Newsletter

News

Torq Zone STRAVA Aug Competition

“Summer legs are made in Winter” and to help you on your way to the Perfect Summer, our Torq Zone STRAVA competition this month is going to encourage you to start riding LSD’s (Long Slow Distance). Not once but repeatedly go long, in fact 100km long.

"Ride More" Loyalty Program

Without you, our loyal clients, Torq Zone simply cannot exist. As a token of our appreciation to the thousands of clients served to date, we’ve decided it is time to give something back. We are very excited to announce the launch of our super easy and rewarding “Ride More Loyalty Program”.

Torq Zone STRAVA July '17 Competition

Torq Zone STRAVA Competition for July is again one catering for the weekend warriors and similar to the one in June. Only difference is this month we are climbing and not looking at distance.

Mobile Bicycle Service

Torq Zone launches Mobile Bicycle Service, the ultimate in convenience. We Come to YOU, at home, at work or anywhere else convenient in the greater Pretoria / Midrand area.

Donate your "previously loved" cycling Gear

There is an old quote that goes something like “clear out the old to make space for the new”. Let us help you create some space in your cycling cupboard to make space to indulge in some retail therapy. Come drop your “previously loved” cycling stuff into our Goodwill Glass Box at Torq Zone and support us in our ongoing charity drive.

National Qualification for Bicycle Mechanics

Back in June 2013 when the idea of South Africa’s first Bicycle Technical Training Academy was conceptualized, there was one massive shortcoming. A National Qualification for a bicycle Mechanic with SAQA (SA Qualifications Authority) was nowhere to be found. In short the occupation for a Bicycle Mechanic did not exist. But after 3 years we have very good news for the whole cycling industry…

#WhyTorqZone = Trained Technicians

All Technicians employed by Torq Zone are Cytech™ level 3 certified, the highest possible international qualification. But what is the Cytech™ technical training scheme?

March '17 STRAVA Competition

If you want to be the Torq Zone STRAVA Champ for March and WIN a Home Mechanic Course (valued R4,400) in the process, you better brush up on your cornering skills.

Torq Zone Strava Competitions

Spice up your 2017 Cycling year with some healthy competition. We have re-introduced our very popular monthly STRAVA competitions exclusively for Torq Zone STRAVA Club members. The winner will enjoy bragging rights to be called Torq Zone STRAVA Champ of the month and win some exciting prizes. Your performance in the monthly competitions will also be the determining factor in our ultimate quest to crown TORQ ZONE STRAVA Champion of the Year.

Tame the Untamed

FEAR is nothing more than a lingering emotion fuelled by your imagination. And “Imagination” used in the context of your first experience of the ABSA Cape Epic, can really run wild. Join us for our Epic Info Evening and let us help you tame the Untamed. But the evening is not only for the first timers. Come share your War Stories or be inspired by them.

Maintain your own Bike

Want to maintain your own bike and save money? Torq Zone Academy has the answer with our new Cytech Home Mechanic PLUS courses and exclusive less 25% Park Tool promotion.

Ladies only MTB Skills Clinic

Do you want to ride faster, safer and with more confidence? Are you fairly experienced but reached a plateau where you’re struggling to make significant progress in your skill level? You’ve tried some technical trails, but lacked confidence and got scared “s…less”. Or, perhaps you’re fairly new to mountain biking and just need a boost in your riding confidence and basic skills?

Torq Zone CPO Bikes (Certified Pre-Owned)

Are you in the market for a new bike but simply cannot afford what you really want. And buying 2nd hand is simply too risky. Have you considered a Torq Zone CPO Bike (Certified Pre-Owned). What’s that?

We Buy Bicycles

Why go through the hassle of selling your bike when you can sell it to Torq Zone or be part of our Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program.

Less R1000 on Cytech Home Mechanic Course

Presented by Torq Zone Academy as part of the internationally recognised Cytech Technical Training Scheme, you will be learning the very latest in bike repair and maintenance. This way you can DIY and save labour charges paid to your local bike shop. Use that cash to replace worn parts & components instead. During this winter we’ve made 12 spots available at the never to be repeated course fee of R3,400 (a whole R1000 off). Book now by visiting www.torqzoneacademy.co.za

FREE Wash & Lube and 30 Point Health Check

The start to a proper Bike Maintenance regime is a regular wash & lube, especially the Drive Train. Why not make use of our “Free Wash & Lube” service throughout winter. Yes completely free NO T&C’s. At the same time we will “sommer” perform our famous “30 Point Health Check” to detect any latent problems which may cause major repair work later on. As they say prevention is better than cure.

Torq Zone & Retail

In Jan 2013, exactly 3 years ago, Torq Zone opened its doors with one single mission and focus: “To revolutionise the Repair and Maintenance segment in the cycling industry”. Did we succeed? Based on feedback via our regular surveys, “Yes” I believe we did. Having said that, true to our Mojo (Values), we will never “Arrive” and will continue to strive for perfection. But there is something lacking at Torq Zone….

Why PYGA?

“The guys at PYGA Industries love riding trails and they enjoy a Craft Beer afterwards” and so do we. Enough said! What are the real reasons for taking on PYGA at Torq Zone?

Let's take back our Freedom

This morning at 6:00 am Torq Zone shop was burgled. From the evidence (3 White Guys only taking bikes & nothing else), CCTV footage and sequence of events it is very clear this is an organised syndicate who is out to collect bikes.

The Ultimate Sidewall Cut Solution

You may have seen or heard about our new tubeless sidewall cut solution – the Mushroom Plug. However, I always had the concern what about your sealant level. If your sealant level is low or you lost most of it as a result of the sidewall cut what then? Should one not still carry a spare tube filled with sealant?

PYGA "Best Bike in Africa" now available from Torq Zone

Looking for the “Best Bike in Africa”? We are stoked to let you know you can now get it from Torq Zone. PYGA was again voted for by visitors to the recent Standard Bank Africa Cycle Fair as the “Best Bike in Africa”, now for the 2nd year running.

Best Mountain Bike for South Africa

The racing landscape in South Africa is dominated by Multiday Stage Races. As a result the average Mountain Biker out there is obsessed with Marathon Racing. For this type of racing the perfect bike is a 29” hard tail or short travel dual suspension (100mm). Most probably that’s the bike you own at the moment. But what are you going to buy next?

XTR vs. XT

You are in the middle of the desolate Kammanassie Mountains on Stage 3 of the Cape Pioneer Trek. Next moment whilst descending your foot suddenly slip off the pedal axle. You Save yourselves from a very painful OTB (Over The Bar) and on closer inspection you find your XTR pedal underneath your shoe still attached to your cleat. Surely XTR is the best money can buy and should last….?

"The Perfect Ride"

Over the last couple of months, the Torq Zone Team got a little confused. We always thought as long as “You hammer them … We will fix them” explained clearly what we do. Yes it does, but this statement is just so functional and did not really touch our hearts and emotions no more. It did not really reflect what we stand for – our Mojo - as we like to call it!

Repair vs. Maintenance

We love maintaining bikes – but we hate repairing them. Repairing means fixing something that is broken. Maintaining means preventing something from braking. Which one do you think is the cheaper option?

Saturday Outrides

To celebrate the arrival of the endless summer and in our quest to give meaning to our new adopted mission, we will be doing our own “Perfect (Out) Rides” as from Sept 2015. On Saturdays we offer 3 groups catering for different abilities & fitness. If you are a member of our Torq Zone Strava Club you will automatically receive e-mail updates of our planned next “Group Events’. Come join us, it’s free, safe, lots of fun and everybody is welcome.

"The Buffalo vs Carbon" - Ride the Beloved Country (by Hennie Wiggett)

One year ago the The TREAD Buffalo category was introduced to South African Mountain biking and very aptly so to the Jober2C stage race, a mountain bike multiday stage race that is Proudly South African and exceeds every riders expectations and with pay-off lines like Ride the Beloved Country” and “Our aim is to provide a journey where the destination is less important than the experience along the way” there is most certainly no shortages of highlights along the route."


 

The TREAD Buffalo category is a weight division for South African mountain biking! Riders need to weigh at least 90kgs in order to qualify. Therefore the minimum weight for a team is 180kgs. My brother and I registered for the category in 2014 and soon realized that this new category placed a whole new perspective on stage racing in SA, which made it more exciting for the heavier rider.

We never set out to compete in this category however after the first day of racing on stage 2 we found ourselves in 2nd place and so tactics were revised. At the time I rode a dual suspension aluminium framed bike with a weight of 13,5kg. We eventually finished the race and with a 2nd place in the GC in the Tread Buffalo Category were extremely chuffed with our performance and vowed to return in 2015 to see whether we could improve. 

Preparation soon started for the 2015 Jober2C and with a Mountain bike that has taken a lot of hammering (from a buffalo) in stage racing, I started considering spoiling myself by upgrading my bike and so the thrilling process of buying a new bike started.

I always dreamt of a carbon framed bike and often found myself envying my mates on rides with their light framed carbon bikes, however I knew (or so I was misled to believe) that as long as I’m a buffalo I won’t be able to ride a carbon frame.

