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Onguza launches new film and updated bikes

Onguza came to life in 2022, and it took the cycling world by storm since its inception. The background of its founder, the unique aesthetics of the products, and the unconventional content style of the brand, caught the attention of every passionate about bikes. They set the bar high, and after being quiet for a couple of years, they have some news to announce today.

The history of Onguza is an interesting one. Dan Craven, a two-time Olympic road cyclist and Namibia’s only professional cyclist to ride a Grand Tour, was aware of the craftmanship of the locals Sakaria Nkolo and Petrus Mufenge, and saw the potential in teaching them how to become framebuilders. Like many people in Africa, they had a talent, but they were missing the chance to do anything with it.

In order to do that, Dan invited well-known figures like Andres Arregui and Robin Mather to Namibia, and not long after, a country with a population of 2,5 million people, could start counting on a couple of local experts in steel framebuilding.

When we think about steel tubing, Columbus comes immediately to mind. Onguza also relies on the Italian brand for its bikes, but unlike most builders, the Onguza team does everything by hand. It takes a full week to build every single frame, even with four sets of hands in the workshop. The resulting bikes are intended both for racing at the highest level, or riding across the continent.

“We hand-mitre all our tubing, with a hacksaw and file. And the precision is astonishing: when we put two pieces of tubing together after they’ve been cut and filed, there is no visible light between them” – Dan Craven, Onguza founder

Their workshop is located in Omaruru, Namibia, where Dan was born and recently relocated after living for almost a decade in Girona. There are eight people currently working for Onguza, with an on-site painter being the latest addition to the roster. Until now bikes were custom painted in Taller Alcala in Girona, but bringing painting in-house will streamline their production and it also means that they can offer more color options across all the designs.

While the cycling industry is facing some monumental challenges at the moment, Onguza has been growing, although they acknowledge that they are still missing global recognition. “We are unique in that we actually have our own story. We just need to capture it.”, states Dan. Along those lines, Onguza is launching today a collaboration with Ben Ingham to showcase the dynamism of Namibian culture and how it influences the brand, including motorsport, horse riding, dance, spirituality, and living in a powerful landscape.

Ben Ingham has worked for big names like Rapha and Adidas. It was while he was involved with the cycling apparel brand that he and Dan got to know each other and started the conversation that led to this collaboration. “Ben is an outsider to Namibia, but sometimes you need an outsider to help reveal your inner strength.”, Dan argues.

This campaign aims to promote Onguza’s updated gravel model The Goat, and their all-road bike The Holy Fire. Additionally, they are launching a MTB design named The Rooster, which will be available after four years of development.

One of the outputs of the collaboration is a new film directed by Ben with Collyn Ahart as the Creative Director featuring the work of Namibian musician Gazza. Instead of focusing on obvious topics like Namibia’s nature and wildlife, they decided to focus on local creatives in order to give them the international exposure that the brand itself is also seeking.

“We wanted to tell a story about what it really means to be made out here: the passion, the dust, the weirdos, the strength, the ingenuity, the spirit, the movement, our lives on the road…” – Dan Craven

Design and storytelling are two of their biggest assets, but bikes are inherently the most tangible ones. On that note, Onguza models are now also offered with ENVE carbon forks, stems, and seat posts, as well as Chris King headsets, South Industry, ZIPP, and RockShox options in addition to Columbus for the riders who want to have even greater customization.

Go watch the Made Out Here film, dig into their new website, and check out their beautiful bikes, made-to-measure in Namibia.

Photos: Ben Ingham, Chris Johnston