I mean, if you’re a fixie – You’ll definitely know Grafa.
We’re here speaking to the 3 bosses – Irman, Fadli & Halyza; the people responsible of opening up the one & only Fixed Gear Bike concept retail cum cafe in Malaysia.
IRMAN – The urban cyclist. Prior to being the boss, he originated from an advertising background. Started as a Roadie then became a Fixie 2 years ago.
FADLI – The vintage lover. A friend of Irman in the advertising line. Started as a Roadie & BMX-er, then became a Fixie 2 years ago.
Both Irman & Fadli threw away their hectic professional jobs and started their own business, for what? For passion.
HALYZA – The supermodel. Married to Fadli and decided to not work after studying Mass Communications for years! Personally in charge of the cafe – So, if you would like to have a drink served by a pretty lady – head over to Grafa. (too bad she’s married..!) Became a Fixie 2 years ago and was the 1st female Fixed Gear biker then.
The idea behind Grafa’s retail cum cafe concept originated from London – Look Mum No Hands. I browsed through the photos online and can confidently tell you that Grafa has definitely Malaysian-ised it and made it even cooler. To tell the truth, I am amazed at the effort they put together for you – “The Lepak Kaki”.
Grafa was launched just 2 months ago and the demand for fixed gear bike accessories is tremendous.
BB: So Fadli, you’re the vintage lover… There are quite some vintage saddles I see around here.
Fadli: These are contributed by friends, my personal vintage collection is NOT for display and they are all at home for my eyes only.
One vintage saddle from the 1970s costs around USD 200.
BB: Three of you have some interesting personalities and are running Grafa personally.
Halyza: We want to learn how to run a business from the ground before we delegate them to the others. It is important for us to also understand the day-to-day operations.
Irman: We are giving ourselves 1 year’s time to pick up all we need to know about running a business like this. Other than retail and cafe, we want to capitalize our strengths in advertising – thus, our design studio in Grafa.
BB: Wow, there’s a lot going on for Grafa!
Irman: We’ve got more. Bike swaps, Second Hand Corner, Assembling corner, etc.
BB: The Fixed Gear Bikes market is really niche here in Malaysia. So for Grafa to penetrate into this market, how has it been for the past 2 months?
Irman: The trick is we are the only one selling niche Fixed Gear Bike accessories. There is a demand, it is only that it has never been met for long.
Fadli: There is a growing market and most bicycle shops you find out there sell the complete bike instead of explaining why you need to assemble different quality parts together for a really good bike. In Grafa, we give professional advice like no other bicycle shops and we also sell quality parts.
Irman: Trust us, we’ve been through a lot!
BB: What is the target market like since Grafa is in SS15 – a very much student populated area?
Irman: Yes, students! We’re here because the “happening” young people are here. The age group ranges from 12 to over 50. There are also a small group of Fixies who does bike tricks & polo biking.
BB: What do you currently offer in the cafe?
Halyza: As of now we have teatime snacks and Special lunch on Sundays.
BB: As for the Fixies retail, what brands do you carry?
BB: What will be the starting cost like for someone fresh to pick up?
Irman: Fixed gear bikes do not have many components to it, therefore it is important for you to buy really quality components. And Quality means safety. If a single important component goes wrong, it will no longer be safe for you to ride. I would say, to have a safe bike at entry level – you need an investment of RM 2,000./
Fadli: We’ve seen too many injury cases caused by low quality components, ie. Tyre punctured 5 times, frame broken, etc….
BB: What to look out for if you’re a fresh fixie?
Irman: Know your capabilities. If you think you are an experienced Roadie or Mountain Biker and you think you’ll easily pick up Fixie… THEN YOU’RE WRONG. Fixies are totally different… there are no brakes!
(After the interview session, our teammate, a seasoned Mountain Biker tried… and failed! OMG you are right!)
BB: Do you have a weekly ride for Fixies?
Fadli: Yes it’s under RatsKL – We ride from Bangsar LRT station every Tuesday and Friday, for a distance of 50km. We don’t encourage freshies to join us due to the difficulty of the trail which requires training and skills. Train at home first and know your capabilities, then join us!
BB: What are your future plans for Grafa?
Irman: We have just launched our homebrand frameset – Grafa Transit and it’s all sold!
We are planning to bring in more products under the Grafa brand like track hubs, etc. The best part about this is we provide the specifications & designs to be manufactured; we do the quality control while making sure that quantity is little to maintain exclusivity – Furthermore, it is affordable!
Address: No. 55, SS15/4B, 47600 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. View Map.
Tel No.: 03-5611 7600