“We only stock things we would want for ourselves, otherwise we just won’t sell it.”
This kind of personal investment and niche appeal is just what Jonathan Downham and Jade Gutzeit had in mind when they started Chainworx Cycles in Umhlanga about two years ago.
Jonathan has been involved in the bicycle industry for five years, while his friend Jade comes from a professional motorcycling background.
Although they knew that the KwaZulu-Natal market was relatively saturated, they say the draw of having their own shop was just too strong.
They felt they could add some much needed high-end bicycle shopping to the scene by appealing to a market that craved the best the sport has to offer.
“We’re probably quite biased about what we like, but we’re offering products that we believe in, not what the market tells us to sell.”
So far, the recipe has proven very successful as the shop boasts a burgeoning clientele and top-end products.
They prefer to stock the harder-to-come-by Italian brands, rather than focusing on South African products that can be found in every shop.
This, however, does not mean that they don’t support local industry. Brands like GU and Momsen bikes make an appearance against a wide array of international brands.
“There’s just such a gap in the market for someone who wants something different.”
The shop, which is described as a boutique outlet by its owners, offers mountain and road bikes, including time-trial machines.
It also stocks nutritional products, cycling gear, bike parts and a world-class fitment service.
“The Ret?l system is one of the most advanced in the market. A specialist comes down from Johannesburg every two months to spend a week with our clients.”
The system, which is used internationally, draws on motion-capture technology to isolate a rider’s position and motion. It outputs very precise data that enables the fitment specialist to give the client the best bike fit possible.
The full complement of bike services is also available in-house.
Being a retailer that focuses on quality rather than quantity, Jonathan and Jade pride themselves on providing an environment where their clients enjoy personalised service and a cup of coffee while they shop.
“We have a man-cave in the corner where people can have coffee and chat. It’s very social and very chilled.”
Chainworx Cycles are open on weekdays from 8am to 5pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.
You can find them at www.chainworx.co.za
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