Local Bike Repairs, New Bicycles & High Quality Components!
D&D Cycles was established in 2012 by David Wisdom & Daniel Locks. In that time the business has expanded from an oversized garage at the back of a hardware store to a full size shop, 10 times bigger with a dedicated area for repairs & showroom for displaying our hand picked brands.
In 2019 D&D Cycles saw it’s biggest change with Dan moving to Canada. After many years working alongside Dave he had always wanted to pursue a new career and life in Canada.
Going into the future, D&D Cycles will continue it’s trend of stocking products that have the quality and style they look for!
Dave is always happy to help and will go out of his way for any customer and their cycling needs.
A lot of you who follow us on social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc… may not know where we come from, so we thought we would enlighten you from where we started and how D&D Cycles become what it is now.
D&D stands for Dan and Dave, simple as that. We don’t like to make things complicated for ourselves or our customers.
We both met back when we were 16 at Halfords (don’t hate us for it, you have to start somewhere). Both at college at the time studying what we thought we would end up doing, Dave studying music and me (Dan) studying motorcycle mechanics. Studying motorcycle mechanics has kind of helped me being in the cycling trade so it wasn’t all totally wasted and as for Dave well he can still shred on a guitar like a bad man!
We were lucky to start when we did as there were a couple of guys and our good friend Gav J working there who had a strong interest in bikes and still does working down in Plymouth for a bike shop. He showed us the ropes and the correct way of bike building, servicing and all the bits in between. From then on it’s been self-taught, we don’t own any Cyctech training here at D&D Cycles it’s all from our 9 years experience in the trade which is worth its weight in gold.
(Started off in the garage, Fresh build on my Nukeproof Scalp back in 2011)
It started off working in my parents’ garage at home while Dave was still working at Halfords and me working at Rolls Royce. We started making some leaflets up to post around locally after work, through peoples letter boxes, going door to door with the odd nutty dog trying to bite your fingers off! Before long we were gathering quite a lot of local bikes to service and repair after we had both done our full days work, we stuck the tunes on and cracked on until about 11-12 at night. At the same time Dave’s dad was working in the local hardware store in Barnham where there was talk of an opportunity to have a small bike shop out the back of their current shop.
Dave decided to leave Halfords and take on the shop while I was still at Rolls Royce and popping in after my early shift at work to help out. Those days of waking up at 4am to get to work at 6am were soon to be long gone (thank god). I ended up leaving Rolls Royce and as glamorous as it sounds it wasn’t the job for me working on the line. In fact mind-numbingly boring! but it was a good wage and we wouldn’t have the shop now if I didn’t go there, so can’t really complain too much.
So… £1700 is what we had to start off our bike shop! It was once my Whistler Fund (still yet to go) which Dave paid me back after selling his cube stereo. It’s not until you’re at square one that you realize just how much stuff you need. Our good friend Gav who was working at Quest Adventure at the time was in with what’s current on the everyday basis outside of Halfords. He gave us a good idea of what we would need to stock for essentials as £1700 doesn’t actually get you far at all in the cycling trade but it’s a start. We had basics from Shimano, we had tyres, tubes, cables, chains etc… which didn’t even fill our tiny workshop/shop we were working from, 13ft x 17ft. If you don’t think that is small then try using it as a workshop and a shop at the same time haha!
So the first day opening and the first proper customer came in and asked us for a left hand crank arm and well… you never guess what? We didn’t have it haha!! Of all the things we thought we might need on the first day of opening, that was not one of them. Luckily enough he left his bike with us and we ordered one in for him. Overall our first day of opening went well and we started to gain momentum pretty quickly and taking more daily than the hardware store we were situated in.
(As we said £1700 Doesn’t get you much in the cycling trade)
(Literally having a little rave in the corner haha!)
After 7 months of trading and taking on more brands like Nukeproof, Topeak and a couple of bikes from Saracen, it got to that point where the hardware store was closing down and it was our chance to go for it.
