Running a bike company is a hard thing to do. Starting a company from nothing is even harder. Matt is the owner of Tempered Bikes, hes also everything else a normal company would have so he is a busy dude, but lately things have been good to him. We got talking and ended up doing an interview and this is what he has to say… Enjoy
Cropthorn Clothing, Covenant Distribution and i guess Tempered haha
Your the guy behind Tempered bikes, it seems like just recently things have
been picking up with that?
It has been really good not just for me but also for my team these last few months, I mean Tempered has been around
For a few years now but it is only starting to get recognised world wide, which is awesome.
I guess a lot more people are starting to see our gear and what were about and they just digg it!
I am really glad the way things are going and i can see they are only going to get better.
In another interview you did recently you had talked about how you didn’t rush into
starting to make products, do you feel like your research was worth the time?
Well thats another reason why Tempered is only just starting to get out there, I spent a long time just researching
and testing prototypes that for a while there it felt like things would never eventuate and a few people were always
I feel that it was definitely worth all the time because over the years i feel that Tempered has grown a lot of respect
and people were always eager to hear more about it because it was never easily accesible like it is today and i think
that is what has seperated tempered from a few other companies that kind of Pop up one week and then they are world wide
the next because they have the money and they know the right people in this industry.
What is the biggest difference between your company and other companies that are
new? What about compared to companies that have been around for a while?
I could say a bunch of things for this question but i strongly think in reality that each company both new and old has the
same goals and aspires to the same dreams that i have with TemperedBikes it seems these days as soon as one company brings
out something new every other company jumps on the bandwagon, but if that is what the riders love and that’s what sells then
why do kids whinge about people copying people, when they are only suppling riders with the shit they want?
I mean when it comes down to it, a set of handle bars is just that. The only thing that can be changed is the paint, stickers
and the company name behind the product and it is the image of a company that will set it out from one another.
With TemperedBikes i really push Artwork into everything i do and make sure that i put as much effort into getting amazing
artwork to go with the products then i do with the designing and sampling process, which is pretty dam stressful!
But at the same time i am saying this, i really push unique styles into my products most of the time it is more “Cosmetic Changes”
to the product to give it a whole different look from what else is currently on the market.
Your based out of Australia, what is the reaction you are getting from people about
the Tempered goods?
Inside Australia it is pretty good, mostly from riders. A lot of shops can sometimes be a bit iffy about new companies without
a distributor because they know that it can be hard to deal straight with the company if they are new and most likely to be always
out of stock. But then you get some shops that are really phsyced about new Aussie companies and they will order a bunch of gear of
you straight away and support you strongly 100%.
Riders in Aus are pretty much all about sticking to the local scene and supporting Australian companies, but when your up against
some of the other popular companies in this industry it is always tough!
Recently you were picked up by a few Euro distributors, how is that and where do
you expect it to go from there?
Yeah for a few months I had been talking to Martin from RideIt over in Latvia about them becoming our Europe Distributor.
They still have not received any shipments yet, just because of the lead time and shipping times are a bit hectic, but hopefully
riders will be seeing some Tempered Gear over there very soon!
I can’t really expect much or have really high hopes that it is going to sell crazy because this is our first deal outside of
Australia and i have no idea what to expect!
Everyone over at RideIt seems really cool and are all riders so i know im in good hands!
You were also recently picked up by Tripple Six, a distributor for Australia and New Zealand. How did this all come about and when can people in these areas expect to start seeing things showing up for them to buy?
Yes just today [a week or two ago] actually was the deal confirmed with Triple Six!It was kind of weird how it all happened because i had been in talks with a nother big distro for Australia but they had been so busy with a lot of other things for a while that nothing really eventuated from it.And then one day Clint Millar from Tripple Six got in touch with me about it and was really excited on all the new stuff from Tempered and he has helped me out so much since then!The first batch of the 08/09 range should be in stores Australia and New Zealand wide in about 3-4 months!Triple six is one of the biggest and most respected in the industry so i am so excited to see where things go from here!
What is your Australian team looking like so far, is it primarily unknown guys?
You were working on getting a Euro team rolling with the new distributors, have you
picked any people yet?
