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UNI MK AND SWING AVAILABLE!
UNI MK AND SWING AVAILABLE!
February 15, 2023 5 min read
So, this is going to be very personal, but it's time to make a statement. But first of all: yes, 50 Rebels will distribute MK Classic and Swing bikes made by SEic Cycles from now on, but we wanted to wait with the communication until we are in possession of the original documents for shipping, importing, etc. Very important: with this step we want to support a community and especially people who have formed this community and built an existence around these great machines. So let me structure this:
How it all started
As early as spring 2022, I discussed with UD about a deeper cooperation between Urban Drivestyle and 50 Rebels. It was about joint sourcing, adapting our products and joint marketing. We wanted to join forces to be better equipped for the future. This led to us taking on Urban Drivestyle products at 50 Rebels and UD started marketing our products as well. In the last few months I have been to Berlin, Mallorca and also Amsterdam several times. Unfortunately, the liquidity situation at UD deteriorated very quickly after that, with the known outcome. But our team was now briefed, invested a lot of time and we were ready to go. That's when the idea with SEic Cycles came up. We had been in contact with SEic for a while, as they had been producing and distributing the MK Classic and the Swing since 2016, and we at 50 Rebels were looking for a strong partner in Taiwan. We all originally fell in love with the Unimoke from Taiwanese production, so the manufacturing quality is right and a closer cooperation was obvious.
MK Classic and Swing distribution
We have packed all the immediately available MK Classic and Swings that SEic had in Taiwan into a container and shipped them. This means that a total of 30 machines, some spare parts and a lot of accessories are on their way to Portugal with ETA in March. The next order has been placed but will not arrive before May/June. This means first come first serve for the products we have. The proceeds from this container will be used to buy new bikes and spare parts. This way we ensure that spare parts in particular can be financed and shipped on an ongoing basis. At the same time we help people like Ben Pellemeier or Sjoerd Jonkers to continue to be supplied with your beloved and for them existentially important bikes. In other words, so that they can earn their daily bread without having to pay tens of thousands of euros in advance. In January we started to provide the guys with bikes from the 50 Rebels production (R-Series) and soon also V-Series.
Of course, MK Classic and Swing from SEic production have a warranty with us. Just like bikes from our own production. As an importer, we are legally obliged to do this, but with our experience with Bafang motors, our support team and our support infrastructure, we are well positioned to do so. We have German-speaking support staff, Europe-wide logistics and not one customer who is currently waiting for an answer or solution to his problem. However, this only applies to bikes purchased from us or our partners.
Bikes from UD production
What we can NOT do is to give warranty for thousands of bikes from Urban Drivestyle production. But we can make sure that spare parts and support are available for these bikes. For this we need the help of everyone in the UD community. Ben and Sjoerd are already being asked for help. But there are also problems here: what is currently still a problem to work on, will become a real problem in the spring and can not stay as is. We have to find a solution here, so that the partners who provide support for old UD bikes are adequately remunerated. Be it via a chargeable support hotline or a chargeable support appointment calendar. If you have any other ideas, please let us know!
Local service partners
No, we will not be able to make it possible so local shops around every corner in Europe can (and are willing to) repair a 20x4 bike. What we are doing, however, is A) building our bikes in such a way that they are as easy to repair as possible B) local shops have something to gain from servicing our bikes C) making sure that spare parts are available quickly and that technical enquiries are answered immediately. We are working on this right now. So if you know of a local shop that would like to become a 204 service partner, please let us know.
Portugal is not too far away
This point is important to me. Portugal makes total sense as a location for a bike company. The distances in production and assembly are very short here. Portugal produces the most bicycles and e-bikes of all European countries. This means that if parts are missing somewhere or something needs to be produced in the short or medium term, it is very easy to do so here in small quantities. 20x4 wheel assembly? It's just around the corner. This means a central warehouse, the actual production and assembly are right next to each other. That saves a lot of time. Anyone who has ever wanted to source a 20x4 wheel will understand this. At the same time, storage space here costs €3 per m2, our employees earn little compared to Germany, but above average for Portugal. This means we have a highly motivated team that is proud to build great bikes. But it also means that we can (economically sustainable) ramp up staff intensive support to make sure everyone gets an answer and support. At the same time, the transit time for a bike from Portugal to Germany is about a week. That may be 2-3 days longer than from Germany to Germany, but that is comparatively little when you have to produce or buy parts all over Europe, ship them, store them and then send them.
Team and Community
We at 50 Rebels have been in the 20x4 business for a few years now. However, we have deliberately not actively worked on Germany in terms of communication and marketing, because we didn't want to get too close to our big brother and also in bike matters to our role model Urban Drivestyle. We are now going to change that. We are an experienced team of 10 people (3 of them German-speaking) and we are looking forward to going into the future with you. We are convinced that a decentralised organisation is the key to success. That's why we've been talking to people from the UD community for some time now about how we can best achieve this. Be it annual feedback rounds followed by a burger at Grandpa Joe's in Lienen, community rides followed by clubbing in Amsterdam or a cosy beach weekend and a visit to the warehouse and factory in Lisbon. We will see, but above all, we will do! Together!
From me personally
I've been travelling a lot in the last few months between Amsterdam, Mallorca, Berlin, Lisbon and Switzerland. As you might notice, the whole UD and 204 situation is really close to my heart. Especially because I believe that with 50 Rebels we now have a chance to build something really brilliant and can look very positively into the future. If we do it right now. Honestly, personally, openly, realistically and with everyone from the community who is up for it. In this sense: you now have a less pricey and lighter R-Series and V-Series as well as complete functional machines with MK Classicand Swing at your disposal. Support and spare parts supply are guaranteed. Let's work together on a 204-bike brand that is there for everyone. We will do our best from our side!
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