THE KOSYNIER STORY
Kosynier’s family workshop was created by two brothers: Marcin and Michał Bielawski, who live in Buk, a small town in western Poland, 30 km from Poznań and 250 km from Berlin. They grew up in the town and the surrounding countryside. Their peers played in the streets and backyards between concrete blocks of flats, but Marcin and Michał had a playground in the smithy that belonged to their grandfather and uncle. The uncle, along with the boys’ father, built agricultural machinery such as sugar beet harvesters. It was in that foundry that Kosynier’s creators learned the basics of metallurgy. The hearth was the focus of their interests. They created their own “fireworks” by keeping iron bars in the furnace so long they started to burn.
Marcin then attended the Auto Industry Technical Secondary School. He wrote a paper on “Motorcycles adapted for military purposes”. After that, he became a cameraman for a nationwide television station. That allowed him to travel the world with Polish prime ministers and presidents. More about our team here.
ORIGIN OF THE IDEA
One spring day, Michał started disassembling our antique Komar moped in order to sandblast it. The moment of inspiration came, when the moped’s handlebars tilted downwards, creating a “sports version” of the tiny Komar. Michał suddenly remembered about Boardtracks. He went online and called Marcin: listen, let’s make a Boardtrack-style gas-powered bike. Marcin has a thousand ideas for a minute and the only thing that pisses him off are the words “can’t be done”. So what did he say? “This is too difficult for us, let it go” …
But, after several months of thinking about the project, a decision was made. LET’S DO IT !
It was time for action. We started by cutting the “vehicle” out of cardboard and sticking it to the wall in the room. Then, we cut a few bicycle frames, and welded them together in the forge. We needed to start testing the contraption in the wild. Michal, on a metal saddle, rode the machine down gravel roads through nearby fields and meadows. After many revisions, the frame had finally been refined for the combustion engine. The decision was made. We would reveal our project to the world and start a crowdfunding campaign on PolakPotrafi.pl
MOTOR SHOW POZNAŃ
We decided to announce the start of our crowdfunding campaign at the largest motor show in Poland, in Poznań. We wanted to show our prototypes, but we had some fears. The event draws in supercars from around the world, perfectly prepared customs, and all we had to show were prototypes… However, we came up with an idea which, frankly, turned out to be brilliant. We decided that through the entire event our vehicles will be covered with translucent black cloth. You would be able to make out the shape of what’s underneath, but without any details. If someone was interested, we revealed a fragment of the bike just to them. People were delighted! We had very long and thoughtful conversations with bike enthusiasts. We laughed that Aston Martin uncovered their car on the first day, while we persevered to the very end 😉
Our campaign on the polakpotrafi.pl crowdfunding site launched on… The first 200 PLN donation came from our grandmother, then more came from our friends and acquaintances. Suddenly, journalists started calling. Radio, press, television, internet portals. At some point we lost track of who we talked to and whether we remembered to say everything we wanted to say. We wanted everyone to know our plans, our history and ideas. It was amazing when friends started to send us links to articles, photos newspaper pages or text messages saying that someone mentioned us on the radio or that we were spotted on display monitors in Warsaw public transport. It was all extremely uplifting, but what we enjoyed most was the fact, that people trusted us and wanted to help us. We wanted to contact Rafał Sonik (the winner of the quad category in the 2010 Dakar rally) to ask him to join our campaign.
Marcin met Mr. Sonik completely by chance. “I was not prepared for the meeting, I did not have any presentations, and I knew that this opportunity would not happen again”. He came over, showed Mr. Sonik a photo on the phone and said that we would make something like that in Poland, from the best available materials and parts. What he heard in response knocked him off his feet. “I want to buy one” Mr. Sonik said. Marcin started laughing, because what could he say to a declaration like that. “I serious, I want to buy one and I can help promote it.” Mr. Sonik replied. Marcin was speechless. He didn’t ask for a thing, and the veteran racer himself offered everything Marcin could hope for. “Nothing is impossible! Once again, we found out that there is no reason for stress, you need to make your dreams come true with a smile on your face”
Later, Marcin received a text message from an unknown number “Hi, you have a very nice project, I would like to help you … Call me back in your free time. Bartek Topa” Bartek is a well-known and respected actor. A delightful surprise! We did not hesitate a moment to call back and talk details.
We visited many bike and car meets, fairs and exhibitions. We wanted to reach as many people as possible and tell them about us and our project. Thanks to the money we collected, we were able to start testing electric drives. We tried many different engines with different characteristics, and many different battery sets. Finally we managed to pick an optimal set that gives us the best performance and complies with the 2017 EU regulations.
Autonostalgia in Warsaw was an extreme experience. We spent the day at the antique vehicle meet and the night at a very different event – the Night of the Museums, only to return to the meet the next morning. We were exhausted, we met the limits of our endurance, but the whole experience was extremely interesting. 😉 We also appeared at one of the largest US vintage vehicle meet-ups in Poland, American Cars Mania, and at a moody party near Poznan.
The iENA fair in Nuremberg is the oldest innovation fair in Europe. We brought our prototype and we received a gold medal for design! Read more here.
Before launching our campaign, we took a lot of time to analyze many projects that have been successful on the platform. We have found that it will success be extremely difficult to attain without spending a lot of money on marketing. We decided to try anyway. We considered it yet another learning experience and an opportunity to reach people in other countries. And, possibly, to launch production sooner. However, as expected, we did not reach the financial goal. The other goals, however, the ones we had set for ourselves, we did reach. We got in touch with potential customers from all over the world. We learned more about their expectations and priorities. That is invaluable to us.
KOSYNIER – ONE OF THE THIRTY
We took part in the Climate-Kic initiative, that looks for the most interesting environmentally friendly projects in Europe. We were chosen as one of the 30 most promising projects in Europe, out of a thousand entries. That allowed us to launch our online store. Read more about that here.
In the meantime, we successfully applied for EU funding. It allowed us to buy a lathe, a modern welder, a milling machine and a welding table. But, most importantly, it allowed us to keep writing the Kosynier story. Soon we will introduce the first production Kosyniers.
We can let you know when that happens 🙂 Write to us.