A small com­pany with big spirit

Finweek English Edition - - On the Money - By Glen­neis Kriel

Bi­cy­cle com­pany Two Wheels Trad­ing was founded in 2007 to dis­trib­ute fine bi­cy­cle ac­ces­sories. Since then, it has re­leased two bike brands tai­lored to South Africa’s unique con­di­tions.

as an avid moun­tain biker, who in his day earned pro­vin­cial colours in cross coun­try and down­hill rac­ing, Vic­tor Mom­sen al­ways dreamt of start­ing his own bi­cy­cle brand. In 2007, he founded Two Wheels Trad­ing, and two years later founded Mom­sen Bikes, a brand he specif­i­cally de­signed to meet the unique chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with South Africa’s rugged and di­verse moun­tain bik­ing ter­rain.

Since 2013, be­tween 1% and 4% of Absa Cape Epic par­tic­i­pants were rid­ing a Mom­sen. It was the seventh most-pop­u­lar brand in this year’s KAP Sani2C, with nearly 5% of the event’s more than 4 000 par­tic­i­pants rid­ing one.

The stats might sound unim­pres­sive, but a large por­tion of Cape Epic par­tic­i­pants are for­eign­ers and un­fa­mil­iar with brands sold only lo­cally. The brand is com­pet­ing with in­ter­na­tional gi­ants, such as Spe­cial­ized, which was the most pop­u­lar brand (26.47%) at this year’s Sani2C.

In 2013, Mom­sen launched the Muna kids’ brand, af­ter his chil­dren, Mia (8) and Ethan (4) made him aware of a gap in the mar­ket for qual­ity, af­ford­able chil­dren’s bikes.

What did you do be­fore start­ing your own busi­ness?

I’ve al­ways been a bike geek and started work­ing part-time at BeachBreak, to my knowl­edge SA’s first real moun­tain bik­ing shop, when I was 16. Af­ter school, be­sides cy­cling a lot, I went to Tai­wan – the real heart of the global cy­cling busi­ness – to do in-ser­vice train­ing for a diploma in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing and ended up work­ing there for al­most three years.

On my re­turn, I worked for Pro­bike as prod­uct man­ager and later prod­uct di­rec­tor. While there, I helped to breathe new life into Raleigh, which at the time had de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing “cheap and nasty”.

Why did you de­cide to start your own busi­ness?

It was a com­bi­na­tion of rea­sons. Most im­por­tantly I al­ways wanted to de­sign and have my own bike brand. Work­ing at a fac­tory in Tai­wan that man­u­fac­tured its own brand, which was quite rare at the time, gave me a bird’s-eye view of what the busi­ness en­tailed and helped me foster valu­able con­nec­tions in the in­dus­try.

My ex­pe­ri­ence at Pro­bike also boosted my con­fi­dence – I thought if I could do it for some­one else, I could do it for my­self. And one can only go that far when work­ing

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