcher from Monocle. We had a chance to pitch our bikes and every third phrase from him was “mudzjo blaadz” ?!?!?!?! Our level of English didn’t help there either. Later I figured out that it was “much obliged”. We got Viks Carbon in. To the Monocle. Cool. What’s next? That will be Miami, Florida of course. With TheArsenale and Pat Meignan.
Estonian cyclist leaning on Viks in world fair EXPO Milano 2015.
No 8 Being a #viksrider…
What can we do without you, dear viksriders? You are the inspiration. Some of you turned into real ambassadors. Much oblige 😊
Petri from Finland. Brought testing Viks bike to next level by participating on 24-hour race on it last summer. See more about Petri here.
Petri, owner of orange Viks Classic.
Aivaras from Denmark. His red bike is probably the most publicly photographed Viks bike in the world. See more about Aivaras here.
Aivaras, owner of Viks Classic in red and Viks Classic in British Racing Green.
Ilmar from Estonia. The guy behind our postcards, stickers, posters and merchandise design. A café racer connoisseur. What if we’ll cover your story next?
Ilmar, owner of Viks Classic in brushed and Viks Classic in RAW.
No 9 Name dropping is not polite but…this one time…
No 10 Viks is a bike model…
Viks is a bike model. In Estonian Viks means classy and gentleman like, as well it sounds like fixed gear. This was the initial idea at first – a fixed gear commuter. Designed cafe racer motorcycles in mind. Viks has been even called a pedal powered version of it.
Viks x BMW k75s by Renard Speed Shop.
We are Velonia Bicycles. A company that is behind Viks bikes. The story of Velonia goes back to 2008 when Indrek Narusk, an engineer, a passionate cyclist and an amateur road racer thought that it’s time for Estonian bike riders to have their own bike brand. Velonia Bicycles was founded.
Small Workshop with a wide geography. From the left: Indrek, Kristo and Tarmo.
In the beginning it was all about designing carbon Velonia bike frames and Speedynamics components in Tallinn, Estonia, in partnership with Asian manufacturers. The company’s wish to build custom bikes for riders initiated a short ‘Italian’ period when Velonia cooperated with one renowned Italian manufacturing brand. The desire for perfection and full control of the whole building process, together with the experience of building Viks commuter bikes, has given a lot of ideas and freedom to experiment with radical bike design and disrupt the city cycling scene.
XCR ROAD DISC, made from scratch by Indrek. It’s all in house now.
Follow us on Instagram: @viksbike