The Goude Design Group can't get hold of Phat choppers and cruisers (designer: Gary Silva) so has inked a distribution deal with 3G bikes (designer: Gary Silva). 3G is Silva's new bike brand, formed after a fall-out with Phat. And because Silva - an ex-bike shop chain owner and one-time sponsor of Lance Armstrong - now lives in Taiwan and has formed a business relationship with a Chinese factory, there will be no problems with supply.

Goude gets Silva’s 3G bikes for the UK

3G bikes are all designed by Gary Silva, the design brains behind Phat choppers and cruisers. As well as a Chopper tandem, and a frame shaped like an S (both soon to be unveiled), and ‘standard’ beach cruisers, the 3G portfolio includes a Euro-centric range of city cruisers. 3G choppers start at ¬£395 retail.

There are 15 ‘core’ Phat IBD stockists in the UK and Simon Goude believes these will switch to 3G because "it’s the chopper style that’s the selling point, not so much the Phat name."

Phat Bicycles are still being produced in the US, but this year demand outstripped supply and UK importer Simon Goude of the Goude Design Group was unable to secure stock, hence the switch to 3G bikes.

Gary Silva is now based in Taiwan and has had a varied life in the bicycle industry. His father had bike shops in Argentina, and New Jersey, where Silva Jnr was raised.

When old enough, he started a bike shop in Florida with a $5000 investment. This grew into an eight store chain, selling everything from BMX, road bikes, triathlon bikes and MTBs.

Silva’s shops had an own-brand line: D’arienzo tri-bikes, made in Italy. This brand sponsored top US triathletes as well as a famous roadie:

"I had the pleasure of sponsoring Lance Amstrong at his last professional triathlon race, in which he won the world short course championship," said Silva.

However, the 8-store chain was difficult to manage and Silva was "burning out." He sold his shops and started to design bikes ("I headed west, looking something like the Beverly Hillbillies with everything loaded in my truck.")

He ended up at Huntington Beach, California, classic cruiser territory. It was here he formed Rott Industries (named after a pet dog) and started to produce a range of eclectic machines that didn’t exactly set the world alight in terms of sales.

But at the same time as Rott was bombing, Silva teamed up with Canadian graphic artist Liam Hayes, who is still working with Silva today. Hayes creates the 3G graphics as well as produces the 3G website. And it was Hayes who created the Phat graphics, too.

Phat was a collaboration between Silva, Hayes and Seth Grossman, a Rott bikes fan with a rich grandfather. Grossman Snr stumped up the cash to create Phat Cycles.

But the relationship between Silva and Grossman Jnr soured.

"The business was not being run right and with no future I terminated my relationship with Phat," said Silva.

Hayes left with him.

During the creation of Phat, Silva had met Orien Huang, a Taiwanese bicycle factory manager, owner of Taiwanese trading company, Foxspeed, and with links to Huida, a factory in China.

Earlier this year Silva, Hayes and Huang created 3G bikes.

The 3G name is Silva’s homage to three Gary’s: Turner, Fisher and Klein.

"In the bike industry there are some important names that are mentioned when it comes to innovation in the last 25 years, Gary Turner, the godfather of BMX [and who gave birth to GT], Gary Fisher, the godfather of mountain bikes and Gary Klein, the man responsible for all the aluminum technology that is used in bicycle manufacturing today. So when it came to name our new company, I chose the name of 3G BIKES in honour of them, hoping that someday I might follow in their footsteps."

Tel: 01462 485717 (Goude Design Group)

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