Sabi Phagura travels to the home of Lauge Jensen in Denmark to meet the man behind the manufacturer of luxury bespoke motorcycles. This interview was first published in September 2013 for the digital version of Luxurious Magazine.
SP: Every bike you create is unique to its customer. Are the possibilities endless and what is the most extravagant to date?
ULJ: The possibilities are totally endless. Customers can have an image of a bike in their minds and it is up to us to make that wish or dream a reality. The most extravagant to date is the ‘Gold’ bike. It’s just too wild and looks totally amazing. The second one is the ‘Cohiba’ that I designed for Anders Kirk Johansen (the owner of the company) based on the cigar. It was very complicated though because you have to lay down the wood, paint it, and make sure it had a sleek finish. So yes, if the customer wants a specific bike, you will never get a ‘no’ from me!
SP: Where does your inspiration come from and what sparked your passion for motorcycles?
ULJ: My inspiration comes to me the very minute I talk to the customer but when I start building the bikes I like to perfect them and want everyone to love the bike as much as I am enjoying designing them. I even want girls and people who don’t take much of an interest in motorcycles to like them. I strive to build machines which you can ride away and discover new things on, and ones that essentially has the customer’s soul in it.
SP: Which innovations have been the most significant since the company’s foundation?
ULJ: My bikes have had the stamp of being greener and have had the approval from the government of being environmentally friendly. For me, that is such an achievement. To know that a small boy like me can beat the global manufacturers who want to make their bikes greener but have not achieved that yet is truly a proud moment for me.
SP: How many motorcycles do you sell each year? Where are most of your customers located?
ULJ: We now have the capacity and workforce to produce up to 50 motorcycles per year. That may not sound like a lot but each bike really is made meticulously and that takes time and effort. We want our motorbikes to be perfect. They have to be of a high standard and finish, exactly the way the customer has requested. Most of our customers come from Denmark and increasingly we are seeing more and more from Europe.
SP: Do you have a typical customer in terms of profile?
ULJ: Our typical customer is a man who has a wife and grown-up children. Typically he will have money to spend on something that will give him immense pleasure and satisfaction. A bike like the Lauge Jensen will give him the freedom and lots of fun at the same time.
SP: Where and how do you purchase a Lauge Jensen?
ULJ: We will be attending a few high-end shows and festivals where we will showcase the Lauge Jensen bike. This gives people the chance to have a good look at what we can produce and ask questions about it. It is much easier to talk to the customer face-to-face at such events and to really explain our product. Individuals can also have a look online and we do have a lot of customers who have heard about Lauge Jensen through word of mouth. We also advertise.
SP: What do you think defines a luxury motorcycle – is it the price tag or the specification?
ULJ: Luxury is not about money, but about the specification and quality. To me, it’s about having a unique product that is personal to the customer. Our bikes are made to stand out from the crowd. We want our clients to be proud of their bikes knowing that it’s been built especially for them and there is not a replica out there. Luxury is about putting your mark on something that is very special to you.
SP: What upgrades can we expect with the 2014 model year?
ULJ: There will be new engines, new brakes and new fronts to our motorbikes from next year. We are always working on ways to improve our bikes. We never take a back seat and will always continue to strive for perfection. For us, it’s about being the best. We are also going to be introducing keyless bikes. So yes, lots of upgrades coming up next year!
SP: Anders Kirk Johansen, the owner of Lauge Jensen, is an heir to the Lego family. Does this reinforce your financial stability?
ULJ: Of course it is easier to do things when you have money in the company so we are very happy that we have the financial help from Anders. It also means that we can expand and really get our product out there to reach people worldwide. You have to invest in your product to get the best outcome.
SP: Where do you see Lauge Jensen in five years’ time?
ULJ: I can see us producing around 100 bikes a year. We will never be the largest company but we’ll certainly be an exclusive one that everyone will know about. I want Lauge Jensen to be renowned worldwide so that anyone can have a motorbike built to specification no matter where they live. The right people will know about us and will be our customers.
SP: Who are your biggest competitors?
ULJ: I believe the biggest competitor is myself. That’s because I always strive to be the best and always want to improve things. It’s like I’m never satisfied and want to do better and better. I will never be complacent. We are also very unique in that we build bikes to specification so we don’t really see ourselves as having any competitors as such. As long as we have got the financial backing and keep striving for the best, we will be successful in being the best.