Mobility never looked so Stylish – INOKIM
While doing our usual sourcing for new content we discovered something very beautiful that caught our attention. So much so that we felt we had to share our discovery with you. Now, it must be said that it’s very rare that we feature technology here at Ondine, if at all. However, this particular piece of engineering art caught our attention for its sheer beauty and elegance in design. It’s the INOKIM Scooter.
Having read all about this little gem on two wheels we decided to contact the creator to learn more about it. We’ve done our homework and there is nothing else like it out there in terms of functionality and good looks. It’s quick, portable and just so good looking! Yes, despite our love for fashion, we have a geeky side here at Ondine. You’re lucky we don’t start talking about Cameras!
His name is Nimrod Riccardo Sapir and he is the designer of the INOKIM scooter. We caught up to find out more about him and his creation.
Tell us a little about yourself and the concept of INOKIM Nimrod.
My name is Nimrod Riccardo Sapir, I’m 52 and I’m originally from Israel. Since early childhood I was always building, fixing and innovating; for example I would build my own toys. I went to study industrial design for my degree and I found myself very connected to the field. I was giving services for companies and offices.
Together with this I love sports and travelling. I always try to find the fastest way to get from place to place anywhere I am even if it’s a remote place. I always try and use different and alternative modes of transport; bikes, skateboards, rollerblades etc.
I got very much inspired with the project of TAGA bikes which won many awards. It is a special bicycle for parents together with their children which enables the bike to be turned into a stroller. When my part in the project was finished I wanted to work on something of my own. I had a few options but a light electric scooter for the last mile solution was the most appealing. I was looking for a way to make the most compact and personal innovation; so I came up with the idea to make a “compact” scooter.
After 1 year of failing to raise funds, I decided to go on my own. I came up with the “Quick” model design. After a few months I had a prototype. I took some photographs of people using it mainly on trains and set up a website also to get the word out. In parallel I also opened a small store in Tel Aviv and started assembling them one by one in my garage with the help of an assembly guy. I had to invest in molds and in a stock of parts which I imported from China.
After 2 years of this operation it got more popular in Israel and the website started to raise overseas interest. I met a Chinese company which I later on joined to perform a more serious production line and with the new budget I could refine the product much better.
What would you say is your profession?
Industrial designer by trade with a strong orientation to mechanical engineering. Today I also define the engineering concepts of my products.
What are some challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcame them?
I have had many challenges of all different types. The initial financial challenges and the stress following were the hardest to deal with mentally. The technical challenges were always interesting for me. These are the challenges that I like to deal with and solve.
The main two technical challenges I had in the beginning was to find a brushless hub motor which would fit a 10 inch tire as this is the size of wheel I defined for the scooter at the start. I improvised an electric bicycle motor with a homemade plastic rim and I managed to put a 10 inch tire on it but the speed and the power didn’t suit. Luckily I came across a manufacturer who said he had a suitable motor. I ordered samples and it was perfect but this process was not simple.
Another big challenge was to find a suitable lithium ion battery supplier. At this period of time they were rarely used in the electric bicycle industry and you couldn’t find a reliable manufacturer. I tested 10 suppliers simultaneous, testing it on the scooter prototypes.
Luckily at the end I found by chance a local company which got excited enough by my product that we came up to an agreement of buying the expensive battery in small batches of ten batteries each time, (instead of getting stuck with 100’s of broken batteries costing many thousands of dollars coming from China and no way to get them replaced under warranty).
What was your most proud moment and why?
There were many of these: when seeing the establishment of the production line in China, when the small production line moved into a new bigger space with a big sign outside, meeting the assembly teams.
Seeing the establishment of shops in Singapore, Korea and in my home country. Seeing my design used by so many people, the Facebook groups established by the customers community…
Where are you primarily based?
In ISRAEL by the countryside 40 kilometers north from Tel Aviv. My Studio and all the R&D where we develop all the next products and models are still in my home yard next to the Garage where it all started. I try as hard as I can to employ local people and reduce long journeys to work.
What kind of style do you like (any particular looks, time periods etc)
Clean, smart iconic products, where the design and technology really completes each other.
Who you admire and why (can be people or brands)
For my technical side, I like any entrepreneur who has made a positive change in culture habits: such as Dean Kamen and Steve Jobs but actually anyone who makes a change even in his own life, such as quitting his job, starting his own business…
For my creative side, I cannot exactly point a finger at something specific but once in a while something comes along which really inspires and amazes me for example the first Audi TT when it came out. It was the designer Luigi Colani that I discovered during my learning period as well as Philip Starke and Ron Arad. I get inspired and motivated a lot by music and feature movies.
Where do you hope to take the brand?
I think today everybody in the field of E-Scooters recognizes INOKIM and my idea of the Last Mile Solution, I hope people will adopt this idea not necessarily with E-Scooters, but also with all the new Hover boards and Balance wheels which are getting born every day. But in the E-scooter industry, which is where I want to stay and focus, I would like to be the leading brand.
Could you tell the readers more about your brand and what makes it so different. Any special techniques you use?
The leading characterization of INOKIM scooters are:
Portable (which means fast folding)
Comfortable, smooth and safe riding experience.
As light weight as we can do them (there are always tradeoffs)
Appealing- clean, iconic, simple shapes.
Personally I go for the: KEEP IT SIMPLE (and working) . However, there is pressure from the market to have this and that, lights, Foldable bars, Speed, APPs which sometimes comes on the account of simplicity and creates faults.
We invest a lot in R&D, and develop a new product each year, Last year it was the LIGHT model. Next year we hope to release at least two new products (all are Electric scooters-MINI, Compact and maybe another one) to answer demands of different people such as men and women and different cultures (in Korea they just want them to be strong and fast, In Singapore and Europe they want then to be small and light and in the USA people expect them to cost cheaper.
Of course my goal is that the products will be as simple and as reliable and high quality as possible, but not everything is under my control. Actually very little.
Have you done any collaboration work with other creative’s?
One of the biggest car companies has decided to a duplicate of the Idea of Last Mile Solution (they came with it alone, only about five years after I did ) They explored the market and caught on with us, So we were invited to consult them, and so we did. I was there in their head quarters very excited and gave inputs to eight designer concepts. It was actually another moment of pride.
I understood how much I know in this field. Unfortunately I cannot reveal the name of the company as we are signed under a non-disclosure agreement on all the information concerning their project. The status today is that we are helping them with Engineering and prototype of their project.
So what does a scooter have to do with Fashion? It’s simple, nothing. BUT, there is an underlying common theme which both do share. In fashion, the designer has an idea for a beautiful ensemble which is a material expression of themselves. Similarly, the INOKIM design reflects Nimrods love for clean and smart design. In fashion, the designer builds a beautiful end product which is unlike any other and grabs attention. The same can be said about INOKIM. Now, who said scooters can’t be stylish? By the way, they come in different colors!
Check them out (www.INOKIM.com)
by Alexandr Mendez