ON TOUR WITH KRUSH
AN INSIGHT INTO THE ROLLING ROADSHOW ON THE KRUSH TOUR
Band tours to bikes - we catch up with the crew behind Krush.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that mountain biking as a sport and an industry is full of passionate people who love what they do, and where it takes them. Having met Matt D’Arcy from Krush it’s clear that a love for mountain biking and a passion for the details drives the new Aussie brand.
GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER
I met up with Matt as he has rolled into Nerang ahead of the first round of the Shimano Enduro Series. It’s wet, about to get wetter, but Matt is stoked to be here. He’s had a long drive up from Victoria, but time on the road isn’t new for him. “I started playing drums when I was 14 and I studied really hard until I was 19. Playing the drums isn’t just hitting shit – I even taught for 6 years. I joined bands and yeah – it was great times.”
Without going too far into the hedonistic joy of touring to play gigs in a band in the mid to late 90s, it is clear that getting used to life on the road while playing in bands probably helped set Matt up for the amount of travel he and his wife Emma now do visiting events with their Krush vans. They visit events around the country with their bike cleaning and detailing products, support riders and shops at a grass roots level. Like many of us, Matt’s first bike was a BMX, and it gave him a sense of freedom.
“As a young person your first BMX when you’re four is your first sense of freedom. Growing up in the early 80s we had a lot more freedom. Bikes have always been there. I have always had dirt bikes too.”
So how does a musician and dirt bike rider transition into setting up a bike cleaning and detailing product brand in Australia? Like many people moving into the bike industry, it involved Matt following what he loved doing and looking for a better work-life balance.
“I studied to be a sound engineer, and so I was always a gear nerd and into vintage recording equipment. I’d do a 10 hour day in the studio with a band, and when finished I’d go to the shed, get
the dirt bike out and go rip in the forest. The love for biking has always been there. I got my first mountain bike in the early 2000s. I owned and operated a recording studio for 14 years, but the hardest thing was being in front of a computer for 12 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week. On the tail end of that period I was starting to ride the mountain bike a lot, and the dirt bike too.”
The thing is, Matt’s fastidious nature and gear nerd leanings meant that although he liked to have nice things – he loved looking after them too. “I’ve always had a love for cleaning things. If I had a nice car at the time, I’d be the guy detailing it for hours on the weekend. I have an unhealthy obsession with having my stuff clean. I have about 6 dirt bikes at home in the shed, all clean, and sometimes I think maybe I won’t ride them. I feel more comfortable knowing my bikes are away clean.”
And so while Matt dabbled with the idea of setting up a high-end car detailing service, it was the opportunity to develop his own cleaning products for bikes that lead them down the path that launched Krush.
“We set up in 2016 and there was a good 6 months lead up in developing the products. I was using a bunch of other brands that make great cleaning products. I was really excited with how the Australian scene was growing, and I felt no Australian brand was making a cleaning product solely focused on mountain bikes.”
And that’s not to say the products only work on mountain bikes. It all works well on road bikes, trail bikes, cyclocross bikes and other hybrids. It’s just that Matt and his partner Emma are mountain bikers, and that’s what they genuinely know and love. The list of events that you will see the Krush tent and vans at does read like a tour list for a band. It’s pretty non-stop.
“I’m used to touring, so we are pretty much on the Krush Tour,” explains Matt. While they get to some of the biggest events, like the UCI World Cup in Cairns, the EWS in Derby, Crankworx Rotorua and more, they also pack up and travel to smaller regional events supported by those who support them. “When you start a small business and see stores buy and stock your products – it’s humbling. So I feel obligated to be there. They’re supporting us, so I want to be there.”
That means that Matt and Emma are also in direct contact with people like you and I, the riders who use their product.
“We deal with riders one on one, so it is also market research. That’s the beauty of being a small owner operated business. It’s a really fun thing and just so important. One of the coolest things is meeting people, and educating them on the experience of detailing your bike.
“A lot of people think bike washing involves hosing your bike, using some detergent, washing it off and chucking it in the shed. But look around, everyone is riding expensive pieces of kit. There are ways to maintain and look after your bike so it rides well, feels awesome and your components last longer. It’s cool to interact with people at events, riding is such a positive thing. They should prescribe less antidepressants and prescribe a bike!”
As fun as it all is, setting up a brand and business is still a lot of hard work. Matt admits that their schedule leaves little time at home, and they really have to commit to their brand and the riders and stores who have supported them by using it.
“You just have to get in and have fun. It’s not always fun, but if it’s something you’re passionate about you just have to make it work. We often combine work and family trips, like up to Alice Springs for The Redback. It was awesome. I did one of the stages and nearly died! I’d never been to Alice Springs.”