Spoke Magazine

Frankly Thursday – Chris Harris

Posted by johnoldale on Thursday November 17 2011

Chris is one of those rad dudes, who “gets” the cycle industry. Because of his ability to pick up on what riders need and want, his distribution business Revolutionproducts.co.nz has grown substantially over the last few years. The majority of his product portfolio would appear on most peoples wishlist of bling. Not only this, but Revolution Products has helped a lot of New Zealand’s top riders get to where they are today by hooking them up with a ride for the season.

How old are you?
35 going on 18

Where do you live?
Mangatarata, Hauraki Plains

What do you like best about living where you do?
We have five kids and we need a heap of space to let the kids just be kids and not have to worry about the pressures of the growing up. My partner and I were also born and raised in this area and we have a lot of family history all around us and it means a lot to us to carry this on. We are currently building a new house/warehouse up a no exit road and our lawn backs onto the forestry which our test trails are built in. It’s the perfect place really, can’t imagine living anywhere else.

What do you dislike about living where you do?
Nothing. Oh, you can’t buy good coffee beans in Ngatea (sorry Four Square, if you’re reading this you really need to up your game and get the good stuff in!)

How did you get involved in the mountain bike scene to begin with, and how long ago was that?
Riding bikes has always been a big part of my life. I guess I was three or four when I first starting riding but when I was around 10 years old my cousins and I used to head up into the hills behind my house and come flying down. I don’t think we knew of mountain biking as a sport then but it was a rush for us and we knew it was cool and we lived for the weekends to go riding.

I started travelling as an 18 year old and ended living in Vancouver BC for six years, and that’s when mountain biking really took off for me. It totally consumed my life! When I wasn’t riding I was thinking about bikes, every moment of my day was about bikes. Things haven’t really changed for me over the years, bikes have and will always be a part of who I am.

What’s your ‘day’ job? What does it involve?
Owner of Revolution Products (AKA Transition, Pivot, Chromag, Gamut, Supercross, Leatt and Contour importer/distributors). My day starts with writing emails and normally ends with emails. However in between those emails we have all the normal day to day business stuff to get through: accounting, marketing, budgets, talking to dealers and my riders. All good fun, love it!!

What are five benefits of working with bikes all day every day?
Well the biggest benefit is dealing with customers, dealers and suppliers who all have the same amount of passion for bikes as me. I never have any trouble getting out of bed to start my day.

How would you describe your riding style?
Well I thought it was “fast and flowy” but I saw some video footage of me racing BMX the other day, and it wasn’t pretty. So I guess my style is still a work in progress.

Favourite trail?
Don’t really have one sorry, they’re all good!! Just as long as there’s dirt, a few berms, roots, rocks etc. I even like doing skids on the driveway with the kids.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in the last 10 years?
I’m not invincible, crashing hurts nowadays.

What’s wrong with mountain biking?
Not a lot is wrong, I tend to just focus on the good things that are happening. However, I do believe that more local councils need to step up and make more areas available as potential mountain bike parks. Or at least have a pump track in your local town. We need to keep kids away from the TV and PlayStations.

What are three things right with mountain biking?
1) Councils who are stepping up and helping to build parks, trails and BMX tracks.
2) Trail builders!! You guys rock. Keep it up!
3) Wives, husbands, dads, mums and partners of mountain bikers. Yes I know it’s a hard life for you but stick with them. You could join in?

Top two mountain bike developments in the last 10 years (bike park, part or whatever)?
1) 5-6” trail bikes with slack headtubes and low bottom brackets.
2) The whole Queenstown area. Look what happens when the council joins forces with clubs and local businesses. The whole mountain bike scene down there is awesome!

All time favourite rider?
Steve Peat, how old is that guy? Still kicks arse and a great ambassador for DH racing. Oh and all the Transition guys, perfect example of a true “rider owned” company. (Sam if you’re reading this I’m still after some free socks.)

Top five favourite bits of mountain bike kit?
1) Chromag Ranger stems. Lightweight, tough and they look so damn cool.
2) Gamut Chain Guides. Never ever dropped a chain.
3) Transition TR250. Best fun I’ve had on two wheels.
4) Pivot Mach 5.7. Without a doubt the best pedalling trail bike I’ve ridden.
5) Supercross quick twitch hubs. They sound like a swarm of angry bees.
6) Contour Roam Camera. Beautiful full HD footage, easy to use.
(Oops that’s six and sorry, I’m a little biased towards our products!!)

Who do you look up to?
Anyone that takes a chance to do something great! Being mainstream is too safe in my books.
And all my dealers, they’re forever pushing our products and competing against the “big box” type stores which is always a challenge. Thanks guys.

What are your vices?
Using exclamation points in emails!! It’s addictive!! Can’t stop it!!

Finish this sentence. On a Saturday I like to get up and…

…start up my new chainsaw. Nothing quite like the feeling of a good sharp chainsaw cutting through a horrible Wattle tree. So rewarding.

  • Big Dave

    All round super good guy Mr Harris is