Building the best steel bike in the world. Jaegher’s ambition is pretty simple. Interview with a Belgian heritage.
Kring : In order for our readers to get a good grasp of your company, its family history and how it embodies a cycling lifestyle, could you guide us through the creation of Jaegher?
Jaegher : We started with Jaegher from our belief that there were no great race cycles anymore. We felt the need to make a pure and perfect race cycle against mass production. In our quest we found an old race cycle atelier with a fantastic history that was on a point to stop making race cycles because there was no demand for steel race cycles. If we hadn’t met each other at that time there is a big chance that this atelier would now make iron stairs, tables and handrails.
Kring : Why do you think steel seems to make a comeback into the cyclists’ love for bicycles?
Jaegher : We didn’t start Jaegher because we believe steel will make a comeback. We believe steel is a much better material than carbon to make the perfect race cycle. Even a lot of elite cyclists would tell you this if they hadn’t signed enormous sponsor contracts. It would be a shame for a country like Belgium with such a cycle tradition if there were no hand-building manufacturers of steel race cycles anymore. We may never lose that heritage.
Kring : One of your most famous riders is long-distance specialist Kristof Allegaert. He is quite the legend. How did you collaboration start? What is it like to see a frame that you built win the Transcontinental Race?
Jaegher : He did not only win two times the Transcontinental but also The TransSiberian and this year the dramatic Indian Pacific. He just wanted a Jaegher and we made him one, just like we make our other Jaegher’s. We are Transproud of him and also of our race cycles.
Kring : Your frames are always tailor-made. What does this bring to your relationship with your customers? How do you build the necessary proximity that having a unique bike requires?
Jaegher : Customers who buy a Jaegher feel the hand of the maker in the frame. That’s the way we build our close relationship/proximity with our clients. Proximity doesn’t mean that they have to be measured in our atelier. There are a lot of good companies, which offer dynamic measurement, but there are just a few ateliers left like Jaeger.
Kring : If you had to sum up the whole philosophical view behind Jaegher bikes in a few words, what would it be?
Jaegher : Fly with me.
Kring : What do you ride, personally? And why choose this specific model?
Jaegher : I ride them all. But the Interceptor SuperStiff is my favorite. That bike is made to race. And with his slightly oval tubes is has a temporary and more aggressive look. We’re thinking of changing the name to Interceptor Racemaster.
Kring : What are the next steps for Jaegher? Where will your company be in a few years? What types of frames are you planning on building?
Jaegher : We are not a company with big business plans. The only mission we have is to make the best race cycles on earth. Maybe you think this is pretentious but it is where we find our pride. Small things can make huge differences. Some things you can see, like the bronze cane adjusters or the paint protector strips. But there is also a lot happening on the inside of the frame. We are now working on a unique airtight steel tube set with the engineers of Colombus.
Kring : A bonus question, more self-centered on our part. Cycling has evolved over the last few years, becoming part of an urban culture that tends to develop especially here, in Belgium. And so have bike shops, such as Kring: a concept-store, mixing influences. Do you like this evolution?
Jaegher : We love this revolution and we are proud to be part of it. We have to believe in what our hands can craft. And what our legs can speed.
Photos : DR