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Special coverage of Shimano Coasting

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Article reveals Bike Gallery's Coasting plans

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 13th, 2007 at 10:00 am

[Photo by Kris Schamp/Bike Gallery.]

Astute reader Allan Folz noticed an in-depth article on Shimano's new Coasting component group in the current issue of Hemispheres Magazine (the in-flight publication of United Airlines).

Back in May, Portland was chosen of 15 "bike-friendly" cities to be part of a special pre-launch marketing campaign for Coasting. Since that announcement, I published the first-ever photos and have worked with Shimano to share exclusive details of the innovative grouppo.

Shimano has high hopes that Coasting will reach untold millions of currently non-cycling Americans. It will only be licensed for use on three major bicycle brands. One of them is Trek, and Portland's Bike Gallery is one of the largest Trek dealers in the world.

[Giant's "Suede" bike with Coasting.]

The big marketing push for bikes built around Coasting begins in March, and The Hemispheres article reveals some interesting plans from Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves:

Jay Graves has plenty of ideas for attracting customers, including providing Coasting bikes for monthly First Thursday tours of the city’s art gallery district or holding demo days when people can stop by for a free tryout. “On other days, we’ll do a bakery tour or an Audubon tour or an ice cream shop tour on Coasting bikes,” he says. “People think ‘bikes and ice cream,’ and they’re in heaven.”

Sounds like fun Jay! Keep us posted with more details.

In another Coasting update, the official website is now live and open to the public. And no word yet from Shimano on other marketing plans they've got for the Portland metro area.

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Comments
  • Michael Downes February 13, 2007 at 11:03 am

    As the former senior designer at Giant Bicycles (one of the companies involved with the Coasting project)I have some experience with this undertaking. I was initially excited when Shimano first approached us but as the project progressed it became clear that it was 90% marketing and only 10% technological innovation. The system was slowly stripped of features (3sp instead of 5sp etc) and the price slowly crept up as the reality of achievable production numbers set in. What we ended up with was a fairly ordinary bicycle with a single feature (auto shifting) and a lot of marketing hoopla to dress it up. The auto shifting is not significantly different from Shimano's Auto-D system from the late nineties. While I applaud Shimano for trying to reach out to the 'casual cyclist I am pretty certain it will fail as a product and as a marketing effort.

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  • West Cougar February 13, 2007 at 11:17 am

    I'm as skeptical of the Coasting grouppo as the next rider. But I'm also just as cynical of marketing and people's willingness jump on the latest band wagon.

    So, while I am inclined to be dismissive of Coasting, I will admit that the number of bike paths and rail-to-trails does make it different this time. Whether that will translate to any lasting changes in the general public's behaviour, I am less certain. Shimano may well sell millions of these things, but like gym memberships in January, they are quickly forgotten after the "new" of spring weather wears off.

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  • Jonathan Maus February 13, 2007 at 11:26 am

    While I can appreciate the cynicism at the marketing hype behind this product... I think if Shimano can re-innovate an existing product and then spend millions to market it to a new riding demographic, than more power to them!

    I don't care if they were re-introducing BioPace... at least they're focusing resources on getting more Americans on bikes.

    What other (non-department store) bike company is doing anything like this?

    The bikes look engaging, they are simple to operate, they are made by the top brands in the business, and they have the marketing pop to really raise some eyebrows.

    Personally, I'm excited to see where this goes.

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis February 13, 2007 at 11:43 am

    I think they made a big mistake. They did actually discover the key reason why more people don't ride: the way you get treated when you walk in a bike store (see the article for a great explanation of this, but please don't get me started on it). But then, instead of focusing on how to actually provide the customer service that novice or potential cyclists want and need, they decided to make a product a superfluous product. There are plenty of appropriate bikes already out there for the beginning rider. Sure, not getting grease on your leg helps, but who is so lazy or stupid that they cannot occasionally shift gears?

    It seems to me that they just dumbed-down the product when they should have simply considered how other people prefer to be treated, i.e., not like an idiot.

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  • Allan Folz February 13, 2007 at 11:51 am

    I literally came across that article flying back from Beijing. The thing I found most interesting was how Shimano's research into how most people professed they would like to ride matched most most people in Beijing actually ride: seated upright, puttering along at 6-10 mph, traveling in separated bike-ways or well-marked very wide bike lanes.

