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A limited edition African Onguza gravel bike. Onguza only builds one model at a time from their workshop in Omaruru, Namibia on the south west coast of Africa, and they build them in very limited numbers. Officially, these Original Gravel Model 1 gravel bikes launched back at Bespoked, but now let’s take a closer look at them. Just 15 framesets and 5 complete bikes will be made, and… “When they’re gone they’re gone.“
Who is Onguza?
A dozen years in the making, Onguza is the project of Namibia ex-pro cyclist & 5x national road champion Dan Craven (who raced for Rapha Condor, Europcar & the Cycling Academy precursor to the current Israel-Premier Tech), his partner & wife Collyn Ahart, and a pretty big team that helped him set up shop back in his hometown near the southwestern top of Africa with local framebuilders. Craven and Ahart moved from Girona back to Namibia last May
The result is a world-class level steel frame-building workshop creating high-value jobs and developing local talent. The first two frame builders trained at home & abroad for the past 5 years – Petrus Mufenge and Sakaria Nkolo (who are now shareholders in the company, too) – are now crafting premium steel bike frames “on a dusty farm in Namibia”.
As Craven describes it, “It’s maybe the last place you’d expect something extraordinary to come from. But we’re doing it. And I need your help, so please come along on this journey with us.”
Onguza Original Gravel Model 1 bike
The first production bike out of the Onguza workshop is the Original Gravel Model 1. It is a modern fillet-brazed Columbus Life steel gravel bike, with tubing bent, hand-mitered & filed in the Omaruru workshop.
The double-butted steel frames feature straight 44mm headtubes for tapered steerers, stainless threaded BSA bottom brackets, stainless UDH compatible dropouts, a tidy double arch seatstay bridge, and clearance for 700 x 47mm tires. The frames feature internal rear brake cable routing, wireless-specific lack-of-routing standard (although other routing is possible), two standard bottle cage mounts plus optional toptube bag mounts, and a classic 27.2mm seatpost with an external clamp.
Frames are painted standard in sage green and come with a full-carbon Columbus Futura fork & Zipp carbon stem, both painted-to-match in yellow and black cow spots.
The bikes feature standard gravel geometry designed by Craven – in 5 stock sizes only, XS-XL – although Onguza does allude to the fact that they could build custom geometry for riders outside of their standard fit range.
Onguza Gravel – Pricing options & availability
As we write, about half of Onguza’s limited edition Original Gravel Model 1 bikes are still available, a mix of framesets & complete bikes, with free shipping to the USA, Europe & South Africa. The frameset alone retails for $4100 including the cow-spotted Columbus Futura Cross fork & stem. Or complete builds with SRAM Force AXS XPLR, Zipp wheels & cockpit from $7800. To get one, you have to pre-order either for around $1200-1500 before your bike is built, and then they’ll sort out the sizing for you.
Check out an Onguza for when the pavement really ends. And there are more types of bikes in the works too, like the road bike Craven had hoped to race at the Tokyo Olympics before getting Covid…