Wednesday, June 9, 2010
News of the day: manufacturing of the Jopo, the most classic and loved Finnish single speed bike, will be brought back to the original site in Hanko, Finland from Taiwan. Even the steel used in the frame will be sourced from the Finnish Rautaruukki mills from now on. Bite it, globalization! Too bad the modern re-designed version is ugly as sin.
Also, one of the reasons for this move is, and I quote the Helkama Velox CEO Mr. Jarmo Elamo: "... the need to able to react quickly enough to the changing color trends in the market." All right. Great news nonetheless.
Here's little something I've written about Jopo bikes long time ago:
"Everyone in Finland knows Jopo -bikes because between 1964 and 1975 Helkama company manufactured over 250 000 of them in their factory in Hanko in southwestern Finland. They also manufactured fridges and other stuff but Jopos were always their #1 product.
The name Jopo stands for an abbreviation of 'JOkaisen POlkupyörä', meaning 'EVerybody's BIcycle', and in a this size country basically everyone and their grandmother had one of those. The design of the bike stayed almost the same until the manufacturing stopped in 1975 and today the classic Jopo is considered a modern Finnish industrial design classic.
In fact there were several models besides the standard one, there was an official orange mailman version used by all the mailmen of The Post of Finland, there was Jopo Rodeo, an extra rare chopper-style model, small kiddie-size Jopo called 'Joponen' and larger-sized Iso Jopo, a foldable Jopo Mobil, a Jopomatic with gears and a super rare early bmx-style Jopo Cross. They even had an exercise model for the gym.
The main selling point was that they were affordable, good quality, durable and good to ride. Then of course Jopos became somewhat trendy some years ago and soon after that Helkama company who owns the brand name released a modernized new Jopo, which, just like the new VW Beetle, sucks. On the other hand it has never been difficult to find an old Jopo in Finland even if people are nowadays trying to ask for really outrageous prices for them."