What’s SimWorks?

Text by Shinya Tanaka / Photos by Eri Tanaka

“What is SimWorks? What does it mean?” This was the most asked question at MADE show recently.

Try asking yourself this question once again.
What’s SimWorks? Just, what is, SimWorks?

Most readers of this blog will recognize Simworks as a bicycle parts manufacturer. In a general way of answering, yes, SimWorks is a bicycle parts maker…but somewhere in my heart I know that I don’t want it to be just that.

My long journey in this industry have given me many experiences- often passionate and beautiful, sometimes intense, and occasionally sad. The layering of all of these rich experiences eventually began to form a rough concept, that with time took on a clearer shape- and that shape became SimWorks. Those early foundations still inform and shape what we do to this day. The spirit of it is still visible and clear to me.

The spirit and guiding principle of SimWorks is that balance is essential in all things. This is a clear fact for people as well as the bicycles we love.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

-Albert Einstein

Einstein was quoted as comparing life to the riding of a bicycle, and likely meant that in order to maintain good balance in our lives, that we have to keep moving. Our continued movement and thus our balance, is manifest in continuing to think, continuing to act, and arriving at the answers that we have surmised from our daily efforts, and the certainty that we are approaching our life’s tasks and intentions with honesty and the best of our abilities. Recently, when I looked around me, I saw many people with similar ideals in perfect balance- huddled en masse, toiling, often inspiring each other as they headed toward a vast world they had never seen before.

The bicycle parts made by SimWorks are almost impossible to use on their own. We primarily make parts that demonstrate their true value only when combined and all components are assembled and constructed in a well-balanced manner. We thought about how these parts could humbly meet the needs of the users; and we’re wanting to get it right- to express ourselves and our values while also listening to the desires of our customers who inform who we are and what we build. This is the necessary dialogue and the relationship.

Reflecting on how far we’ve come, I’m concerned that the pandemic may have caused us to lose some of that absolute balance. Perhaps bicycles and humans have lost sight of our critical contact points and that careful balance, and bicycles are evolving in to becoming nothing more than a tool. While we were watching the world change before our eyes, the more modern era seems to have surely arrived. It’s a bit, or rather a very sad story, but this world that doesn’t make sense is definitely expanding. Our ability to listen may have been lost- carried away in that same wave of tenuous balance.

However, I can now believe that MADE was the best place for an optimistic fresh start for SimWorks. And it’s also true for the many frame builders who support us with all their might, the manufacturers who believe in their as well as our humanity, and the cyclists who have gone beyond stable boundaries to support what they love.

We saw so many people gather in SimWorks’ second hometown of Portland, Oregon, and we were able to talk a lot about our beloved bicycles and our lives outside of them. We were able to see the cheerful faces of our friends- in person at long last; and meet so many new friends. I am deeply grateful to TEAM MADE for having the courage to create a joyous event that reaffirmed the existence of a direct and intuitive balance between people, between people and bicycles, and between bicycles and their wondrous parts.

We sincerely hope that even more people will ask “What is SimWorks?” again next year. We’ll hope that elements of our answer will still be the same. And we’ll hope that maybe part of our answer will have grown and changed.

The answer is Between you and me…