In our first blog post about why we love Riese & Müller, we talked a lot about the bikes themselves and their superior ride quality and design. This certainly holds true for their 2020 lineup, full of their best-looking and best-riding bikes yet!
Yet after Jodie's experience at their headquarters in Mühltal, Germany, our respect and admiration of Riese & Müller now goes well beyond the bikes. A factory tour and in-depth discusson with founders Markus Riese and Heiko Müller, along with CEO Sandra Wolf, allowed a look into the engine and culture that is behind this trailblazing industry leader. Read on for Jodie's firsthand recap and photos from her inspiring time in Mühltal.
Riese & Müller recently moved into a brand new, state of the art assembly factory that they built in Mühltal, about an hour's drive from Frankfurt. Their factory is a testament to the values that they hold as a company - their 'four pillars of responsibility' are culture, ecology, social responsibility and economics - and is a feat in sustainability and carbon-neutral operations. Powered by the company's own photovoltaic system that currently produces 80% of the energy that is used, Riese & Müller will soon be 100% self-sufficient in early 2020 thanks to a second photovoltaic system in progress.
Riese & Müller's state of the art, carbon-neutral factory in Mühltal, Germany.
In addition to energy efficiency, a number of waste reduction strategies are in motion in Mühltal. A tensioning-belt system has reduced plastic waste in the high-bay warehouse by 95%; all employees are supplied with free drinking water, saving the transport of over 90,000 bottles each year; and the company's Corner Cafe serves locally sourced, organic food and operates a reusable coffee cup deposit system.
Riese & Müller's 'living roof' at their factory and headquarters.
The Nevo in production at Riese & Müller's assembly factory in Mühltal.
Batteries, anyone? In case of fire, this 'battery room' will become instantly sealed and fill up with water.
The impressively organized factory floor in Mühltal.
Heading to work in Mühltal on a daily basis are 450 employees from 38 nations, with an average age of 37 and a makeup of 21% women. 'We want to be part of the solution,' says CEO Sandra Wolf, and a focus on empowering employees and drawing more women in a male-dominated industry is a tenet of her effort. Considering they experienced 38% growth over the last year and aim to be the most sustainable company in the e-bike sector by 2025, they seem to be on the right track for attracting a diverse pool of employees.
CEO Sandra Wolf outlines Riese & Müller's four pillars of responsibility.
Riese & Müller founders Markus Riese and Heiko Müller set out in 1993 to improve cross-country mobility on two wheels, and they haven't stopped since. 'We can change tomorrow's mobility,' they say, and their rap sheet of achievements is inspiring to say the least.
Starting with a month-long, 3000km bike trip in Africa to refine their vision, they then introduced a full-suspension folding bike - the Birdy - which won them the Hesse Innovation Prize in 1993 and remains in their lineup to this day. Fast forward through two decades of hard work and innovation, and Riese and Müller both remain as passionate about mobility as ever before. A good thing, too, because their facility in Mühltal now builds 320 bikes a day, or 50,000 bikes a year, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The Birdy, where it all began.
'My passion burns for technology and for the subject of mobility,' Riese explains, and 'we want to develop a mobility concept for urban needs where the e-bike plays a central role and the car is largely superfluous.' To do this they are pushing the limits in mobility solutions, with programs such as a rental system for e-cargo bikes in Switzerland that will give the public access to over 300 Riese & Müller Packster 60 models. With visionaries like Riese and Müller, there's little doubt that they'll reach the 80,000 bike per year capacity at their factory sooner than later.
These bikes are bound for glory!
ARE YOU IN LOVE NOW, TOO?
If you're ready to change tomorrow's mobility along with us and Riese & Müller, we've got your back! Check out our FAQs to gain information about ordering a Riese & Müller e-bike, and know that we're hear to chat over the phone or in person anytime. It is, after all, our favorite conversation topic.