    Upon a little reflection this makes a lot of sense. In Beijing most people are cyclists. It stands to reason they would therefore ride as most people in the US say they would ride, if they could. Further consider Netherlands, most people cycle. The cyclists there ride slow and upright.

    Here's the thing, in the US most people are not cyclists. More aptly, most cyclists are NOT LIKE most people. I applaud Shimano for thinking outside the box. Whether it will work this time... I don't know. In the end I think it comes down to the infrastructure that matters.

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  • Jesse February 13, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    I share Jonathan's enthusiasm here. Isn't a change in marketing *exactly* what we need?

    As a cyclist, I already know that we have the technology- what we need is a way to make more people not only understand this fact, but also take action, and hop on a bike instead of getting in their car. Hopefully some of these bikes can do just that.

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  • anon February 13, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    surprise. someone does something and portland cycists act like spoiled know it alls. film at 11.

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  • AC. February 13, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    From my considerable experience selling bikes I know a great many people, both smart and motivated still find it difficult or intimidating to coordinate shifting, braking and pedaling.

    Cycling is gear intensive, at least when you are getting started. A lot of prospective cyclists are overwhelmed. Some simplified product will probably help.

    Remember, if you already read this blog, 'Coasting' probably isn't designed for or marketed to you.

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  • N.I.K. February 13, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    I don't buy the shop jargon/too many choices line. People still manage to go down to the auto dealership or the electronics superstore or even the clothes shop, have a whole lot of jargon thrown at them, and walk away having sunk money on merchandise. Not knowing about auto mechanics or different types of fabric doesn't stop anyone.

    The thing is that these people just don't see bikes as being useful in a day-to-day capacity. They have lots of nostalgia for biking around their neighborhoods as kids because they weren't having to use them to do anything. They're saying that they don't want to get out on the road and deal with other vehicles. To these people, bikes are just really big toys, for recreational purposes only. And while there's nothing wrong with people using bikes for recreation, the people with only a casual interest can't really justify going to a shop and dropping at least a *few hundred bucks* on something they're going to use every couple of weekends at best...and those are weekends where they haven't got to fix up the living space, cater to relatives visiting from out of town, be at a special school event for their kids, etc.

    A bike at the $300-400 pricepoint still seems expensive to these folks. Hell, it's expensive to me, but then every bike I've ever had has been bought used (regrettably, there are still folks out there who go "ick!" at the notion of buying used), and even then I've justified the purchase by actually using the thing at least a couple times a week. These people obviously want the comfort and seeming safety of bike-only facilities, so when they do manage to find the time, it's also a question of getting to those facilities, the weather not increasing the hassle, and so on. When you consider all of this, it's no wonder these people aren't buying bikes. Given that sort of situation, I probably wouldn't bother either.

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  • N.I.K. February 13, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    "surprise. someone does something and portland cycists act like spoiled know it alls. film at 11."

    I'd like to express my similar sense of complete and utter shock at somebody jumping in to bash on Portland cyclists being critical of a half-baked idea. ;P

    Nobody's denying that these people did a lot of marketing research and decided to build a bike for the non-biking featuring new bike technology when the non-biking fear new bike technology and to be sold to the non-biking in bike shops they don't like to venture into in the first place. It's just that it's not especially likely that this bike is going to sell anybody on biking. People who were going to go down to REI and buy a "cheap" $400 hybrid just to tool around on once in a while might conceivably buy this instead. Anyone who wasn't already planning to go get a bike in the first place isn't going to be swayed by this.

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  • Jonathan Maus February 13, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Anyone who wasn’t already planning to go get a bike in the first place isn’t going to be swayed by this.

    I think you're focusing on the price and the product. Shimano is focusing on the experience.

    Given that their marketing campaign hasn't even started, I find it tough to make any predictions about who will or will not be "swayed".

    As we all know, good marketing can be a very powerful force. Combine that with the infectious appeal of cycling and an easy-to-use product that delivers a good experience...and who knows, they just might succeed...and people just might start using their bikes for more than weekend jaunts.

