Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, Benno was a skate and snowboard pioneer who dreamed of living in California. After graduating from design school he moved to San Diego where, in 1993, he co-founded the Electra Bicycle Company. Benno left the company in 2010 after its sale three years prior, but his restless desire to design better bikes and inspire people to ride remained, which led him to create Benno Bikes in 2015.
Different by Design
It started with a pencil sketch that led to an unexpected reinvention of bike design. The idea was simple. Tweak the standard geometry of the frame to create a more natural seating position and the ability to put your feet flat on the ground when starting and stopping. We called it Flat Foot Technology and it helped the Electra Bicycle Company I co-founded in 1993 inspire millions of people to ride. It seemed like common sense, but the rest of the bike industry was ignoring the real wants and needs of riders. In my opinion, this is still true today.
I founded Benno Bikes in 2015 with the goal of reinventing bike design once again. Not only to inspire more people to ride, but to empower them to ride more. To grab a helmet and leave their car keys behind. As a designer, I’m awed by the potential of electrification. It has transformed my humble pencil into a full-color palette of possibilities and changed the way I think about bike design and functionality. Electric assist flattens hills, shortens distances, blunts headwinds and lightens cargo weight, leaving only the joy of two wheels, without the objections. I believe most bike companies have yet to truly understand the power of electric assist technology to impact our everyday transportation choices. They continue to ignore the real desires of riders. Regular ebikes offer very little utility and full-size cargo ebikes are too big and awkward to ride daily. This has forced riders to choose between fun and practicality. So we’ve created a completely new ebike category. One that combines an awesome ride with the capability to carry significant loads. Where agility meets true utility. We call it Etility.