This misconception about carbon bikes was soon laid to rest when my quest for a new bike brought me to Torq Zone, and especially founder and owner Dirk Oerlemans. Dirk gave me some interesting facts about Carbon and after viewing some remarkable footage of the Santa Cruz R&D team on Carbon vs Aluminium, I realized that my dream of riding a carbon framed bike could become a reality without me fasting to a new riding category. Watch the video footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xreZdUBqpJs

And so after the friendly, knowledgeable and well-informed assistance from Torq Zone, they customized a Santa Cruz Tall boy carbon to suit my requirements. After the first ride I was hooked and new that I had made the right decision in going carbon. My new bike weighs almost 3kg less than my previous bike, which in mountain biking makes a huge difference especially when you are riding in the buffalo category.      

The bike handles superbly and the 2015 Joberg2C race was the perfect race to put my new bike to the test. The Joberg2C provides a boundless combination of district road, farm road, single track, climbing and technical sections to test both rider and bike.

“Buffalo” mountain bikers not being able to ride carbon is most certainly a myth and the Santa Cruz Tallboy carbon and multi day stage racing is a perfect fit.

My brother and I completed the 2015 Joberg2C and with a new bike and new outlook on stage racing thanks to the “Tread Buffalo Category” and we took the top spot in this category on the podium in the GC.

The Santa Cruz Tallboy exceeded all my expectations and the responsiveness on the single track trails must surely make this one of the most exciting Mountain bikes currently on the market.

“I think I can Fly”

Everybody who has done the Umko Drop (Sani2C Day 2 / Joberg2C Day 8) will agree, it is xtra very special!! In fact, it may very well be the best piece of single-track in Africa. But you have to pay it respect….. and I forgot to do that …. the final mistake! Oooucchh!


 

It all started two weeks before the Sani2C. I did not plan to do the Sani2C this year as I’ve done 5 in a row. But after sharing a good bottle of Red with a MTBike nut head, all resistance crumbled.  My riding partner who chose me is a bit of a daredevil and previous BMX champion, so loads of technical skills – mistake # 1: I tried to get fit in 10 Sessions – mistake # 2: if you’re unfit you make mistakes.

We started planning our ride but somehow all planning had to be measured against the ultimate test “how will that affect our Umko Drop”? So we figured “Let’s go slow Day 1 and make sure we are the stronger riders in our Batch come Day 2”. We simply have to be first into the Umko Drop single-track.

We started at Glencairn Farm (Day 1) in C Batch which we thought is more or less where we should be considering our Day 2 plans. However, at the end of day 1 we actually moved up from C to B Batch – Damn! Wrong direction!! So, after another bottle of Red and much deliberation, we thought we are very clever and demoted ourselves back to C batch again – mistake # 3.

It was one of those stunning early morning sunrises with perfect weather.  Standing right at the front of C Batch, the adrenaline started pumping seriously.  It was almost as if I could not keep my Santa Cruz at bay – like a wild horse I just wanted to GO!  (sH%t don’t we all just love that feeling). Off we went and very quickly we reached the point where you have to put in that all important sprint to get in first into the single-track.  We timed it to perfection and got in first on the right hand track (by now everybody should know that’s the quicker one).

Before long it was the two of us with a free ticket down the Umko Drop, nobody pushing from behind, B batch still some minutes ahead of us, dust, rocks flying, early morning chill wind swirling around the ears as you pick up speed…….absolute MTBike Nirvana.  For some reason I was in front – mistake #4 - with Marcel shouting HeeHaa at the top of his voice from behind.  Pushing more – more and more – Murray’s Meander, sideways into switchbacks, wipping it around  - Nick’s Pass went flying by – keep pushing – let go of brakes – more adrenaline about to pop eyeballs - shit we were getting close to some B batch riders making dust – rocky section – bunny hop - jump – split second - OooHhhh shit where did that massive rock come from ……………OTB !! (Over The Bars)

It suddenly went quite as I flew through the air and then “Crunchhh” – what was that? Right shoulder intense pain!! When the dust settled Marcel was jumping up and down on my front wheel trying to get it straight again. I wanted to jump up and help but for some reason my right arm didn’t want to cooperate!?  Very quickly it dawned on me, that’s it, my 2015 Sani is over in a split second!

That was not “lekker” but within 20 minutes my spirits lifted once more.  I got a chopper flip out of the Umkomaas and witnessed hundreds of MTBikers gliding down the cliffs of the Umkumaas, having the time of their life.  A very unique sight.  It begged the question whether one would offer torn AC Shoulder Ligaments for a helicopter flip?  My answer, definitely, on condition the shoulder injury was incurred while going down the Umko having loads of adrenaline pumping through the veins.

I got the best possible attention one can imagine – thanks to the whole Sani2C & medical team. Thanks guys, even at the Hillcrest hospital they had somebody (I wish I can remember her name) to welcome injured Sani2C riders – go figure!!

So what is the moral of the story: 1. Adrenaline is a very dangerous thing, 2. Ride within your limits but always push them - otherwise you don’t learn and 3. Pay the Umko Drop the respect it deserves.

“TORQ ZONE SABIE KING”

“TORQ ZONE SABIE KING” STRAVA COMPETITION– WE HAVE A WINNER!

Congrats to DEWALD LOTTER who is our winner of the exciting “TORQ ZONE SABIE KING” Strava competition. To be in contention for the competition you had to compete in this last weekend’s Sabie Ashburton National MTB Series 75 or Ultra Marathon and be a Torq Zone Strava Club Member. Dewald completed the 2 mystery Strava segments in the best combined ranking. The segments were “Mamba to KOM” (climb) and “Downhill to Tech 2 – Sabie Classic”.

Congrats also to Fanie Venter and Ian Pienaar who finished 2nd & 3rd respectively. Fanie showed all the young guys how to climb but Dewald displayed his exceptional technical skill on the downhill. Dewald is the winner of a set of our brand new Torq Zone Cycling Kit. Since he already has Torq Zone kit he handed the prize to Fanie Venter. Thanks Dewald for paying it forward!

Watch this space for further Torq Zone Strava Club competitions in March.

Tip # 1: COLLECT & DROP-OFF

We know what it takes to get your bike to us. So we decided let’s make it simple, we’ll come and collect it from your home and drop it off again after the service. How does it work?

If you booked your bike for a Major Service (Zone 2 / 3 / 4) we will collect and drop off FREE of charge. For Zone 1 (Minor) service or any other small service the charge will be R7.50/km.

Terms & Conditions:

  • This service is limited to Pretoria Area.
  • Other areas are also possible but subject to prior arrangement. As a general rule this will be limited to 30km radius from the shop but, dependant on available resources, talk to us. We’ve got a “rubber arm”!
  • VERY IMPORTANT - All collections are subject to prior booking at least 1 day beforehand.
  • No bike will be released for drop-off unless the full outstanding amount is settled via EFT and proof of payment is mailed toaccounts@torqzone.co.za
  • DISCLAIMER: Whilst the utmost care is taken during the transportation and servicing of your bicycle, we are not liable for any loss and or damage.

Collection & Drop Off times:

Pretoria East, North & Central:

  • Collection: Monday evening, Tuesday early morning and evening
  • Drop Off: Wednesday and Thursday afternoons/evenings

Centurion / Pretoria South & South West:

  • Collection: Monday & Tuesday whole day
  • Drop Off: Wednesday & Thursday whole day

​Tip # 2:    30 POINT HEALTH CHECK

As part of our commitment to the perfect ride, we perform a 30 Point Health Check on every bike checked in for service. This check is free of charge and allows us to detect latent issues or a condition that potentially could “derail” your next ride.

Tip # 3: REGULAR SERVICE INTERVALS

Why are you sitting in darkness in the evenings? = Dreaded ESKOM Load shedding! And what is the core reason for the complete disaster at ESKOM? = Preventative Maintenance!!

Believe or not but the same applies to your bike. Without planned preventative maintenance at regular service intervals your bike will fail you when least expected or even worse, during that perfect ride!

In our recent survey an alarmingly 66% of respondents only service their bikes “when something seems to be out of sorts” or “when they have time & money”. If this is your response you cannot consider yourselves a serious mountain biker. If you want to avoid the hassles associated with untimely bike maintenance you need to start considering the following recommended service intervals very seriously:


Note:
• Mountain Bike Service Intervals are dependent on weather and riding conditions
• Perform a “Free 30 Point Health Check” at least once a month or after a particularly muddy ride


These service intervals is not something sucked out of our thumbs. We’ve done considerable research on this subject, summarised what’s available on the internet and adapted them for South African conditions. If you follow them you will not only avoid the very untimely breakdown but save considerable amounts in the long run. It’s a well-known fact, regardless of industry or machine, regular and routine preventative maintenance is significantly cheaper than emergency repairs and maintenance in the long run. If you still don’t believe us and reckon we’re just trying to suck you dry, think again. Why is electricity rates going up so rapidly? ESKOM failed to do preventative maintenance and you are paying for it! So don’t become your own ESKOM…

Tip # 4: BIKE SERVICE HISTORY

OK now that I know the recommended service intervals, when last did I service my bike and what was done to it then, I hear you ask?