    Now, if they could invent a way for the tires to never lose air...

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  • K February 13, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Anybody know how accessible the parts are for minor adjustments and tune-ups? I guess their target audience wouldn't likely feel impelled to fix little things on their own- but I'm curious as to whether having enclosed components would be more of a hassle from the maintenance end.

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  • coop February 13, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    The first thing I thought, is man those bikes are uggggly.

    It is funny that most shops have spent years bashing "auto-shift" bikes. Think landrider and that ilk. Now we will be promoting faulty and poor performing technology as it is "easier". Yawn.

    Don't we already have the Electra townie? The Amsterdam? Is an internal hub that difficult to operate? I would have to say that if you can not use a coaster brake and an internal hub shifter, you probably should not get out of bed with out strapping on body armor and a helmet.

    This coaster grouping will definately be around a while as it represents the big companies scrambling to reclaim market share lost to Electra, as well as trying to dip into the mass market stores.

    Trouble is the mass merchants are selling 100 dollar bikes...

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  • natallica February 13, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    jonathan,

    i'm with ya, let shimano do what they want.

    but what's with the bio pace reference? i really wanna know! my $70 craigslist bike has it on there and i always get snickers from bike geeks...sheesh, i think i'm going to cover the name with stickers or something.

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  • N.I.K. February 13, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    "I think you’re focusing on the price and the product. Shimano is focusing on the experience."

    They're focusing on the product. That's why they came up with a new product. Hub-geared/braked bikes with enclosed drivetrains and have been around for ages and would do quite a bit in the way of facilitating the people who want a simple, no-fuss bike to have fun on. Instead, Shimano's come up with a new product to be marketed as the solution to the seeming problem of bikes being too complicated. And that's it. This doesn't at all account for people who think they just don't have time to bike or perceive biking to be so dangerous that they will only do it on separate bike paths. I'm not suggesting that it's a bad solution, but it's a limited solution being touted as something much bigger and greater in scope.

    Could their marketing campaign be stunning and win the masses over? Possibly...you're right, we haven't seen it yet. It'd be great if it was a tremendous success, no question. Based on what they've done thus far, however, I'm not expecting huge results, though I'd love to be wrong. :)

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  • Austin February 13, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    I have to give Shimano a lot of credit for partnering with Ideo. That alone is pretty inspired. But how is a coasting grouppo going to get the non-cycling public to remember the joy of cycling as a kid? For me, the thing (grouppo) and the feeling (pure joy) don’t easily equate, and it is clear from the article that there is going to need to be some serious marketing to both the consumers and to bike shops to get this to really take off. Something important typically happens between that first bike love as a kid and rediscovering cycling as an adult: Driving. Overcoming the fear of sharing a road with cars is the problem they are trying to solve with a slick product and a marketing push. It's an uphill battle, but I am glad they are doing it. Even if the product fails, we all benefit from better exposure and a few more people on their bikes.

    Even with mild skepticism about the grouppo, I really like Jay’s ideas for getting people on these bikes, and can appreciate how cycling in the future might look a lot different than it does today.

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  • Jonathan Maus February 13, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    N.I.K.,

    Point taken.

    I should have clarified that in addition to the new product, Shimano is trying to create a new experience...which their product is perfectly suited to accommodate.

    Sony's Walkman existed long before the iPod.

    I know that reference isn't perfect... but I'm just saying that sometimes good marketing can actually create an experience and the product -- if it's new, neat and reliable enough -- can be just the thing people need to take notice and adopt that new experience into their lives.

    In this case, that new experience would be riding a bike.

    I hope I'm right ;-).

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  • Cecil February 13, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    A.O. asks: "but who is so lazy or stupid that they cannot occasionally shift gears?"

    The same people who want automatic transmissions on their cars, perhaps. It's not necessarily an issue of laziness or stupidity; it's just different priorities. I might not agree with those priorities, but if auto-shifting gers more people out of cars and on to bikes, I am all for it.

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  • N.I.K. February 13, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    "In this case, that new experience would be riding a bike.

    I hope I’m right ;-). "

    Yeah, me too. The Coasting site's continued references to "Shimano's Coasting platform" makes me hesitant to jump the gun. They're name-dropping branded parts of the product's feature set, which is a bit stupid. Benefits beat out features any day of the week.

