It’s Official

The bicycle industry insider’s magazine “Bicycle Retailer and Industry News” has officially acknowledged what we’ve known for quite a while now: bicycles for transportation are the real deal and they’re here to stay. From a recent article:

What does the industry see as the next big thing?

Hint: Industry heavyweight Specialized is launching a stand-alone transportation brand (see story on page 27); Fuji acquired transportation brand Breezer; and Raleigh pared down its enthusiast road and mountain models to greatly expand its transportation and city bike offerings for 2009.

Transportation bikes are beginning to gain the acceptance and sales success that mountain bikes enjoyed in recent years.

“The time is right now. So much has changed in the past few years—the price of gas, global warming and the environmental movement. Everyone is interested in bikes,” said Robin Sansom, Globe brand manager.

“New bike buyers are interested in bikes as transportation, in getting around, running errands or going to their friend’s house,” Sansom added.

According to the article, many retailers have been slow to acknowledge this sea change, but those who have reached out to the new utility/transportation customer base are doing very well. We’re excited to be a part of this growing movement.

Read the article in BRAIN

13 Responses to “It’s Official”

  • Scott Wayland says:

    Hoo–freakin’–ray. It’s about time. I’ve gotten so sick of everything being oriented towards racing bikes and hardcore mtb’s. I went to a local LBS and found ONE transport oriented bike. Bring ‘em on.

    Scott

  • 2whls3spds says:

    Hopefully they will take a cue from the Euro bikes and they will come properly equipped, with things like ring locks, chain guards(cases) and something other than suspension seat posts with Velo Ploosh saddles. Having generator hubs and lights as an option wouldn’t hurt either. It can cost a consumer over $300 to add a decent lighting system to an existing bike. I am sure the manufacturers could provide one for a fraction of that.

    Aaron

  • Jeff Lock says:

    About time. I can not remember EVER seeing a transport orientated bike in any shop I have been to in South Australia.
    Now we need the politicians to wake up and pay more than token lip service to proper cycling infrastructure .
    Also bring in some road laws similar to Europe that provide protection and support for cyclists.

  • bongobike says:

    These statements worry me:

    “Women are predominantly the customers for these bikes, and many of them are taking their kids on errands. So these bikes need to fit smaller people and come with kid-carrying capacity. Such bikes are still needed,” said Dean Mullin, partner in Portland, Oregon’s Clever Cycles.

    Bicycle Habitat’s Pastir also said that women are his largest market, and they are put off by the colors and graphics on bikes.”

    If this is truly the case, then expect a bad situation to get worse for tall guys like me (6’4″). Finding bikes “off the rack” for tall people in this country has gotten harder and harder over the years, and if history is any clue, manufacturers are going to crank out little city bikes and forget about the rest of the market, just like they did during the MTB boom of the 80s and 90s.

    On a different note, I guess they still haven’t noticed the recumbent trend. The popularity of recumbents is rising as well. I think it won’t take too long for the general public to get used to those “weird contraptions”.

  • Larey says:

    I bought 3 transportation oriented bikes over the past two years (and sold 1 already). I shopped several LBS’s and I was mostly met with head scratching

    “Well, I guess you could mount fenders on this one?”.

    When I suggested there was a market for transportation bikes I got more blank stares. When I suggested to one shop owner who professed a knowledge of utility cycing that he set up a bike with fenders, lights, kickstand, and a rack in his front window, he said:

    “We can mount those for you.”

    I don’t know of a single shop here in town that is going after the commuter market, and we are a Gold Level LoAB city (with the possible exception of REI).

    With fewer people buying new bikes these days, I’m suprised the interest in bike commuting hasn’t gotten through to our LBS’s.

  • Alan says:

    @bongobike

    I’m curious about your statement regarding recumbents. I haven’t been following the trends, but the last time I looked into it approximately one year ago, ‘bents were still holding steady at an estimated 0.5% of the market share. I’m just wondering if you’ve seen more recent data – if so, I’d love to see it.

    Thanks!
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Larey

    I suspect we’ll see many more LBS’s coming onboard after this year’s Interbike show. If so, we should be seeing more utility bikes in stores starting in spring of 2010.

  • bongobike says:

    Alan,

    I’m sorry, but my comments are based on anecdotal info, hearsay, conjecture, etc. :-) I see more recumbents on the streets of Austin, something that our local recumbent LBS has confirmed (their local and internet sales are up and are moving to a larger location). I also seem to find more recumbent info on the net lately.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we (aging baby boomers) start a mini recumbent boom once all the aches and pains of age start to hit hard. There’s nothing like riding in an easy-chair! I had always been intrigued by recumbents, but what finally made me buy my first one was the fact that I developed problems in my neck (pinching nerve roots) and can’t ride drop bars anymore. Since riding upright against the wind is the only thing I hate more than steep hills, I decided to go bent.

  • bongobike says:

    Of course, what I just stated about aging baby-boomers will only cement in some people’s minds the image of recumbents as old-fart rides, but I trust we’ll see more young people too. Last night I went for a ride on my ‘bent and once again I saw kids going gaga over my bike. They all go, “cool bike”! So maybe there’s hope that these kids will get as excited about bents as I was in the 60s with banana-seat bikes…

  • John Gear says:

    People love recumbents — I have long since lost count of how many people ask me where I got my Cruzbike and how they can get one. Of course, awareness is just step one . . . getting a local dealer to stock them is the other half of the chicken and egg dilemma, which together combine to nest together to form part of a larger chicken-and-egg problem, sales volume and affordability. There will be tons of slag bikes sold for every recumbent because, thanks to selling tons of slag bikes, the prices are much better.

    At a recent workshop for alt modes transports (alt to single-occupant-vehicles, so other motorized options were included) I suggested that, in all seriousness, we should take a tiny fraction of the dollars they are proposing to blow on yet more capacity for cars and simply help people buy electric assist bikes, just as the state energy code and tax code helps residents buy the more expensive (and more efficient) appliances. I got nothing but blank stares and comments like “yeah right” — meanwhile, the feds just passed a multi-billion dollar program to help buy back low mileage vehicles AND help people buy higher mileage ones. (The thought of giving people money to do something useful for all of society apparently only pertains to encouraging more auto use.)

  • DeltaTrike says:

    I can’t go anywhere and not get a ton of comments, questions and kudos. People go to bike shops and they ask about recumbents and pretty soon they will start carrying them. In Houston there is really only one place that I know of, Planetay Cycles. They are listed in the EcoVelo Dealer links. Good Folks!

    @bongobike: Do you trade with EasyStreet Recumbents out on Koenig? Were you at the BentEvent last April?

  • lyle says:

    My LBS sells mostly mountain bikes, the Sierra Nevada are in our back yard. They sell a lot of road bikes too but this year a transport bike made it to their front display window and their selection of bikes, racks, panniers, bags, etc, has easily doubled.

    What I’m most concerned about is the sustainability of the transport bike movement. Selling twice as many bikes this year is irrelevant if awareness and infrastructure doesn’t keep pace.

    Although Chico is a big bike town and has a lot of aging boomers, I really haven’t seen any increase in recumbents. There has been a huge increase though in upright transport style bikes though.

  • bongobike says:

    Delta Trike,

    I was there. I was the tall guy with a beard and a purple Vision R-45. I have attended both Bent Events. I paid Mike a visit a couple of weekends ago, as I do every so often to check out what’s new, and he showed me the new showroom, which he was just barely beginning to organize. He will use the old showroom for storage.

 
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