The team so far is Tom Stretton, Jerard Vandervalk, Mitchell Macdonald, Mathew Lawton, Justy Bumpstead and Jamie Warren.
The guys are pretty unknown outside of Australia but they are pretty well known within Australia.
They are all amazing riders each having different styles and personal qualities which i have chosen because i feel that they
all resemble Tempered in the exact image i want. I am hoping with a bunch of web edits we are working on and general adverts
these guys names will get out there a bit more, because they all deserve to be living the BMX dream no less than most of the
guys who are.
I have been talking with the Euro Distro about a “Tempered Euro Team” and although they have showed me a few videos of riders,
nothing is legit just yet!
Your the only guy employed by Tempered, so your basically doing 20 different jobs,
do you plan on getting more employees anytime soon?
It’s funny you say that a lot of people look at me like some lazy dude because i sit at a computer most days all day, but i dont
just chill on myspace or watch videos, I’m constantly busy working and i know a lot of guys in the industry would know what im
I have to do all the paper work, all the sales, Invoicing, adverts, artwork, shipping documents, Contracts, sending gear out to
shops or customers, receiving big orders of products from the harbour and there is like a hundred more things i have to do each
day to keep Tempered running smoothly and on top of that i work about 4 days at a factory and the rest at a BMX store.
I only have sundays free to myself but i usually find myself on this dam computer doing emails!
I have thought about employing a few people in the past and i have tried it out but they are usually friends of mine who get too
lazy because they think its just a chill deal and i end up having to hassle them for shit!
Do you do all the designing of the products? How long does it take for you to go from idea to prototype
to distributors etc.?
If the idea for a new product hasn’t come from me then it has come from one of the team or someone onboard with tempered(artists, filmers etc),
because they are all riders too with awesome ideas.
From thinking up of the idea to getting everything on paper can take anything from a week to forever because in the mean time you have
so much going on with everything else your constantly being sidetracked and the ideas are getting more mangled and lost in your mind.
But if things go well and you have a solid plan on paper and your speaking with the manufacturer about the idea then getting a sample
can take about 3-9 months depending on what it is. I remember my first set of sample frames took around 11 months to get to me from when
i sent the designs to them arriving on my door. 11 months for 4 frames…..
From prototype to hitting the market…that part all depends on how much testing and beating you can put into the product…I have been running
sample handle bars and forks for over a year now and the latest style which only features some cut outs are only just about to be made
available for distributors.
I guess at the end of the day it depends on the company and their beliefs in the structures of their products…..or they wish to fill their pockets.
As your company expands manufacturers tend to make note of the importance of your company and they start to move your companies rank higher
up the ladder and push harder for lead time on samples and orders.
What is your warranty situation looking like, have you seen much product getting
I have been selling Frames and parts for a bout 18 months now solidly and i have never had anything come back to me for warranty,
which is pretty dam good in this industry!
Tempered is definiely living up to its name!
Do you have any big plans coming up team wise, like road trips, videos, web edits, whatever?
We are always filming for web edits and projects for Tempered, Just recently we went on a 5 day road trip, which was more of a chilling
trip for the team and we ended up making a pretty banging web edit from the trip!
We have a few projects going on at the moment so i guess keep hitting the website to find out all about it!
We are working on a full length DVD but there is no dates for releases yet.
What are some things you would like to accomplish with Tempered in the next few years?
I would definitely love to be able to offer Tempered products world wide and offer a whole range of unique products that no other company
In the few years Tempered has been around we have had so many crazy new ideas come about and then just scrapped them because we never
thought they would take of as a product, and now a few companies have been manufacturing similar designs to ours and they are pretty
dam popular! so in the future we won’t be holding back on any new designs at all.
I would really like to do a whole lot of filming projects of the team and a lot more travelling with them, because they are all amazing
people on and off their bikes, it just makes for a good time no matter what.
What are some of the biggest influences on how you run Tempered?
The team are one if not the main influence for Tempered, even though half the guys don’t put much help or input into Tempered, there more
just about riding and havign a good time then having to deal with this gritty shit haha. But they are the guys who push the company in the
direction it is gloing now by riding the gear the way the do and the image they have as riders.
Artwork is another major influence because i want Tempered to be a really detailed art based company, Image wise.