All it takes is to pick up the phone and ask William at our front desk (012 667 1890). Within seconds he will have your previous service record on screen and e-mailed to you. Following his sound advice you can then confirm your future booking. Doesn’t matter how far into the future, with our bookings we set up a reminder on your outlook a day in advance, or whatever suits you best. This way you can happily keep hammering it until “technology” tells you it’s time.

While we on the subject of “Bike Service History” did you know we have ALL your previous service records available with the press of a button? Have you ever considered what a “COMPLETE SERVICE HISTORY” could be worth when you next advertise your second hand bike on The HUB SA. We can very easily e-mail service records to anybody you nominate. It is merely a phone call away – for now! Soon you will be able to download it 24/7 on your Torq Zone APP.

Tip # 5: SAME DAY SERVICE

Your bike has more e-value (read emotional) to you than your motorcar, Hey? Have you ever asked yourself why you should be separated from your bike for longer than your motorcar when it is serviced? High e-value and separation does not go well together (if you don’t understand this speak to your wife. If you’re a female don’t speak to anybody, you understand already).

With a car it is simple, book in advance, take the car in first thing in the morning and get it back same day. With us it is exactly the same procedure and the same result (barring any surprises, usually as a result of our previous Tip # 3 not being followed or a non-standard part needs replacement). Never again miss out on that perfect ride with your mates due to your bike being in for service. Don’t you just hate it when your buddies load their rides on Strava and you get that dreaded e-mail: “Jo Soap has just stolen your KOM” on your favourite segment and you weren’t there to defend your title.

Tip # 6: F1 SERVICE (Formula 1)

No matter how well you plan your maintenance, book in advance and follow all the tips above, life does not always go according to plan. It is Friday and that untimely “Endo”, broken spokes or other unfortunate incident that requires an emergency repair, and you have that all important ride or race tomorrow. What to do?..

One of our fundamental principles for quality repairs & maintenance is a very strict and sophisticated booking and work scheduling system. If we had to push anybody into the queue we would be jeopardising promised delivery times for everybody else later in the queue.

After some internal brainstorming we brought in some flexibility. The result is what we call our brand new F1 Service option. As long as it is not a Zone 3 (Dual Suss MTB) or 4 (Overhaul) we will be able to help you same day or within 24 hours. However if the workshop is completely fully booked and the work required is going to take more than 15 minutes, F1 surcharges will be applicable. Zone 1 (Minor) or any other general maintenance work will be charged at an additional R100 F1 Surcharge. A Zone 2 (Major) service will be charged at an additional R250 F1 Surcharge.

Your may ask but why these charges? Bottom line, the technicians will now have to work overtime to fix your emergency as well as still satisfy all other clients promised delivery times. This way at least we provide you our client with a choice, we don’t upset all other booked clients, and our technicians gets something back for the fact that they will now miss out on their own ride / rock climb this afternoon. Fair to all I think??

TORQ ZONE BRAND SURVEY

In analysing the Torq Zone Brand Survey results the very first thing we realised is “Success is not a destination but a continuous journey”. Fortunately from the results it appears we are “mostly” on the right track in our journey. To be honest the results and your comments simply blew us away and really humbled all of us!

Firstly, the total number of responses received was 313, a response rate of 21.5% which apparently is very good (so the experts tell us). It represents a very healthy sample from which to draw conclusions.

Secondly, the second last question which we consider to be the acid test requested the following: “Give us your overall rating of your previous experience with Torq Zone (10 being the best)”. From all the responses received, a total of 85% of you scored us an 8, 9 or 10 out of 10. Although we are very proud of this exceptional score we are more concerned about the 6 clients who scored us less than 5 out of 10.

I’m of the opinion getting such good results in surveys are dangerous and counter-productive. It makes improvement so much more difficult. I believe the trick is to always stay humble, have a zero tolerance towards poor workmanship, and most importantly be very careful of the big C - spelled “Complacency”. Our philosophy is to always strive for perfection by encouraging our clients for continuously provide us with constructive feedback and criticism. This way we can identify skill shortages, perform corrective training (thanks to the Torq Zone Academy), implement better systems and processes and prevent a re-occurrence. We are not perfect and we do make mistakes. So please, if we do not live up to your expectations next time you service your bike with us please let us know ASAP. Your feedback will always be viewed in a positive light.

A concerning fact evident from the survey is 66% of our clients only service their bikes “when something seems to be out of sorts” or “when you have time & money”. It is a well-known fact that regular and routine preventative maintenance is significantly cheaper than emergency repairs and maintenance. Yes I know, you are going to accuse me now of trying to create more business with this statement, but it is actually quite the opposite. For example, failing to do regular routine maintenance is going to significantly increase your frequency of buying a new bike, a cost we forget to consider. You may argue it is “lekker” to buy a new bike! Yes I agree it is, but it is even “lekkerder” if you could keep your old one as a training bike or sell it at a decent price (with assistance from Torq Zone’s Bike Service History).

If you do not believe me why don’t you enrol on the Cytech Home Mechanic Course with Torq Zone Academy where you will very quickly learn to appreciate this fact. Alternatively follow our series of “Torq Zone Tech Tips”, the first one being published further down in this newsletter.

TORQ ZONE – TRAINING WEEKEND

This time of the year we all want to get fit and prepare for all the upcoming races especially with the Cape Epic, JoBerg2C, Sani2C etc. around the corner. Doing the same routes around Gauteng week in and week out becomes quite boring and almost laborious. You actually cannot wait for your event to arrive as you are getting “gatvol” of all the training. If I’m talking to you why not join us in one of our 3 day MTB Training Weekends.

There is no better way to get strong than proper block training i.e. long rides over consecutive days. These all inclusive weekends are hosted at venues nearby, within 2.5 hours from Gauteng. They offer some of the best Jeep and single track routes in the remotest of mountainous areas I’ve sampled. Falling in love with Mountain Biking all over again is guaranteed!

Our first such weekend for 2015 will be hosted at the end of February at Welgedacht Estate in the Rooiberg Area from Thursday the 26th of Feb to Sunday the 1st of March. Welgedact Estate has a total of 75-80km of single track which runs on a network of hiking trails, all very clearly marked. These trails, bush tunnels, fast rolling downhills are simply awesome and the variety is endless. Those who did the MTN Rooiberg Race in June will remember it with fond memories!! But let me assure you, MTN Rooiberg was only scratching the surface. There is much, much more to explore. Accommodation is in 5 permanently fixed 2 bed luxury tents with a communal kitchen, lounge braai area and swimming pool.

Any Mountain Biker of relatively good fitness level is welcome to join in. We are planning to do 200-250km of quite Technical riding during the course of the weekend. You can book your own accommodation in the area and just join us on the rides, but let us know beforehand. Alternatively, if you want the ultimate in luxury, Torq Zone will be making a limited number of exclusive weekend package(s) available. The package includes the following:

  • 3 Nights Luxury Accommodation (Thursday, Friday & Saturday night )
  • Full catering – from Dinner on Thursday to Lunch on Sunday
  • Daily Bike Wash
  • Daily Bike Service - Labour only, parts & components for your own account

The Exclusive Weekend package is priced at R3,500 per person for the weekend. The going rate for stage races nowadays is R1,500-R2,000 per day and that does not include bike servicing (not even bike wash in some cases). Epic is obviously an entirely different story. These packages tend to go quickly so if you are interested secure your booking with Adri at info@torqzone.co.za .


Entry Closing Date: 18 February 2015

A 50% deposit will be required to secure your spot, Full payment to be made by latest 25th of February 2015.


Some of you had the privilege of enjoying one of our previous training weekends. This is what Marne Dirks had to say:

“I recently had the privilege of partaking in a Torq Zone training weekend at Welgedacht Estate. I can honestly say that it is one of the best weekends I've had in a long time. The setting and facilities are great with abundant wild and birdlife around. However, the best part is the over 80km of unspoilt Bushveld single track. Not overly technical but enough to keep the adrenaline going. We were pleasantly surprised by the food which was nutritious and very tasty. An experience that should not be missed by any MTB enthusiast!”

TORQ ZONE ACADEMY OFFICIALLY OPENS ITS DOORS

The Torq Zone Academy hit the headlines in August with the announcement of their intention to establish South Africa’s first bicycle technical training facility. The Torq Zone Academy was to offer internationally accredited Cytech™ technical courses exclusively in South Africa.

Subsequently, the online course went live on the 1st of October, and shop fitting work at the actual training facility in Doringkloof Mall, Centurion continued unabated. The long anticipated shipment of Park Tool arrived the week before last. Park Tool USA, through their local distributor Cape Cycle Systems, were both instrumental and very supportive in getting this world class training facility established.

Torq Zone is very excited to announce that their Academy is now a reality and the doors to South Africa’s first state of the art technical training facility have officially opened. The UK based Cytech™ Technical scheme is now also available as class room courses in addition to the online course launched earlier. “The course schedules for the next 6 months are available and you can book your course directly on our website”, said Graeme Stickells, MD of Torq Zone Academy.