We got together down the local pub to discuss our future as D&D Cycles over a Pint and some chips! So we came to an agreement to take the plunge and take over what was left of the hardware store and make it our own. We both agreed to put in what we had saved up out of our own money, making it up to £2.5k each now put into the business. It was quite sparse at first with stock as it was quite a jump in size (42ft x 12ft) from what we had, plus the old shop which was now our workshop. It took time to build up and fill it out as you will see from the pics posted we have come a long way not only with brands and stock but how we display them (dear god it looked awful)
Our biggest change moving into the bigger shop was stocking a range of bikes. We had a couple of Saracen mountain bikes already which we expanded on a little. We had a Rep come down who was originally our Hotlines Rep and now represented Orbea. We got on well with Tom who introduced us to Orbea, we liked the spec for the money, the look and when we ordered a couple of road bikes, the quality was great as well. Offering lifetime warranty on their frames you would expect them to be decent.
We sold through the Orbea Aquas at the time which were all sub £1000 bikes and we replenished as we sold. Saracen just wasn’t cutting it for us, annoying little things with them and the quality just wasn’t where Orbea was when it come to attention to detail. We got in a couple of the mountain bikes from Orbea which went down really well, which led us to eventually stock a full range of mountain bikes and their road bikes.
It wasn’t plain sailing though as it never it is and never will be but we got caught out by a scumbag who fraudulently took £2k off us. We were only 22 at the time and boy did it suck there was nothing we could do about it and we had to suck it up. We learnt from it and put measures in place to stop it in the future and thankfully we haven’t had it happen again. Not what you need when trying to grow into the bigger shop.
Back to Orbea and it really went off when they released the new Rallon R4 which was praised massively through reviews from the likes of Dirt Magazine who loved it. We ended up selling through 8-9 of the Rallons with a couple of frames as well in the first year it was released which isn’t bad at all for a little shop like us! Probably only just started Instagram not knowing what it was about ha.
We slowly nailed down brands that we wanted in the new shop, not rushing as 1. we didn’t have money to burn as it was whatever we were making that went back into the shop and 2. We wanted to make sure we were getting it right. One of the big desirable brands on our list was Troy Lee Designs, it was a must for us when looking for clothing and protection. Getting the best, most desirable clothing and protection brand in the market was a massive step for us. It grabbed the attention of the local mountain bike crowd which brought in a lot of custom for us at the time as none of our competition locally was stocking Troy Lee.
(we started to fill out the shop with brands) Pic Credit – Jim Holecombe
As a bike shop we started up later than our surrounding competitors who had been trading for many years but they mainly focused on cross country and road cycling so we needed to be different. We slowly added brands such as Ride 100%, Renthal, Evoc, MET Helmets, IXS helmets, Maxxis, Schwalbe & ODI which were hard to find in our local area. These brands suited us, the shop and supported our mountain bike customer base we were gaining.
One brand we didn’t expect and know of previously to opening the shop was one of our best and a brand we are well known for now, “Production Privee”. Dave and I have become the number 1 UK dealer of Production Privee and still are to this day by putting the time and effort in to build the brand here in the UK which is a big accomplishment for us.
First of all I will tell you how we came to getting Production Privee. Our team rider Ewan and I were both scrolling Pinkbike as you do when looking for some rad gear! and came across their first edit of their first steel hardtail, the 26″ Shan 917 160mm steel weapon, painted in the Gulf Racing Porsche 917 colours. Watched the edit and instantly wanted one and I bet we weren’t the only ones that had that feeling after watching it. If you haven’t seen it ‘CLICK HERE‘. We are both gravity fed riders, we live for the downhill and wanted a winter hardtail which could take the same amount of abuse as our full sus bikes but with less maintenance and be just as fast and this was exactly that. If you haven’t seen the range ‘CLICK HERE‘.
(A ride with Damien from Production Privee showing him around the famous Surrey Hills)
We have been dealing with Production Privee pretty much since they started up. They began in 2011 (not sure on the month) and we started in March 2012. After watching the edit I got searching for UK distributors in the UK and came across Diverse Distribution which we dealt with for a short while but was told they would no longer be distributing Production Privee in the UK and that we would have to contact Production Privee direct to carry on being a dealer. To be honest, we thought it was going to go downhill from there, waiting days for replies, wrong orders and more but, how wrong were we! Replies the same day, I don’t think we have ever had a wrong order from them!