    Using your portable music device example, for instance, the average consumer doesn't *care* explicitly if a player's based around a hard drive or flash memory. The hard drive-based units get sold to people who are told "these hold a lot more content" and the flash-based ones get sold to people who want something smaller with less moving parts to go wonk. Do you talk about the third-party manufacturers who made the hard drive or the flash memory chip inside? No. Do you talk about licensed third-party technology that helps the thing go? No. People don't get excited about those things.

    Here's hoping the campaign proper is smart enough to avoid focusing on components and instead focusing on product benefits. It'll certainly be interesting to see Shimano, a components/parts manufacturer, try to toe the line.

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  • JimK February 13, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    I started riding an Azor from Amsterdam a few months ago - I think it was June last year. It's got a very comfortable upright seating position. After a few months of using the Azor for riding to work, to the grocery store, etc., I got back on my Trek 520 - classic drop-bar touring bike. I thought I was about to tumble right over the handlebars! The difference in seating posture really is dramatic! I'm not sure how the geometry is changed to have that effect - certainly the Azor has the bottom bracket at the bottom of the seat tube, rather than being offset like an Electra.

    Maybe the fancy transmission will help, but really just changing the geometry is huge. I sit so high, I start Hummer drivers in the eye. They're sure surprised to see me up there, with the migrating geese!

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  • david February 13, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    "Do you talk about the third-party manufacturers who made the hard drive or the flash memory chip inside? No. Do you talk about licensed third-party technology that helps the thing go? No. People don’t get excited about those things."

    homestar, i gotta disagree.
    to keep with the technology line, pretty much every computer sold on the market advertises its third-party technology provider. it's called intel, and if gateway, ibm, dell, and a whole host of other manufacturers didn't advertise their machines as using it, something tells me they'd sell a lot fewer units. same goes for software. think itunes and windows os, which even apple is now supporting...and advertising that they're doing so.

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  • N.I.K. February 13, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    "homestar, i gotta disagree.
    to keep with the technology line, pretty much every computer sold on the market advertises its third-party technology provider. it’s called intel..."

    'Homestar' yourself. That's the company reponsible for the processor and maybe the motherboard chipset, and beyond maybe a mention of "Intel Core 2 Duo" (or some other manufacturer's particular processor, for that matter), you don't see such actually *advertised*. If you consult the detailed product spec, you'll find out some more detailed info, but a lot is still going to be left out: whether or not you find out who made the hard drive, the RAM, what BIOS it uses, and so on can be a real crapshoot. Why is this? Because your average consumer *does not* give a hoot in hell, and tends to be confused by seeming gobbledygook.

    Moving back towards the bicycle aspect of things, my point is that *marketing materials* should be more clear and not just toss around random technology needs, especially when their supposed aim is to avoid confusing their market. Here, from the section on the Giant Seude:

    "The result is the all-new Giant Suede Coasting Series. Based on a holistic design approach that combines clean, modern styling with the Shimano Coasting product platform with 3-speed automatic shifting, the Suede Coasting is the new accessory for fun."

    "Shimano Coasting product platform"? I don't know what that means until I read it a second time and see it's got *something* to do with 3-speed automatic shifting. Is it how it happens? Maybe, maybe not, I don't know. It's vague. Does 3-speed automatic shifting sound easy? Yes. Do I care how it happens? Not when I'm making the initial investigation. Mention it somewhere, but don't make as big a deal about it at the top level.

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  • JimK February 13, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    http://flickr.com/photos/bikeportland/171409002/

    Just for fun, there is the mighty Azor in action last summer! Stratospheric!

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  • SKiDmark February 13, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Ah, the simplicity of an electronic automatic transmission. I think I will go play centrifugal bumblepuppy, now.

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  • beth February 13, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    A change in marketing will not change the climate in which Americans ride bicycles. Nor will it convince more people to get out of their cars and onto bikes. (I ride in spite of, not because of, a landscape and vehicle code that were both designed for cars.)

    Riding a bike for daily transportation in this country, IMHO, pretty much requires one to possess a strong contrarian streak and a modicum of self-reliance -- both which are historically part of the "American" psyche.