“The positive response we received following the initial announcement has been quite remarkable, even exceeding our wildest expectations. It gave us lots of confidence in this exciting but also risky journey we’ve embarked on. Our planned partnerships with Corporate Social Investment programs such as ABSA Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy is particularly exciting and close to our hearts. With the support of distributors, retail shops and the cycling enthusiast alike, we are looking forward to affect real chance in the cycling industry at large” said Dirk Oerlemans, owner of Torq Zone.

To celebrate this momentous occasion and to set in motion urgently needed change in the repair and maintenance of bicycles, Torq Zone management decided to extend their launch promotion to include all Cytech™ Technical courses. The promotion makes provision to save up to 30% on your course fees. In addition you stand a chance to get all your course fees paid back as part of a lucky draw. For more info refer www.torqzoneacademy.co.za

Graeme Stickells, Managing Director of Torq Zone Academy, has officially opened

South Africa's first state of the art technical training facility for the bicycle industry.
________________________________________

Issued by: Graeme Stickells
Torq Zone Academy (Pty) Ltd
082 850 0115
graeme@torqzone.co.za

About Torq Zone Cycles
Torq Zone Cycles is South Africa’s 1st concept bicycle workshop whose sole mission is to provide industry leading bicycle repairs and maintenance. The best qualified technicians perform our legendary “Free 30 Point Health Check” on all bikes checked in for service. The company was conceptualised by a number of passionate Mountain Bikers and opened its doors in January 2013. We believe in the perfect ride and making Mountain Biking as convenient as possible for all passionate likeminded riders.
Torq Zone Website: www.torqzone.co.za 

About Cytech™
Cytech is the industry recognised scheme for bicycle technical training and accreditation in the UK, established over 20 years.
Cytech™ Technical courses encompass the basics of cycle mechanics right through to dealing with the most advanced and high-tech components and parts. The courses cater for both the professional bicycle technician and the cycling enthusiasts who will also have the opportunity to get to know their trusty steeds more intimately. The Torq Zone Academy will be presenting Cytech™ Home Mechanic courses specially tailored for this market.
Cytech™ website: www.cytech.training 

TORQ ZONE ACADEMY - HOME MECHANIC COURSES UP FOR GRABS!!

Complete the Torq Zone Survey and stand a chance to win 1 of 2 Home Mechanic Courses compliments of Torq Zone Academy

Yes we know! At this time of the year nobody has time for surveys. But you are a Cycler and therefore a nice guy and nice guy's "pay it forward"! This as your opportunity to give back to our beloved hobby & sport. 

In Jan 2015 it will be exactly 2 years since South Africa’s first Concept Bicycle Workshop opened its doors.

  • Did we succeed in what we set out to achieve with the Torq Zone Brand?
  • How can we fine tune and further improve on our offering, to make it even more appealing to you?

We need your help to answer these bugging questions. To show our appreciation for affording us your time you will be entered into our lucky draw competition. Two respondents will each win a “Home Mechanic Course” to the value of R4,400 each, compliments of the Torq Zone Academy. For more info on this course refer to www.torqzoneacademy.co.za

Your feedback is anonymous. However should you want to be entered into the Lucky Draw competition you need to give us your details at the end of the survey. Only respondents who completed all the questions before the 12th of December will be entered into the competition. It is highly recommended to complete the survey in a single attempt. It is only 20 questions and should take you no more than 7 minutes. Click the link here to access the survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MTWSK5N


Thank you for your participation! 

TORQ ZONE TEAM

​WHY SANTA CRUZ??

Now why did we at Torq Zone decide to associate ourselves with Santa Cruz only and not one of the other mainstream brands? There are many reasons but the one standing above all is the following:

Santa Cruz is simply the best Mountain Bike money can buy!

“That is a very bold statement, on what basis do you make that?” or, “Please substantiate your claim” I hear you say.

Don’t despair, here are our reasons:

  • Santa Cruz had been specialising in the design and manufacturing of mountain bikes for over 20 years now. No Road Bikes just bikes for enjoyment off road. That is more than 10,000 hours of mountain bike manufacturing. If you believe Malcolm Gladwell theory, they should be pretty good at it.
  • Santa Cruz have been nominated and won numerous prestigious international “Mountain Bike of the Year” awards year after year,
  • In my opinion their VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) suspension design is class leading and offers real benefits, especially up rocky inclines.
  • They are funky and exclusive, not mainstream and almost have a cult following,
  • It offers you the opportunity to express your individuality and uniqueness. Santa Cruz is not sold as a complete bike but provide you the opportunity to “build your own bike”.
  • With their Juliana Range, Santa Cruz is one of only a handful of bike manufacturers offering woman specific Mountain Bikes.
  • Finally, a phenomenon which is starting to emerge, something we see more and more at Torq Zone. Keen Mountain Bike enthusiasts who’ve been riding mountain bikes for many years, previously owning many different bike brands, somehow end up with a Santa Cruz. And once they’ve experienced it for a while they tend to stick to the brand, buying one after the other. I’ve experienced it myself and do not know what it is? But it should make you curious!

Now that you know why you also should own a Santa Cruz you need to know whom to buy it from. As Santa Cruz bikes offers you the opportunity to build your own bike you should look for somebody who can offer unbiased advice on bike parts & components. As we specialize in repairs & maintenance of all types of bicycles, surely we should know what works and what not, what is quality and what is causing problems in SA conditions, who honours warrantee claims and who does not etc. etc. In Torq Zone you clearly have no better partner to make that dream bike become a reality.

In case you are not 100% convinced as yet check out our fantastic year-end promotion in the “Promotion of the month” section. A Santa Cruz Tallboy FULL carbon bike for under R50,000. But be warned, stock of this extremely well priced Tallboy is limited. At this price it is not going to last very long.

CYCLING SAFETY

I firmly believe life should be lived from a foundation of “love and trust” as opposed to “fear & doubt”. However, we have a very unfortunate reality in South Africa and I actually hate even bringing up the subject. Cyclists, and in particular, Mountain Bikers are very soft targets and bike hijackings are on a dramatic upward curve. We all believe “Ag… it’s not going to happen to me” but looking at statistics the chances of it happening to you is significantly higher than you think.

The thing that upsets us most about bike hijackings is the fact that it challenges the very essence of what makes cycling so alluring i.e. “Freedom”. Am I trying to put the living fear into all cyclists and make you doubtful whether you should go out riding? Not at all. The point here is “Awareness”. The more aware and informed cyclists out there, and the more we stand together, the better for all of us. We simply need to take our streets, neighbourhoods, mountains and koppies back! And that is exactly what we intend doing…

Recently some bike shops in Centurion (obviously including Torq Zone), cycling enthusiasts, previous victims and other interested parties had a series of meetings? We are in the process of establishing an action group with three immediate objectives. One objective which involves you the cyclist, is to increase awareness significantly, about what you can do to reduce your own risk. Below just some initial snippets of advice:

  -   Avoid hijacking hotspots typically:

  • The koppie to the East of Irene which is currently a very bad spot
  • Smuts koppie and surrounds

  -   Safety in numbers. Do not cycle alone or even in twos. The more the better. We suggest the minimum group size to be five.

This list of “Do’s & Don’ts” is by no means comprehensive and will be extended, which will be done in subsequent newsletters. In the meantime get yourself on a WhatsApp group to join “forces” with other cyclists. Or even better why not join our Torq Zone Strava club at www.strava.com/clubs/torq-zone. Torq Zone has regular outrides all being administered and announced directly through Strava. Be on the look-out for more on this subject in subsequent newsletters – we have big plans.

2015 Santa Cruz Special

2015 Santa Cruz Tallboy Full Carbon bike available below R50,000.00

Price:     R49,990 (Vat Inclusive) for complete bike
Colour:  Satin Black & Aqua Blue only
Stock:    Medium, Large & X-Large

LIMITED STOCK AVAILABLE!

SPECS:

Frame Material: Carbon
Fork: Fox 32 Float CTD Performance Fit 120mm w/15mm through axle and tapered steerer
Shock: Fox Float CTD Evolution
About: A curated mix of Shimano XT, SLX & SRAM components.    
Front Dérailleur: Shimano XT    
Rear Dérailleur: Shimano XT M786 GS Shadow Plus    
Shifters: Shimano SLX M670    
Crankset: Shimano SLX M675 2x10 24/38    
Bottom Bracket: Included w/ crankset    
Cassette: Shimano SLX HG81 10sp 11-36    
Chain: Shimano SLX HG75    
Brakes: Shimano SLX M675 w/ Shimano RT66 160mm rotors    
Headset: Cane Creek 40 series tapered, cartridge bearing    
Bars: Raceface Evolve Flat 31.8x720    
Stem: Raceface Turbine Basic    
Grips: Santa Cruz Palmdale Lock-on
Front Hub: Sram MTH 716 15x100 hub    
Rear Hub: Sram MTH 746 142 x 12    
Rims: WTB STi19 TCS    
Spokes: DT Champion 2.0 Spokes    
Front Tire: Maxxis Ikon 29x2.2, Tubeless Ready    
Rear Tire: Maxxis Ikon 29x2.2, Tubeless Ready    
Tubes: Stans Sealant    
Seat Post: Raceface Ride, 30.9x 375    
Saddle: WTB Volt Race

TORQ ZONE ACADEMY – TAKING THE LEAD AGAIN

Having an International Certification without a local National Qualifications Framework (NQF) registration is like riding a Full suss on total lock-out – all the tech stuff but still not a “perfect ride”. To really give substance to the occupation of a bicycle mechanic it is an absolute imperative to have a NQF standard registered. The bad news - there is unfortunately no such NQF registration. This is however where we at Torq Zone decided to step in and make the difference once again.

