To find out what the experiences with MIK are for retailers, NieuwsFiets.nu interviewed Hans Lemmens Tweewielers in Cuijk and Van Vliet Fietsen in Leiden. These two entrepreneurs promote and sell the MIK system from their stores because they recognize the added value of this mounting system. We had a talk with Caroline Lemmens and Aad van Vliet about the system.
As a spin-off from Basil and in close cooperation with Taiwanese accessories manufacturer Massload, the -Mounting Is Key- (MIK) system was launched in 2017. In March 2017, the soft launch of the MIK system was at the Taipei Cycle Show. As a result, the first bikes with MIK extrusion profiles arrived on the market as early as 2018. MIK aims to provide the industry with a universal platform that allows bicycle bags and baskets to be attached and removed with a simple click. With this, Basil targets bicycle manufacturers and bicycle bags and baskets suppliers. Bicycle brands with luggage carriers equipped with the MIK system increase the ease of use for consumers who have purchased MIK-compatible accessories. In 2020, the MIK HD version was launched, which was even more robust and meets the safety standards for using bicycle and children’s seats.
The MIK system has been well received by the international bike industry, and MIK-equipped accessories and luggage carriers are finding their way to consumers at specialized dealers. To learn more about the experiences of the two entrepreneurs, we interviewed Caroline Lemmens and Aad van Vliet.
MIK accomplished a lot in a short time
Has the intention of making MIK a universal platform succeeded?
Caroline Lemmens: “Absolutely, customers don’t like it when complicated systems have to be attached to the luggage carrier, especially for baskets and crates. With MIK, it’s just one click. Obviously, the customer’s desire for convenience is very strong. It should be easy for them to interchange the basket and the crate, preferably on several bikes, without tinkering with it.”
“What I find very impressive is that they already have managed to win over many major bicycle manufacturers to use their system. They’ve accomplished that in a very clever way and in a relatively short period. We have a number of bicycle brands in the store that have MIK readily installed.” – Aad van Vliet
Do you find that a bike with a MIK system is easier to sell?
Aad van Vliet: “We have to promote MIK a bit because, in general, people are not familiar with it yet. I tell my clients, “I’m not saying you should take it, but at least you know it exists.” And then they often find it quite useful. A few customers had already read about it, but that is only a minimal number. You certainly have to mention it, but it doesn’t sell more bicycles; people are more interested in the bicycle and not so much in the accessories that come with it.”
Caroline Lemmens: “I think we are still too much in the early stages of the development of this product for that. However, customers are increasingly coming to the store for it. They certainly find the system easy and quick to use, but we are not yet at the point where they are buying a bicycle for this reason. It’s still too unknown for that. A handful of customers have looked into it, but nine out of ten are unaware of its existence. When more bike manufacturers will feature it as a standard, more people will be enthused by it.”
“If all manufacturers would introduce the MIK system, then it will soon be booming”
Other brands of bicycle bags, for example, Basil’s direct competitor NewLooxs, also introduced the MIK system.
Caroline Lemmens: “Basil and NewLooxs are clearly the biggest brands, and we now see FastRider also moving more and more in that direction; the brand is now also compatible with MIK. Of course, Basil is the pacesetter, but that is no surprise. You see more and more brands moving in this direction. And when more bicycle brands start equipping their luggage carriers with MIK, you’ll have to partake in that trend as a bag manufacturer. Another issue is that more and more customers are buying bicycle carriers to carry two bicycles on the back of their car. Bicycle bags fixed to the bicycle are cumbersome to load on a carrier. They take up a lot of space. So, if that can be easily clicked off, that will save a lot of space.”
Aad van Vliet: “The Netherlands is big on bicycle bags; these bags are one of the best-sold accessories. Three-quarters of the bicycles we sell are equipped with a bicycle bag. We have a wide range available, including models that are fixed with straps, for people who never take the bag off anyway. Basil, of course, has a wide range of MIK bags, but you also see all kinds of other bag brands coming up that are either compatible or prepared for MIK. Those brands recognize the fact that they will miss out if they don’t go with MIK.”
“You see more and more brands moving in this direction.” – Caroline Lemmens
Are many brands already implementing MIK HD and thus facilitating specific child seats to be easily mounted?
Aad van Vliet: “The MIK HD has actually been on the market for a very short time. It’s great, though, that there is a sturdier alternative. While it looks the same as the regular MIK, the big advantage is, of course, that child seats fit onto it. And, bags too. This works well for us.”
Caroline Lemmens: “Not that many yet, because they’ve actually only been available for a short time. The MIK HD introduction was, like many other things, delayed. Hence, we also haven’t had the seats with MIK HD for very long. What matters here is that an accessory must be easy to attach to a bicycle. In the past, child seats featured the most obnoxious knobs to mount the seat onto a bicycle. It used to take an hour in the workshop, but nowadays, it’s just click-click-click. This is a huge improvement; it makes it easy to take anything you like with you on your bicycle. It is a solid system. If all manufacturers would adopt the system, it will soon be booming. We will then certainly create more space in the store to promote and sell the system.”