Expert advice

Meet Hilton Taylor, the head of the Revolution Bikes team. Hilton was recently asked a few questions by the local newspaper about running his bike shop business in Havelock North.Hilton Taylor, owner of Revolution Bikes and passionate bike rider

1. Why did you choose Havelock North as the location for your business?

When I took over Revolution Bikes in 2009 the bike shop was already established in Donnelly Street. We have since moved to a new, larger shop, just over the road from the original site.

I’m a keen mountain biker so proximity to Te Mata Peak for rides after work (or sometimes during work!) was a bonus. I already lived in Havelock North with my wife Billie Sue and our three kids, and for me being able to bike to work every day sounded awesome!

2. What unique “something“ does your business bring to the Village?

Revolution Bikes has been leading the local cycling revolution for eight years, seven days a week. Right from the beginning we set out to grow the market by providing a genuinely friendly service to all people who wanted to ride a bike, regardless of whether they were a seasoned pro, a complete beginner, or hadn’t touched a bike in 20 years.

Then we started getting innovative with our stock – as well as cool new European brands and dealer quality mountain, road and kids bikes, we introduced kids balance bikes and a colourful selection of fun beach-cruiser style pathway bikes that are very popular, especially with the Havelock ladies.

We were among the first to see the potential for electric bikes in New Zealand - Havelock North is on the foothills of Te Mata Peak and having a motor to get you back up the hill to your house is a big bonus for many of our customers.

There was obvious potential for more biking locally so since 2009 I've been working with the local councils to develop the network of Iway shared use cycling and walking pathways, Hawke's Bay Trail network, jump parks and BMX track, and mountain bike trails up Te Mata Peak. 

I've been involved with mountain biking at an administrative level for more than 20 years. Initially with the Hawke's Bay Mountain Bike Club Committee, serving for spells as Treasurer and then Chair, and then got involved with work at a national level as an official MTB race Commissaire [competitive race official like a referee] with what was then Mountain Biking NZ - which then became Bike NZ - and then became Mountain Biking NZ again!

A highlight was working as Commissaire at the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Champs in Rotorua, meeting incredible international riders and having a laugh over drinks with the international Commissaires.

I also enjoy getting my hands dirty with trail building and this led me to develop a range of mountain bike trail building tools which are super heavy duty but light enough to lug around in the forest all day. They get sold to keen trail builders, mountain bike clubs, and trail building companies like Southstar Trails for trail work all over NZ.

After hours, I am working with the Havelock North Business Association Committee and Te Mata Peak Trust, private landowners and other ‘decision makers’ on the new mountain biking trails that are under construction up the Peak. This will be the biggest thing to hit Havelock since Te Mata o Rongokako (the Sleeping Giant who forms the hills behind Havelock North).

3. What is your favourite part of Village life? 

The sense of community and camaraderie in the Village is second to none.

Many regular customers have become my good friends. I can’t even walk around the supermarket without bumping into a bunch of people I know!

Serving on the Havelock North Business Association Committee is a good way to keep up with the promotion and marketing of the Village. We're encouraging people to Be Cool, Shop Local, and looking at new events to bring visitors in. We even had to have our photos taken...

Hilton Taylor, owner of Revolution Bikes

4. What does the Village have that other areas don’t? 

Te Mata Peak. It’s our biggest, most beautiful asset but it’s also our most under-utilised one. Don't worry, I'm working on it!

Also Havelock North is very lucky to have a brand new, national quality BMX track.

And I suppose the local wineries, restaurants and cafes are all amazing quality and worth a mention!

5. Finish this statement: My customers are . . . 

Serious about fun on bikes. That’s the one thing they all have in common, and really that’s what it’s all about.