As Pioneers and another industry first, we have initiated a process early this year with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), the body responsible for qualification development in the Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework (OQSF), to have a National Qualification developed for registration on the NQF.

The registration of a National Qualification on the NQF will ensure:

  • The setting of a national minimum standard for bicycle mechanic training
  • The national recognition of bicycle mechanic learner achievements
  • Industry access to national skills development processes and mechanisms, such as learnerships and the partial reclaiming of training expenditure by employees.

To assist with the development of the qualification we are in the process of conducting industry related, occupation research through a comprehensive survey that has been made available on multiple channels to cycle brand distributors, cycle shop owners and managers, and bicycle mechanics.

This research will hopefully aid the respective South African education and training authorities, namely the QCTO, the respective Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), in realising the importance of the development of the National Qualification.

It is expected that once the moratorium on the development of new qualifications has been lifted in October this year, that we should have the National Qualification developed and registered by July next year, and Torq Zone Academy accredited as a provider of that qualification by the following December.

The Torq Zone Academy will then continue to offer Cytech™ Technical training and the National Qualification in parallel.

FIRST BICYCLE TECHNICAL TRAINING ACADEMY

You may recall my blogpost earlier this year about the “Dark Side of the Industry” (re: poor & sub-standard bicycle repairs and maintenance workmanship). Torq Zone has got your back with an innovative, positive and pioneering contribution to the cycling industry. 

We are very excited to announce the creation of South Africa’s very first Bicycle Technical Training centre, the TORQ ZONE ACADEMY. Not only is this exciting in itself, but what’s more, we formed a partnership with the Association of Cycling Traders (ACT) UK, and will be presenting their Cytech™ technical courses exclusively in South Africa. These courses cater for both the professional technician (Cytech™ Technical level 1, 2 and 3) as well as the cycling enthusiast (Cytech™ Home Mechanic courses) with internationally accredited training tailored for you, available right here in South Africa.  

The importance of a bike set-up

Whether you're new to cycling or not, the importance of a correct bike set-up can't be stressed enough. After speaking to a few riders, including some of my closest friends, I have come to realise that they are not only unaware of how it negatively impacts their performance but also the health risks associated with poor bike set-up. 
So my mission is simply to give you some insight into a bike set-up, which will help you avoid injury, while optimising your efficiency, performance and comfort. Below are some commonly asked questions.

1.   What exactly is done during a bike set-up?
During a bike set-up, the cleats are placed at the perfect position according to your feet, the saddle height is adjusted to your leg length, and the saddle is     adjusted forward or backwards so that your knee falls over the axle of your peddle. The handlebar is also adjusted so that your reach is at the perfect angle to best suit your riding style.

2.  Google has loads of info on doing your own set-up, why should I pay for something I can do myself?
There are lots of theories and methods out there to try at home, but it’s not always perfect and you could end up doing more harm than good. The professionals have the correct tools to do the best bike set-up, which will result in a more comfortable ride and, ultimately, a better riding experience. In addition, they will also give you excellent advise, especially when it comes to certain aches and pains you might be experiencing.

3.  How often should a set-up be done?
With every new bike you must do a professional bike set-up. After that you don’t have to do a set-up, unless you buy new shoes or start experiencing discomfort when cycling.

4.  Will my set-up on my hard tail and dual suspension be the same?
No, the geometries are very different, and with the dual suspension you have to set-up the suspension according to the rider’s weight.

5.  Why do I still experience pain in certain areas after recently having had a proper bike set-up?
In most cases, the rider did not do a bike set-up, he/she merely adjusted the cleats and saddle to where he/she thinks it should be. When he/she does a professional bike set-up everything changes, and because he/she has been riding the bike in the incorrect position for so long, the body is not used to riding in the correct bike riding position.

6.  How long does it take to do a set-up and is it necessary to make a booking?
Depending on what needs to be adjusted, a set-up takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Yes, it is necessary to make a booking seeing as this is a delicate procedure and not just an oil change.

7.  Will this improve my performance and health?
The correct set-up will improve your performance and health. By sitting in the correct position on your bike, you'll have a perfect pedal stroke and therefore won't have any knee or back pain. Your riding will also be more efficient, as your power output will be higher and you'll be able to ride for longer, thus improving your fitness level.

8.  What should I bring along on the day and why is this required?
You need your bike, shoes, cycling shorts (or tight shorts), and yourself. Your shoes are needed to check the cleat positioning and shorts are better to work with when measuring the angles of your legs.

Sani2C - “Life is not all downhill"

In May 2014, Farmer Glen and his team once again staged, in my opinion, not only the biggest stage race in the world but also the best. I’ve often thought about the slogan 'Life is not all downhill'? Agreed, physically the route is not all downhill, but everything else as far as the Nedbank sani2c is so awesome that it feels like three days of 'downhill' and easy cruising. Despite the event's sheer size (4,500 participants), it still provides a very unique and personal experience. But what makes it so unique?

There are a number of reasons.

Continuous innovation
Last year, it was the 360 Life Bridge at the finish that caused a lot of excitement (and fear). This year, 'The Barn' was a great addition, with quality coffee being enjoyed by all, and the bike wash, by Tallisman, was very welcome. What will they think of for next year's event? One thing is for certain though, Farmer Glen and his team WILL come up with something awesome. And it is this anticipation of what it will be that makes it almost impossible to miss an event.

The continuous improvement of the route
I know the sani2c team firmly believes in 'the route is everything' and although it is already considered a perfect route, they continually improve it. Every year, new sections of perfectly manicured, flowing single track are added. The balance between 'easier' gravel/district road climbs followed by gravity orientated single track is just perfect. And then the Umko Drop on day two must be the most awesome experience any mountain biker can experience in all of SA, possibly the world. I’ve had the privilege of doing it non-competitively recently and it's even better, as I had the time to appreciate the sheer beauty of the Umkomaas valley and the way in which the single track is carved into the mountain.

The number of days
Three days, in my opinion, is the ideal duration for a stage race. Long enough to unwind, relax, and enjoy the riding, but short enough so you don't get gatvol from staying in tents or start longing for your loved ones.

The 'sneak preview'
The fact that the three events, the Trail, Adventure and Race, run on consecutive days adds another dimension. For the Adventure and Race riders, it offers them opportunity to catch up with their mates, which have participated in the event just before them, to get updates on routes, track condition, danger points, and so on. In addition, they can get their own time / Strava segment comparisons going with all the banter about different weather conditions, slip streaming, single track traffic, etc.

The camaraderie
You will find camaraderie at all mountain bike events, but there's just something about this event that makes it stand out even further. I’m still trying to figure this one out, maybe it has to do with my last bullet below.

The Community involvement
It's evident everywhere. The community is definitely benefiting from this event and that is the way it should be. The first water point on day one remains a very surreal and humbling experience, every time. (maybe expand here on why for those that haven't participated)

The clincher; the sani2c ethos
Although I believe staging the sani2c must be more financially rewarding than running a dairy farm, it is definitely not what this event is about. To Farmer Glen, it is not about the financial gain, but rather about 'giving'. It’s about the passion for the sport, people in general, and the community. Perhaps a perfect example of this was at the finish of this year's event. I was GIVEN a beautiful coffee table book, PLUS a video commemorating this beautiful event for FREE! In 2013, I competed in the 10th edition of another very commercially orientated race and had to fork out a substantial amount for the coffee table book. I'm not discrediting that race, which in itself satisfies other personal goals, but the sani2c is just so different.

Bike Maintenance contract for stage races – Is it really necessary?

You’ve already spent a fortune on that stage race entry, invested your time preparing for the event, nutrition, travelling to and from the event, accommodation before and after, possibly a massage package, and the list goes on. So is it really necessary to dip into your pocket again for a Bike Maintenance contract, or can you do without one?

The simple fact is that to complete an event, there are two 'things' that need to last until you reach the finish line:

  • You, the rider (mind and body) and
  • Your bike.

You spend a huge amount of time and money in the months leading up to and during the race to ensure your body is up for it and will go the distance. But no matter how much preparation you do, there is nothing you can do or purchase that will guarantee your body to last. Stage races are notorious for stomach bugs, which can easily ruin your race.

On the other hand, as far as your bike is concerned, you can do something! Purchasing a Bike Maintenance contract is not a 100% guarantee of success, but arguably the best investment you can make in either body or bike to maximise the chances of your success. Comparatively speaking, the investment in a Bike Maintenance contract is a small price to pay for the peace of mind it gives you.

A Bike Maintenance contract provides security and should be seen as an insurance policy. And from our 2014 Old Mutual joBerg2c survey results, it is evident that we have the maintenance of a large number and variety of bikes at a stage race down to a fine art.

