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Success Stories Magazine
Halfbike bike
Ivan Belchev

Issue 3 – December 2015


Martin Angelov and Michail Klenov are two young architects who, instead of designing buildings, have entered the world of product design. In this interview, Martin shares how the idea about their bike Halfbike was born, what difficulties they have gone through and how they became millionaires in less than a month.

Ivan Belchev for Success Stories Mag:
Your idea about Halfbike emerged because of an international competition about bicycles. What thoughts flashed across your mind then?

Martin Angelov:
Well, initially, I started contemplating on the concept of a conventional bike. Then I started making some changes and because I like to go to extremes, little by little I arrived at the idea to isolate the moving mechanism of the conventional bike (a rear wheel connected with the pedals by a chain) and to see what I can do with it by making a redesign of all other elements. It was then that the concept of stand-up driving without a seat was born. The original model was with one small rear wheel and I believed that one will be able to turn with a twist of the body.
Halfbike 1 and 2 © Kolelinia
Version 1 and version 2 of the Halfbike design are significantly different. How did this transition happen only within 1 year?

What happened is that, together with Michail Klenov, we faced actual production and learned a lot of things. I love to simplify things to infinity and the second version was a logical evolution that was also a very stormy one.

The principle of the frame construction changed dramatically, and the rear wheel carrier was already a complete development of ours. More and more were the things that already depended on us.
Martin Angelov © Halfbike; Team of Halfbike II
Halfbike Video © Halfbike
Halfbike image © Halfbike
After the campaign of Halfbike II in Kickstarter, you won about 1 million dollars and more than 2,000 orders. It was far beyond your goal – 50 000 dollars and 150 bicycles. What was the emotion in the early days and how did you manage with the production?

It took us 12 hours to reach our goal and we could not believe what was happening. The emotions ranged from great joy to … “well, what shall we do now?” 🙂 One thing is to assemble 100 bicycles, another one – 2500. After the end of the campaign this turned out to be the most funded project for a vehicle in Kickstarter in general.

In the beginning the situation was full of unknown issues, but little by little, through hard work and many stressful moments throughout the summer, things fell into place.

© Halfbike
The biggest prize for design Red Dot for mobility 2015 is awarded to … Halfbike!
Beside prestige, what does this award give?

Well, it definitely means recognition and to a great extent it inspires trust in our customers.
All major bike producers also rely on electric actuation. Do you foresee version 3 of Halfbike without pedals, with a platform for the legs, gas and brake?

Definitely. It takes time, however, and more specialists will be needed to develop this variation.

I can not wait to start making prototypes. However, one by one.
You are an architect. Tell us about your projects related to urban environment.

Unfortunately, I can not boast of a completed projectregarding urban environment. I do not know whether there is a colleague of my age who can do so.

One of the reasons for me to not be occupied with architecture is that the development of our cities is determined by undisguised mobsters acting through forceful methods and their only goal is to feed construction companies.

For the time being, we are trying to isolate ourselves in a small islet of normalcy and, fingers crossed, we hope that we are not just a few.
Bike made in Europe © Halfbike
bike of the year © Halfbike
bike of 2015 © Halfbike
What piece of advice would you give to all those who want to show their projects to the whole world?

To experience their ideas – life is too short to put it off. A feeling of play and experimentation must be at the heart of everything. As soon as it disappears, we become soulless merchants.

We live in times of too much noise and if we do not learn how to easily filter out what is valuable, we can get lost in false pursuits.

Mostly, be honest with yourself and love yourself.
Learn more about Halfbike:

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