Sheppard Cycles is the New Zealand Company that engineers and distributes the Avanti brand of bikes throughout New Zealand and Australia and has in recent years supported World Champion pursuit rider Alison Shanks and the Pure Black Racing Team and in 2013 the Huon Salmon Genesys Pro Cycling Team.
Now the brand is set to feature once again in the world of BMX bikes with the race bikes carrying the iconic New Zealand Avanti brand from August 2013, with Walker, Tahlia Hansen, Kurt James, Max Macready and Richard McLachlan amongst the first to enjoy the best in Kiwi engineering.
Walker rode the 2014 Avanti branded prototype for the first time today and will take the bike with her to the USA as she prepares for the July 24 - 28 UCI World Championships at Vector Arena (www.bmxworldsnewzealand.com)
“I have been a professional athlete racing BMX for a number of years and I absolutely love what I do,” said Walker. “The preparation, training and of course the execution of race plans is critical. However, I have also learned that another key to a top performance is surrounding myself with top quality equipment and people who have as much passion and commitment to succeed as I do.
“I have been involved with the Avanti family for a number of years now and they have been an integral part of my success. The team believe in what I do and are always looking for ways to continue to adapt and improve my frame technology and equipment. I am excited to be able to represent all that Avanti stands for and showcase this when I am training and racing.
“It is a fantastic feeling when competing on the international stage as a New Zealander and knowing that I have the backing of a strong, NZ brand like Avanti. These guys have over 25 years in the bike industry with their first bikes being BMX so these guys truly know what they are doing. This knowledge and commitment is totally reflected in the bike I ride and just adds to my confidence.
“I am really excited about taking Avanti all the way to Rio 2016. Like me, Avanti believe in the success of New Zealanders and that if we work together you can be the absolute best in the World.”
John Oldale leads the BMX design team at Avanti and spoke of the work that has gone into the development of the new frameset.
“The Avanti Team issue frameset was developed in conjunction with our team riders,” said Oldale, Avanti BMX Bicycle Product Manager.
“The initial design brief was to come up with something that was light, fast and stiff giving the rider the ultimate advantage out of the gate and down the first straight. In order to do this we needed to develop a back end that was incredibly stiff yet had no weight penalty. We chose to use custom shaped tubes made out of Kinesis K7 alloy which offers a strength-to-weight ratio and produces a very strong but lightweight frame.
“The frame also features a BB30 PF bottom bracket which is a technology borrowed from road bikes allowing for a larger crank axle and bearings. The rear hub is custom made for Avanti and uses a 15mm axle which is 5mm larger than a standard BMX race axle, once again making the overall package stiff. The hub has 120 points of engagement – meaning that there is little to no slip on the chain for immediate pick-up out of the gate. To finish the frame off we have used “double pass” welds to help reduce stress and increase fatigue life.”
The move to reengage the Avanti brand in BMX racing sees the company go full circle from the very first bike produced by the company to once again proudly providing world class framesets to the best riders in the world.
“Sheppard’s are excited to re-introduce the Avanti brand back in the BMX race scene – the grass roots of where the company began over 30 years ago,” said Bob Boniface, Sheppard Cycles Managing Director.
“It completes the circle of high performance athletes we support under the Avanti brand with the likes of Alison Shanks and Cameron Brown and supports our drive to grow and support top level competitive cycling in NZ.
“We are looking forward to the range being released in August and are excited to be part of the sponsorship group helping bring the UCI World Champs to Auckland this coming July with Sarah, Max, Tahlia and Kurt all to race on the new Avanti frame.”