Hi! Sign up for our regular newsletter and get up to date info on new products and special offers.

There's no school like the old school

 

A window poster form the original shop A window poster form the original shop

Back in the day, when Nzo opened its first shop, we ran ads in the magazine that was published upstairs.

It was called NZBike, and was ahead of its time. There were probably not enough mountain bikers to support a magazine in the nineties, and maybe not enough to make an apparel boutique retail store work either. Opening that store did provide a clear idea of what people were looking for, and made us some lifelong friends. A lot of them worked in the bike trade. They would come in on the weekend and buy stuff in our shop, and that struck us as kind of cool.

Every month, about 15 minutes before the magazine was due to go to press, Fred (the Freditor) or Cara (the designer) would come downstairs to get the Nzo ad. Well, the N-Zone ad, because that was our name back then.

One we particularly liked was a small one with the headline “N-Zone: the brand bike shop professionals pay retail for”.

Fast forward to now, and a lot of the riders that were in school in 1998 have grown up, got fast, turned pro, blazed a trail, and retired. Quite a few used our products before they got really fast, used their sponsors’ products while they were racing, and have ended up back in Nzo in retirement, where they can wear whatever they like. We have thought about a promotion saying “Nzo: the brand retired bike racers pay retail for” but we are not sure that would convert any youngsters.

Anyway, just to make sure it was a dumb idea, we went looking for that original ad. Here is how old it is: if we could find it would be stored on a CD. Remember them?

We didn't find it.

We did find a pile of other old stuff though, including the ad below, which hails from the end of our second summer. It features some prototypical New Zealand mountain bikers, some of whom are still pushing the envelope now. From top left: Stacey Amor, Rob Metz, Zib Campbell, Mike Metz, Geoff Cox, Rob Paul and the inimitable Glen Sisarich. Ask anybody who saw him ride the water tank corner at the Mount Downhill, they will tell you. If you go to the link, it is a crusty old VHS look at riding in the day, but for talent on steroids, check out the 360 move at 27seconds in. Then go and try one yourself.

That little ad is a snapshot of a time when half the riders were on steel bikes made in New Zealand, brakes needed bleeding every second ride, and the twat gap was longer than the shorts.

We were excited to be involved with such a great sport back then, and we are no less excited today. That is mountain biking, and why we love it.

[caption id="attachment_752" align="alignnone" width="801"]WP499 From top: Stacey Amor doing a Superman, Rob Metz racing Nationals at Rotorua, Zib Campbell racing DH round in Dunedin, Mike Metz racing four cross somewhere, Geoff Cox racing DH somewhere else, Rob Paul racing DH in Christchurch, and Glen Sisarich racing DH on Mt Ngongotaha, which we can see out our window.[/caption]