But what are the real advantages of a Torq Zone Bike Maintenance contract?

  • We always include a Zone 3 (major) service as part of the package. This ensures all bikes get to the event race ready. In fact, our technicians are incentivised to make sure it is absolutely 100%. I mean, who wants to have the hassle of struggling to fix your bike in cold and wet weather, in the middle of the night, when I can be done beforehand in the comfort of our own workshop? This way, the technicians get to bed earlier at the event and you start the race fresh and with a perfect bike - we all score.
  • When you finished a stage, the last thing you want to worry about is your bike. All you really want to do is throw it in somebody’s direction to take care of so that you don't have to think about it again until the following morning. With our contract you can do this.
  • The quality of work done to your bike is better compared to non-contracted riders (walk-ins). Walk-in bikes are generally only done once all contracted bikes are completed, and that's usually late at night or in the early hours of the morning. By then the technicians are very tired and could have overlooked something in the dark.
  • You also get to enjoy preferential treatment when it comes spare parts and components availability. This means that when the weather turns bad and parts become a scarce resource, you won't be the one that's stressing and running around frantically trying to find something specific.
  • A thorough wash and lube is part of the contract, which also includes a proper wash of the drive train with a chain cleaner. The importance of this is generally overlooked, but a clean drive plays a major role in proper gear shifting and prevents excessive wear and tear.
  • Your bike will receive our legendary 30 Point Health Check every day. This is where future problems can be anticipated and rectified before it ends your race or even worse, causes the dreaded face plant.
  • You get to see our smiley faces every morning when you come and collect your bike, which has been perfectly serviced and ready to be hammered.

Finally, recent research conducted by ourselves shows that the number of riders opting for a Bike Maintenance contract has increased significantly to 60% (up from 40% last year).

The world’s biggest races…?

According to a very interesting recent article published on Moneyweb (by Hanna Barry), the Argus Cycle Tour is recognised as the world’s largest individually timed cycle race. Entries for the 2014 event which is capped at 40,000, filled up in a mere five days, which is faster than they ever have before. 

Then there is the ABSA Cape Epic, the world’s most televised Mountain Bike race ever. But it’s when you start looking at some other stats on this race when the reading becomes really interesting….

For the 2013 edition of the ABSA Cape Epic the facts are as follows:

  • The race is done in teams of two, with a team entry costing R45 900.
  • 1 258 riders from 49 countries took part.
  • The industry with the most representation last year was the financial industry, representing 10.6% of participants.
  • 69% of participants are classified as CEO, director or senior management; 47% own their own business (to me this sounds typically your previous golfing crowd).
  • 66% of riders bought a new bike for the race.
  • The average value of each participant’s bike was R42 244.
  • Early bird entries for the 2014 race were sold out in 34 seconds.

If you do the quick math, just in terms of race entry and new bikes sold this one event is contributing well over R100m to the industry. And to top it all, if you sell out in 34 seconds, Economy 101 Supply & Demand theory tells me demand is extremely inelastic (not a popular statement amongst our Mountain Bikers so please don’t tell Kevin).

Do you have a booking Sir?

With all the races this time of the year it is very busy for Work Shops to get bikes serviced before major events. At Torq Zone we belief in the perfect ride and is extremely proud of our reputation. In our quest to get 100% satisfaction we run a very tightly controlled booking system and allocate sufficient time for each job. We do not take on too many jobs per day ensuring we can really apply some TLC to each and every bike.

This works very well until on a very busy Friday afternoon just before a major race……

……a regular client comes running in announcing “I’m leaving in 30min for Sabie, please help me with fixing this that and the other!!!”. If we are running ahead of schedule we will gladly assist. But if not, and as much as we want to help you Mr. Regular Client, we are jeopardising all other clients we are servicing that day, which is not fair towards them. Generally this type of scenario is by far the biggest reason for workshops slipping in their service delivery to its clients both in terms of actual workmanship and promised ready time. 
Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining here. Being busy is always good but our approach is to favour quality of work over quantity. We also have a policy to always favour the booked clients over the “run-in” client who will have to move to the back of the queue. 
A lot of our clients are bringing their bikes without a booking and we do help them as long it is not demanded same day. Bottom line to be perfectly safe make a booking to help us to help you. This way you also help your fellow MTBiker, “Pay it forward” as they say. Bookings can be made either telephonically at 012 667 1890 or directly on our website 
So next time you come running in late Friday afternoon with your demands don’t be surprised if you get a straight faced William asking “Do you have a booking Sir?”

Win BIG in the March Torq Zone Strava Club Competition

Stand a chance to win over R2,000 in this month's Torq Zone Strava Club competition. During February we had all kinds of competitions for everyone, from the racing snake, the climber, technically astute to the weekend warrior. But it was the latter which proofed to be the most popular. In March we will run a single competition for the duration of the month, which will again be a “lucky draw” type of competition as we had in Week 4 of Feb.

The Winner of the Torq Zone product hamper valued at over R2000 will be the club member who finishes the month in rank position no. 30 in the Strava March MTS challenge. The Strava March MTS Challenge is a worldwide competition with the winner being the rider clocking the most kilometres during the month of March. Our competition is limited to Torq Zone club members only. How do you make sure you end in position no. 30? I have no clue, that’s why we call it a “lucky draw” competition. But it will help if you start riding your bike and check Strava regularly to see where you stack up against fellow Club members.

HOW DO I ENTER FOR THE COMPETITION?
Step 1. If you do not have a Strava profile as yet go to www.strava.com and create your own.
Step 2. Join the Torq Zone Cycles Strava Club at www.strava.com/clubs/search 
Step 3. Take up the Strava March MTS Challenge: www.strava.com/challenges/march-2014-mts-ride
Step 4. Invite all your followers and friends on Strava and Facebook to join the Torq Zone club (on the club page to your right). 
Step 5. Start clocking the kilometres and upload it to Strava

COMPETITION RULES:

  • You have to complete all 5 steps above to be eligible for the competition.
  • The Prize winner will be determined on Wednesday morning 9:00 am, 2nd of April 2014 and will be announced shortly thereafter.
  • Anybody trying to jippo kilometres ridden will be branded a "Doper" and be banned for life.
  • Our winner decisions will be final.
  • Your participation in this competition is entirely your own doing.
  • The terms and conditions applicable to the Strava March MTB challenge are also applicable in determining our club winners:
  • Manual entries, trainer rides, or rides marked 'Private' will not count towards your challenge effort.
  • All activities logged during the Challenge period must be uploaded to Strava no later than Tuesday April the 1st, 2014.

“The Dark Side of the Industry”

The South African cycling industry is in a very healthy state. Mountain Biking is now generally known as “The New Golf” since our friends from MoreGolf (ProShop) invested heavily in the industry and with more to come. There are over 750 mountain bike events per annum. Most of them are Multi Day Stage Races so imagine how much riding there is to choose from. 

But with such growth in any industry, there is bound to be issues and things that lag behind… In Cycling and perhaps more so in Mountain Biking we are also experiencing this phenomenon. In South Africa it is the capacity of the industry to offer decent bike repairs and maintenance. I call it the “Dark Side of the Industry”….

Why “The Dark Side of the Industry”? To be totally and bluntly honest, repairs and maintenance of bicycles is not up to scratch in South Africa. But whose fault is it? Is it the client, surely not! The client is always right and is paying top dollar for his bike so he should expect only the best. Is it the wholesalers and distributors? Maybe they have a role to play but they are too far removed and don’t interact with clients. Is it the Local Bike Shops? I know most of you want to blame them but where do they find properly trained mechanics, it simply does not exist? The supply is limited to just a handful of them with decent experience but none who are properly qualified and trained. 

So who is left to blame, the Mechanics themselves? My answer is a big NO. Mechanics, or Technicians as we call them at Torq Zone, simply have no means to equip themselves to deal with what is being thrown at them. Fact is in South Africa there is:
• NO Training courses for Bike Technicians 
• NO Standards against which to measure competency
• NO NQF registered qualification 
• NO Best Practice 
• NO Training Institution

At Torq Zone we’ve always been committed to provide “Light” to the traditional “Dark Side of the Industry” by trying in our humble way to improve the experience and the service itself. But with a single shop in Centurion we will not be able to make enough of an impact quickly enough. Something much bigger is required! The whole profile of Bike Repairs & Maintenance and more specifically the “profession” of being a Bicycle Technician should be lifted. Technicians should be trained and qualified against some sort of national or even perhaps an international standard, get paid more once they have their qualification. To get this right we need a Bicycle Training Academy to up skill and train bicycle technicians. Once I came to this realisation it got me thinking, WHAT IF ….???

(To be continued in upcoming newsletters).

South Africa: The Stage Race Mecca of the world!

You took up Mountain Biking some time ago and in 2014 you’ve entered your first Stage Race. You are all excited and the training is going according to plan. But are you really prepared for what lies ahead? What do I pack for the event, how do I deal with my riding partners tantrums? What to do when I suddenly experience a major mechanical on route? What are the “get me home” secrets?

