The Company - more than 40 years of perfection
Sögreni was established by Søren Sögreni in 1981. At first the company was building a reputation for unique and contemporary designed bicycles, but has now expanded in bicycle accessories. In acknowledgement for his contribution to Danish design, Søren in 2002 was nominated as Danish Designer of the Year. The work of Sören Sögreni is often seen in international magazines like Wallpaper and Conde Nast Traveller, and a range of museums throughout the world keep Sögreni bicycles in their permanent collections, or offer the Sögreni bicycle accessories in their museum shops.
A Sögreni Classic (Louisiana Bike) exhibited in the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan.
The idea of creating Sögreni’s own range of accessories came when Søren noticed that people’s main complaints about their bicycles were small, annoying things, like the bell falling to pieces within a few months or the lamps being either extremely big and unwieldy or providing inadequate lighting, as they used up batteries too fast. The answer to the bell problem was to create elegant bells in copper, brass or steel. These bells will not rust, the simple spring will keep bouncing at the touch of your finger for years and years to come – and at the same time, these bells are a whole lot more elegant then the normal doughnut-shaped thing mounted on your handlebar. The answer to the lighting problem was the sleek, futuristic pencil-shaped Sögreni lamps in non-rusting materials, powered by a small battery and using LED-bulbs. Small, powerful, elegant, easy to clip on or off, to put in the pocket or purse without switching them on accidentally, as you have to twist a small rubber-clad control to make them work. The battery lasts a long time, and replacing it is easy. New batteries cost only 4-5 euros. Another accessory that caught Søren Sögreni’s attention was luggage racks. They rusted, the arm holding the luggage got bent, and when transporting things like a cardboard box, a businessman’s briefcase or something with an odd shape, there was a big risk of the item falling to one side, as the force just kept pressing downwards, and when turning, the laws of physics would make them slide and fall off. The solution was simple: if you apply pressure from the sides, the thing you place on your rack will be kept in place, and especially if the pressure does not just press on one point, but many. Rubber was the answer, highly flexible rubber. It is actually just a bicycle inner tube – so if it snaps, replacement will not cost you more than a few kroner. And besides being very functional, this design is sleek, elegant and without any need for extra mudguardholders. The carrier itself is made of aluminium and will not rust. This way, transporting a briefcase, a sports bag, a football or anything small enough to be carried on a bicycle, is made easy and safe. This is typical of the way of thinking at S¿ren Sšgrenis workshop in Skt Peders Stræde: Make simple things that work – and look good at the same time. All of the accessories bear the Sšgreni trademark, and are produced by hand in limited numbers.
Working with Louisiana
In the mid-1990s, the world famous Danish museum of modern art, Louisiana, located in Humlebæk, north of Copenhagen, invited Søren Sögreni to design a bicycle especially for the museum. The result was the Louisiana bicycle, also called the Sögreni Classic. This bicycle is extremely simple. It has no gears, no extras, just a frame, a handlebar, two wheels and a saddle. The bicycle has become a part of Louisiana’s permanent collection.
Källemo and Sir Terence Conran
During the 1990s and into the new millenium, Sogreni was invited to be part of the catalogue of Swedish design-house Källemo, famous for only accepting furniture and lifestyle products of the highest quality. Källemo’s slogan is "It shall stand the wear of the eye". The Conran Shops in England also ordered a collection of bicycles, and they were quickly sold out.
Cooperation with Georg Jensen
In a very special cooperation with the Danish silver design-house Georg Jensen, Sögreni built just fourteen limited-edition bicycles for Georg Jensen’s first ever bicycle collection, called ‘Wheels’, launched in October 2008. The silver-coloured bicycle comes with a handmade sterling silver bell, and a price-tag of DKK 28.000.
The company today
All Sögreni bicycles are built by hand, and adjusted to perfection. A Sögreni bicycle is not only an effective means of transportation, it is considered by some to be an object of contemporary art. All Sögreni bicycles are assembled in the workshop in the centre of historical Copenhagen to suit the customers’ needs and riding style. Only three people work here, and every part is mounted by hand on every new bicycle leaving the shop. That is why you should expect it to take between 8 and 16 weeks from ordering your bicycle until we deliver it to you. The bicycles are tailored to our customers’ specifications. It's possible to choose from a wide variety of accessories and colours, and you can also choose how many gears you would like, whether you want a luggage rack mounted on the bicycle and what colour of our finest leather your saddle and handlebars should be. The Louisiana model is not the only one available, there are other models called ‘Old Shatterhand’ and ‘Young Shatterhand’. Sögreni bicycles come with a 25-year breakage of the frame warranty. The secret behind this outstanding quality is the treatment we give the frames. The frame gets a first layer of a paint containing zinc. Afterwards, we paint the frame twice, so even if you scratch your frame, there is very little chance that rust will get through to the steel. This means, that even in a tough climate like Denmark, rust will have little chance to corrode the frame, and even less chance of affecting the moving parts, like the crank, or any of the other delta-treated parts on the bicycle - including nuts and bolts.
Some things are not produced by Sögreni. We cannot make better saddles than Brooks of England, so we choose the models we like the best, and make them a part of the finishedbicycle. The quality and design of the Brooks of England brand fits perfectly with Sogreni.
How we do it
At Sögreni, we use a good deal of time to produce each and every bicycle. All parts are collected from different suppliers. Take something like the handgrips: They are made of Polish leather, put onto a special plastic container, stitched and glued together into one piece in the shop, and finally fitted with the use of pressurized air and alcohol. The result is a handgrip that will not fall off, and will not come to pieces. The handgrips will not last forever, but they will last a whole lot longer than your average (cheap) rubber handgrips. And this kind of philosophy applies to every part of a Sögreni bicycle.