Outside of work, do you find much time to ride?
I do find time but it is more night time chilling sessions than anythign else now that i work saturdays, it does suck because riding
is so important to me on so many levels and i think every rider understands that.
how long have you been riding for?
Agh man when haven’t i been riding? haha I can’t remember a day when i was not riding and I’m almost 20 years old.
Do you feel like the longer you have been riding has impacted how you do things with your company?
Yeah definitely i mean im not as old as most dudes in my position in the industry but it’s just like anything, you cant jump into any business
venture without knowledge in that particular industry otherwise your just some dude reaping money from people with no good intentions.
Tempered has always been influenced by my personal riding and my riding is influenced with Tempered, when im working on something new for
Tempered then it always makes me way more phsyched to go and learn something new on my bike, And when im learning something new or just having
and awesome ride it makes me think really hard about what i can be doing next for TemperedBikes.
Also being in the industry for a while has helped a lot with the company in so many ways.
What kind of riding do you typically do, I know Australia has some amazing cement parks?
There are a bunch of good parks in Australia but i don’t think i can label myself to park, street or dirt, I am just a dude who rides BMX and i
will always be riding whatever is in front of me no matter what. But i do hassle everyone to ride street a lot more than parks haha.
Do you have a typical riding crew you ride with?
Yeah im always riding with Jerard v, Dan H, Justy B, Tom s and Corey M but there is always dudes to ride with, its awesome that way.
There are so many dudes i ride with, i guess the ones i mentioned are just the guys i have been close friends with for a while now.
What do you think of the Australian scene? seems like it has blown up lately!
There is too many ways to describe a “Scene” for a whole country but i think people here in Aus are just more relaxed and more
worried about having a good time on a bike than anything else, everyone is pretty friendly and down to earth.
But then again i cant speak for all the riders haha.
There are a few riders that have been getting their names out there outside of Australia which is really awesome because there are so many
amazing riders here that go un noticed, its crazy!
Where are some of your favorite places or spots you have ridden?
Any kind of Drains/Ditch’s,any street, Gladstone, Esperance haha but there is so many!
If somebody were coming to Australia to visit/live, where would you suggest they
Definitely Western Australia if they are looking to travel, sight see and meet amazing people. It is by far the best!
And every spot their is easily accesible.
What is your worst injury you have had riding related?
I think breaking my ankle would be the worst, just because it has so many physical and mental problems after the break that effected my
But as i type this i just got back from the doctors and they told me i have punctured a Tendent in my right wrist, for a few months now
everytime i rode i would get a big lump sticking up from my wrist so i finally went to get it checked out. Turns out i punctured
the tendant in my wrist so everytime i ride or move my wrist a lot, all the blood hits the broken tendants and makes it swell up.
I have to put a coin on the lump and wear a brace for a few months to put pressure on the swelling and force it to go back down and heal.
Who or what factors are your biggest influences on your riding?
Dudes i grew up with like Owen Pennington and Kie Ashworth are big influences in my life and riding, just because they are awesome dudes
and awesome on a bike.
Web edits of shredders are always a massive factor on my riding, just because it gets me so pumped to see people having so much fun on a
bike, it makes me want to go ride and have a good time riding!
Who are the riders you look up to for inspiration?
Kie Ashworth, Jerard vandervalk, Tom Stretton, Mitchell Macdonald, Jamie warren and Justy Bumpstead.
Is it true vegemite makes you ride better?
It tastes good and definitely makes you ride better. Its kinda like redbull only you gotta eat it like chocolate or it doesnt work, you should try it.
Do you feel like owning a company has changed the way you look at BMX?
It has definitely changed the way i look at BMX and more so life.
A lot of the time when im riding and kids watch i feel like because i own a company they are expecting me to be some amazing rider or something.
No matter what im doing i am always thinking about Tempered and when im riding I am usually stressing about something within Tempered and it
can sometimes ruin the mood but most of the time it makes everything a lot better!
Outside of work and riding what are some of the stuff you like to do?
I like to go to Gigs and hang out with my girlfriend, Steph.
But other than that chilling with my mates having a few drinks is always a good time!
Sounds like your girlfriend is really supportive of what you do, doesn’t she help
you run Tempered a little?