    Technology that is fully encased and out of sight, thereby rendering itself a mystery to the user, discourages the kind of self-reliance I'd like to see in more bicyclists. (Who's going to fix a flat on that bike? And what if you're not near a bike shop?)

    This was my complaint with the Electra Amsterdam, and it's the same thing that comes to mind with Shimano's "Coaster" bike, only much more so. Make a bike idiot-simple -- and heavy! -- and I believe that you'll take enough of the adventure and fun out of the experience to drive people away after the first flush of "newness" is gone.

    I believe that the bike industry ought to go after that independent, self-reliant, contrarian streak and figure out creative ways to grow it. I'm not convinced that designs like this do a good job of that. Of course, I'll allow that self-reliance doesn't net a manufacturer as much money, either; but there goes my contrarian streak again...

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  • Adam8 February 13, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    So, I was already going to say that those components are ugly as hell, but now they're not even all that technologically amazing? Yeah, Shimano really has hit rock bottom.

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  • N.I.K. February 13, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Beth, I don't think this marketing campaign aims to do anything more than get adults who have otherwise avoided bicycling post-childhood to consider what great fun it is to simply ride. There's nothing mentioned about biking for transport or anything particularly idealistic.

    Your point is never the less interesting, though, because it basically asks, "Is more people on bikes, period, necessarily a good thing?" The answer's yes, of course, but we've got to remember that the size of the people who, say, use bikes for transport or do the majority of maintenance tasks themselves still increases marginally, and that there may wind up being more people out there who *aren't* the least bit interested in all the sef-reliant/nigh-autonomous behaviors a lot of us value so much. These bikes are clearly made for the people who don't want to get their hands dirty with routine maintenance tasks, and on one hand, that's good, because it means one less obstacle for them to face. On the other, it means that any of the maintenance that does need to be done might become mysterious behind-the-scenes seeming-magic, and this could result in more voluntary willful ignorance of mechanical issues and everything negative that stems from it. (dun-dun-dun!)

    On the whole, though, I wouldn't worry too much. The do-it-yourselfers don't get vaporized the second the average human being decides to get out on a bike. Besides, one more person biking is one more person who might grow to love it to the degree of going beyond basic recreation and learning how stuff works, getting involved in advocacy, and more. Doesn't hurt much in the end. :)

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  • Michael February 14, 2007 at 7:55 am

    "most people professed they would like to ride matched most most people in Beijing actually ride: seated upright, puttering along at 6-10 mph"

    This is an important point! In most of the world where bikes prevail the riders ride slow and easy. In the US, cycling tends to be seen as either a child's playtime activity or an athlete's workout. (Portland is an exception to some degree.)

    Many potential cyclists see cycling from their seats of the motor vehicles. If what they see does not fit with the perception of what they think they want or can achieve, then cycling remains a no-go objective.

    If we want Portland, or anywhere, to achieve greater biking for the masses, then one thing we need to do is make some effort to model cycling behavior that current non-cyclists can hope to replicate for themselves.

    Easier bike technology is just one part of the picture. The option to ride with great ease and comfort is a great goal.

    The idea is to get non-cyclist to view cycling as an activity they CAN and WANT to do, not as something just for kids and athletes.

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  • Richard Wilson February 14, 2007 at 9:12 am

    I think the key factor that's missing from the Shimano-Ideo approach is showing good looking, stylish - and more importantly, famous and powerful - people on these bikes. Look at the Coasting site - where are the people? I don't believe the incremental technical refinements or experience based marketing are powerful enough to ever have a tipping point effect on a mass scale.

    IMHO, if marketing budgets are going to be spent trying to get people to ride bikes in this country these dollars should be spent on getting thought leaders and, even more importantly, fashion trend setters onto bikes in the public spotlight. What the non-biking American consumer needs to see, and see repeatedly, is people like Brad Pitt or Jennifer Aniston in People magazine and on TV doing their shopping, riding around with their cute kids, and looking good doing it. People influence people, not technical innovation. I think that having elegant city bikes become a de rigueur fashion and lifestyle accessory of the Beautiful People would be much more effective in mainstreaming biking in our culture. The same sort of marketing and tipping point phenomenon helped make SUVs popular and fashionable, so why not bicycles?

