J Guillem Bikes
Dutch design has an established and respected pedigree; call it minimalism without the cold moodiness, unaffected by contemporary notions of everything from furniture to office supplies.
And now bicycles. Few outside of hardcore bike fanatics at London’s recent Bike Show will have heard of J Guillem, a situation set to change following the recent signing of a UK distribution deal.
J Guillem frames Are Exclusively Titanium
But design junkies are likely having a field day with its products: in world hooked on carbon, J Guillem exclusively uses titanium for their frames.
“It’s not a material you see out there that much now,” says the wonderfully-named Jan-Willem Sintnicolaa, who founded, built and sold the equally particular Van Nicholas bike brand before launching the J Guillem brand.
“But I’ve always preferred metal to composites. I’d even have steel over anything plasticky. There’s a robustness to it. And it requires skill to, work too. In contrast, you could take anyone off the street and teach them how to pour into a mould,” said Sintnicolaa.
J Guillem Bikes come with A 100 Year WarrAnty
That Sintnicolaa is very into construction is apparent in the fact that, remarkably, each J Guillem model comes with a 100 year warranty.
Look closely and it’s just as apparent that he is into detailing and clarity of form, which perhaps explains why there are only five models.
“We don’t want a huge range. We’re comfortable with the idea that we’re not going to be for everybody,” he says.
But then, again, each model is distinctive. The Formentor, for example, is the company’s best-seller, despite, at around £5000, being the most expensive; it’s all clean welds and sculpted dropouts with brass inserts, Umbrial carbon clinchers from Swiss company Edco, and Ultegra drive-train.
It’s a road bike, which means the titanium typically has to be stiffened up which usually lessens the lively character that titanium tubing offers.
Not so on this bike. With its silver and black colour scheme, it just looks cool too. In fact, Henry Ford-like, that’s the only colour choice the company does.
The Brand’s Owner Cycles Mostly in Mallorca
“Someone once said that the bikes are ‘raw’ and I think that’s a good description,” said Sintnicolaa who spends most of his time cycling in Mallorca.
Look closely at the Orient model and it carries the coordinates of a specific climb somewhere on the island that inspired the design, an idea followed for each J Guillem bike.
“I can be on a big ride and we’ll all park up and there will be hundreds of very fancy bikes and somehow the Formentor always gets the attention.”
“I see that as a good test,” he adds. “We just like the idea of making very clean bikes. We’re not the sort of company to bend a tube just to look different.
If I’m looking for inspiration I look at design outside of the bike world, design that’s also fit for purpose. These are Mies van der Rohe bikes. Form follows function.”
J Guillem bikes.