We have a great relationship with David and Damien the owners who have a great sense of humour which we love and always enjoy opening their emails to see what new banter they have for us! Being the owners they don’t always have the time to deal with our weekly enquiries and so they have Rosa, a third set of hands in the office who is always 100% helpful with anything we ask, quick replies, very knowledgeable too.
(Our custom built Shan N5 outside the Production Privee Shop on our recent trip to Andorra)
(David co-owner of Production Privee enjoying a beer with us in Andorra. Dude’s a legend!)
Once we were dealing directly with Production Privee things started to fall into place with regular orders as people from all over the UK were getting to know us as the UK Dealer. We took an overwhelming number of Pre-orders on the Shan Diamond 27 when it was released as this was their first venture into the 27.5″ wheel era. There is thanks that goes out to the guys at Singletrack for making a cheeky mistake in a post about the Oka saying we were the UK Distributor, no doubt we got a few sales out of that so cheers guys! Stoked to still be the UK Number 1 dealer and recently meeting Damien for a ride in the Surrey Hills and also visiting them over in Andorra with David showing us around! A brand that is really stoked for riding and really down to earth. Its a breath of fresh air in the cycling industry.
(Out on the trails with the boys in Andorra I believe on the Cedric Gracia DH track)
D&D Cycles started to get noticed probably quite a bit before all the brands started flowing in but mainly out on the trails and on the downhill bike when we were riding during the weekends. Friends of friends started to know who we were and got chatting with Chris up Hindhead one weekend. He was looking for a team to ride for along with a couple of mates Reece and Callum. We didn’t really know them but after riding the day with Chris and a few others we got on pretty well and the classic of course, became friends on facebook, scoped him, Reece and Callum out on roots and rain and saw they were doing a lot of racing.
We decided to take the three of them on board for our very first race team which was pretty rad! Never at that stage did we think we would have a team.
Started off with some Thor kit from Madison as this was well before we had Troy Lee Designs, but again when we look back at it, it was pretty bad but hey got to start somewhere haha! The boys were good to us, knowing a lot of riders and people at the races so it did us good getting our name out there. Chris was with us for a couple of years while Callum and Reece had other plans not involving riding. So we trusted Chris and his judgement on some other lads which included Dave and Rob. Where do we start with Rob? Jeezzzzzzzzzz… he was fat, slow, annoying, couldn’t complete the D&D challenge the weak little cretin and well quite frankly a nightmare!!! Haha don’t worry its all banter and he loves it and has now been a Rep for us for the last two years as we sacked him off ha! Dave, on the other hand, was a bloke of very few words, fast on a bike, raced regularly and got it done. Managed to grab a few podiums in the BDS, unlike Rob who was just eating all the pies.
(Chris sending it! Morzine, France when we first started the team on board the Lapierre DH Team 2013)
Fast forward to the next season where Chris moved on to riding for Crank Cycles who were more local to him. We ended up taking on our good friend Liam Saint who was riding a lot with Brad Sheehan at the time who was getting back into racing. Liam and Brad joined the team and podiums started coming thick and fast from the local scene as well as the Pearce Cycles series. We appreciate all the boys’ help over the years getting the name out there and helping us become what we are today. Cheers lads!
(Love this shot of Liam at the Boardeline Events round in Llangollen. Looking fresh as hell in his TLD kit and Nukeproof Pulse)
(Brad going full moto on his Nukeproof Pulse)
Getting back to Dave and I, quite a few local people doubted us which we found out later on when they told us how surprised they were with how far we have come. It’s quite nice to prove people wrong 😉 We are honest and very down to earth and passionate about what we do and we think that is why we are where we are today. We haven’t just sold customers parts, components, bikes etc… just to get them out the door and the money in the till. We have always suggested the best option which we may not have in stock at the time but we will never just sell you that ‘part’ just because it’s there on the shelf. Honesty will always work out in the long run, be patient and it will pay off. It was always instilled in me as a kid to be patient and you will get what you want… Thanks Dad!
