25 years of building stuff for the bike life
The Nzo story is nearly as long as the story of mountain biking, and in some ways much longer. We have been living the bike life for over five decades, and learning a lot of things along the way.
Nzo kicked off in 1998 with a store in the main street of Rotorua, a central North Island town that would become the mountain biking capital of New Zealand, if not the Southern Hemisphere.
Life partners Glen Anderson and Gaz Sullivan had bailed out of their successful design businesses in Auckland to make the move from the big smoke to the big steam.
We made things out the back, and sold them out the front, and hundreds of early adopters of the brand new sport used Nzo kit and gave us the feedback that informed our designs.
The even further back story
Way before the birth of mountain biking, Gaz had been a cyclist. Doing skids and wheelies on a one-speed coaster on the way home from school progressed to racing bikes on the road and the track. National titles and representation were highlights of a very enjoyable career before he retired from bike racing to pursue a path in graphic design and illustration.
Glen has never been what you would call a cyclist, but she has ridden a bike a lot further than most people. Two six-week long bike packing trips are the big bike adventures, but in the other world travelling escapades there were bikes hanging on the back of the vans that were homes on wheels decades before #vanlife.
Her work life was devoted to developing as an apparel designer and patternmaker. She had success with her own brand of street wear, an international swimwear brand, and developed the apparel section of a globally important triathlon brand before starting Nzo.
Glen and Gaz commuted to work on bikes when they lived in the big city.
These days they walk across the yard.
Twenty five years of Nzo
Nzo was launched because we wanted to share ideas we had about gear to use for the stuff we do. Right from the day we kicked it off, we have tried to make the best things we could for the bike life. To us that means good quality, durable, comfortable and if possible, multi-purpose.
That mantra has supported the development of our products ever since. We don't generally change things just for the sake of it. Every time we create a new batch we consider what we might improve.
Getting involved in the local scene has been the best thing about this project. Besides being an awesome place to live and ride, Rotorua is the only town on earth that has hosted a UCI World Championship, a UCI World Cup, a Singlespeed World Championship (twice), a 24 Hour World Championship, and Crankworx. Nzo has supported all of those events at some level, and numerous other events besides.
The development of the mountain biking scene in New Zealand has been nothing short of amazing, and we are proud to have had a hand in that.