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Shimano selects Portland for new group launch

Posted by on May 9th, 2006 at 11:23 pm

[Shimano’s new “Coasting” group.
Photo: BRAIN]

[Via Bicycle Retailer and Industry News]

Shimano is investing millions of dollars into a new component group called “Coasting” that will target new cyclists. They plan to roll out the new group to only 15 cities the first year starting in March of 2007. According to a story in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, Shimano will focus the initial marketing of the new group in “bike-friendly cities with safe places to ride.”

Portland has been selected as one of those cities. Starting in June of 2007 you can expect to see Shimano all over town:

“An eight-week campaign is scheduled consisting of guerilla marketing in recreational hot spots and billborards, plus ads in alternative weeklies.”

More excerpts from the article (I would just link to the full story, but Bicycle Retailer does not post their articles online.):

“Based on about 50 interviews….consumers wanted their bikes to require zero maintenance, be practical to ride in street clothes and inexpensive”

“The group uses an existing automatic-shifting three-speed Nexus hub. It features a front-hub dynamo that powers the shifting. The group also has coaster brakes.”

“To use the group, suppliers must create a new Coasting-specific design. Shimano expects seven or eight companies to release Coasting-equipped bikes the first year. Giant, Raleigh and Trek are among the existing companies.”

I give Shimano a lot of credit for boldly going where no one in the bike industry has gone before. Reaching new cyclists is the Holy Grail for advocates and the industry and it will be very interesting to see if Shimano’s big experiment succeeds in getting this coveted demographic onto bikes.

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  • Jon May 10, 2006 at 6:10 am

    I like the idea of reaching out to new cyclists, but a coaster brake- 3 speed isn’t going boldly where no one has gone before.
    The crank is so ugly.
    Dressing up a 50 year old group and call it new seems weird for Shimano.

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  • Richard May 10, 2006 at 7:36 am

    Plus, coming down the West Hills on a coaster brake is going to be ‘interesting’. Actually, getting up the West Hills on a three speed will also be ‘interesting’.

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  • Ethan May 10, 2006 at 7:44 am

    Where’s the Shimano ad on BikePortland.org? 🙂

    Seriously, those are some weird-looking parts. Any shots available of them on a bike?

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  • John C May 10, 2006 at 8:16 am

    I like the look of the parts and think they would look great on townie neighborhood bike (complete with front basket). I had a Fisher Espresso once upon a time with a Nexus hub in back and a Nexus generator hub in front. The best city bike I ever owned (can’t figure out why I sold it). It was heavy and solid. Not the terms commonly used for a nice bicycle, but it was a solid maintenance free bike. It even had a chain cover to keep my trousers clean! With gas prices on the rise I am glad to see Shimano attempting to get people out of their cars and riding bikes, and using Portland to test new products.

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  • David May 10, 2006 at 10:03 am

    seems like a great idea to me, in terms of getting more people to commute by bike. If you don’t want them on your bike, don’t buy them.

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  • Dr. Mark Ross May 10, 2006 at 11:22 am


    (Lets let the tram get built first before we beef about the lack of bike access on the tram! I’d hate to see the tram finally killed over bike issues! 🙂 )

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  • joe May 10, 2006 at 11:24 am

    Does the article mention what the other 14 cities are? (crossing my fingers that Toronto is one of them… anything to get cycling front and center in the public consciousness is great!)

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  • Garlynn May 10, 2006 at 11:27 am

    Yeah, I applaud this decision to make it easier for simple beginner bikes to become more widely available. This is the sort of componentry that would be right at home in a Portland version of an Amsterbike, or in a tandem bicycle.

    It would be nice to see more variations on this theme, like 3- and 5-speed versions.

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  • Randy May 10, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    What are those things? Shimano already makes a reliable line of internally geared hubs. Without any further explanation it’s not clear at all what this group of components will add to the glut of stuff that’s already out there on the market.

    I just put a 2005 Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub on a bike that has an old 1975 Sturmey shifter, and the parts were compatible.

    On the other hand, Shimano changes their designs every few years, and nothing is compatible with anything else, so a lot of times you can’t even get the parts necessary to keep your old Shimano components working. That’s planned obsolescence at it’s worst! No thanks!

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  • Carl May 10, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    While a proprietary, dynamo-powered, automatic three-speed hub sounds like a pretty lame idea, I am really pleased to see Shimano is marketing compenents to Americans that are more about day-to-day practicality than performance. Dura Ace is swell but on slushy winter Boston streets, for example, it can be lame too. Just as one looks for a car with a trunk, doors, headlights, and parts that can’t easily be ripped off, one should also value bicycles with fenders, chain guards, racks, lights, bells, and locks. I applaud Shimano for trying to make practical bicycling pretty, even if it smacks of planned obselesence and repackaging.

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  • Donna May 10, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    My bike has an 8 speed Shimano Nexus hub. I love it for commuting. I just don’t see a 3 speed working that well here in Portland. It would be great for where I grew up – Detroit – but you do need something more for the hills. I actually went with the 8 speed over the 7 because of hills. I’m also not too sure about the coaster brake idea. Yes, some people may like it, but I don’t think it would be so great for a whole line of bikes to not have any other kind of brake option, which would be the likely scenario in such a line of bikes. I hope Shimano isn’t setting a really good idea up for failure here.

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  • Jon May 10, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    I have nothing agaist 3 speeds and coaster brakes and love the idea of more folks on bikes. I fell that a group needs to be tought of for a bike for quick trips to the store but can also handle a real (4 plus miles) commute in all weather. I think the parts need to look like they belong on an adults bike and not over designed toys.

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  • John C May 11, 2006 at 8:01 am

    OK, I had a great idea this morning! (At least in my mind). Since Shimano is spending millions, lets have them hire a couple local builders to build a couple of bikes around the component group. The builders that live here are not only some of the best and most artistic in the world, but know what works in PDX. Shamino would also have some cool bikes to show off the groupo at interbike. If anyone could make a special bike for that component group it’s Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles.

    What do you think?

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  • Aaron May 11, 2006 at 11:26 am

    While I’m not greatly concerned about this, most newbies are especially aware of aesthetics. So the bikes do have to look good.
    Of greater concern to me, will these bikes come with fenders, lights, and a frame lock? That is essential to helping new riders feel comfortable. Jump on it Trek!

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  • Scott May 15, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    The whole idea is absolutely great.Shimao tried to render completely new style to it in order to reach out to new cyclists and even the chain has been given a new style.I was astounding after I got the first hand information of the chain..ha

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  • […] A while back I posted about how Shimano had chosen Portland as a pilot city to unveil their latest and greatest component group called Coasting. […]

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  • Noah December 17, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    shimano also makes an internal 7 and 8 speed, internal hub system. The internal seven is a coasterbrake system and the internal 8 is a freewheeling system. There is a pretty good range from top to bottom on the 7 and 8 speed, but i dont feel theres enough range on the 3.

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  • _29 « bottombracket July 2, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    […] Interestingly, this article is full of good research points and includes a link to a pdf document by technology company AMD. The document’s main function is promote its own products but also gives some insight into how Trek designed its easy to use, accessible and friendly product Lime. Lime, which enables consumers to select their most desired colour on the website, features a new (enough) product by Shimano – Coasting Group. […]

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