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

Twenty years ago today

 

The first t shirt we ever produced, featured this diagram of our story as it was at the time. A few years later we were forced by other companies co-opting our name to drop a few letters, which turned out to be a good thing. The first t shirt we ever produced, featured this diagram of our story as it was at the time. A few years later we were forced by other companies co-opting our name to drop a few letters, which turned out to be a good thing.

 

Yesterday marked the 20th Anniversary of Nzo opening its doors.

The story of Nzo is entwined with our story of mountain biking, and living in Rotorua. One thing caused the others, but we are not sure which one started it all.

We started coming to Rotorua to ride mountain bikes as soon as there were any mountain bikes. A long time before there were any actual trails, there were kilometres of old logging roads snaking through the towering stands of trees in Whakarewarewa forest. I didn’t know anybody else with a mountain bike, so my solo missions blundering around in the woods was a monthly exercise in survival I looked forward to while I sat in Auckland traffic and schemed about some way of making a life around this new sport.

Fast forward about five years and several trails designed for bikes had been created. Challenge and Dipper were worth the drive from the smoke to the steam. The old roads were still there, but trails with berms and jumps - that was truly mind-expanding.

By the time we took the decision to move to RotoVegas and start Nzo the network had been extended to include what is now Tahi, and Creek.

We were several years into the business by the time RockDrop and Rosebank opened. I was amazed by a day I spent riding every purpose built trail in the forest in a complex loop, and totting up 32kms on my primitive cycle computer (which lasted about three rides before the wire got torn off). I felt like the luckiest man alive, making a living in a sport I loved, with a partner I love, in a place with several hours of singletrack right next door!

Time flies when you are 1/ having fun or 2/ flat out or 3/ both.

What got me thinking about all this was a ride I took the other night: a loop I used to ride way back when. Trees have been mowed down and trails have been reformed, trees have grown back and the rebuilt trails have matured. It is like that old bike that’s had two warranty frames and three new drivetrains - the same but different.

It is still a loop of singletrack that removed me from normal life for a couple of hours. It still stays within 2kms from the car as the crow flies, except nowadays it’s magpies. It still contains nearly every reason I need to make me hoist a leg over a mountain bike.

With so much trail spreading to the far corners of the forest - and the rest of the country - and probably the world - we might not revisit the places that first fired us up very often. 

We should. 

This year is the most exciting for Nzo since - not sure, but it’s pretty exciting. Like riding a trail that hits the sweet spot, we can’t wait for what comes next.

nzone1 The Nzo shop in 1998

nzone2 nzone3

glen Glen Sisarich in Nzo shorts at NZDH Champs on the hill we can see out our window, about 1999

 

Mike Mike Metz was our number one customer, and possibly our first sponsored rider, can't remember. Here is ruling a dual in about 1999
Rob Rob Metz railing his Keewee when we supplied the graphics and moral support to NZ's first real Downhill bike builder.
DCP_1923.JPG This is Zib. She ran things for a long and happy time. Here she is in our tent at the Nzo Sydney 24 Hour in what? 2004?
Glen completes another lap of the sun, some time in our Nzo adventure Glen completes another lap of the sun, some time in our Nzo adventure
Graeme Murray taking a photo of something, like he has since literally the day we started. Graeme Murray taking a photo of something, like he has since literally the day we started.
Coxy flying the Nzo flag Coxy flying the Nzo flag