In 2000 Zahier Davids, a native of the suburb of Kensington, one of the Cape Flats’ oldest communities was retrenched from his office job. Although finding it difficult to find employment he did not let the situation discourage him, he noticed that, like him, many youngsters in his neighborhood were attracted by the low rider culture of customizing old vintage cars. However, he couldn’t afford the resources to pursue his passion for customizing cars and so tapped into his own creativity and so began working in his garage to convert old bicycles spare parts into eye-catching street commodities.
Because he did not have the funding to outsource the various tasks needed to complete one of these projects he very quickly taught himself (or learned from whoever was willing to share) the skills he needed to become self-sufficient. Having outsourced the welding of the previous units, his new-found skills enabled him to design, manufacture and assemble complete units by himself by use of a jig.
The instant excitement resulting from his creations would have scores of people literally following him wherever he went. The fame of these amazing bicycles quickly spread throughout the Western Cape and beyond. Before long he had revelers coming from far and wide to have him customize their old bicycles or build new ones. Flywheel Custom Chariots was born.
Flywheel has since been steadily commissioned for one-off custom jobs on rare vintage bicycles, three-wheelers, and from-scratch builds for private customers. Furthermore Flywheel has also been contracted by prop-houses for the film industry and motorcycle manufacturing companies, as the Custom Chariots soon became show-room talking pieces.
One of its more special projects has also been recumbent units for the physically disabled. Most importantly, with its wide media exposure and constant presence on the streets of Cape Town, Flywheel has been an inspiration to the community, giving young people the desire to learn these skills. An example of how Flywheel has sought to strengthen its resolve to serve the community has been its negotiation with the City of Cape Town to build BMX race tracks in the area to give children an alternative to negative influences such as gangsters and drugs.
The latest and most exciting chapter in the Flywheel story is its entrance into motorcycle production. The same ingenuity and creativity was applied to this transition and the results have since been breathtaking.
Since moving into the motorcycle arena, Flywheel has noticed and responded to a need in the market for reliable and yet attractive two-wheeled transportation for people of the middle to lower-middle income groups and the reception has been overwhelming. As a result, the business has reached a point where its path of growth is quite resounding and it therefore needs to expand to meet the demands for its services and products.
“I made the transition into Motorcycle building in 2006. I have done a build for myself and entered the bike in the Swallows Rally 2010 - I won 1st prize in the chopper class, which was awesome for me. The bike was scrutinized from every angle and checked for craftsmanship. So to have won that section was a great achievement seeing that it was my first time entering a show of that caliber. Zahier Davids