Now I suppose we make a little jump. We started really putting a lot of effort towards our social media (you can follow us on Instagram – dd_cycles Facebook – D&D Cycles Snapchat – dd_cycles) and a few distributors/brands started noticing us along with new customers. “Yeah I’ve seen you guys on Instagram” or ” yeah started following you guys on Instagram” was the common ones! Troy Lee came on board to help us out with our race team to make sure we looked the bomb which certainly helped being noticed at races and out riding on the weekends. It took a while to get over the 5k mark on Instagram but due to my brother helping out with his social media marketing skills and putting a plan together for us and of course our honest and real approach to social media, Dave and I began to gain a really good following, which is now currently at 22.6k and trust me there is no quick way of getting there! Patience is your friend.
With the Social Media side of things taking off we started looking for a new brand to compliment what we already had in the shop. Our range of Orbea bikes was growing and covered everything we wanted from reliable kids bikes all the way up to the Orbea Rallon 160mm enduro bike and Production Privee were producing some of the strongest, most fun, steel hardtails on the Market! We were looking for a brand to offer a little bit of craziness, the character behind the brand and in a full suspension package which offered different travel options, wheel sizes and materials. Transition Bikes from Bellingham, Washington ticked every box!
Everything from their short travel playful 29er, The Smuggler, to their big hitting TR500. It wasn’t all smooth sailing getting the Brand as the UK Distributor Windwave doesn’t just let anyone become a Dealer. We pushed hard to get the brand, we love to nag and make sure we get sh*t done ha! It took us well over a month for them to finally agree for us to become a dealer of Transition. From then on it’s gone from strength to strength and we are now in our second year of dealing with Transition. We have just done our biggest order of bikes to date for 2018 with Transition including, frames, Demo fleet and stock bikes, it’s going to be an exciting year ahead with Transition.
(Our 2017 Transition Bikes Patrol Custom build. Loved this machine!) Pic Credit – Love 2 Pedal UK
(Our first Transition to go out the door and start the ball rolling was this TR500 custom build.) Pic credit – Hannah Crossley
So I suppose we can jump ahead a little to October/November 2016 where over the last year or so we had been searching for a new premises to expand in to, make our shop look more presentable and a nicer environment for Dave and I to work in. While Dave was on the post-run he saw a “We Are Moving” sign from a Car boot/Antique kind of shop down the road and was curious about what their premises were like and asked the chap running it and got chatting about how we are looking to move etc… It wasn’t suitable for us but that was where we managed to find the other property which is now our lovely new premises!
The Car boot/Antique guy moved into and shared the premises with ‘Southdowns Antiques’ which turned out a month later the owner of Southdowns Antiques no longer needed the premises due to a larger shop elsewhere. The lovely chap who was sharing his premises let us know his plan to move out, so we got in early and made an inquiry. Funnily enough, the estate agents had no idea this was happening.
As many will know dealing with Estate Agents is a pain in the arse! and this was no different with contracts going back and forth at least 4 times due to someone not being able to copy and paste properly for the £100 hourly rate they are getting. To be honest, we were pretty clueless about all the lawyer, contract stuff, we just knew what price we wanted to pay etc… so luckily one of our local customers Tony owns Business First. He’s had many businesses himself and plenty of contacts that come in handy. We were already signed up with him so we gave him a call to see if he could help. Dave and I certainly wouldn’t have this premises now and in the time we did without all his help. Thanks again Tony!
After all the hassle of estate agents we managed to get a moving in date for December 16th, 2016. Our first thoughts, once we got the keys, was like, “ermmmm crap are we actually doing this?” We had our super boss shop layout done in paint. Yes, Dave is a genius with paint!(This was our first edition of the shop layout which it pretty much stayed the same but with a couple of small adjustments of displays.)
We decided to take out our very first loan for D&D Cycles since starting back in 2012, which was a total of £5k to provide materials for the new shop, Slatwall, Flooring, Light fittings, Paint, Wood for the counter while also using a large amount of it for the deposit on the shop. So yeah we have built up the shop from the very bottom to now without a loan which we are pretty proud of, especially starting in the recession.
