Hybrid Bikes is the story of a business that was never planned, but which evolved from a need to fill a gap in the market, and to help me on the road to recovery. Our Nelson based e-bike design and build business also turned out to be a mental health outlet for me, I saw it as a way to recover physically and mentally from cancer. I considered that fitness was a crucial step towards regaining my health so in 2017 I considered getting an e-bike, also to help my ride home up a steep hill. When I started to look for an e-bike and I could not find what I really wanted I decided I should design and build my own carbon fibre e-bike. At this time, I had no job but plenty of time available to focus on this project. I always loved carbon fibre so I thought lets do it, after my first carbon e bike was on the road I had lots of great feedback. After showing my new e bike design to Bike Shops across New Zealand and they shared my excitement about my new creation I gave it some serious thought to turn this into a business. In my mind I had a potential winner, but I knew I had to keep the cost down to a level people would be prepared to spend on a carbon fibre e-bike, and from an unknown brand.' I felt I needed further business skills so enrolled in night classes and gained a Diploma in Business Management. This helped me to create a detailed business plan around finance, business development and risk analyses. The company now designs the moulds for the e-bike frames, and has them made from lightweight, strong, high performance carbon fibre, notable for its excellent riding characteristics. My business model is simple: Design two frames (low bar and high bar) which are versatile enough to be modified into seven different e-bike models. This business model had the highest success rate in my business analyses plan for our new start up. Now we have a range of models including urban bikes, mountain bikes, all- terrain bikes and race bikes - all based on my two carbon frames. Consumer Magazine reviewed our Hybrid E Bike models online as one of the best E Bikes in New Zealand alongside Specialized which is a US billion dollar company for now 3 year in a row.
Hybrid Bikes is a small Nelson business, operating successfully from a home garage. Company founder, Frank Witowski had no background in cycling but decided to do something risky, at a risky time of his life, and build a business that went head-to- head with the biggest e-bike brands in the world. The company designs its own e-bike molds and builds them from carbon fibre; a material used only by the world's leading e-bike brands. Frank says they decided to use carbon fibre frames in the cruiser and commuter market because its lightweight, strong composition gives riders the ultimate riding experience. Frank says the company rose to this ambitious challenge, while delivering them at a price point acceptable to the consumer. 'Nobody gave us much of a chance to be successful in this venture, but now three years down the track, we receive impressive reviews from our customers and from bicycle retailers, and sales numbers are improving month by month.' Frank says the company quickly found that the merits of our story caught the media's attention. TVNZ show Seven Sharp filmed it after just eight months in business. This was followed by a review in Consumer Magazine, multiple features in print media including Kia Ora Magazine, New Zealand Business Magazine, and interviews on nationwide radio stations. The business was first reviewed by Consumer Magazine in 2019 and has since continued to dominate reviews of 21 models of e-bike, including big-name global brands. The company's Hybrid brand e-bike test models have now landed in Australia and are ready for promotion. The company has set up a base in Perth, Western Australia, from where the global expansion journey into the premium e-bike category will begin.