In the beginning, there was an idea of an electric motorcycle and a rough prototype. Then RMK Vehicles hired LINK Design’s multiprofessional team, which worked hard for 13 months. “In this way, the development of our product took a ten-year leap forward, and the work resulted in a unique motorcycle that is now ready for sale and production,” says Tuomo Lehtimäki, CEO of RMK Vehicles.
Verge TS is the first Finnish electric motorcycle to be manufactured in series production. Pre-orders are currently being received, and when there is a minimum of 50 orders, the production of the first Finnish electric motorcycle will be started. The first finished bikes are expected to be delivered to customers in the summer of 2021.
RMK Vehicles is a young company, founded in 2018. The four chief shareholders and 100 small owners have been driven forward by a shared dream: a magnificently designed electric motorcycle that can be manufactured as a serial production.
What kind of help were you looking for when you signed a cooperation agreement with LINK, CEO Tuomo Lehtimäki?
It was clear to us from the beginning that we wanted the best possible product designers for our product. There were four of us engineers, and we had already built a rough prototype of the bike. The dream was big and clear in our minds, but the implementation of the idea was in need of both product
design and business expertise. We didn’t want to hire more permanent employees because we needed help specifically with product development.
What did you gain from the project?
In one year, the Verge TS made a leap forward as we would have done on our own – but not as well – in ten years. The team that LINK put together for us had at best up to 10, but for most of the time 5–6 experts working on our project. An important decision was to buy not only the design work, but also the project management. The budget and schedule held up completely, and we gained hard expertise, strong experience and diversity in our team competence.
In practice, how did LINK help you?
At first, a team was assembled and we agreed on the division of labour. In the beginning, we had to know how to share our goals and dreams. The beginning was about coordination, and then it was full steam. LINK’s team helped with everything: sometimes we discussed the ergonomics of the bike, sometimes it was about pieces of sheet metal. We met approximately once a week. Of course, we made the decisions ourselves, but the project management was in their hands. During the process, the choice of materials, as well as mechanics and production were considered. The business perspective was included throughout the project. At the beginning of the cooperation, we decided that we would start with a clean slate – we were ready to question everything that had been done before.
How did the cooperation change your own operations?
It caused major changes with far-reaching consequences. We learned to discover our own strengths and, on the other hand, to identify areas of expertise that should continue to be purchased outside the company. LINK’s team was able to adapt brilliantly to our operations, but at the same time they shook our ways of thinking in a good way.
What would you give as advice to others if, at the moment, they might be thinking about acquiring similar types of services?
It’s not a good idea for a small company to try to do everything themselves; it is much smarter to buy expertise from others. LINK Design’s input allowed us to climb from a wormhole into the future, and especially for a technology company, this means clean money. In the rapid development of technology, it is not worth staying and refining your own product for years and years, if it is possible to buy know-how from others. The decision was a winning card for us.
Verge Motorcycles won Red Dot Design Award 2021 for Product Design.