I landed in Amsterdam on a Monday morning and drove to our factory in Veenendaal. The year was 1989. I heard the meeting I was to attend was rescheduled to later in the week and I was free for the afternoon. Since I had some free time and a car, my hosts asked if there was anywhere I wanted to go. They would help with the arrangements. I thought for 2 seconds and said I wanted to go to Neede (pronounced Nayda) to visit the EML factory. The receptionist asked, "Is Neede in Holland?" After a few phone calls and looking at several maps, we found Neede which is in a rural area in the eastern part of the country. The receptionist called EML and they said they would be happy to have a visitor. I got in my 1000cc Renault and I was off.
It turns out that Neede is a very small town and I had no problem finding 20 Magnolia Street with the aid of the map at the entrance of the town. As typical Dutch practice, the EML factory is located in a very clean and simple one-story industrial building. I was met by Mr. Henk Kromhout, sales manager who would be giving me the tour. The tour was fascinating. I learned that EML made approximately 800 sidecars per year, much more than expected. I was surprised to learn that EML designed and fabricated everything themselves. This is unusual for a small manufacturer where components are usually purchased from a series of vendors. For example, EML designed the wheel, made the wooden patterns for the hub, machined the raw casting, painted the parts, then assembled the steel spokes and rim to make a complete wheel. They cut the material, then sew the toneau covers and convertible tops. To make the chassis parts they bend the tubing, cut the gussets then weld the pieces together to form frames, forks, swingarms and subframes. Then they perform tiny secondary machining operations and paint the parts. They have good design and control of the production process since the parts fit well to each other and to my BMW. This is top-notch manufacturing.
I was then shown the customer and prototype assembly area. This is where the real eye candy was. They had a number of customer bikes undergoing transformation. There were several BMWs and a Yamaha FJ series. I noticed EML had made a significant improvement to the subframe for the K100. The subframe was now in two parts that allows it to be removed without taking off the entire front end, or hanging the bike from the ceiling. I saw a K100RS-ABS fitted to the sidecar. Mr. Kromhout informed me the ABS functioned fine with the EML sidecar. I then saw one of the most striking sidecars I have ever seen -- a K1 with their latest Model 2000 sidecar. The rig had extra wide tires, was color matched and had the K1 graphics applied to the nose of the sidecar. Brilliant!
I then noticed a motocross sidecar. I started looking closer and I saw the EML logo on the engine casting. I asked if EML made the engine and he said yes. It turns out EML makes the whole thing, stem to stern, for sidecar motocross. EML just won its fourth consecutive world championship. Cool!
I ended my trip by purchasing a set of the tires for my rig and thanking my host for his hospitality. EML is a world-class manufacturer with a wide range of capabilities.
Additional Pictures Not In Original Article
E.ML Engineering Holland BV
Phone: (+31) (0) 545 292 154
Fax : (+31) (0) 545 292 205
e-mail for Sidecar Info
e-mail for Trike Info
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