THE HISTORY OF ENDURISTAN
SOLVE THE PROBLEM
Back in the year 2000, David and Isabel, a young couple from Winterthur (Switzerland) were dreaming of exploring the world. They wanted to see different cultures, they wanted to cross the Sahara and camp in the middle of the Australian Outback. David owned an old and quite run-down Kawasaki KMX 125 dirt bike, Isabel’s ride was a Honda CM125. Of course, 125cc bikes were not the right vehicles for such endeavors, but Isabel and David gave it a try anyway. They set off to Tunisia in July and headed straight for the edge of the Sahara. Well, they learnt the hard way: There are better seasons to travel a desert than summer, there is more suitable clothing for riding in hot weather and there are more suitable bikes for true off-road riding. But the most important lesson was: Don’t use low quality gear. Although their tank bags were from a well-known supplier, their riveted straps didn’t even make it halfway through this trip without breaking.
Nevertheless, Isabel and David enjoyed the freedom and the adventures that enduro traveling gave them. After some smaller trips in Europe they set off to explore the Australian outback and crossed the Sahara Desert. Buying two KTM 640 Adventures had solved the issue with the unsuitable bikes in the meantime, however the issue with the luggage remained. Their tankbags kept entertaining them with jamming zippers, breaking rivets and generally with bad usability. In addition, the straps of their saddle bags failed every now and then and stitching the same became a regular campfire activity. So, one night during their second Australia trip in 2006, in the light of their headlights they started sketching their idea of the ideal tankbag (which later became the Sandstorm) and the ideal set of saddle bags (later to be known as the Monsoon Panniers).
MAKE IT A BUSINESS
To Isabel’s surprise, David didn’t settle with sketching. After the trip he chatted with a few friends and Christoph, a friend from the Swiss KTM Adventure Club, was game for the idea to make that dream happen. Enduristan was officially founded in April 2008.
Now the first challenge was to actually design the very first product, the Sandstorm tankbag. Sketching fancy ideas is one thing, but making a real, tough product out of these ideas is a completely different cup of tea. David combined his knowledge as a mechanical engineer with his very limited welding skills to build a tensile test rig. The following weeks we teared hundreds of buckles, straps and fabric samples into pieces just to find the toughest components for our needs. A second-hand sewing machine completed our pool of machinery and allowed us to make some first functional prototypes (no need to mention, that our sewing skills perfectly matched our welding skills). During one of these sessions Christoph invented the Expandable Volume Technology, which added patenting the same to our task list.
About one year, numerous samples and a test ride in the Sahara later, our first order arrived. The truck’s rear door opened and we couldn’t help to think “who the hell is going to buy all those tankbags?”
MAKE IT A SUCCESS
We never wanted external funds in Enduristan. So, with limited financial means, the second challenge was to make the Sandstorm Tankbag known. As we couldn’t spend a lot of money on ads, we presented it at the Swiss KTM Adventure Meeting and Christoph travelled Germany and Switzerland to visit potential dealers. We must admit, that this was quite a frustrating time: Most dealers are not keen to add yet another brand to their range, no matter the quality, the features or the usability. However, a few of them shared our enthusiasm for the Sandstorm and jumped at the chance. Most of them are still on board and carry the full Enduristan product range today. On the other hand, we realized, that the customers really liked our Sandstorm Tankbag. You know, when you develop a product, you are always in danger to fall a bit too much in love with it. But your own feelings don’t matter, the only thing that counts is customer feedback and this was - to our relief - very positive.
In 2010, we were able to sign up the first overseas partner, Motorcycle Adventure Products from Australia, who is still on board today. 2011 we presented our second product, the Monsoon Panniers. From then on, the ball kept rolling and gained momentum. More products followed, more international partners came on board. Christoph and Isabel withdrew from the operating business and our marketing manager Stefano became a shareholder in return. But two things never changed: We are still a small, privately owned company with a hand full of enthusiastic employees operating out of a barn in Switzerland. And we still enjoy riding adventure bikes.
WHO OWNS ENDURISTAN
Enduristan is still fully privately owned by the founders David and Isabel Jenni, Christoph von Ow and our marketing manager Stefano Bucher.
Foto Credit: Fabian Durrer, Jiri Kudrna, Berend Lagers, Enduristan