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Onguza Rooster Custom Steel Mountain Bike Hardtail, Built to Ride Away From Lions

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike handmade in Namibia, Africa
(Photos by Ben Ingham/Onguza)

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike handmade in Namibia, Africa - riding away
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Onguza is back with another new steel bike made in Namibia, this time a made-to-measure Rooster steel hardtail mountain bike. You may not immediately think of bike craftsmanship made in Africa. But, Onguza reminds us that these are bikes built by people who know the value of a reliable bike when you live somewhere tough…

Namibia knows tough. Namibia knows what happens if your bike breaks in the middle of nowhere. We’ve got lions!

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike

Onguza has updated their gravel The Goat, aka Model 1 and road-plus The Holy Fire bikes with 4 new color options and complete bike upgrade options for this year. But at the same time, they’ve added an all-new The Rooster hardtail mountain bike.

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike handmade in Namibia, Africa
(Photos by Ben Ingham/Onguza)

Those two drop bar bikes are pretty dedicated for their specific disciplines. But the new Rooster really opens up a lot more possibilities. Onguza calls it more of an “open slate”.

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike handmade in Namibia, Africa - NDS riding

It’s a 29″ hardtail with a 120mm fork, but for some people that could mean an XC race bike, others could see it as more of a trail all-rounder. And there’s also a growing crop of bikepacking adventure racers who see this as the perfect platform for ultra-distance riding far away from civilization.

Tested over many years and in several different formats in harsh terrain, The Rooster has raced across Namibia several times in the Desert Dash with its earliest prototype winning the event ridden by Dan Craven in 2012.

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike handmade in Namibia, Africa - riding cattle grate

Onguza says they prefer “a progressive geometry” for the Rooster and 120mm of fork travel, but don’t go into specifics on numbers quite as much as they do with the dropbar bikes. They say, “you fill in the details”. And after you give them your bike fit details and explain what you are looking for in an online consultation, Onguza will tailor all the important details just for you.

Tech details

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike handmade in Namibia, Africa - frameset painted-to-match

The made-to-measure Onguza Rooster hardtail gets fillet-brazed, built up with Columbus steel tubing. The Rooster features a straight machined 44mm headtube, post mount disc brakes, 30.9mm seatpost, Boost thru-axle rear end with a stainless steel SRAM UDH dropout. It includes fully guided internal brake routing through the downtube and chainstays as standard, built for a wireless SRAM AXS drivetrain & dropper setup, as standard. But you can optionally add on routing for a mechanical drivetrain if you wish, and for a mechanical dropper if needed. They’ll also do custom bikepacking mods and more mountain point braze-ons as extras, too.

Onguza Rooster – Pricing, options & availability

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike handmade in Namibia, Africa - complete green Rooster

Like the Goat & Holy Fire, the new Onguza Rooster MTB hardtail sells as a frameset starting at $4100 USD, including free worldwide shipping.

For the mountain bike, that gets you a frame, a 120mm RockShox SID fork, stem, fixed seatpost, and headset – all painted to match. Plus, the matching ‘Made Out Here’ headset top cap.

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike handmade in Namibia, Africa - "Made Out Here" top cap

Here that frameset price also gets you a lot of off-road design flexibility. Onguza builds each mountain bike frame truly made-to-measure, so the bike is dialed in perfectly for the rider. You can even book a free consultation via their website to see if it’s the perfect bike for you. Complete bike builds are also possible.

Onguza Rooster custom steel hardtail mountain bike handmade in Namibia, Africa - skate park

But Onguza is a relatively small workshop. And they only can make so many. So, you’ll need to put down a $1500 deposit to secure your build slot. Then, Onguza will put you in like to make your bike.

Onguza.com

For more about Onguza’s “We’ve got Lions!” campaign and the full Made Out Here video, read on. Their full PR about the collaboration with photographer Ben Ingham below:

We’ve got Lions!

ONGUZA was founded in 2020 by two-time Namibian Olympic Road Cyclist and professional rider Dan Craven (better known as @danfromnam). And is part owned by the company’s Namibian master framebuilders Sakaria Nkolo and Petrus Mufenge.

While the cycling industry is facing some monumental challenges at the moment, ONGUZA has been growing, mainly selling bikes in the USA. Despite this success, the brand is facing its own obstacles. “People often don’t know anything about Namibia. If people think of Namibia they’re thinking of landscapes and animals, but we are not famous for our craftsmanship. If you’re an Italian framebuilder, you benefit from what it means to be from Italy. But being from Namibia we have to be so good the ride speaks for itself.” says Craven.

As Craven says “our Goliath is not in the cycling industry, it’s how the world views African craftsmanship. Name a single, globally recognized luxury brand from Africa? It’s hard to do! But the quality is there.”

Creative Director, Collyn Ahart says, of the campaign process, “What’s the real benefit of riding a Namibian-made bicycle? Namibia might not have a grand tour. But if you want a bike that’s made by people who know what a bike really needs to do. Would you rather have a bike made in a faceless factory in the East? Or a bike handmade in the toughest place on earth? Namibia knows tough. Namibia knows what happens if your bikes breaks in the middle of nowhere. We’ve got lions!”

The campaign with Ingham takes a deep look at the dynamism of Namibian culture. And how it influences the ONGUZA brand, including motorsport, horse riding, dance, spirituality, and living in a powerful landscape.

ONGUZA collaborating with Ben Ingham makes a bold statement about where the brand is heading. Ingham has a vast portfolio of work for luxury brands including Rapha, Dunhill and Stella McCartney. As Ahart says “The best brands make you feel something. We need people to see and feel what it means to be made out here. Both in the sense of being made as a person on a bike. And being made in the toughest place on earth.” Made Out Here signs off the brand’s new work as a line.

“I’ve always believed we have to lean into what makes us different rather than play by the rules of our category. Cycling can be painfully self-referential, but we are unique, we just need to capture it. I don’t know many photographers who can capture that kind of truth in a place the way Ben can.” Both Ahart and Craven worked with Ingham while he was working for Rapha. “Ben is an outsider to Namibia, but sometimes you need an outsider to help reveal your inner strength.”

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jonathan
jonathan
17 days ago

that price is pretty hard to swallow, ngl.

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