Business Advice

This Melbourne couple is riding the wave of success with a futuristic product

Emma Koehn /

The Dyson Bondi II model. Source: Supplied.

It’s the product that has to be sat on to be believed, but David Metzke and Naomi Dyson are booking 50% year-over-year growth with a bicycle brand that appreciates not everyone wants to be Cadel Evans.

The couple started Dyson Bikes in 2014 out of their garage. Metzke, who had previously worked in the automotive industry at General Motors, could see where the car manufacturing industry was headed in Australia. While car sales were slowing, he saw the rise of casual and commuter cyclists and quickly set out to find manufacturers in China to create a line of e-bikes for the Australian market.

The bikes include an electric motor that can help users maintain momentum when climbing up difficult hills or pedaling against the wind. Metzke and his partner Dyson now work with factories overseas to design the models, which they can then ship anywhere around Australia.

“We’ve shipped to Kalgoorie, Lord Howe Island, and some places you’ve never even heard of,” Metzke tells SmartCompany. “These are places that just can’t sustain a bike shop, but we deliver straight there.”

The business expects to sell around 500 units this year, with a retail value of $2000 on average. While e-bikes are on the rise across the world – “In the Netherlands, between 30% and 40% of all bikes sold are e-bikes,” Metzke says – conveying the power of a product like this to a customer can be a challenge.

“It’s virtually impossible to describe what it’s like to ride an e-bike,” he says. “It’s the old bums on seats, you need to get someone on a bike. The best thing is getting people on [to ride] them.”

This means drawing people onto display floors and setting up test drives, often in front of crowds, so that buyers can actually get a sense of what the product can offer them.

“We also do a lot of shows as well,” Metzke says – with caravan and outdoor living exhibitions becoming an important place to get people talking about their products.

“Word of mouth is fantastic – you very often see that, where someone sees one and wants it because their friends have been riding one.”

No special licences are required to ride the bikes, and the founders believe they’ve tapped into the need for a transportation option that won’t leave the user exhausted and sweaty when they arrive at their destination – especially if they’re headed to work.

As a family affair, there are few moments of downtime where the business isn’t front of mind, but the couple have their eye out for new groups of potential customers.

“A lot of delivery businesses are taking up e-bikes too now in the metro areas, for example,” Metzke says. “It’s certainly a trend that’s getting bigger and bigger all the time.”

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior SmartCompany journalist.