New year, new motorbike models. They come with impressive technical advancements, but their designs have been stuck in a rut. This was the opinion of Teemu Saukkio, CTO at RMK Vehicle Corporation, three years ago. His solution? Push the boundaries of motorbike design himself.
“Teemu felt he could add more attitude to the market,” explains Spencer Cutlan, marketing co-ordinator at RMK. “Basically he said, ‘Let’s make an electric motorbike that is unique both in design and functionality’.”
Saukkio’s vision has now materialised in the E2, a futuristic-looking electric motorbike developed by RMK. The most noticeable part of the bike is what is missing: the rear hub. The E2 sports a hubless design and a motor integrated into the rim of its rear wheel. There are no chains, oil or gears to worry about; instead, there is more space for a battery.
In fact, RMK claims the bike will have one of the largest battery capacities on the market with a range of 200 to 300 kilometres.
“We have applied a ‘minimal maintenance, minimum worry’ approach,” Cutlan says. “The rider doesn’t have to worry about the chain or oil changes. It’s stress-free riding.”
At first, Saukkio worked on his e-motorbike alone. In 2018, he found a partner in Juha-Pekka Rintamäki, who helped him to start RMK Vehicle Corporation and polish the business side of Saukkio’s vision. Today, the company is helmed by CEO Tuomo Lehtimäki and has an eight-person team and several partners working on the E2.
The bike’s first prototype was publicly shown at MP 19 Motorcycle Show in Helsinki in January and attracted plenty of international attention. The positive feedback encouraged RMK to launch an equity crowdfunding campaign. It proved to be the right move, and the company hit its one million-euro funding goal by the summer.
“The campaign raised a lot of interest, mainly from Finland but internationally as well. Now we are using the money to develop our brand, build up our marketing and market presence,” Cutlan enthuses. “But we are always looking for more investors and are still open for investment opportunities.”
The funding is also used to wrap up E2’s development phase. The bike has been track-tested over the summer and is currently available for pre-order. RMK expects to begin full-scale production in Seinäjoki, Finland, in late spring 2020, with shipping scheduled to start a few months later.
Full throttle forward
It is still early days for RMK, but the company has set its sights high. It aims to sell over 4 000 motorbikes annually by 2025. Initially RMK will target motorbike enthusiasts close to home – namely in the Nordics and mainland Europe – but the demand for electric motorbikes is global.
“The e-motorbike trend is already big in European countries and the US. It is not a huge market yet, but it is picking up speed everywhere,” Cutlan explains. “[Our aim] is to go global as soon as possible, when we can build the necessary logistics and servicing network.”
While RMK’s full focus is currently on getting E2 production up and running, it isn’t ruling out future motorbike models. The company wants to build a brand which is recognised worldwide for its unique designs.
“We aim to provide high quality, innovative and alternatively designed bikes so people can see the world is changing,” Cutlan summarises. “We aren’t going to be a one-hit wonder.”