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Don't try this at home

When Nzo got started we had a shop of our own. It was a long shot, there were nowhere enough mountain bikers to support that idea at the time, but we learned a lot. One of the very good things about that proto-shop was the opportunity it provided for yakking with mountain bikers about mountain biking. These days Nzo occupies the front corner of a shop here in Rotorua. The other day I happened to be visiting and a couple wandered in to browse. Soon enough we were yakking about mountain biking. Th...

June 3, 2022

Big, fat, and under control

Here is a thing that happened on the weekend which I did not expect.Back-story: I have a beloved bike called a Surly Krampus. It is a steel-framed thing with no suspension, and big tyres on 29” rims.It will roll over most things in its way, it is hysterical to ride, and goes much faster than it should. I got it for long slow off-road touring adventures, and in the six or seven years I have owned it I have only managed that once. But I still have fun planning them, and in the meantime I get the...

April 28, 2022

Adjustments on the fly

On Sunday I met my mate G and we headed up into the forest for a couple of hours.That day there was a huge Enduro event in the forest, the local club’s ‘2W’, which sells out the 650 places available every edition.We were thinking some parts of the forest might be a bit of a zoo, but we went riding anyway. As it turned out we went exactly where we wanted to ride, and we hardly saw anybody at all. A few empty buses heading back down the hill, a short queue at one trail entrance, a few race m...

April 12, 2022

Jeff is a treasure

One of the key figures in the Rotorua bike scene has suffered a medical event that has put him out of action for a while, and we are all sending positive energy his way for a good recovery. Jeff Anderson has been very helpful to me on many occasions, and the story of my track bike is maybe the best example of why we are so lucky to have a man of Jeff’s talents in our midst. A few years back I spotted a track bike for sale on TradeMe. It was a Japanese Keirin bike with a good sized helping of o...

March 20, 2022

Etiquette for passing...not

It was so hot on Tuesday we shot out to the Blue Lake for a dip after work, and I took the opportunity to test out one of my Forest Loop variants. I was rolling along on my return voyage when I caught up with a fellow rider on a section of the trail that has limited space for passing. He was moving at a gentleman’s pace, and after a polite hundred metres or so behind him I offered a cheery ‘hello!’, and got no response. I then said ‘hey there! I will pass when it suits you!’. A bit lou...

January 25, 2022

Nzo's Black Friday!

It’s Black Friday week! Well, we think it is.A quick wiki confirmed Black Friday as any Friday that falls on the thirteenth of the month. Apparently there is always one per year, but some unfortunate years have up to three.We consulted our calendar and came away confused - November the thirteenth was a Saturday, and a couple of weeks ago.But we are still pretty sure it’s Black Friday week because we have an email inbox and a physical letterbox bulging with messages saying it is, and weirdly,...

November 26, 2021

The History of Dobies

While fossicking through some archive folders in a search for something - I don’t remember what - I found two interesting relics from prehistory.One is the original drawing outlining what would become Nzo Dobies. I will come to the other in a few hundred words’ time.When this drawing was done, there was no universally fixed idea of what a mountain biking short should be like. We were pretty sure they were not going to be made of lycra, and that was about it.We took inspiration from surfwear,...

November 11, 2021

Ma Te Wa

Last night I even went for the season’s first after-work ride. Unlike some of my after-work efforts, this one started outside of what normal people consider to be working hours.The goal was to ride a few new trails, one of which is called Ma Te Wa.That broadly translates as See You Later, which is a good attitude to adopt as you drop in. It can also be read as Time Will Tell, which it turns out is equally pertinent.When we decided to move to Rotorua to kick off the Nzo project, we rented a hou...

October 15, 2021

Every order plants a tree!

We are excited to be teaming up with Rotorua organisation TipuWai to plant native trees on behalf of our customers! We have been thinking about ways to offset the environmental costs of what we do at Nzo.We start by always doing our best to make a product that will go the distance. But sometimes that distance is pretty decent before you have even tried the product on! Fabric and components move from factory to factory, finished goods move from factory to Nzo, and individual orders move...

September 30, 2021

Five thousand kilometres is a fair innings

I had an entertaining exchange a few weeks ago with an Nzo customer.He was writing to enquire about the fabrics we use in our shorts, and whether we had improved what we use since he ordered the pair he had been using.His query was fair enough, but as his shorts were about two years old the answer was no. We still use the same fabric. I explained our rationale, and the balance we try for between weight, comfort and durability.The customer was not unhappy with the shorts - he loves the...

September 16, 2021

Cold turkey

We all agree 2020 was a weird year, hard to top for strangeness. 2021 nudged me in the ribs and said “hold my beer”.Right at the outset, I got notified I had a health problem. It is fixable, and fixing it is non-negotiable. The fixing is a complicated and fairly extreme procedure that requires a long period of doing not much else.As luck would have it, the closer collaboration with the shop here in Rotorua means Nzo is able to charge along well without my constant presence. What isn’t...

July 8, 2021

The Big Question!

We get a lot of emails asking various questions, and among the most frequent is “what should I order, Dobies or Sifters?” The question usually includes a fairly detailed explanation of the living habits of the prospective customer. We sift through the information and try to make a good guess at which product would work best.Obviously a sensible person would order both, but not everybody has that much sense, or cents.If we had any sense we would have produced some sort of ...

May 20, 2021

What's happened to the Nzo website!?

