Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Helkama Starts Manufacturing Jopo Bikes In Finland Again

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."


Anonymous said...

WTF ? the new design IS a sin! and they are ugly as hell!

the old version had some really classic lines, pure 60ies design, the new one is just taiwan trash using an old brand to catch the dumb.(but maybe this way it gets together what belongs together - the dumb and the ugly)

mikko said...

Do you have any idea, where i can get one of the classic ones? I'm in Finnland from time to time. And my granny has one. I really need one of those.
I appreciate!

Jussi said...

Mikko, ->

Like this:

mikko said...

yeah. thanks a lot!

Signe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Signe said...

Hi Jussi

Great blog post! I am really getting the fact that all Finnish people know and love the jopo! :)

I'm writting to ask you for a little help if possible.
I'm working/interning for a Danish PR and communications agency hired by Helkama Velox to successfully lauch the jopo in Denmark (being one of the biggest bicycle nations and all).

Furthermore, I'm writting my final bachelor thesis about the jopo and how we can (hopefully) succeed in getting the Danes to love the jopo too!

I was told that the jopo at one point was used as a sort of advertisement for a Finnish TV station - do you know which one and if there's a clip of it on YouTube or something?

Any other thoughts? Ideas for how we can get the Danes to love the jopo? :)
Maybe Finnish (business) papers, writting in English to use for souce references - if they write about the jopo?

I would really appreciate it if you could help me!

All the best, and have a nice weekend!

/Signe from Denmark

Jussi said...

Hey Signe, send me a message here: