In 1990, three young guys from Aalborg started welding bicycle frames.
They were determined to become the best.
Had they now been able to afford to buy expensive bike frames, they could have done so. But then the adventure of Principia had not seen the light of day.
"We could not afford the majestic bike frames that came from the United States at that time. Then we had to start creating them ourselves,” says Gert Spender Andersen, one of three young guys with the same problem: Where do you find a quality triathlon frame? The answer lay with himself. A bluish glow began to glitter out through the basement window in Aalborg when the triathletes welded aluminum pipes in the search of a rigid and light bike frame.
The goal was to create the best bike frames in the world right from the start. Quite simple. And the tri-musketeers from Aalborg also agreed on a criterion for quality: STW - stiffness to weight. The world's best frame must be the one that has the best ratio of stiffness to weight. A rigid and light bike frame provides the most efficient performance. Easily understandable today. But in 1990, only a few thought that way. The innovative thoughts and unlike bike frames needed a name. With the intention of Principia to be the only bike in the world named after a book: Principia bikes sends a greeting back to Isaac Newton, who in 1687 enhanced modern physics with his groundbreaking masterpiece, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
The aluminum alloy from which the innovative Principia bike frames were welded proved to be excellent at withstanding the dynamic influences during cycling. The bike frames made of 7020 alloy were the key to some successful years for Principia. Gert Spender Andersen, who is a qualified machinist, brought the best of his old welding colleagues over to Principia. While in 1992 there were two on the payroll, there were ten the following year.
One of the new employees was Anders Bystrup, who later became Danish champion in cycling cross. Anders was right away determined to create mountain bike frames. He did so, and Principia was represented at the 1998 Mountain Bike World Cup.
Steel or aluminum
Principia was created based on an enthusiasm for the triathlon, but it was the road bikes that catalyzed the explosive growth of Principia. In the early 1990s, the majority of road bikes were made of steel, and professional riders continued to swear by thin steel frames with chrome-plated details. At some point, steel had to give its domestic position away. More and more people gradually realized that you would get a much more efficient bike with a light and rigid frame made of large, round aluminum, which sums up the character traits of Principia.
A series of impressive test results in leading German bicycle magazines was crucial to the success of Principia's aluminum bike frames.
Sports and exports
Principia became an export success. The German market was in love with bicycle frames from Danish Principia. “At one point, 90% of our sales went to Germany, and a little later the Danish market also came in profitable. Principia sold around 5,000 frames a year at its best, of which a fifth on the Danish market. And in Denmark at one point, we sold considerably more frames than any other manufacturer,” says Gert Spender Andersen. Principia began sponsoring Danish teams such as Team Chicky World and Team Acceptcard and later bigger teams such as Team Fakta and Linda McCartney Racing Team. It was on a Linda McCartney-Principia that the Australian David McKenzie in the year 2000 drove 164 km alone in front and first over the line on the 7th stage of the Giro d’Italia.
But one thing is to make good and well-performing bikes. A completely different dimension is to break through the world of cycling and sponsor one of the great teams. It became too expensive. The expansion ended, other aluminum frames won, the competition became too close. After a tumultuous time with changing ownership, Principia came under Denmark's largest bicycle company, HF Christiansen A / S, in 2006. Here, Principia obtained the reliable production and distribution apparatus and the financial weight needed to bring the brand forward again.