The back story
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 original Nzo shop, back when we were called N-Zone. A brush with intellectual property law caused us to drop the last few letters of our brand, and we eventually lost the hyphen to make it simpler. We say it "En-Zo", like the boss of Ferrari. The main street shop ran from 1998 until around 2002, and we found out a lot about what the early mountain bikers were looking for.
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 possble, 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.
Nzo in the UK
A few years ago, Nzo returned to a main street retail space: the RideRotorua Store. The destination mountain biker's boutique is the perfect fit for a locally grown brand, and as a family-owned operation it meshes nicely with Nzo's 100% local ownership.
Until very recently, the RideRotorua Store was managed very competently by Patrik Corbett. He knows bikes and bike riders from a decade behind the counter and just as many years riding in the woods, and he has a wealth of experience with Nzo products in the store.
He is now heading up Nzo in Glasgow, having made the move with his Scottish partner Rachael Xxxxx.
The couple are cut from the same cloth as Nzo's founders, with travel and bikes front and centre in their lives.
We can't think of better representatives for our brand in a corner of the world where we have already gained many Nzo customers, and we are stoked that we can now offer local service to back this up. Nzo UK is stocking Nzo products ready to ship from Glasgow.