All these “What if” questions can become pretty daunting and stressful as you approach the event. You have put so much effort into preparing for the event the last thing you need is to be uninformed! 
If I’m talking to you, why not join us for our “Be Ready for Stage Racing” Information Evening scheduled for Wednesday the 12th of March at 18:30. Free snacks and beers for all. Pre-bookings are essential though. Just forward an e-mail to info@torqzone.co.za with your info to get you on the list.

Win your share of R6000 with Torq Zone & Strava this February

Stand a chance to win Torq Zone hampers to the value of R6,000 in this month's very exciting Torq Zone Strava Club competition. Four weekly product hampers each valued at over R1,000 are up for grabs plus the Grand Prize, a service hamper to the value of R2000 at the end of the month. The Grand Prize service hamper consist of a Zone 3 service package plus an additional R1,250 worth of spare parts & components for free. The beauty of the competition is everybody stand a chance to win prizes, not only the racing snakes.....

But before you get too excited, we will need some effort (and a little bit of suffering) from your side in order for you to be eligible for the various prizes. As part of the process a massive improvement in fitness levels is guaranteed to all participants.

HOW DO I ENTER?
Step 1. If you do not have a Strava profile as yet go to strava.com and create your own.
Step 2. Join the Torq Zone Cycles Strava Club if not a member already strava.com club
Step 3. Take up the Strava Feb MTS Challenge if not done already strava.com challenge
Step 4. Invite all your followers and friends on Strava and Facebook to join the Torq Zone club (on the club page to your right).
Step 5. Book your bike in for a service at Torq Zone by latest 28th of Feb 2014 by phoning (012) 667 1890 or completing the booking form on our website Bookings
Step 6. Start clocking the kilometers and upload it to Strava

HOW DO I WIN?
First you have to make sure you complete all 6 steps above? Yes I know, you probably could jippo Step 4.... but you were prepared to take up the challenge and you like Torq Zone and therefore a nice guy! So just do it!

The weekly product hamper winner will be the Torq Zone club member who completed the weekly "mystery task". The "mystery task" will be announced every week on the Strava notice board. It could be anything from ending the week on top of the leaderboard to something more "mysterious" such as be the fastest on a specific Strava segment ridden in that week, ending the week in 10th position on the leaderboard etc.

The Grand Prize winner will be the club member who clocked the most kilometers as part of the Strava Feb MTS Challenge. The Strava Feb MTS Challenge is a world wide competition with the winner being the rider clocking the most kilometers during the month of February 2014. Our competition is limited to Torq Zone club members. We thought since your bike will be taking a considerable "HAMMER"ing in the process, we ought to "FIX" it afterwards, hence the prize for this competition.

So who's up for the challenge? Spread the word and start riding .... a lot!

RULES:
*   You have to complete all 6 steps above to be eligible for the competition. 
*   The weekly winner will be determined and announced every following Wednesday morning. You will have to make sure all your rides for the week are uploaded to Strava by the following Tuesday latest.
*   The Grand Prize winner will be announced on the 4th of March.
*   Anybody trying to jippo kilometers ridden will be branded a "Doper" and be banned for life.
*   Our winner decisions will be final.
*   Your participation in this competition is entirely your own doing. 
*   The terms and conditions applicable to the Strava Feb MTB challenge are also applicable in determining our club winners:
     -   Manual entries, trainer rides, or rides marked 'Private' will not count towards your challenge effort.
     -   All activities logged during the Challenge period must be uploaded to Strava no later than March 3rd, 2014.

Torq Zone Outrides

Did you know the Torq Zone shop is exactly ½ way between Groenkloof and the Big Red Barn, arguably the two best Mountain Bike Parks in Pretoria. If you love riding there as much as we do, why not join in on our regular Torq Zone outrides?

If you interested the first thing you need to do is to get yourself on our WhatsApp group by sending us an e-mail at info@torqzone.co.za with your contact details. This will ensure you are kept up to date with the rides, developments and group banter.

The outrides all start at the shop itself and either heads South (Big Red Barn) or north (Groenkloof, Klapperkop etc.). At the moment we have the following regular rides:

“Woensdag Sport Pas” : Leaving Torq Zone strictly at 16:30 pm 
Those of you who had the privilege to do the 2 year stint in the SANDF will know how great it feels to go on “Woensdag Sport Pas”. This ride is usually a 2 hour ride aimed at improving technical skills.

Saturday Strava Outride: Leaving Torq Zone at 06:00 am
This ride will be a longer one of approx. 3 hours aimed at endurance training. Why do we call it Strava Outride? Watch this space - all will be revealed in our next newsletter.

MTB Training Weekend

Back to that “Tjoop” I mentioned earlier. You did not really spent that much time on the bike and that multiday stage race you entered is creeping up on you. Why not joining us on our, by now famous, 3 day Training Weekend in the Waterberg Mountains in early March.

The dates & venue will be EITHER:

28th Feb to 2nd March:  At Lindani Game Lodge, or
7th to 9th of March:       At Rooiberg (Welgedacht Estate & Mabalingwe Game Reserve, where we had 2 previous training weekends)

We could not make up our minds which one to choose as both these venues are simply awesome. They both offer some of the best single track riding you will ever experience. We need you to help us decide. Let us know which you prefer and we will let democracy rule. If you’re interested please contact us on info@torqzone.co.za .
Lindani is a new venue we found with some of the best trail riding I’ve ever sampled. The accommodation is first class and overall just a fantastic place. For more info refer to www.lindani.co.za.

Welgedact Estate has a total of 75km of single track which runs on a network of hiking trails, all very clearly marked. These trails, bush tunnels, fast rolling downhills are simply awesome and the variety is endless. Those who did the MTN Rooiberg Race in June will remember it with fond memories!! But let me assure you, MTN Rooiberg was only scratching the surface. There is much, much more to explore. Accommodation is in 5 permanently fixed 2 bed luxury tents with a communal kitchen, lounge braai area and swimming pool. Refer pic below taken at one of our previous weekends.

Any Mountain Biker of reasonable fitness is welcome to join in. You can book your own accommodation in the area and just join us on the rides, but let us know beforehand. Alternatively, if you want the ultimate in luxury, Torq Zone will be making a limited number of exclusive weekend package(s) available. The package includes the following:

  • 3 Nights Luxury Accommodation (Thursday to Sunday)
  • Full catering – breakfast, lunch and a “lekker braai” in the evening and snacks in between
  • Daily 30 min Massage by qualified Biokineticist
  • Daily Bike Wash
  • Daily Bike Service - Labour only, parts & components for your own account
  • Daily Water Point included

The Exclusive Weekend package is priced at R4,500 per person for the weekend. The going rate for stage races nowadays is R1,500-R2,000 per day and that does not include bike servicing and massage (not even bike wash in some cases). Epic is obviously an entirely different story. These packages tend to go quickly so if you interested secure your booking with William at reception.

More info will be communicated closer to the time to interested riders.

Some of you had the privilege of enjoying one of our previous training weekends. This is what Marne Dirks had to say:

“I recently had the privilege of partaking in a Torq Zone training weekend at Welgedacht Estate. I can honestly say that it is one of the best weekends I've had in a long time. The setting and facilities are great with abundant wild and birdlife around. However, the best part is the over 80km of unspoilt Bushveld single track. Not overly technical but enough to keep the adrenaline going. We were pleasantly surprised by the food which was nutritious and very tasty. An experience that should not be missed by any MTB enthusiast!”

The End of 2013

Similar to cycling time flew by with a blink of an eye and a turn of a tyre. A lot has happened in 2013 and I would like to highlight some of the things that touched me and most cyclists personally.

For much of his career, Armstrong faced persistent allegations of doping. Armstrong denied all such allegations until January 2013 luckily in June 2013the 100th edition of the Tour de France was won by Chris Froome hopefully dope free.

Greg Minnaar is a South African World Champion mountain bike racer competing in downhill cycling. Minnaar has won the UCI Downhill World Championship again this year, making 2013 his 3rd, Well Done Greg.

Sadly we also lost our role model and friend Burry Stander in January 2013, it’s nice to know that on Saturday the 4th of January 2014 there will be a memorial ride at the Burry Stander bike Park @ 17:00.

As for the Pink Bike Awards 2013, and I quote “2013 was a hell of a year for mountain bike technology” I would need a separate blog to discuss this so do yourself a favour and read more here.

Then for my second favourite part of 2013, one of the reason we all love mountain biking is Mother Nature the fresh air, open skies and the crazy animals, yes beautiful but crazy. Robert Mennen of Team Topeak Ergon hit a buck during Stage 1 of the Absa Cape Epic in Citrusdal - captured on his GoPro Video, and it's not just four-legged beasts that have it in for us – over in Australia, giant birds are at it too! Video and then a Mountain Biker gets taken out by a lion Video

In reality we would like you to be careful and enjoy your holiday, we as Mountain Bikers are invading their territory be cautious and play fair. Tips

Finally and my favourite part of this year. January 2013 Torq Zone Cycles opened their shop doors for the first time. We have gained great clients and awesome friends during our first year, we have watched you improve, your skills by repairing bent rims after training sessions, fitness and endurance by the amount of services we completed per specific bike and we have listened to your stories of great tracks ridden small bumps in the road and all this with ambition in your eyes and the next race registration on your mind.

