Awakening the Dragon: Refreshing Dragons Sports

Founded in 1992 Avalanche Bicycles is a proprietary brand within the Dragons Sports stable and supplies high quality bikes and equipment at an affordable price point. Photo by Jacques Marais.

Dragons Sports has been a mainstay of the South African cycling industry since 1989. For 32 years the company has imported and distributed brands including Giant and Liv Bicycles, Cadex, Mavic, ENVE, SR Suntour, Santa Cruz skateboards in addition to their proprietary brand Avalanche Bicycles and accessories which was started in 1992. In September 2021 Dragons Sports is set to begin a refreshing process, which will see the company reinvigorated as they institute a long-term succession plan. 

“Dragons Sports has a fantastic history in the local industry” praised incoming CEO Andrew Cattell. “Michael and Amanda Davis together with Michael and Paula Hirschfeld have built a company which is highly regarded and trusted for their commitment to the sale of quality products and delivering superb after sales support. Along with our new investment partners the vision for Dragons Sports is to continue to build on the company’s existing strengths, to support our extensive network of independent bicycle and chain stores, build and maintain relationships with events, increase our Corporate Social Investment in cycling development organisations, and continue to back professional athletes.” 

With a background in finance and having co-established The Brand Stable, importing and distributing global water sports brands Duotone, Fanatic and Ion products, Cattell is joined as an investor in Dragons Sports by Neil Scheibe. Scheibe is one of the founders of the Ares Holding Group, the distributor of apparel brands Under Armour, Birkenstock, Crocs and 2XU in Southern Africa. Gareth Kemp, current Group CEO of Ares, will add valuable insight and strategic direction on the Dragons Sports Board. They will not be doing so unaided though, as Michael Hirschfeld remains as a shareholder and a board member. 

 “The initial aim is to step up the marketing and brand visibility of Dragons Sports’ products and engage with our extensive dealer network and end users, Cattell revealed. “Max Sullivan has joined our marketing team and will focus on strengthening the social media offerings, customer engagements, brand activations and ambassador programs. This is our first of many investments we will make in human capital to support and strengthen the brand portfolio.”

“A long-term goal is to grow the culture of cycling in Southern Africa. With Giant, Liv and Avalanche in our stable we feel we are perfectly positioned to do so” Cattell added. “Across the brands we cover the full range from your toddler’s first balance bikes to race bikes capable of driving you onto the podium; and price points that suit every customer’s pocket.”

Dragons Sports pioneered ebike growth in South Africa. Giant and Liv are renowned globally for their outstanding ebike offering and range. Avalanche offers an affordable entry point for first time ebike owners and opens the door to a growing ebike commuter market.

Additionally, the Group is moving to Paarden Eiland, into a state-of-the-art warehouse facility, which will consolidate the existing warehouse and office space to ensure efficiencies in their new business model.

The first public pedal stroke of your new journey with Dragons Sports is to follow them across their social media platforms @giantrsa@livcyclingrsa and @avalanchebike on Instagram, and watch the journey unfold.