About 5 months ago we relocated all our stock to the back of a bike shop in Rotorua.The shop was called Nzo/Ride Central, and it has been Nzo’s only bricks & mortar outlet on earth for the last ten years. The Corbett family, who own the shop, gave us carte blanche to re-design their shop when we got into this arrangement, and the job they did is fantastic. There are multiple benefits to this arrangement for everybody concerned. The shop provides a place where people can see and touch...

May 20, 2021

The Photographer's Day Off

The man behind most of the decent photos in the Nzo story is Graeme Murray.We met on a mountain bike ride, shortly after we moved to Rotorua, the town we chose as a base to start Nzo. Graeme is a local, and was barely out of his teens. He had already decided his goal was to become a professional photographer. He told me that on our first meeting, after I told him what we planned to do.He became a professional photographer a long time ago, and we count ourselves very lucky to have first...

May 18, 2021

Pointless bicycles, and why we ride them

In case you are feeling less than optimal because of the weather, virus, politicians, current radio, or anything else really, this may help you beat those equinoxial blues.  Check out the beautiful, functional, but probably pointless craftsmanship on this bicycle, the closest thing I have seen to a genuine hot rod that isn't a pre-war Ford....

May 3, 2021

Product testing and its downfalls

We’ll admit it.There are definite upsides to be in the business of bike stuff, and near to a whole heap of trails.People tell us we are very lucky, and we can’t disagree.Just so you don’t think everything around here is perfect, here are two things that happened to me recently, which wouldn’t have happened if I had enough sense to be doing something more sensible with my life.Out testing product (honestly, it needs to be done), and all goes well until halfway down the firs...

May 3, 2021

Getting with the programme

One of our mates has started a ‘training programme’. He has a ‘coach’. He is thinking about his entry in a ‘race’. I use inverted commas for his versions of these things because they all defy normal definitions.Working backwards from the ‘race’… the event of his dreams is the Whaka 100. It’s more of a nightmare, and unless you are very special you won’t be ‘racing’. You will be grovelling along, hoping you don’t run out of something before the finish. Food, ...

May 3, 2021

Growing MTB Parks

Last week we delivered a run of custom stuff for a special crew.They were happy with how it came out, we were very happy with how it came about.We made mountain bike tops and t shirts for a group of people working in forestry. Half the staff in the company that manages the trees in our local patch ride bikes in the forest.Many of the people who don’t ride bikes do other recreational stuff in the trees, and they love the forest as much as the bike-riders.They came to us...

May 3, 2021

Timber Trail thoughts

During the festive season a mate penned a couple of articles for the local paper.These got us thinking about the state of our sport from where we sit… and it is amazing. And confusing, in equal measures.Graeme’s weekly mountain biking column in a daily newspaper, for a start. That would have seemed very unlikely to a younger me, when I wheelied out of a bike shop on my first mountain bike 35 years ago. There were no magazines around to help us figure out what we were supp...

May 3, 2021

A Team Effort

I came by a racing bike a couple of summers ago. An almost new, ridiculously light, state of the current art, carbon fibre framed machine festooned with the best Japanese equipment, comfy and extremely functional. I didn’t like the look of it, but it was nice to ride. The brakes and drivetrain were faultless, it handled perfectly, and as I mentioned, it was light. Every time I picked it up I marvelled at it. I am pretty sure my last track bike weighed about the same.But even after several thou...

May 3, 2021

**it happened Here

In Rotorua we are in the middle of the hottest, driest spring since records began, or at least as long as we can remember.Trails are perfect in the trees, or dusty and falling apart where the sun can get at them.These conditions may have contributed to a spectacular near death experience I had the night before last.I was hooning down one of my favourite trails, at what constitutes top speed on my planet, and starting to feel like I was on my game.Got to a short bony bit, where the...

May 3, 2021

Scratching Your Itch

Mountain biking is one of the few sports where the participants can create their facility. In many places, they have to.At the beginning, trails were mostly existing routes created for some other purpose, like hiking, riding motos, or getting to and from trees that needed cutting. Today’s lucky punters can roll up to a trailhead and do their thing without a second thought: the sport is approaching its fourth decade and many places round the world have trail networks ready to go.They will find ...

May 3, 2021

Dobies are twenty-one today!

Last year we celebrated two decades of Nzo. That means this year marks the coming of age of our most unruly offspring, the shorts we call Dobies.That is Dobies. Not Doobies, as some of you would have it. And certainly not Dobbies, which has its faction but sounds like a bunch of horses. Dobies. Pronounced ‘dough’, as in doughnut, followed by ‘bees’, as in… well, bees.We were not the first to call them that.We did invent them, at a time before there were many ‘mountain ...

May 3, 2021

Getting the best out of the end of the day

Down in the South Pacific winter has turned the corner, and the days are slowly getting longer, but  it’s still winter. Bike rides may be wet and cold, but they can still be had with a bit of cunning and accurate scheduling.Twice last week we sneaked out late in the day because our mate had a couple of images in his mind that needed to be enacted. One of them turned out really well first pop, and will be revealed at the photographer’s discretion. The other looked like it might impr...

May 3, 2021

Like a roadrace, only crunchy

As the seasons roll by the motivation to enter stuff gets harder to muster.Unless there is a damn good reason, it’s easier to just go for a ride.The Dirty K is a damn good reason. Not only is it a ‘gravel race’, and therefore a logical outing for my latest bike, it is around the top end of Coromandel, and any excuse to go there is a good one.The event tags on to the K2 road race, a 200km hillfest that circumnavigates the middle of Coromandel Peninsula from a different start point each year...

May 3, 2021 Posts 1-25 of 29 | Page next
 

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