Geert Valckx is the CEO of exhaust manufacturer Jekill & Hyde, a company that specialises in adapting the sound of a bike to the volume that’s appropriate. A lifesaver for many bikes across the globe. We sat down with him during the launch of its new Project 21 line in Venray, Holland.
Geert, can you quickly introduce the brand Jekill and Hyde?
Jekill and Hyde is an exhaust manufacturer based out of Belfeld in the Netherlands and specialises in electronically managed exhausts. The story started way back in 1997 by two guys in a garage just tinkering away. That lasted until 2008, when Jacques Van De Kerkhof arrived and invested in the company and paved the way to what it has now become.
Who is the rider Jekill and Hyde build their exhaust systems for?
When developing our products, we look at an incredibly diverse market. We’ve built systems for a lot of manufacturers, but we don’t offer products for race bikes or cross bikes. Those riders have different needs that we don’t specifically cater for. Our main focus is the cruiser and chopper market. It’s this culture that really adds a high value to the sound of the bike.
Jekill and Hyde is a fast-growing company. Which markets are the strongest for the brand?
That’s actually the most interesting part of our story. The EU has formulated certain volume and emissions’ regulations that adhere to all bikes sold in Europe. However, the enforcement of those rules differs from country to country. We typically do very well with countries where there are very strict regulations, such as Germany. Our system is entirely legal but still offers that typical chopper sound.
I’ve always wondered about this. How do you shape a sound?
We’re a big company so we don’t have the option of going with our gut and just winging it. When it comes to building an exhaust, we first start to measure everything. Emissions, frequency and obviously volume. You are right in saying that there is a lot more to sound that what you can measure, which is why once we have measured everything, we start testing the exhaust in house and externally to a certain group of people to determine the best-sounding prototype.
For the launch of the Project 21 exhaust for Harley-Davidson, your company teamed up with Motul, a brand not usually associated with chopper culture.
We consider ourselves a top-of-the-line brand and we like to be associated with brands who have a similar value in their field. Motul has been an interesting partner because of its general involvement in the industry as well as racing, but especially because it’s bold enough to broaden its horizons and learn all about our world.