Now Trek wants to ruin China

Those poor, poor Chinese people and their bicycles, says today’s WSJ. They are still riding bicycles to get themselves around rather than for sport. That’s why there are no champion racers from China.

Well, we just can’t have that. The Chinese must give up their bikes for cars and relegate the bicycle to it’s rightful place. Which is off the road and on the track.

10 replies
  1. Eric
    Eric says:

    “Trek is probably the leading major manufacturer in advocating transportation cycling in the U.S.”

    I’ll take your word for that. The fact that they came out with the Lime last year tends to support what you are saying, but at $500, I can’t see them moving many of them.

    If I saw them make a basic 3 speed with fenders and price it at $150 or so, I would be better convinced. They could sell the same bike worldwide (even in China to replace the awful Flying Pigeon) and go head-to-head with the expensive Dutch bikes.

    Come up with a catchy name, like Volksbike.

  2. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    Lime was not solely a Trek effort. Shimano did some extensive market research on what was keeping people from getting into cycling (aside from roadway/safety concerns). They learned some useful things, and the “Coasting” brand was the result; Trek’s Coasting bike is the Lime; other brands have their own models. The problem is they didn’t test the actual product very well with the public.
    As they say, the proof is in the pudding, and I see very, very few Coasting bikes out there. They may be selling (I don’t know), but they aren’t being used much.

    Potential customers were evidently intimidated by the complexity of modern American bikes. Instead of developing new technology, all they had to do was copy the Dutch: upright seating, internal hub shifting, enclosed drivetrain, racks and lights as standard equipment.

  3. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    BTW. I saw someone PUSHING an electric bike yesterday. I wonder what he was thinking as I pedaled by…

  4. Eric
    Eric says:

    Raleigh sells a Stadtfiet for as little as 300 euros for a single speed and 400 for a 3 speed.

    Flying Pigeons cost ~$50USD for a single speed 194x Raleigh knock-off with rod brakes in China.

    The Dutch Raleigh is NFS in the US.
    The Flying Pigeon is $350 delivered to anywhere in the US.

  5. Eric
    Eric says:

    I watched the whole thing. John Burke don’t get it. What he talked about (and I wonder if the people that taped him heard him) is how more bike lanes and paths sells more bicycles.

    So, because he don’t get it, he and Shimano get together, decide that what the US market needs is a light commuter bike that has an automatic transmission. They decide this because they are told “all those gears” are disliked by the US public.

    But guess what? “All those gears” are disliked by a lot of people not just US people. That explains why the single gear and three speeds are the most popular bikes in the world. That, and people don’t want to pay for things they won’t use. Especially complicated things they won’t use.

    As far as “all those gears.” I have a mother that is 83. Back in the ’50’s and ’60’s she used to ride a bike. What kind? A Raleigh 3 speed. She is about as non-technical a person as you are likely to find. Nobody ever taught her how to use a PC because it would have been a waste of time, yet even she could figure out an internally hub geared 3 speed.

    So Trek and Shimano get together and build a $300 bike, but add a $200 automatic transmission to it and then they don’t sell. Is it any wonder?

  6. Keri
    Keri says:

    I watched that video a long time ago. As I recall, he makes some good marketing points that are not objectionable. But like most bike advocates, he’s attached to the wrong solution. I think it’s a combination of lazy thinking (people are horrible about not questioning culturally-accepted norms — that leads us into all kinds of trouble in every aspect of life), and the less-admirable notion that bike lanes and paths are literally 100s of miles of tax-payer-funded advertisement for bike manufacturers… because the cultural norm is bike lanes = accommodating cyclists (no-matter how unnecessary or dangerous the application). And the common advocacy belief is that bike lanes = more cyclists.

    Bike lanes were created to get cyclists out of the way. That is all they will ever do. There are a dozen other social, geographical and cultural factors that lead to more cyclists. If a community with those existing factors focused on education and civility instead of bike lanes, they would create an active bike culture just the same… probably a better, smarter, more responsible bike culture at that.

  7. pmsummer
    pmsummer says:

    John Burke thinks that bike lanes and paths will sell more bikes NOW (as does my local Trek dealer with the “Share the Gutter” ad). It’s a “Quarterly Statement” driven bike plan.

    It’s the mentality that flooded the market with 10-spd drop-bar bikes in the ’70s, and knobby-tired bikes in the ’80s. It’s how Shimano ran everyone out of business (pretty much) in the ’90s.

    It’s not about making things better, it’s about making more profits before the next shareholder’s meeting. What Shimano and Toyota (and GM before them) are so good at is not responding to market needs, but rather creating them.

    I have some Shimano shoes, and I am ashamed.

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