The Delta Treatment and Sögreni lubrication
All steel parts get the Sögreni Delta Treatment, meaning they don't rust. At the shop in Copenhagen we have a bicycle that has been standing outside since the spring of 1999. There is not a spot of rust on any part; even the chain, crank and rims still look perfect. Some companies or factories use cheap industrial grease. We use our special blend. And plenty of it - but you will never notice, it is hidden in the frame and at all the points where it makes a difference.
Collecting the bike
When putting the bicycle together, we only use machines where necessary; every nut and bolt is carefully adjusted by hand, and we make sure that we use the correct torque for each different part, to make the bicycle well balanced and to avoid strain in the construction. This takes time. Normally, we take between 10 to 15 hours on every bicycle. If we notice a part that does not live up to our standards, well, then we replace it or wait until we have it delivered or produced. We will never deliver any bicycle to our customers if we do not feel 100% happy about it.
The test ride
We test every bicycle for an hour or so (don't worry, we clean it afterwards) around the streets of Copenhagen. What does it feel like? Does it brake properly? Do the gears change smoothly? Are there any sounds that shouldn't be there?
25 year warranty on the frame
All Sögreni bicycles come with a 25 year warranty of breakage on the frame, and we are pretty sure that all other parts will not cause you any trouble either. The gears we use from the German company S-ram are the best in the market, and you receive the standard 2 year manufacturer’s guarantee. All leather parts should be treated to an occasional oiling/waxing (we recommend the Brooks Proofed Leather Dressing). We cannot guarantee your tyres, so just watch out for broken glass and nails lying around!
Luckily, with a bicycle this special, thieves tend to avoid the Sögreni bicycles. It is probably too hard to find a buyer for something like this, so obviously made for a specific person. Getting a good lock is essential, but instead of just locking the bicycle, lock it up to something: Use the Sögreni wirelock, and attach it to something solid, like a lamppost or a fence. This means that a thief would have to use precious time sawing or clipping through the chain - which deters almost all thieves. The combination of a lock and a chain is the best.
Need more convincing?
Sogrenis design. Danish design, but put together exactly the way you want it. Hand-built in the centre of Copenhagen-most bicycles these days are made in China, Taiwan or elsewhere in Asia. Nothing wrong with that, but we do believe that we devote a little more time and passion to each bicycle before shipping it off. Here you get one of the most easily to ride bicycles, which hugs the big city's sharp curves and will take you on longer trips outside the city limits. On a Sögreni bicycle you sit up straight. It gives you a more comfortable riding position, makes better use of your energy and gives a much better view than sitting with your nose down over the handlebars, bent in a way that squashes all your organs in the body - including your lungs, which will supply oxygen to the core and leg muscles that will propel you forward. After getting a Sögreni bicycle, you will not have to think much about repairs, rust or annoying stuff that doesn't work. A Sögreni is built to withstand hard daily usage: we use high quality materials, check all welds and joints several times and finally, there is the Delta Treatment. No rust, no worries. You get a bicycle that will last at least 25 years - if you just take a little care of it.
Bikes and fitness
People who ride bicycles on a daily basis are normally healthier. By replacing the normal small trips you do by car with your bicycle, you will use small amounts of energy, which over a long period makes a big difference. A normal-sized man of 80 kilos will burn 200-400 calories on the bicycle per hour riding through the city. Imagine that you use your bicycle instead of your car for just 1 hour per week. In one year, this would mean a saving of up to 20,000 calories, or the calories in about 40 Big Macs. In one year, this would mean a weight loss of about 5 kilograms. By cycling at a comfortable pace. Is this not the world's best weight loss tip? And in the same time, you strengthen your legs, back, improve your balance and your whole body - including your brain.
Feel the city
As you ride along, your senses notice all aspects of the city you live in. The sounds, the smells, the feeling of being a part of the city. You will not be crammed into a small metal box on four wheels - you are free. No need to think about finding a parking lot. No need to bother about car crashes. No need to remember to refuel your car, or worry about being stuck in traffic jams (note that cyclists often slip through traffic, like fish in the ocean). No need to curse the poor visibility through the windshield because the windscreen wipers need to be changed. You are free. And yes, sometimes it rains, but that is also a part of the experience. Rain smells good when you are on a bicycle. And you are properly dressed for it!
Bicycles, global warming and speed - The Top Gear experiment
Concerned about the environment? Do we need to remind you of what petrol costs or what fumes do to the air? And if we compare this situation with bicycling? So if you care about how the world should look like for those who come after you, cycling is one of the better options. You can also walk or use public transport, but the bicycle is faster, can carry more weight and is more flexible than public transport. England's popular television program ‘Top Gear’ conducted an experiment with 4 participants who had to get from one side of London to the other. The boat won the race (but who has a boat and can your boat get everywhere?), the bicycle came in second place. Public transport and the car came last, even though the distance covered was about 30 kilometres.
Save money by going by bicycle
Want to save money? Sell your car. If you add up what the car cost you in the first place, plus insurance, parking, repairs, fines, petrol and all the other costs you have...a very good bicycle like a Sögreni suddenly seems like a good deal, right?. You could probably get bicycles for all family members and even have some left over for an extra holiday or a crate of fine champagne. Do the maths.
Sometimes a bicycle just ain't enough
Yes, it rains sometimes. Sometimes more than even an experienced Copenhagen cyclist can take. And sometimes
you need to carry more weight or bigger things than a bicycle can handle. And sometimes you need to visit some remote family member living 80 kilometres away. So rent a car, borrow a car from a friend, go by taxi, take the train, get a limo, whatever. With all the money you saved from not having a car in the first place!. Enjoy. At Sögreni, we really do not have anything against cars, as they are a part of modern life, but they should be used wisely. And not too often.
- Søren Sögreni, owner and designer of Sögreni.