    I know this seemingly shallow "make cycling fashionable" thinking will make many of you cringe, but look at what happened when the Stars started doing yoga - it suddenly became irresistibly appealing and mainstream, the number of people doing yoga literally exploded overnight, and a booming lifestyle industry followed in its wake (books, fashion, mats in a hundred muted tones, accessories, etc). My belief is that something similar needs to happen with cycling for mainstream adoption and acceptance to take place. Without the visceral psychological factor of people thinking deep down inside "I will be more beautiful and powerful if I bike" and "It's okay for me to ride a bike as an adult because I see famous people I respect doing it" I fear that we'll see this new crop of Coasting bikes hanging next to the previous generation of dusty hybrid and entry level mountain bikes that already sit neglected in garages across the country. Sure, Shimano will likely sell a bunch of these bikes, but what has really changed in our popular culture that will keep people riding them this time?

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  • Anonymous February 14, 2007 at 9:51 am

    There are too many excellent posts here to address just one, so I will do my very best to contribute.

    First, I believe that it is false to assume that Shimano and/or their associated Coasting OEMs are seeking to turn the general public into daily commuters with these bikes. The Coasting bikes are designed to get people back on bikes, if but for a day or three a week (or maybe more). The Coasting bike is like a gateway to the joy of cycling. If someone still doesn't like to cycle after riding what could be one of the easiest bicycles to ride/own, then perhaps they're just not a good fit for cycling and we'll have to wait until the oil runs out before we see them on the road again.

    I applaud any company for trying to get more people on bikes, for whatever reason. True, with more people on bikes, there comes the natural growing pains of simply having 'more people on bikes' --especially newbies. But so what? If we can encourage someone to ride a bike 1/4 mile, then maybe they'll try to ride a full mile. If they successfully do that, then they may try to ride to the park three miles away. You see where I'm going here. It's all about lowering the barrier through perception, backed by technology.

    On that note, I believe the bike shop issue presented in the Hemispheres article is also very relevant. While the Coasting bike may lower the barrier to entry, the bike shop still needs to consider lowering their barrier to entry in how non-cyclists perceive cycling. That is, if the shop wants to cater to the Coasting customer.

    Apple opened their own stores because they knew they could package and sell their own products better than other retailers. Why? Because they knew that for a lot of people, electronics aren't about RAM and Firewire. Nope, for a lot of people it's about the experience of easily managing your photos and music, and chatting, etc. Apple decided they could package their products in a way that made technology more accessible. They did this with their physical store, as well as with their products, creating easy-to-use, powerful technology with well-marketed names (iLife, anyone?). Perhaps there needs to be a Coasting store? I'm not an expert, just another guy with an opinion.

    The Coasting technology is not revolutionary, per se, but it's not so much about the technology. The Coasting group represents a new opportunity to see how people will perceive and adopt the technology.

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  • Cecil February 14, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    Richard wrote: "I know this seemingly shallow “make cycling fashionable” thinking will make many of you cringe, but look at what happened when the Stars started doing yoga - it suddenly became irresistibly appealing and mainstream"

    You bet I am cringing, the same way I cringe every time I see some clueless person with a red Kabbalah string on their wrist because Madonna wears one. But if it gets more people biking, and less people driving giant SUVs (which is what I usually see pictures of the "stars" doing), I won't complain.

    Let's start with Oprah, shall we? I can guarantee that if she did a show in which she rode a bike, sales would go through the roof . . .

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  • Dabby February 14, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    My thoughts?

    I think such a groupo is ludicrous at best, but certainly within the guidelines of a major company grasping at straws, after seeing simplicity overtaking the complexity they have been striving for years to propegate.
    I have not ridden it mind you, but see no reason at all to even do so...
    I also do not think it is attractive in any manner, nor does the profile, or look, lead to even the slightest thought of ease or simplicity.........

