- - Onguza's Namibian Frame Proves Steel is Still Real in Africa

Onguza’s Namibian Frame Proves Steel is Still Real in Africa

While the thought of a classic steel frame might hark back to such storied brands like Colnago, Pinarello and De Rosa, Onguza is proving that “steel is still real” in Africa with its Namibian frame.

The Namibian frame is the project of two-time Olympic rider, Dan Craven. But, unlike modern-day steel bikes, Onguza doesn’t rely on a terzista to make its frames. Rather, all of the brand’s frames are made in the town of Omaruru in midwestern Namibia.

“I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life chasing the professional cyclist dream in Europe but as my first career has come to an end I’ve been asking myself, what was the point of becoming a pro in the first place? Did it matter? What can I do now? What must I do now? It would be easy for me not to use my privilege, influence, and visibility for good. But if I don’t, why did I gain these things in the first place? Back in 2010, I had an idea. It took 12 years to realize, but it is finally happening. My hometown of Omaruru is a land of talented makers stuck in low-value jobs. Many struggle to find work aside from farm labor. Building world-class steel bicycles is a high-value trade that matches the quality of their workmanship. From the start, I knew we could build bikes as good as the best steel frame builders in the world. But it became clear this wasn’t enough. What do you picture when you hear “African bikes”? There’s a good chance you’re not thinking of a luxury, world-class bike. And you’re not alone. We need to change the way people think about goods made in Namibia – and from Africa as a whole. Name a luxury brand from the African continent…? We have our work cut out for us. Our team of builders is handcrafting world-class steel-framed bikes in a dusty town in Namibia. It’s maybe the last place you’d expect something extraordinary to come from. But we’re doing it,” says Craven.

In addition to its skilled workforce, Namibia has one of the world’s most extensive networks of natural roads, amassing thousands of miles of gravel and dirt roads set against a backdrop of magnificent landscapes, making the region home to several world-class gravel races and bikepacking events. 

Back to the frames.

Each Namibian frameset is made by Sakaria Nkolo and Petrus Mufenge, who have been mentored over the years by master framebuilders like Robin Mather, Andrew Denham, Tomi Salmon and Andres Arregui Velasquez.

“We hand-miter all our tubing, with a hacksaw and file. The builders have always been world-class when it comes to using their hands – and now we like to show that off with how precise and consistent we work! That is also why we filet braze. It is not the quickest method – but we think it is the prettiest and cleanest. And if you know the amount of work that goes into those smooth junctions you appreciate it all the more,” explains Craven.

The Namibian consists of three models, The Goat gravel bike, The Holy Fire road plus and The Rooster hardtail mountain bike, which are all made-to-order using Columbus tubing for $4100.00.





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