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Dlouhy Cycles


Bike without compromises

Swimming against the current can work! Two inventive spirits in Leipzig have reinvigorated an old craft for true bike aficionados. With great attention to detail, Mario Vogel and Jan Dlouhy of Dlouhy Cycles build custom steel bike frames. Combined with modern bike technology and colorful paint jobs by local designer Mario Pitsch, this results in unique bikes, many of them lasting a lifetime. Each one is as individual as its owner.

Dedication to the craft instead of speed, doing things by hand instead of automation – in a biking world where big manufacturers are making their bikes ever faster and more cheaply, Jan Dlouhy and Mario Vogel decided to take a whole different tack in 2018. And it has worked out! Four years after Dlouhy Cycles was founded, the order books are full. Customers wait patiently for several months to get their bike and even pitch in themselves to help when it comes to assembling the finished work of art.

“In my work as a developer for a major bike manufacturer, I saw exactly what series production of bikes means and what its disadvantages are,” Jan Dlouhy explains when we meet at the company’s cozy workshop in the west of Leipzig. With that in mind, the Dlouhy Cycles team takes time to measure every customer individually and ask about their mobility, riding style, and past experiences.

“Another crucial factor is what people are planning to do with their bike,” Mario Vogel points out. “If you’re riding to the Baltic Sea coast, you need a different bike from someone who just wants to zip out to the Cospudener See lake at the end of the workday.”

Once the new bike model is finished on the computer, an intricate and time-consuming production process gets under way. Suitable double butted steel tubes are selected, assembled down to the millimeter, and worked individually. The frame takes two to three weeks of manual labor to complete. “It takes several hours just to incorporate the line inputs and outputs for the brakes, shifters, and lighting cables,” Dlouhy explains.

“Our customers value this kind of accuracy,” Vogel says. “People who come to us are already highly familiar with bikes, and they know what they want. During the production process, we optimize all the details so that the owner can also work on their own bike later on if they want.”

To make the wait a little more bearable for passionate bike fans and hobbyists, the Dlouhy team keeps them up to date by sending photos of their progress. Once the frame is finished, the team works with the customer and Leipzig-based designer Mario Pitsch on the plans for the color scheme.

From simple logos to two-tone paint jobs and individualized patterns, painstaking coating processes, or nickel-plating of the frame, anything is possible. “Every customer gets different drafts. To make sure the end result is a bike without compromises, a lot of communication is needed on all sides,” Dlouhy explains.

Foto: Iona Dutz
Foto: Iona Dutz

Finally, during the last work steps, the team invites customers from all over Germany to visit the workshop. “We install state-of-the-art bike technology so that our individual bikes are right up there with industrially produced ones in this respect,” Vogel says. “The future owners like to help us with that. First, because they share our passion, and second, just to learn more about their new bike.”

The first test drive takes place right outside the workshop, under the leafy trees lining Leipzig’s Erich-Zeigner-Allee. “We always see that as the moment of truth,” Dlouhy says with a smile. “The customer climbs on and rides down the street. At some point, they turn around, and we can finally see the look on their face. Luckily, they’ve always been grinning ear to ear so far!”

Dloughy Cycles

Custom steel bike frames.

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