PYGA mountain bikes bring frame production home
2019 has been a momentous year for PYGA mountain bikes as it has seen the realization of a dream to bring manufacturing back home to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. A fitting place to manufacture mountain bikes given its strong ties to both the roots and most significant achievements of the sport in South Africa.
The journey into manufacturing started a long time ago for Patrick Morewood, the founder and co-owner of PYGA. In his early years as a competitive downhill racer, equipment was always a challenge, and coming from a long line of designers and engineers, Pat continued the tradition by designing and building his components. This then culminated in full-blown bicycle design and manufactured with what would become the world-renowned and critically acclaimed Morewood Bikes brand in 1998.
After some 15 years with Morewood, Patrick moved on to form PYGA in 2012 with the express idea to design bikes that were more accessible and rewarding to the average rider, not only those competing at the top level. This saw the birth of the iconic Pyga Oneten 29. These aluminum frames manufactured in the East under Pats supervision and watchful eye; the first batch was worked on in China by Pat himself. PYGA moved on as a brand growing its range to encompass XC, Marathon, Trail and Enduro bikes and branching into carbon frames, the stage which rode to victory in the 2019 ABSA CAPE EPIC’s Queen stage, piloted by Local team riders Matthys Beukes and Phil Buys.
Up to this point, all bikes had been produced in Taiwan by high-end factories, with all design work and real-world testing being done in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. New partners in the form of Ollie Burnett and Richard Crouse joined the business to assist with this expansion. As the company grew, the challenges of outsourcing the manufacturing and freedom to make improvements became more significant, and the inevitable discussions started around the possibility of bringing manufacturing home and opening our factory, a dream all the partners shared.
“For me, it was more than just having bikes made in South Africa, and it was about my need to create and use my hands as well as hopefully inspiring others as well as youngsters to believe that we can compete on the world stage.” – Pat Morewood.
In late January 2019, the final decision was taken to establish our bespoke factory. This started the search for machines and tools, both old and new, and within three short months, we had a fully functional aluminum bicycle factory. Two months after that, we had our prototypes, and in October 2019, we shipped our first production frames out of our factory, an accomplishment of which we are very proud.
The ability to now control our future in terms of quality, improvements, and delivery is truly game-changing for us. In a world of increased commoditization and mass production to deliver a true artisan, handmade frame to our customers is the dream all of us at Pyga subscribe to. Pyga’s aspiration to become a globally recognized, high-end mountain bike brand is vastly enhanced by the establishment of our own facto,y.
The freedom the factory gives us to prototype and move quickly to market with new models is a luxury one does not always achieve with outsourced manufacturing. With a current capacity to manufacture in the region of 1200 frames per annum and offer a vast array of customizable colors via our powder coating plant, we can offer a truly personal product to the customer.
Believing in better is something we live and breathe at Pyga, and to truly deliver on this manufacturing frames in our factory is an essential element. In a South African context with increased negativity and doom and gloom mentality prevailing, we are determined to become one of the many good news stories and centers of excellence in South Africa.
“My experience in South Africa with the entire Pyga family was unreal. I was blown away every day by the people, the culture, the wildlife, and the South African vibe is the best part. Then being able to visit the factory and see our bikes being built right in front of me gave me a special feeling. The craft of small-batch alloy frames is still a tremendous process. I can’t wait to go back and see what the factory and the Pygans have going on next year. Patrick and Karen opened their home to me before actually meeting me in person. One of the coolest places I have ever visited and I met some fantastic people. I genuinely appreciate what Pyga has done. ” – Howie Zink, PYGA USA Distributor
For more information on Pyga check out: https://pyga.us/