Shimano Gets CoastingBy Rocky Thompson on February 21st, 2007
The Shimano Coasting experiment has begun. For those of you who donâ€™t know about the project, Shimano is trying to get people who donâ€™t ride bikes to start riding bikes. They hired an outside company to study the industry and find out why people who can bike donâ€™t bother. The outsiders figured out that gears are confusing, and the people who sell bikes are an exclusive lot that isnâ€™t too willing to help newbs work their brakes and oil their chains.
So now Shimano is trying to affect a major shift in the way bikes are designed and soldâ€”and theyâ€™ll make a boatload of money if it works out. Of course, if everyone in the country starts riding their bikes, then I think Shimanoâ€™s entitled to Microsoft-style cash.
Coasting is trying to make cycling accessible and fun. Their bikes donâ€™t require much maintenance, and they come with automatic transmissions and coaster brakes. Trek, Giant, and Raleigh are all making the bikes with big chain guards and upright riding positions. Theyâ€™re not for sale yet, but the Coasting website will let you get a look at the goods.
The one thing these user-friendly bikes canâ€™t address are the places bikes are sold and maintained. Itâ€™s no secret that bikes shop employees are an exclusive bunch, and redesigning bikes with â€œmood gripsâ€ doesnâ€™t do much to change that. The new bikes only takes Shimano halfway, itâ€™ll be interesting to see how they address the other half of the reason normal people donâ€™t buy bikes.
via bike hugger