Text: Anton Andres / Photos: Brent Co, McLaren Special Operations | posted May 26, 2015 12:36
The genius behind Storck Bicycles
To the avid bicycle enthusiast, the name Storck is one of the most revered in the world of pedals and two wheels. The reason for that is this man: Markus Storck, and we got to have a sit down with him when he was in Manila to open his new store in Greenfield City, Mandaluyong.
It seems odd for an automobile website to write a story on a figure in the world of bicycles, but he did design two very exceptional automobiles; one for McLaren Special Operations and another for Aston Martin. But first, the bikes.
As far back as he can remember, Markus Storck always had biking on his mind. “I started biking at the age of two and a half” said Storck. “My grandfather was very supportive of me in my early years of biking.” Storck had entered his first biking competition at the age of six and ever since he was a young boy, he himself made his own bikes, showing interest in engineering. “I was called 'Calculator' in school” recalls Storck. “The way Germans do things are all about numbers, precision” he adds. He momentarily stopped competition at the age of 13 but his passion for cycling and engineering never faded.
His passion would lead him to become one of the top designers and engineers for bicycles the world over. Storck would begin making his own bicycles by the late 80's. Ever since then, Storck has been revolving around the use of carbon fiber. He officially opened shop by 1995 and recalls the early days of working with the exotic material. “It was very difficult at the time. Different weaves have different strengths. It wasn't like fiberglass where you can simply mold it. With carbon (fiber), you had to make a weave that's strong but still stay light enough. It's a very complex material to work with.” said Storck.
Stock also shared the challenges he faced when he initially opened shop in 1995. He mentioned that he was, quite literally, a one man team handling the marketing, distribution, as well as research and development. When asked about who his R&D team is, Storck simply smiled and said “You're looking at the R&D department.” referring to himself. It was only 4 years ago when Storck hired a someone to help him with R&D but to this day, remains very hands on in the day to day activities of Storck Bicycles.
All his hard work paid off when he was included in Die Größten Marken Deutschlands book which includes the top brands in Germany and Storck Bicycles is the youngest brand to be included in the list. Storck is also a driving force in the industry with his innovations with carbon fiber for cycling applications. He started out with carbon fiber parts for bikes but soon used the material to build whole frames. Nowadays, Storck has made a whole bicycle that weighs a mere 1.55 pounds and is so light, it can literally be carried with a finger or two. Storck is also beginning to input his designs in other ventures from watches to cars.
Being passionate about engineering, it's not just bicycles Markus Storck is in to. Storck also mentions his love for cars. “My first car was a Fiat Panda” recalls Storck. “But the car I really enjoyed the most from before was my Lancia Delta Integrale”. These days, Storck has a new favorite car. It's also a car wherein he added design and engineering inputs and improved an already impressive car. Storck has collaborated with McLaren Special Operations to create the 650S One of Seven.
The supercar is draped in a matt bronze paint job which changes color when light levels change but knowing Markus Storck, there were also changes done under the skin. With his expertise in lightweight materials, the car gets the Storck treatment with extra carbon fiber panels taking off another 40kg from the standard car's weight while retaining all the conveniences of the standard McLaren 650S.
It wasn't just cars that got the One of Seven treatment. Apart from the McLaren 650S, there's the Storck Aernario Platinium Disc, Blac eyewear, Blaken Rolex and Ress winery. As the name suggests, there will only be 7 of the items worldwide and Storck has the preproduction models of each item.
After the McLaren Special Operations project, Aston Martin was the next to get the One-Of-Seven treatment. Starting out with the new Vanquish, Storck went on to give the grand tourer carbon fiber panels, a bespoke interior with a subtle nod to the James Bond franchise and even a carbon fiber Aston Martin badge.
20 years have passed since the first Storck bicycle was sold. Since then, the company's bikes have been continuously innovating the world of cycling and racking up design awards in the process. Storck has expanded his design inputs to other things as he shows no sign of slowing down. At this rate, Markus Storck will continue sharing to the world his passion for all things technical and innovative for many more years to come.