The guys from www.BikeHub.co.za recently paid us a visit to get an in-depth understanding on how we do things, what we do differently, and what goes on behind the scenes here at Rush Sports. Here is their recap from the visit:
Ever wondered where all those parts you see hanging in bike shops come from? We all know they get there through distributors but it's not common for most people to get insight into that side of the bike industry. Keen to check it out for myself, I was quick to jump when invited to spend a day with the guys from Rush Sports at their warehouse and dealer evening.
Rush Sports, head office and warehousing, is based in Pietermaritzburg. Despite being some distance from their big sales areas (Gauteng and Western Cape) the guys are happy in PMB and, with an efficient courier, parts can be delivered countrywide overnight.
Rush Sports started life as an public online retailer but have since closed this part of the business to focus on distributing brands to dealers. They are currently the South African suppliers of Enduro Bearings, Onza, Praxis Works, Formula, Wheels MFG, and Brake Authority which are available through your local bike shop.
Rush Sports pride themselves on their communication and efficient service and have set up a number of processes to smooth out the ordering and delivery chain for their clients (your local bike shop). They've also taken the approach of favouring quality workshop components (such as bearings, spacers, adapters and brake pads) over flashy exciting products. For information on the companies philosophy and direction, check out this recent press release that they sent out to the media.
In the office
Warehouse 21, the home of Rush Sports. Their next-door neighbours in warehouse 23 happen to be Pat and Hilton from Pyga Industries.
As you walk into the warehouse you are greeted by this happy fellow. And some Evil lurking at the base of the stairs.
Up the stairs you'll find Andre (centre), Mark (right) and Ryan (left), the Rush Sports team, in the office. See the big screen on the wall behind Ryan's head? That's Rush's hit list. If you're a dealer and they haven't been in contact for a couple weeks, your name pops up here and the guys get in touch with you.
While I was there the phones didn't stop ringing with orders coming in and courtesy calls going out to check that everything is still in order and stocks are being kept topped up.
It genuinely appears that the guys are loving what they do. There's a good vibe in the office with much banter between the guys, I even got to experience the entertaining weekly gangster rap pick.
Other than the good old telephone, Rush Sports also offer an online platform from which stores can order parts.
You can tell a lot about a person by the state of their workshop. The Rush Sports guys keep it squeaky clean.
Rush Sport’s have a huge collection of items. The tricky thing for them is that most are small and only distinguishable by a keen eye. The number of different bearings alone had my head spinning, then there are the BB adapters, spacers, seals, derailleur hangers, brake spares... I think you get the point.
These boxes are packed with Onza mountain bike tyres. This fresh shipment had just arrived before my visit.
Despite the industry's best efforts to try and get you to buy a new bike, 26er isn’t dead, and Rush Sports are well aware of this. They had plenty of 26er Onza tyres in stock.
Each item gets slapped with an item code as soon as it enters the door. It's the only way to keep track of stock. It was all a bit of a maze to me but the guys knew their way around the place when completing orders.
The day's orders go out before the close of business each day. This means that there's a good chance your bike shop can order today and receive your parts tomorrow. Something you should bear in mind, and possibly check with your shop, if things seem to be taking time with a Rush Sports brand. Of course, there will always be items out of stock and awaiting a fresh shipment from the manufacturer.
The packing station. This is where orders are prepared for shipping to stores.
Rush Sports send their orders out in neatly branded boxes. These are created using a stencil and paint brush. The end result looks very professional and the boxes can take quite a beating (as I found out when challenged to break one).
The end result. Orders ready for courier collection.
KwaZulu-Natal Dealer Evening
On the same day of my warehouse visit, Rush Sports also hosted their first ever dealer evening at Giba Gorge MTB Park. The idea was for Rush Sports to get all their KZN dealers in one place to catch up, display their new products, and company aims going forward. The event was well attended by the local bike shop owners and managers. Giba Gorge served some very tasty food while Mo' Gravity Brewery were on hand with fantastic beer.
Credit to Lloyd Ramsey for taking the above photos at the dealer evening.
During my visit, there were a few products left out in view which I managed to grab some snaps of.
Praxis 1x cranks feature a hallow crank arm and decent looks. Expect this brand to appear on a number of 2016 Specialized bikes.
Stock of the famed Praxis wide range cassettes arrived shortly after my visit. Ask your local bike shop, if they aren't stocking already.
Praxis also make narrow wide chain rings.
Ever had the desire to run ceramic derailleur pulleys? No? Me neither. But for those that that have, Enduro Bearings have you covered with these long lasting, low resistance pulleys.
Wheels MFG try to recreate as many bike derailleur hangers as the can. Very useful when your bike manufacturer can’t find a replacement. This plate shows how the hangers are built from a solid piece of metal.
A Wheels MFG bearing press. A must have for any shop and certainly a dream kit for my home mechanics toolbox.
You can find out more about Rush Sports on their website here. They also post interesting videos about their products and business on their YouTube channel here.