PYGA Is Bringing Manufacturing Back Home

2019 has been a momentous year for PYGA MOUNTAINBIKES 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 greatest achievements of the sport in South Africa.

 

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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 own components. This then culminated in full blown bicycle design and manufacture with what would become the world renowned and critically acclaimed MOREWOOD BIKES brand in 1998.

 

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Photo credit: Max Jameson

 

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 ONETEN29. These aluminium frames were manufactured in the East under Pats supervision and watchful eye; the first batch were 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.

 

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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 business 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 own factory, a dream all the partners shared.

 

For me it was more than just having bikes made in South Africa, 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 own bespoke factory. This started the search for machines and tools both old and new and within three short months we had a fully functional aluminium bicycle factory. Two months thereafter we had our first prototypes and in October 2019 we shipped our first production frames out of our own factory, an accomplishment of which we are very proud.

 

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140mm Trail/Enduro

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160mm Enduro/Park

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The ability to now control our future in terms of quality, improvements and delivery are truly game changing for us. In a world of increased commoditisation and mass production to deliver a truly artisan, handmade frame to our customers is the dream all of us at Pyga subscribe to. Pyga’s aspiration to become a globally recognised, high end, mountain bike brand is vastly enhanced by the establishment of our own factory.

 

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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 colours via our powder coating plant, we can offer a truly personal product to the customer.

 

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Believing in better is something we live and breathe at Pyga and to truly deliver on this manufacturing frames in our own factory is an essential element. In a South African context with increased negativity and a doom and gloom mentality prevailing we are determined to become one of the many good news stories and centres of excellence in South Africa.

 

My experience in South Africa with the entire Pyga family was unreal. I was blown away everyday 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 literally opened their home to me before actually meeting me in person. One of the coolest places I have ever visited and I met some amazing people. I truly appreciate what Pyga has done. Howie Zink, PYGA USA Distributor

 

The first ride on our locally produced frames was an incredibly fulfilling and somewhat emotional moment, one that is only surpassed by seeing the genuine smiles and stoke on the faces of our customers once they swing a leg over one of our locally produced bikes.

 

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Photo Story - Pyga Factory Tour


Last month, we joined the Pyga crew and their dealers in Pietermaritzburg for a weekend of riding bikes and fuelling stoke for the Pyga brand. For us, and many of the dealers, it was an opportunity to hear first hand why Pyga is “bringing it home” and what that means for the brand moving forward.

 

To cap off the weekend, we attended the public launch of the Pyga aluminium bicycle factory right here in South Africa. Here are just a few shots to give you an inside look at where your next (alloy) Pyga will be created.

 

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The local factory means Pyga are able to rapidly create prototypes, test changes and maintain complete control over quality. Many of the machines which line the factory walls were purchased from old school local tool and die makers. From producing scientific equipment, tools and dies to bicycles, they now have a new lease on life.

 

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This particular machine is over 50 years old and will now enable the creation of a new breed of Pyga bicycles.

 

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Pyga Factory Visit-25.jpgWelding practice: When Pyga first began Patrick Morewood spent months in the East welding frames and ensuring all was up to scratch. As part of the new factory, new team members need to up-skill on their welding to meet Pat's high standards.

 

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While we're all for "local is lekker" there is a unique sense of passion that seems to further define the Pyga culture. Having had the privilege of spending the weekend with the extended Pyga family, it was all too easy to get swept up by the magic. As long-time fans of the brand, we're excited to see what more is still to come from the new momentum at Pyga.

 




24 Comments

shaper, Nov 20 2019 11:35

Good luck and all the best!!

Headshot, Nov 20 2019 11:37

This is what this country needs in bucket loads. Home grown innovation and exports. Well done Pat M and team.

Hairy, Nov 20 2019 11:49

Flipping Awesome

Hairy, Nov 20 2019 11:52

Hey, was Steve Craig not at Morewood too back in the day?

Chavo, Nov 20 2019 12:21

Pietermagicburg! This is an awesome development in the Pyga (and Pat) story

T-Bob, Nov 20 2019 01:04

Bloody brilliant. Proper SA bike co back on the map (african) map, making some of the best bikes in the world, adding to the economy and not just the tax man. I love an alu bike and that Hyrax is top of my want list now.

 

Orange in the UK have all their process in house bar one tube. It creates a truly dynamic bike company that allows ideas to be thought of, prototyped, tested, tweaked and refined without waiting on oversea factories. Well done Mr Morewood, inspirational stuff and sick bikes. 

 

I bought an old carpenters tool kit about 6 months ago, I'm still working out what all the awesome bits in there are but the quality is incredible. Loved seeing all those al machines. That one quote says alot about ending up in scrap heaps because no one knows what to do with them these days. There are alot of skilled people in this country but their generation is getting older that knowledge is going to pass away unless it's passed on and and used.  

 

.... just take my money!

Pipsqueak, Nov 20 2019 01:09

Silver is the new black.