Our goal was to be open by the 7th Of January. We normally have a week off over Christmas as it’s just the two of us here it’s normally the only time we get to have a decent amount of time off. But we couldn’t afford to be paying two lots of rent so started work as soon as we got the keys on the 16th of December. Dave and I swapping between working in the old shop keeping that running up to Christmas Eve and doing all the work that was needed to open up the new shop. Obviously, that didn’t stop once our old shop was shut at 6pm. Working until the early hours of the morning, I think we were there until 3am most nights as we had just over three weeks to have the new shop fitted out and up and running for customers.
(The shop stripped bare ready to get to work)
So we managed to get it done! Opening for business on the 7th January was a relief. Just over 3 weeks of not only still running our old shop but building our new one and countless hours put in. There were still bits to be done and still is now, we are just getting our workshop how we like, a few displays to still add in the shop but it’s so much better than what we had before. It was nice to arrive in the morning with a fresh new shop that we have dreamed about for ages. Able to display products properly with dedicated displays making it a hell of a lot easier for customers to find products and browse around the shop.
(Party in full flow. Thanks to everyone that showed up that night! We will have another soon)
(Good friends Ali & Beccy from Fatcreations brought down their bikes to show off and for people to see in the flesh, Thanks again guys!)
We had a small opening party for friends and customers to come and see the new shop, have some beers, food and have a good old chat. Was crazy the response we got from people about how nice it looked. They were pretty surprised that we did it over 3 weeks (over Christmas) and also thought we brought in a whole load of new stock! Shows how well and what a difference it makes having properly dedicated displays for brands, components and accessories.
So I suppose we are now at the present day! We have a great team of riders on board with us racing and representing the shop all over the UK. This includes Bradley Briggs, Marlon Winch, Ewan Parkin, Will Turnbull, Conrad Sole, Myself (Dan), Dom Platt, Nick Platt, Liam Saint and very recently taken on a young lady from Germany, Judy Uhlig who will be representing us as we have a lot of German customers and she’s a pretty cool chick! Dave occasionally races for a laugh when he gets time but mainly on the spanners the little grease monkey 😉
(Junior Rider Will Turnbull racing the Production Privee Shan N5 at the Southern Enduro) Pic Credit – Piers Fearick
(Grand Veteran Rider Bradley Briggs is a winning machine)
(A handful of us racing Southern Champs in Exmoor From left, Ewan, Dan, Brad, Dave & Marlon)
Stoked with where we are. Enjoying it so much more which is what it’s all about. The shop is now looking a lot cleaner with the displays and organisation. We still have some more changes to do as we always will as we progress as a business but for now, we are at a place where we have always wanted to be. A nice shop visually and to work in with great brands. With our brands we have something for everybody now, whether it’s style of bike, material, price point, I think we now cover mountain biking really well. Check out the pictures below of our new home and how far we have come (now a year old by the time of reading this).
(UK Number 1 Dealer of Production Privee) Pic Credit – Ben Locks
(Joystick, a great brand with great support here in the UK and gaining momentum) Pic Credit – Ben Locks
(Stoked with the look of our new home and the brands we are carrying. Its been a long time coming!) Pic Credit – Ben Locks
(Stoked on what we have accomplished. More fun to come!) Pic Credit – Ben Locks
As the saying goes “it’s not what you know but who you know” we couldn’t have done this without a lot of help from these guys though; both our parents, Dave’s wife Katie, Rob, Glenn, Marlon and most of all our good mate Joe. Joe is a chippy who made our counter, helped us fit our Slatwall, cut out the archway ready for plastering, fitted our front door, the use of his tools, guidance on the stuff that we had no idea what we were doing. If you need a good chippy check out J.Staker Carpentry or give him a call on 07900 957211, a shameless plug I know but we couldn’t have done it without him.
Looking forward to what is ahead of us in the years to come. It hasn’t been easy but its certainly now worth it. I’m not and never was great at writing or English at school so apologies if it isn’t the greatest written blog you have read haha!
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