Born & Raised in Austria
  • 1928
  • 1961
  • 1963
  • 1970
  • 1972
  • 1975
  • 1981
  • 1983
  • 1988
  • 1991
  • 1992
  • 1994
  • 2000
  • 2009
  • 2011
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
LAYING THE FOUNDATION

In 1928, Josef Hämmerle started selling cameras, gramophones and their accessories in Lustenau. Four years later, he added bicycles to his product range and moved the business to Hard. In 1952, the bicycle shop became a manufactory. Josef and his son Kurt Hämmerle started producing the first custom bicycles under the name of "Falke".

AN ALPINE PASS AS THE BRAND’S NAMESAKE

Among people living in Vorarlberg, bicycles "made in Switzerland" were considered superior in quality. To not miss out on sales, Josef and Kurt Hämmerle developed their own premium bicycles with high-quality components. From the beginning, customers were able to individually configure their dream bikes. In 1961, the company was founded under the brand name "SIMPLON". The namesake of the brand is the Simplon mountain pass in the Swiss canton of Valais.

MORE MANPOWER IN THE OFFICE AND WORKSHOP

Josef Hämmerle's younger son Heinz joined the company taking care of all commercial matters. He also designed the first Simplon lettering for the company’s high-end bicycles. A few years later, the Hämmerle family hired their first employee in bike assembly.

BOATS OR BICYCLES

Kurt and Heinz Hämmerle took over the business from their father selling bicycles as well as boats, boat motors, and accessories. For several years, they remained active in both lines of business. However, in the late 1970s, the Hämmerle family decided to focus exclusively on their bicycle business.

NEW BUILDING AT THE HEADQUARTERS

Due to increasing demand from Vorarlberg’s bicycle dealers, Simplon quickly outgrew its manufactory in Kohlplatzstraße. The Hämmerle family thus expanded the company headquarters by a new building.

GROWING ENTHUSIASM FOR SPORTS

Road bikes experienced a new heyday in the 70s, and Simplon launched its own line of road bikes. Heinz Hämmerle tested them himself, and his experiences influenced the development of Simplon bikes. The motto: "Let’s build the best road bike out there!"

A VICTORY IN THE TOUR OF AUSTRIA

Gerhard Zadrobilek won the Tour of Austria on a Simplon bike. This quickly increased brand awareness throughout Austria.

MORE SPACE IN HARD

With nine employees working there at the time, the manufactory at Simplon's headquarters was bursting at the seams. In 1983, the Hämmerle family commissioned the construction of a new building including warehouse and assembly halls in the industrial part of Hard, at Oberer Achdamm.

CONQUERING THE MOUNTAINS

Simplon added the first mountain bike models to its product range. Kurt's son Andreas, formerly a pro cyclist himself, brought the concepts and ideas of this new generation of bikes from the USA to Hard. He was the driving force behind the development of the new bike models.

GERMAN-SPEAKING EUROPE AS THE NEXT STAGE

In 1991, Simplon exhibited at the bicycle fair in Friedrichshafen for the first time. The company gained a foothold in the German market in the following years. Somewhat later, demand from Switzerland started to pick up.

NEW MANAGEMENT

One year later, Kurt Hämmerle retired and handed over the management to Heinz and Andreas Hämmerle. Hämmerle OHG became SIMPLON Fahrrad GmbH.

A TRUE PIONEER IN MATERIALS

Simplon used full carbon frames for its bicycles for the first time, which lead to a significant reduction in weight of the various bike models. The first full carbon range was named "Vision".

NEW MANAGEMENT

2000 to 2004: Simplon stands for premium bikes made in Vorarlberg. Approximately 7,000 bikes per year were built and assembled in Hard at the time. Both then and now, every one of them is an authentic piece of Austrian craftsmanship. To meet the increasing demand for bikes, the company expanded the production site at Oberer Achdamm.

SUCCESSION IN THE FAMILY

Heinz Hämmerle handed over the management of Simplon to Andreas and Christian. By 2009, the 50 or so employees were producing around 12,500 bicycles a year.

ELECTRIC BOOST

The growing interest in e-bikes motivated Simplon to expand its product range. The demand for motor-assisted bicycles grew steadily in the coming years, and e-bikes became an important business segment for Simplon.

SUPPORT FROM GERMANY

As part of the succession arrangements, Simplon and Hannover Finanz Group became strategic partners on an equal footing. The equity investor acquired 55 per cent of Simplon's shares.

NEW PATHS

Andreas Hämmerle retired from operations, as did Christian Hämmerle two years later. Stefan Vollbach became the company’s first external CEO. He deliberately stuck with the location in Hard and the chosen path of the high-end bike brand with its custom configuration system.

AS CUSTOM AS IT GETS

Together with select dealers, Simplon started offering a standardised digital sales process. A body scanner digitally collects all relevant body measurements and data of the customer. This allows Simplon to optimally adjust the customers’ bikes according to their needs. In addition, Simplon made its product range available to the British market for the first time.

INVESTMENTS IN THE HEADQUARTERS AND EXPERIENCE CENTRE

Simplon invested around one million euros in assembly and office space and further expanded and modernised its headquarters. The Experience Center was created: As a premium bike manufacturer, Simplon delivers on its brand promise by giving customers the opportunity to experience the bikes firsthand. Another important factor in this is expert advice and excellent customer support.

BENELUX

By tapping into the Benelux countries, Simplon once again expanded its market in 2019: The premium bikes are now also available at select retail partners in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

EXPANSION OF THE MANAGEMENT

Thomas Zenker has now taken over the role as COO and second managing director alongside CEO Stefan Vollbach. While CEO Stefan Vollbach can now devote even more energy to the areas of product, sales & marketing, digital innovation and quality management, Thomas Zenker in his role as COO focuses on the areas of supply chain, manufacturing, processes and HR.