Hamstring, Nov 20 2019 01:18

This makes me want one. good luck Pyga

TouchBikeParts, Nov 20 2019 01:42

Awesomeness!! So happy to hear this news... Well done Pyga/Pat!

Christian van Zyl, Nov 20 2019 01:57

Great! This is an awesome way to build the SA economy. 

Best of luck to you. 

jaxtersb6, Nov 20 2019 03:39

There is so much to like about this story. Innovation, employment, stoke!

wildwindfr, Nov 20 2019 07:39

Awesome, all the best.
Maybe one day I will own 1.

etienne_jordaan, Nov 21 2019 09:07

All of the best with this new venture! 

10bruand, Nov 21 2019 11:02

Unfortunately, the current pro's who ride Pyga make me never want to own one. Good riders but one's who lack any sort of personality or even have the time of day to greet to the "plebs" who actually keep our sport going. Sad when a bike company chooses their riders purely based on skill and not character. 

Waynemol, Nov 21 2019 12:14

Had the exact opposite experience - bumped into matthys outside my kids school and told him how I’d customized my Pyga - he asked if he could see and chased me on his bike home - was super humble and checked out my other bikes - seemed a really nice guy and had genuine passion for Pyga

PYGA Mountainbikes, Nov 21 2019 02:05

Thank you everyone for the positive feedback, we truly appreciate it and are extremely proud of what we are creating here at Pyga. Thanks must also go out to Matt and Nick from Bikehub for coming through to the factory and giving you all an inside look at things. We look forward to seeing many of you out on the trails on our locally made machines.

PYGA Mountainbikes, Nov 21 2019 02:13

Unfortunately, the current pro's who ride Pyga make me never want to own one. Good riders but one's who lack any sort of personality or even have the time of day to greet to the "plebs" who actually keep our sport going. Sad when a bike company chooses their riders purely based on skill and not character. 

Philip, Matthys, Philimon and Pieter are absolute gentlemen and incredible ambassadors for us, not only on the race track but especially off it. We sponsor them largely because of who they are, and the way they ride bikes is certainly a bonus. What people forget is that racing is their job and they take it very seriously, but they're the first to engage with "weekend warriors" and fellow MTBers off the bike. If you'd like to engage further on the matter then please drop us a mail and we'll be in touch directly. Regards, The Pyga Team. 

DieselnDust, Nov 21 2019 03:24

any chance you'll add an Aluminum Stage to the portfolio? Would be fipen lekker to have a nice light weight XC Aluminium bike again that's built with the attention to detail it deserves

Knersboy, Nov 21 2019 05:52

any chance you'll add an Aluminum Stage to the portfolio? Would be fipen lekker to have a nice light weight XC Aluminium bike again that's built with the attention to detail it deserves

You take the words out of my mouth, I really really hope they do this. 

Bizkit031, Nov 21 2019 06:00

Unfortunately, the current pro's who ride Pyga make me never want to own one. Good riders but one's who lack any sort of personality or even have the time of day to greet to the "plebs" who actually keep our sport going. Sad when a bike company chooses their riders purely based on skill and not character.

But did you die?

_im_from_earth, Nov 21 2019 10:33

Proud.

DJuice, Nov 22 2019 08:06

Interesting would be the stats on alloy vs carbon frames sold.

Local vs international sales figures.

 

To think of it, is there a industry body that reports sales figures of bike manufacturers? 

 

Where I live above bikes is way to much bike for our terrain, the new carbon project though...Pyga if you are looking for test riders to do some hot weather testing like the car manufacturers, you know where to contact me.

Shebeen, Nov 22 2019 12:47

So has the original morewood factory finally closed down?

Would imagine there's lots of tools, machines and the people with the skills to use them in PMB that are now making bikes again, or is this a totally fresh start?

Matthys Beukes 87, Dec 07 2019 01:15

Unfortunately, the current pro's who ride Pyga make me never want to own one. Good riders but one's who lack any sort of personality or even have the time of day to greet to the "plebs" who actually keep our sport going. Sad when a bike company chooses their riders purely based on skill and not character. 

Jeepers bud, this is sad, you are missing the point of a beautiful story and you're also missing out on a better cycling experience because of assumptions...

 

Lets get the train back on track so why don't we go for a bike and a beer and enjoy a bit of life's pleasures together?

I live in George so if you are in the area over the festive season I'd love to show you around on some of my favourite riding.

If not, during the coming season we travel quite a bit and you would be welcome to join us for a ride when we are in your neighbourhood. 

 

You are welcome to give me a call on my cell: 083 650 8141.

 

I know my teammates and myself very well and I know none of us would ever think that we are a better person than anyone else just because of the small fact that we got to the finish line a bit sooner. We have the upmost respect for anyone who takes on a challenge, despite the fact that they have other life commitments and still put them selfs on the limit for pure enjoyment and self fulfilment. 

I really think that is awesome! 

 

So please, lets hook up and enjoy the small things! 

 

Matthys