Thank you for making Torq Zone what it is and becoming a part of your future.

Have a great Holiday be safe and ride hard 
     “You Hammer Them. We Fix Them”

Merry Christmas and Happy new year to you all.

The Torq Zone Team

Year End Bash 2013

Like all trails end, so did Torq Zone but we ended our year with a BANG… and what a launch it was!

Setting the mood with some great music, video clips and the slightly different kind of MTB LED light that entertained our guests throughout the evening, we entertained and fed their hunger pains not just with our delicious ostrich platters but with the latest Torq Zone Information.

For those of you who couldn’t share this awesome day with us, here is a small recap of what happened.

We launched our new and improved website, “Yes that would be the one you’re on now” browse the website and enjoy, this was created not only for you to view the “attractive” staff portraits… but to make life simpler for yourself. You can now send us a booking request via our website and we will contact you with available dates and times. You can also send us an inquiry or arrange a pickup at one of our pickup and delivery points near you.  We can even deliver your newly bought and assembled Santa Cruz to these delivery points.

Yes that’s right we can now sell you the perfect Santa Cruz that best suits your needs and style. And by style I mean the way you ride and not the way it perfectly suits your muscular or feminine looks, but the way you speed past the rest of the riders or in some cases fly past them with your bike stylishly following you from behind. 
To everyone that joined the Torq Zone launch, a BIG thank you we had a blast and hope to see you all again at the next one.

We also added some photos to Facebook, go have a look and let us know what you enjoyed most.

New Epic Route

Both local and international mountain biking enthusiasts will be taking on the demanding eight day Absa Cape Epic of 718km with 14 850m of climbing during next year’s event. With its unexplored landscapes, the stage locations of Robertson, Greyton and Oak Valley Wine estate await the most prestigious mountain bike stage race in the world, before riders again finish at the Lourensford Wine Estate.

For four-times Absa Cape Epic winner Christoph Sauser, the new route will suit him, as he is a good all-rounder. “This will be my tenth Absa Cape Epic. I look forward to Robertson as I have good memories from last year. I have less fond memories of Greyton as we lost an Absa Cape Epic due to Burry‘s famous crash there, where we broke the front wheel. I personally was hoping we go back to Wellington and especially Stellenbosch, as it’s my second home! Stage 5 will be very difficult as we’ll be tired and we have the UFO and Groenlandberg to climb, which are never easy after 5 days of racing already. We’re targeting an overall win, so every stage has the same importance. We always decide what to do in a situation and don’t follow a master plan.”

Continue reading.

Source:  TREAD

Bridge Race Equality

There was an interesting article on TREAD.co.za, called 'Bridge Backs Women in a Big Way for 2014 Cape Pioneer Trek.'

The 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race has been given a fresh boost following the announcement that Bridge, the title sponsor, has significantly increased the prize money for the race’s Swartberg Pass stage with its iconic mountain-top finish.

The 2013 edition of the seven-day race finished in Oudtshoorn in South Africa’s Western Cape province on Saturday and Neels Grobler, Chief Growth Officer at Bridge, announced that the third year of the company’s involvement would see increased focus on the women’s category, starting with equal prize money on the event’s queen stage.

This year, the first men’s team to the summit of the Swartberg Pass, Asrin Cycling’s James Reid (RSA) and Jens Schuermans (BEL) collected R112 000 (US $12 000). The first women’s team earned R25 000 (US $2 500). The women’s prize money this year was donated by Khombisa Media.

For 2014, the event’s first year as a UCI-graded stage race, Bridge has increased the Swartberg Pass stage prize money to R125 000 for the first men’s team and R125 000 for the first women’s team. “The top women make just as much sacrifice and show just as much commitment as the men. They deserve the same reward,” said Grobler. “At Bridge, we’re not just a sponsor, we’re a partner to the Cape Pioneer Trek and we want to make a meaningful contribution to the success of the event. Increasing the prize money for the race’s biggest stage is a good place to start.”

Continue reading the article.

Source: TREAD

TREAD Magazine

Such has been the rapid growth of mountain biking over the past few years that bike servicing and repair has earned itself a category all of its own. It's a gap in the market that's been growing monthly. Dirk Oerlemans saw this gap and has begun to fill it by establishing Torq Zone.

Torq Zone is not your regular local bike shop (LBS) is it? What makes it different?

Torq Zone is South Africa’s very first Concept Bicycle Workshop. Your traditional LBS focuses primarily on selling bikes, accessories and apparel. At Torq Zone our primary focus is on the repairs and maintenance of bikes as opposed to selling them. We service any bike but are geared towards and specialise in medium-to-high-value mountain bikes. When you walk into our shop, you step directly into our state-of-the-art workshop. You will very quickly realise this is something completely different.


How was the Torq Zone idea born?

Basically out of frustration. I simply got completely fed-up with substandard repairs and maintenance. The idea of a workshop orientated bike shop slowly dawned on me whilst spending endless hours on my mountain bike. I shared my ideas with some of my riding buddies and (with the help of some very good red wine), Torq Zone was conceptualised. I think some of the traditional bike shops did not adapt to the shift in the cycling industry experienced over the last couple of years. First of all, the traditional retail model is experiencing margin erosion mainly as a result of the online environment and a high cost base. Secondly, with the major shift towards mountain bikes away from road, the demand for repairs and maintenance started outgrowing the supply significantly. This resulted in overcrowded workshops and sub-standard workmanship. Somebody needed to fill this void and the traditional bike shops were slow to react.

 

What exactly is important at Torq Zone?

Torq Zone is run by a number of passionate mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts. We believe in the “perfect ride”, transparency, convenience, quality workmanship and above all, having fun in the process. To me personally improving the working conditions for bike technicians is also high on my agenda.

 

You mention quality often. How do you maintain quality standards with consistency?

Our model is based on what you would experience when you take your expensive SUV in for a service. We adapted it for our industry resulting in something which is quite different to what is offered by the traditional LBS. First of all we perform our standard “Free 30 Point Heath Check” on all bikes checked in for service. This allows us to detect all possible defects on the bike not known to the owner. Typically, it is these latent defects causing your perfect weekend ride to being “derailed” so to speak. Once we’ve completed the health check we make recommendations as to the work required via our electronic job card system that is e-mailed to the owner. Upon completion of the service all bikes are independently quality tested by physically riding the bike. Spinning the crank on the bike stand is not a quality check!

 

How do you make people aware of Torq Zone?

In this industry, word of mouth is king. Nothing speaks more than a happy client giving you the thumbs up among his mountain biking buddies. The opposite is obviously also true and we are very mindful of that. All complaints are handled by me personally. The power of social media is also utilised extensively to reach our target market. What has worked very well for us thus far is to take the workshop to the market by offering free gear setting and brake adjustments at major races and mountain bike parks. Stage races also offer massive opportunity for brand building. We received overwhelming positive feedback from our 65 Old Mutual clients whom we supported mechanically at the recently completed JoBerg2C.

 

How have the existing bike shops in the area reacted to Torq Zone?

We believe our model is vastly different to any other bike shop and as such we do not compete head-on with anybody in the area. In fact, as most bike shops are retail orientated and we have very little to offer in that regard, we refer our clients to our neighbours if they want to purchase apparel and accessories. Another interesting development is some of the forward thinking retail shops are now in discussions with Torq Zone to outsource their workshops to us and to assist them with new bike assembly.

 

Based where you are, surely it’s a bit tricky to attract clients from Joburg. Are most of your clients from Pretoria?

Yes, for now most of our clients are from Pretoria but we are seeing people from as far as Limpopo, Mpumalanga and even from Zambia, making sure to get their bikes serviced when they come to Gauteng. In order to make our shop more accessible to a wider geographical area we offer convenient shopping hours allowing clients to drop off and collect outside working hours. The shop is also very conveniently located in Doringkloof Mall, Centurion, only two minutes off the N1 highway (Botha Lane). Future plans include a collection and delivery service. In the meantime, all I can say to prospective Joburg clients is: We can speak English and we do know how to service a mountain bike on this side of the boerewors curtain!

 

Have you got any national franchising plans?

Globally, South Africa is quickly becoming a mountain biking Mecca, whilst locally, mountain biking is commonly known as “the new golf”. All indications are that this trend is set to continue and as a result the demand for professional repairs and maintenance will continue to grow. We cannot satisfy this demand from one location only. We do have national expansion plans for the future. However, this will only be rolled out once we have perfected the concept and established our first centre of excellence.

 

What element of Torq Zone gives you the most satisfaction?

I use to be a corporate junkie for many years, involved in international marketing. I know it is a cliché but I have now combined all my hobbies into a single job. I’ve been, so to speak, “jobless” ever since! Having said that, satisfaction also comes in small gestures. Positive feedback such as: “my bike has not been this smooth even on the day I bought it”, is hugely satisfying.

 

And what is your biggest frustration?

A lack of a proper qualification or minimum standard for bike technicians in South Africa. But we have plans for this as well.

View the TREAD article.