In March 2003 Martti Kuoppa and Jorge Gomez met up in Malaga (Spain) to practice flatland together. While taking a lunch break at the beach the very first idea joining together as a company came up. And the most obvious name for the company was "Kuoppa Gomez bikes", KGB. Within 2 minutes both, Kuoppa and Gomez made the decision about founding KGB and to leave their current bike sponsors. Now, two years later, we checked in with Viki and Martti on the developments of the KGB brand.
Some time has passed since you started KGB, what products have you been able to put on the market and sell to the KGB fans?
Martti Kuoppa: On our first production we sold frame and handlebars. And this year's production we have a lot more smaller items coming out such as pegs, sprockets, grips etc.
-A bar called â€œreturnâ€? for those who still love the â€œFreestyleâ€? times!
-So light pedals where you can pivot your feet...For those who want remove the pegs and go another level!
-Sprocket called â€œtrilogyâ€? where are the 3 letters of KGB .
But the best of the best is coming up very SOON!
You have gone through some revolutionary frame designs, has it been hard to bring out the perfect frame?
Martti Kuoppa: Viki and another designer are taking care of that but those guys are machines and nothing is hard for them, heh.
Viki Gomez: In the beginning it was a learning process for us and the factories. But finally we found a very nice factory that knows what flatland is so they can meet our expectations.
You have picked up long time friend Alex Jumelin on KGB, how has that affected the company?
Martti: One thing is for sure that we lost a lot of pressure placing good at the contest because now we know that Alex will place good. So loosing that pressure makes us just ride better. Also the spirit between us is really motivating for riding. We also like Alex's attitude towards flatland and his visions of it.
Viki: Alex is a rider who is in the same wave as we are. Progressive, innovative, futuristic, original... All those aspects make our brand to progress in all the ways!
Does running the KGB business get in your way of getting enough practice in?
Martti: There is 24 hours in one day. We ride around 4 hours a day and rest is for sleeping and for business. Some days you are more busy with business and some not. What is sometimes hard is that both of us are somewhere traveling and not able to take care of business via e-mail.
Viki: The thing is that my first 2 years as professional was â€œeasyâ€?... It means that my life was turning around just riding.
But now it's more than that. I love my work and the way I'm doing it! Also I've been progressing innovating products. And at the end all those new changes have changed my riding level!
So right now every time I go to ride the motivation is higher! I feel like I need to ride to clean my mind and after the session I look at my bike and I say to my self:
â€œwe are progressing, but it's important to keep on working moreâ€œ
What are the biggest markets for flatland?
Martti: Asia and Europe. We know that there are many undergrounders in South America.
Viki: This is a good question; Cause I could say Japan right now , but if we think about the countries with not so much money like S.America , Russia , etc...which ones are not able to buy our products, the reality is not 100 percent true,
What have you got planned with KGB this summer?
Martti: We will run another Flatstyles event in Helsinki and this year with an amateur contest. Flatstyles 2 will take place on Saturday July 16th. New products will be out. More traveling to Europe and Asia. And hopefully we get things together with KGB team DVD. Just try to stay as busy as possible.
Viki: I'm going to hit as many European comps as possible this year and no more overseas trips this 2005. I want to finish my Madrid Session 2, KGB DVD, and get a go Kart and make illegal races in the city!
Some word association:
Flatland organization: HEHEEHEH
Japan: No GSM network
Brakeless: Don't go too early
Contests: Win or loose
Go-Karting: Unreliable when rains
Videos: Too long
Business suits: Mr. Payback
Flatland organization: ghosts
Go-Karting: the best
Business suits: weddings
Partying: Go-Karting Thanks guys and good luck with the companyMore info: www.kgbflat.com