    On the note of BIO Pace? Once again, my opinion, but Bio Pace was created to save the knees, and supposedly make for more effective pedaling, by ovalizing certain chain rings, and leaving certain chain rings round.
    It would only be effective in certain ratios.
    But even then, it was never effective, and may have actually started causing more problems than good.
    There are new versions of BIO Pace out there, I believe in the higher end.
    Personally, I like my knees........

    natallica,
    I recommend for your own good, if you still want to run those bio pace cranks,
    that you roll on over to City Bikes, and replace that oval chain ring with a round one of the same bolt pattern.
    It will Probably cost you a total of $5.

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  • Richard Wilson February 14, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Hear that Trek? Giant? Raleigh? I know your marketing folks must be lurking here somewhere... Listen to Cecil and get your new bikes in Oprah's hands posthaste! Don't let tiny BC based jorg&olifkick your butt on this one!

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  • Jonathan Maus February 14, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    RE: oprah

    1) I don't think we should assume those companies haven't had bikes on her show before

    and 2) In my PR days, I worked long and hard trying to get my clients on Oprah... it is no easy task! (and no, I never did manage to do it...although I came close once or twice ;-) ).

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  • Cecil February 14, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Re: Oprah - combine it with a charitable give-away of bikes to kids who otherwise can't afford 'em, that might get her attention :-)

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  • Dabby February 14, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Can you say John Benanatti?

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  • Cecil February 14, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Oh yeah, now you're talking . . .

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  • steve March 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Well, a year later.

    Coasting is and was a big fat failure. Anyone want to apologize?

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  • DJ Hurricane March 11, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Ha! Why don\'t you share with us the basis for your conclusion, steve?

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  • Jim O'Horo March 12, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Steve #38 and DJ Hurricane #39:

    “Coasting is and was a big fat failure.” and “Why don\'t you share with us the basis for your conclusion, steve?”

    First, I think the idea of a bike that is economical, has multiple speeds, and is really simple to operate is great. I’d love to see something like that. Unfortunately Coasting is a good idea poorly executed. I can’t speak to whether or not Coasting has been a marketing success, but I can certainly point out some major technical problems, which I think will doom it.

    First, I have a good friend who is a mechanic at a major retailer of Coasting bikes here in Portland. Name of mechanic & shop withheld to protect the innocent – I don’t want to get someone fired for making disparaging remarks about their employer’s goods. This experienced mechanic, among other duties, assembles many of the Coasting bikes that come into the shop. The mechanic absolutely HATES that part of the job because the rear/shifting part of the bikes is so complicated & touchy it’s exceedingly difficult to assemble & get it adjusted properly. The mechanic’s opinion is that no person, even if they know how to fix a flat, is going to be able to remove & reinstall the rear wheel and get it working right again without mechanical ability far beyond ordinary and some special tools. After a few rear flats where the owner is forced to take the bike to a shop and pay an exorbitant fee for disassembling, reassembling and readjusting the rear end of his bike it’s going to be pushed into a corner of the garage & left there.

    The second looming problem is the front hub/generator. The generator supplies all the electricity for operating the bike’s computer, so it is essential to the system. I have a slightly older model Nexus hub generator on my bike. It has a design error, which causes the bearings to self-destruct after about 2,000 miles. I haven’t had one of the newer model Nexus hubs apart to be sure, but from the outside they look like they use the same bearing design as my older model. I ride more miles/year than most people, so mine failed within the warranty period. I was unable to find any shop in Portland which had repair parts for the Nexus hub, so I finally contacted Shimano directly. Though I should have been offered a new hub, Shimano would not stand behind the product, and even made me special order the repair parts through a local dealer. From failure to the time I finally got the repair parts took SIX MONTHS. Furthermore the Nexus hub is extremely difficult to repair. Because the axle is part of the generator system, it is almost impossible to feel when the pressure on the bearings is right. Disassembly and reassembly of the hub is a nightmare. I know of two large shops in Portland which have tried. One destroyed the hub in the process and had to end up buying the owner a new hub and rebuilding the wheel. The other got the hub apart, took one look at it and told the owner it was mission impossible. Effectively Shimano has designed a throw-away hub which fails every 2000 miles. At $65 for a replacement hub plus the cost of new spokes and labor to rebuild the front wheel I figure a total of about $100 every 2000 miles just to keep the front wheel turning. THAT’S A NICKEL A MILE! If they have used the same bearing design as I suspect, then I figure we have about another year before the first of these hubs start failing. That’s when the brown stuff is going to hit the fan & all these bikes start going back to the dealers. I think I have a little more mechanical savvy than most, and I spotted the bearing problem before it caused irreparable damage, but I worry that some neophyte who knows zilch about bikes (the very folks to whom Coasting is being marketed) will run the hub until the axle snaps sending him over the handlebars in a faceplant. Hope no one gets hurt before this problem is corrected.

