❝ We aim to revolutionise the sport of track cycling through rider focused product development and innovation. ❞
It all started in the spring of 2020 with a conversation on Instagram. Velobike introduced and began distributing Runwell products in New Zealand, and in 2022 we became the Japanese distributor for Velobike. Through an interview with Glen, the president of Velobike, we will share his thoughts on the brand and the vision for the future.
Head designer of Velobike, an expert of track bike industry. Based in New Zealand, designing aesthetic products by aerodynamics and ergonomics with an experience in co-development with a national team for the Olympics.
▶ What motivated you to start Velobike for track bike scene?
I remember watching track cycling at the 2004 Athens Olympic games as a child and thinking I want to do that one day! Where I grew up in New Zealand didn't have a Velodrome, and my parents aren't cyclists, so I never had the opportunity to try bike racing out in my childhood.
In 2012 I moved to Wellington to study Industrial design at University. Industrial design is the profession of developing products for manufacturing.
I had a job working at a bike shop on the weekends to supplement my studies. where somehow I was roped into giving track cycling a go. Since then I have never looked back.
Velobike was born in 2018 through my passion for track cycling, in combination with my experience as an Industrial designer. My first products were simple parts like chainrings, but as the business grew, I was able to invest more time and money into developing products that solved some bigger problems in the sport - such as adapters to convert indoor trainers to accept track bikes. Each new product developed is like climbing another rung on a ladder towards the dream of becoming one of the most recognisable brands in the sport.
▶ What is your philosophy as a designer of Velobike and yourself? And in what moments do you find the most rewarding?
As a designer, my key philosophy is ‘to add value’.
When designing new products, I assess how much new value is created, how can the product solve a problem that isn't currently solved (or recognised). How well does the customer value the item, cherish it and feel proud in owning or using it. Velobike prides itself on products that feel amazing to hold and use, but also look awesome!
The most rewarding part is seeing how people value their parts, how they cherish them and feel proud to use them.
▶ Moving to Cambridge, where the velodrome is located, seems to bring you much closer to the track team. Do you feel any positive impact or significant change in product development?
Velobike HQ located only a couple of kilometers down the road from the Cambridge indoor Velodrome. This means we’re always bumping into athletes, coaches and mechanics from the NZ national team and international visitors. This close connection to the facility allows for easy communication when developing new ideas.
▶ Any challenges you faced during the Elite Longboi Stem development process or any secret stories you can share with us?
Elite Longboi Stem
The Longboi Stems were the result of a collaboration between ourselves and Cycling New Zealand for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The riders seeked a new solution to their progressive bike fit positions. Few stems on the market came in lengths longer than 150mm. Those that did were often very flexible and not suitable for professional track sprinting.
The three main criteria when designing the Longboi Stems were; long, aero and stiff. To date, we have made stems up to 200mm long and riders frequently mention that they are the stiffest stems they have ever used (regardless of length).
▶ Have you ever seen a Japanese keirin race and what is your personal impression of it?
When I think of Japanese culture, I think of structure, routine and organisation and tradition. To me, the Japanese Keirin is an icon of Japanese culture through and through. I have never been to Japan, and have only seen the Kerins on Youtube or mini documentaries following the experience of invitational athletes like Chris Hoy and Shane Perkins. One day we hope to make a trip over for a holiday and to immerse ourselves in the culture.
▶ The 250 Keirin race has just started in Japan, and the Elite Longboi Stem has also been approved there. Can you share your thoughts about it?
The NJS stamping on the traditional Keirin equipment is a sign of prestige on bicycle components. Everyone wants to have the NJS Nitto handlebars, The NJS Kashimax saddle or the NJS Dura-ace cranks.
It is a true honor to be a part of the modern 250 Kerin series and cement Velobike among some of the most iconic track cycling brands around the world.
Elite Longboi Stem
Elite Track Chainring
▶ For the future, how do you plan to approach the global fixed gear industry?
We aim to revolutionise the sport of track cycling through rider focused product development and innovation. Our goal is to become the go-to brand for performance equipment in the sport.
I visited Australia in March this year and was able to meet Glen for the first time, having previously only exchanged e-mails and DMs with him. During my stay, I spent most of my time at the velodrome with him and our mutual customer Matt from Gearshop Brisbane, and I strongly felt his sincere attitude toward product design. I got to see a few drawings of upcoming products, and they were all amazing. Please stay tuned for more great new products from Velobike!