Adventure has always been our passion.
Heavy Duties is first of all a group of friends, outdoor and motorcycle enthusiasts, who enjoy daring adventures, both while traveling and working.
Our story is much more about being on the road, than it is about reaching a destination.
We learn and improve everyday from our experiences.
We go way back together.
It all starts at the end of the 90’s with Alex and Vlad, 14 and 15 years old brothers, passionate mechanics fascinated with motorcycles.
Motorcycles are more than just simple transportation. They strangle attention. Old loud bikes, long hair bikers dressed in leather. It all screams freedom and coolness.
The ’71 50 cc Mobra, a dream come true. A very much broken Romanian built motorcycle, which Vlad fixes, rebuilds and trades further for a ’62 250CC Jawa (made in Czechoslovakia).
Alex gets a sledgehammered Russian built ’59 K-175 motorcycle and a German 250cc MZ which he also rebuilds, fixes and sells.
Later, Alex buys the ’62 250CC Jawa from Vlad, which settles for a 350cc Soviet Izh Jupiter 4.
At this time they had both run through different engine changing operations, improving their bikes so they fit their riding the hills behind their house needs.
Nothing could stop them. Sometimes, for the speed tests, they had to push the bikes for a few kilometers in order reach a flat riding surface, on an abandoned aerodrome on the city’s outskirts, as none of them had a driving license.
Engineering tests took their toll on Alex’s Jawa as he rode without a air filter and a pebble found its way into the cylinder. The bike broke down and he took it apart to fix it, once again. And fix it is 20 years later, still in a box at home.
The sadness was short as they found another broken Izh Planeta 5 they had to work on.
At 18 years old, now veteran mechanics and experienced offroad riders with fresh ink on their motorcycle driving licenses, they went on pursuing their traveling ambitions, selling their old bikes and buying some other old bikes, the Ukrainian built two cylinder and 650cc Dnepr.
Some more fixing and upgrading was involved before taking them into the wild, but once they were ready, there was nothing that would stop them for trying to reach the mountain heights and no roads too difficult for these beasts of motorcycles.
Their first major adventure is across Romania through the less beaten tracks. With no real equipment, fully dressed in leather in the middle of July, carrying tens of kilos in spare parts for the bikes, heavy tents and cooking gear, metal boxes, backpacks and rucksacks, that all keep water in, but not out, a sound system, working on the bikes more than riding, ready to rock.
Dreaming big, dreaming of Dakar Rally, adventuring into Mongolia and Japanese motorcycles in a time when Romanian nationals still need an entry visa for Italy.
While studying Geology with a scholarship in Naples and working as a dishwasher helper in a restaurant, Alex saves some money, just enough to buy a Yamaha Tenere once he returns home.
In this while, Vlad was studying to become a mechanical engineer and working for an Italian company in Romania, saving money for his dream motorcycle.
7 years after their first bike, in 2007, Vlad riding his own Yamaha Tenere and Alex on his new KTM690, head out into Ukraine, through the self-proclaimed and non-recognized state of Transnistria, a heavy militarized region, lost in time.
Crossing the wild Ukranian Carpathians on muddy mountain tracks, getting wet from all the water streams, loosing their gear and tools due to their backpacks getting a fair amount of damage from the terrain they were riding on, dealing for hours with police and custom officers in Transnistria, but also discovering a world that does not need a common language to be able to communicate, to share feelings or their home.
We have two grown up adventurers returning home after few weeks and once again to Ukraine 3 years later.
Adventure motorcycling brings a lot of good people together, adventurers or just people you meet on the road.
The motorcycle leaves you exposed to the weather and to the world. It teaches you about yourself, it makes you discover that your capabilities have no boundaries.
The heart asks for more adventure.
The engineer brain starts working on enhancing the motorcycle’s off-road performance and improving the luggage.
The question remained. What is the best way to equip a bunch of old adventure bikes when you have no money to spend ?
Well, build your own luggage. It is not totally cost free, but it could work.
The first pair of panniers was not at all about design, it was about building two strong boxes and make them as waterproof as possible using whatever one can find at hand.
In order to make the project reality, Vlad started working in his rented apartment’s kitchen and later, joined by friends, in front of his apartment’s building, on what will become the first pair of Heavy Duties panniers.
Well, there was no Heavy Duties and no sense of what the future will have to offer, just the need for long lasting travel equipment, that will endure a good beating.
And it did, a year later, in 2008, when it was tested to its limits, riding all the way to North Cape.
Upon returning we found ourselves a second job, making panniers, racks and crash bars for our friends and friends of our friends.
We even thought of buying a van, going from home to home, building motorcycle accessories on request. That would have been a very bad business.
Instead, with a little help from friends, we got ourselves a small workshop, tools and old machinery we refurbished and modified for our needs.
Bogdan joined our team and specialized himself on welding.
We did not see whatever we were building as products or business, it was our passion to equip motorcycles, so everyone around us could enjoy riding just as we did.
In the next year or two, we had to quit our day time job and concentrate 100% on what was now Heavy Duties. After placing one add on an international forum, the orders came one after another.
We were building accessories for older models bikes. People would bring their motorcycles in our workshop, so we could work on them and design the prototype for new products. Than, improve them, based on the feedback we received.
Our products evolved as we evolved as professionals and travelers.
We have tried to stay up to date with technology, but in the same time use what is available and affordable to us in the best way possible, constantly improving our accessories and the way in which they are produced.
Now, we are using some of the best available raw materials, which we constantly check and change as necessary, to obtain better, each time more reliable final products.
We are very proud today to offer very good quality solutions at affordable prices, as we have been looking for so much in the past.
We never stopped testing our products in different types of terrains and situations and we are still very passionate adventure travelers.
We want to see the entire world and if it's possible always on the less beaten tracks.