    BTW, even with the parts in hand, it took me half a day of tinkering to get the hub apart, reassemble, adjust and work around the design error. I had to make some special tools to do the job. I got it back together and it’s still working OK after another 3000 miles, so I think I got it right. I’ve not heard of anyone else in the Portland area who has successfully rebuilt one of these hubs, but if there’s someone out there who has, I’d be happy to get together with you and compare notes.

    The third problem I have with this bike is the coaster brake. I don’t think a coaster brake should be marketed to adults. When ridden by heavier people coaster brakes have been known to fail on long, steep descents. When I raised this issue a year ago, someone said no one who buys one of these bikes will be climbing up long, steep hills anyway, but I never said nothing about climbing. What about Joe six-pack who like me is 200+ lbs. and decides to take the wife & kiddies to the zoo for the day? Let’s go by bike! We can ride to the MAX station and take MAX to the zoo. Now it’s 3:00 in the PM and time to head home. How about we cruise down through Washington Park and catch MAX back home from the bottom of the hill? A couple of trips like that and all the grease is boiled out of the rear hub. Next time, halfway down the hill Joe finds his brakes are gone. ‘Bye Joe.

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  • steve April 22, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    DJ,

    My proof is that they did not sell worth a damn. I know this cause I work somewhere that sells lots of bikes.

    We have computers that keep track of sales and everything. We also have industry trade publications with neat graphs and numbers.

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  • DJ Hurricane April 22, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Cool. And based on your general attitude, I\'m totally unsurprised you\'re a bike shop employee. I only wish I knew where you work, so I could avoid it like the plague.

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  • steve April 22, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Yes sir, you are truly a beacon of rational discourse.

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  • Opus the Poet April 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    They didn\'t sell in the DFW area either, I know a couple of bike shop owners and they are still trying to get rid of their first shipment of Coasting bikes. To put it bluntly, new bikes are not going to fix the real reason why people don\'t ride anymore: People in cars trying to kill people on bikes. I have been talking to peple where I live and everybody knows somebody that declares he (and it\'s always a he) will run over anyone on a bike that even slightly delays him in getting where he wants to go. I don\'t think everybody all knows the same guy, I think it\'s there are several of these guys around, and the police will do nothing to get them off the roads. Technically they are terrorists, but gooood luck trying to get them arrested for their actions. I can\'t even get police to respond to assault when I have the object I was assaulted with in my possession.

    So, in conclusion, new bikes will not get more people on bikes. Making streets safer for riding bikes will get more people riding bikes.

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  • . April 23, 2008 at 7:21 am

    June 21, 2008

    Pioneer Courthouse Square

    Shimano Coasting Tour | 11:00am – 3:00pm

    The Shimano Coasting Tour will make one of its 19 stops across the western United States at the Square! The goal of the Shimano Corporation is to make millions of Americans feel like kids again through the experience of coasting.

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  • steve April 23, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Huh, I always thought Shimano\'s goal was to make money?

    My bad.

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  • Paul January 29, 2009 at 4:21 am

    I have one. Here's the deal. I retired at 60, and wanted to start biking again after 45 years. I was worried about injury, and was unsure about riding. After test riding this type bike, I bought it. I live close to a bike trail, with small hills. Used the bike daily after purchase. Developed biking confidence. A season later, I'm ready for a more challenging 24-27 speed. However, if this bike hadn't been available, I likely would never have returned to biking.

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  • kirsten February 20, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Wow. I'm constantly amazed at how divisive biking is here. I lived in Amsterdam for a bit, a friend loaned me her bike during my time there, and it was just like this one. I rode it everywhere, and never missed a car once. I think it's a good idea, specifically because I've been looking for a bike like this myself.

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