She is really supportive yeah and she even helps me out a fair bit with the paper work side of Tempered and she is always creating artwork for adds.
She is really in the know with a few things so it helps me out a lot and takes the stress level down a bit.
What are some movies you are into?
Ride BMX Insight was amazing, anything Shook, anything with ninjas or Sci fi haha.
What kind of music do you listen to? Any bands you suggest people checking out?
Music is a massive influence in my life so im always listening to anything because different types of music influence my life in diffent ways, so if i
just listen to one type of genre then i would only be some single minded dude not getting the most out of life.
I suggest people to be open minded and listen to everything haha
What do you think you would be doing if you didn’t pick up a bike?
Skateboarding or playing football haha
What are the biggest influences on your life as a whole?
Music, BMX, Friends, Food……i think everyone answers are the same for this question?? haha
What are some things you would like to do over the course of your life?
Travel a lot more on my bike and not stress too much haha
What is the party scene like in Australia? Have you ever met that one kid who made
world news from his big ass party?
That Corey dude? How the heck did he even get famous? thousands of dudes hold parties when they leave town but for some
reason he was the only dude to get famous for it? and those “Signature sunnies”?
I have never met him and i hope i dont have to….
As for the party scene…wild.
Do you drink Fosters, or is that just a misconception of Australians?
Fosters? total misconception haha
What are some of your favorite websites?
DiversityBMX, BMX Union, Tempered, Ugzine, The Come Up.
If you could spend the day with anybody, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I think my nanna and pop on my dads side, i have only really met them once and they were some of the best people i have ever met, they
definitely rocked my world and i think about them a lot.
If you were granted three wishes, what would they be and why?
To have an endless supply of money….for obvious reasons.
And then i think i would sit on the last two until i really needed them for something important….like being in a car crash…or stopping
another world war before it happened.
I actually have no idea, i think if i was asked i would say money and then choke.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Definitely buy a house and put a lot of the money into Tempered haha.
But i think i would try to have some kind of plans for the money and invest a bunch of it. Too many times have i seen peoples live turn to shit
from winning the lottery, it is so crazy you would think winning a lot of money would make life a lot easier!
I have only brought like 2 lottery tickets in my life and i think one of those was for a friend….he didn’t win anything.
If you could no longer live in Australia, where would you move and why?
I have never been outside of Australia so i can’t imagine myself any where else!
I guess if i had to maybe New Zealand, that place looks so amazing and i am hoping to go there sometime this year.
What is the best quote, or the best advice you have ever received?
“If you can’t get it done when the time for it arrises, then you will never get it done” – Shaun Jarvis.
It is something so simple but at the time it was said it made perfect sense.
What kind of advice do you have for kids just getting into BMX?
Big tricks are cool but style earns alot more points in my books haha.
Just have fun and research your roots!
What about advice on starting a business?
Make sure you know what your fully getting into before you jump into the venture, the last thing you want is to put your name behind a whole
brand and then if it turns wrong your name as a rider could go down with it.
Try to get solid plans and a business structure before you start posting news about new products your working on otherwise you could find
yourself in a few rutts down the track when things start picking up.
I guess all in all just make sure your heart is in the right place and if it isn’t, then just stick to riding a BMX for simple pleasures then
having to stress all the time about even having a BMX.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
I would really like to thank everybody and any body who has helped me out in my journey with Tempered and my life, without your help and support
i would be no where near where i am today. All my close friends, My Family, My girlfriend Stephanie and her family, Steve M at Ride On BMX,
Mike daly, Shain Jarvis, Kie Ashworth, jerard vandervalk, Alex Liiv, EVERYONE ON THE TEAM, Matt At Cropthorn, every shop and customer who has every brought some Tempered gear, Martin and Alfred from RideIt in Latvia, Clint Millar and everyone over at Tripple Six…..And for everybody else who knows they should be thanked in this section, I thank you!
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks to Kurt for setting this Interview up!
For all the latest on Tempered head over to www.temperedbikes.com.au and click the blog. Hopefully the new website will be up soon!
if your an artist in the BMX scene shoot me an email!
I am always needing artwork haha.
Matty Lawton chillen sesh from TemperedBikes on Vimeo.