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Celebrating 15 years of business in Australia in 2020, the familiar black and orange JetBlack cycling brand has evolved. JetBlack’s purpose statement today is ‘Love to Ride’. And its mission statement is ‘Accessible Performance’. Don’t confuse the brevity of these statements with any lack of thought or depth. They’ve driven the remarkable success of this Australian based company that is now a global brand.
Like many independent start-ups, JetBlack Cycling started small, originally operating out of storage facility with just two shelves of pallet racking.
But from those small beginnings, a lifelong passion for cycling along with consistent and significant investment into people and product development, has produced remarkable results, not only for JetBlack, but for their dealers and customers worldwide.
“We love the experience of riding and want our customers to enjoy that same experience,” said JetBlack’s co-founder and Managing Director, Tony Simmonds.
“Our purpose was born out of a personal passion of mine for cycling which started right from my days as a child getting on my BMX and riding out into the suburbs, getting lost then finding my way home. Then as I got older discovering mountain biking in the 1990’s, commuting, and later getting involved in business and discovering a love of road riding. I am still a cyclist and love to ride.
At JetBlack cycling is not just business, it’s deeply personal.
“Cycling throughout the seasons of my life has played a huge part in my own well-being. Four years ago when my daughter was facing a life threatening illness and my personal life was in tatters, being able to get out on the bike and ride long and hard by myself or connecting with mates, really helped me get through that season. It helped me stay physically and mentally strong during a very tough period. It has also been an incredible way to bond as a newly blended family with my two children, my new wife and her three children. I have learned so much about cycling through their experiences”.
A key part of JetBlack Cycling’s business has always been to import and wholesale a range of products to bicycle dealers throughout Australia. But unlike most other companies who do this, JetBlack has also developed a global market for their own increasingly sophisticated products led by their newly launched JetBlack Volt smart trainer.
JetBlack have been doing indoor training equipment for a while now, but the smart trainer trend and capability is very specialised and highly technical. The Volt, represents the culmination of four years’ hard work by JetBlack’s team of Australasian based experts including three industrial designers, four electrical engineers and two software developers.
JetBlack’s products not only sell throughout Australia but also worldwide including most of the major cycling markets.
When it comes to product development JetBlack’s mission statement is ‘Accessible Performance’. They create products that are not only affordably accessible, but that perform as well as anything else on the market.
“Right from when we started we always had the desire to not only be a distributor of great brands, but to build our own brands,” Tony recalled. One of the key motivations for this was the ability to see potential improvements upon existing products, and through thoughtful innovation, make them even better and more affordable, and not just for Australians, but for cyclists all around the world.
JetBlack continue to invest into the development of their growing team and products.
“Its exciting times ahead. Our new smart trainer that’s hitting the stores this winter stands up to any product in the world.
We are innovating around the high-tech end of smart trainers and taking things to the next level with the accessories you need when cycling indoors. Our indoor trainer studio accessories include a custom designed trainer table with grooves for devices, and a pivoting turning block which not only simulates actual cycling movement, but also reduces stress on your bike frame when riding on any indoor trainer. And at the same time, we are also innovating with the everyday items such as water bottles, by making these easy to squeeze and cleverly tapered to make bottle cage entry that much easier.
“The feedback we’re getting on our latest smart trainer, the Volt, is phenomenal. Dealers are loving how quiet it is. But we’ve also put a lot of work into our firmware. There’s a lot of coding to ensure that you’re getting a realistic ride when you’re going up and down hills, taking into account rider weight, bike weight, wind resistance at different speeds to get the correct power curves.”
Every product that JetBlack develops or distributed on behalf of other brands must align with their purpose, ‘Love to Ride’. As with many simple and elegant outcomes, they put a lot of thought and time into defining their purpose statement, which had to be large enough to cover everything from a lock-on grip, lubes and tyre sealant, indoor trainers through to a high end Pivot bikes. JetBlack also works with its key vendors in the development space and worked very closely with Weldtite to produce the Jet Blast degreaser that is revolutionising the way bikes are cleaned.
But it’s not just about their purpose and products, it’s about their people, culture and community spirit.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have some key people on our team. Dave Grupe is our longest standing employee who has been with us since the very early days. Everyone in the industry knows ‘Grupe’ as we fondly nick name him. Dave Heaven came on board as our NSW rep many years ago and is now handling our National Sales key accounts and some brand management.
The JetBlack team is growing and currently in a recruiting phase bringing on people who align with their vision.
“Our customers tell us that one of the many things that sets us apart from other distribution companies is our timely and expert service to our dealers,” said Tony. “I think we have one of the fastest order despatch times in the industry, usually within 24 hours.
“We understand that a lot of shops these days are running on tighter inventory levels so, we’re geared to meet their requirements.
Their company culture is underpinned by Family, Fun and Fitness.
“My team tell me that I’m fun, but not hilarious! I do take my work pretty seriously, but there is always room for a joke, a smile, lots of kindness and of course going for a ride.” Tony says with a broad smile.
“Within our company, we encourage the team to get on a trainer or get out for a ride during the work day. Every week the fridge is stocked up with fresh fruit, protein powders and nutritional supplements to support good nutrition too.”
Once they’ve selected their product portfolio, JetBlack then backs these through both close support of their dealer network and consistent, substantial investment in a wide range of cycling sponsorships, with a long history of supporting community too.
“We’re very much about promoting cycling in Australia at grass roots level. We are really fortunate to be able to sponsor many events, teams and community fundraisers. I personally ride a number of fundraising events such as 180TC, supporting alcohol and drug addiction recovery as well as Rare Cancers Australia Canberra to Thredbo.
JetBlack is a long term sponsor of Rocky Trail Events and also has a JetBlack mountain bike team and sponsor the GPM NRS (National Road Series) team with indoor trainers.
It would be true to say that JetBlack is going places and its focus on purpose, products and people is getting it there.
To find out more visit www.jetblackproducts.com or call (02) 4560 1200