The other day I met with my former colleague Christian Bender; a former SAP Executive in Marketing and Partner Management, who left corporate life to build with his brother an amazing company called Benders.
The story is about two brothers who build machines that smell of petrol, whose expressions of life aren’t artificial and who are technologically savvy. Their machines are Individual, with style and yet affordable. The two brothers Raphael and Christian Bender represent a simple but very compelling idea: to fashion authentic and tangible motor bikes that are not off the store shelves.
At the beginning their models were based on older Yamaha models (XT/SR/XS/TR1). Now they personalize new models coming from YAMAHA Europe, BMW, Moto-Guzzi, Ducati and HONDA. In their extensive workshop in Ettlingen, near Karlsruhe, the two autodidacts conceive, build and sell individual motor bikes with a style of their own. A mix of Tracker, Café Racer, Bobber and Enduro. Additionally, the trade of corresponding parts and accessories takes place. The goal of the two is to show the world that individual and stunning motor bikes don’t necessarily have to be exotic or capricious to be able to find the way to one’s heart. This is a fascination one has to experience.
So let’s find out what Christian has to say.
Christian why did you leave a secure corporate job and went into entrepreneurship?
I got the very strong impression that it’s time to follow my heart and realize one of my dreams: To found my own motorcycle company.
What are your first lessons learned in your new life?
As startup entrepreneur you have to deal with a lot of stuff which is far away from what you really want to do: building bikes.
What are the key principles to give clients an amazing experience?
The bike has to fit to the owner and his lifestyle. The process of development is an intense creative exchange between the customer and us. We also call what we do “personalization of motorbikes”. And in addition to the bike we sell the Jackets, pants, shoes and helmets which fit together.
How do you differentiate versus your competition?
We don´t own a workshop where we build and sell motorbikes, it´s rather an institute for personalization of motorbikes. And we don´t sell bikes, we sell an awareness of life.
Are there new trends in the biking world?
Right now the trends are bikes, which look very old but leverage state of the art technology. Customer are requesting safety functionalities like ABS or traction control, but as well eco-friendly technologies. And I see bikes with electric motor coming within the next 10 years, depending on the further development of batteries.
What bikes do you recommend for millennials and what to the baby boomers?
Anything goes… But I guess for the baby boomers it would be better to have something with an up-right relaxing sitting position… 😉
Christian, what are some of the most amazing road trips bikers can do?
Cross the desert on a motorbike! And for those this may be too adventurous I strongly recommend a driving experience in the French Alps; with thousands of curves and an impressive landscape. If you want to combine driving experience with beautiful landscapes, friendly people, nice weather and excellent food Sardinia is my absolute favorite.
What is on your bucket list from 1 to 10:
- Italian coffee machine for our new shop
- Ticket for the race track training in France
- BMW R nineT
- New trailer for motorbike transport
- New design for website and Facebook
- IT solution for collaboration with our vendors
- New biker jeans from the Swiss company Rokker
- An assistant for administrative tasks
- Ducati Scrambler
- New socks, just right now I realized that there´s a whole in it…