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Exclusive Shimano Coasting photos and details

Posted by on November 17th, 2006 at 9:16 am

“Not a lifestyle, not for fitness: it’s an experience. People like the idea of riding a bike just as they like the idea of going to the park, farmer’s market, lake, picnic, outdoor music/arts, festivals or chatting with neighbors.
Unfortunately most people don’t do it as often as they would like.”
-from Shimano Coasting marketing materials

The bike industry has been buzzing about Shimano’s new Coasting component group since spy photos from Trek’s dealer-only show made it to the web back in August. But so far, official details from Shimano have been scarce.

There isn’t much official on the web (the Coasting website is password protected and won’t be publicly viewable till January), and the only photos and reviews have come from pre-production examples from the Interbike trade show back in September.

Coasting-equipped bikes will be available nationally in March 2007, with a marketing focus on select “bike-friendly” cities*. Portland is one of them, and bikes will be available in dealers here by February. Portland’s official marketing push is planned for June (in hopes of sunny weather).

There are only three bike manufacturers in the world who have been chosen to spec the group on bikes in 2007; Trek, Giant, and Raleigh.

The folks at Raleigh have given me a sneak peak at their finalized, production Coasting models for 2007. They’ve sent photos and interesting details on Coasting straight from Shimano’s marketing materials.

Here are the first published photos of production bikes spec’d with this “revolutionary” new component group:

And for the guys:

According to Raleigh, retail price will range from $399-$425.

What’s interesting about Coasting is the marketing approach. Sure, the tech stuff is cool — it’s got an electronic, 3-speed, internal shifting hub which gets its power from a generator on the front hub — but even cooler is that Shimano teamed up with hot-shot design firm IDEO on the market research and design.

According to their marketing materials they conducted a survey of non-cyclists and asked the following questions:

  • Why are so many Americans not riding?
  • How can we motivate the non-cyclist to get back on a bike?
  • What is the riding experience they seek?

And the results?
This consumer is in search of:

  • The right bike – one they don’t need a degree in rocket science to ride
  • Safe routes in their cities where they don’t have to compete with traffic
  • A non-intimidating, comfortable, inviting retail experience
  • The simple pleasure of riding a bike

No real surprises there…but it’s what Shimano will do with these answers that’s important. Word has it that Shimano will put serious money (several million bucks) behind the Coasting marketing campaign.

That alone sets it apart from anything anyone in the bike industry has ever done.

So will Shimano’s efforts result in the first “real” bikes to break into the mass of Americans who currently don’t ride? Can these bikes ween Americans off department store crap and convince them that bikes can be more than toys?

Time will tell. It will be an uphill struggle, but I think Shimano deserves credit for trying. They’re the first ones to make an intensive (and expensive) effort to address tough questions that no one in the industry has been able to answer…yet.

If we build it, will they (leave their cars in the garage) and come?

[*I’ve edited this sentence to reflect nationwide availability of the bikes.]

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  • Lee November 17, 2006 at 10:53 am

    sheez. i’m in charlotte now; but will look forward to these. my wife and i would welcome a ride like this.

    i won’t give up my road racer, but this would be a “cool trip to the store” bike.

    i even have a pannier picked out for it.

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  • Brad November 17, 2006 at 11:08 am

    But I don’t see any brake levers on that death cycle! What if the rider has a leg spasm?!

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    • Peter Piper March 20, 2017 at 9:29 am

      But I don’t see any brake levers on that death cycle! What if the rider has a leg spasm?!
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      Simple… you carry a long stick and jam it into the spokes… LOL!!!

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  • Jorge November 17, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Yeah , does it come with a wooden brake stick and or is Portland PD going to be jiggy with a coaster brake? I can see them salivating all over their citation books now.

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  • Richard Wilson November 17, 2006 at 11:57 am

    Any idea how wide the gear ratio is, Jonathan? Would love to see something like this with a range equivalent to the 8-speed Nexus to make these bikes work somewhat comfortably in hilly areas.

    Am a bit disappointed to see that the Raleigh chain case is not more full coverage, though they are handsome bikes.

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  • Paul November 17, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    Electronic hub? Its an automatic?

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  • Macaroni November 18, 2006 at 1:44 am

    And what does it weigh? If it’s heavy, the extra effort it will take to power it might discourage neophytes.

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  • beth November 18, 2006 at 10:49 am

    Electronic hub? Is this a truly beneficical component, or just another bit of techno-fluff that will make reapring this bike a drag? If in infer correctly from the photos, here’s yet another “town” bike with a hub that will make flat fixes a total drag for the customer. I can’t say I’m excited.

    I say let’s design and sell bikes that encourage, not discourage, more self-sufficiency on the road.

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  • Cate November 18, 2006 at 5:18 pm


    Sheldon Brown isn’t excited either. “I’m not very enthusiastic about this, seems to me to be mainly about style over substance.”


    (But he is excited about the Breezer Uptown 8. “This is as close to a perfect out-of-the-box urban commuter bike as I’ve seen at an affordable price.”)

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  • Geoff G. November 18, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    Automatic 3 speed shifting doesn’t exactly thrill me either, but these bikes aren’t intended for people who know what they’re doing. They’re for people who just want to go. You’d be surprised how many people can’t figure out how to correctly use something as simple as a 3 speed.
    Auto-shift bikes have never done well in the marketplace. Anybody remember the Nexus 4 speed automatics from a couple few years back? You could switch between automatic shifting and manual shifting, take the training wheels off if you will. Brilliant stuff and it sunk like a rock. Perhaps the techno flash will sell automatic shifting this time around.
    Cheers, Geoff

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  • Todd Boulanger November 19, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    I too have mixed feelings…hopeful they succeed with a urbane 3 speed, but not sure if an electro version is needed to do this.

    Perhaps it will be another ‘bridge vehicle’ as electric bikes are for car drivers converting to bikes (in 2 months) – this is IMHO the primary reason to consider an electric bike (other than hauling gear or kids, post-injury recovery, etc.). After one gets ready to trade in their semi new electric bike (in 3 months of commuting) they might be ready for this bike before moving to an old school model.

    I hope they spec real full coverage metal fenders and racks…if they want truely wish for more US non riders to ride bikes. Please please please make this a real vehicle for all weather conditions and shopping. (It is easier to let those few remove the fenders than to retrofit fenders on a frame not planned to have fenders.)

    Plus, add a full front rack option like the “Flat Bed” by Pauls.

    Perhaps the electro front hub will have a port to power a front light?

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  • Jo Routens November 20, 2006 at 8:25 am

    Is rear-wheel removal user friendly? Shimano’s otherwise excellent Nexus hubs have a more fussy, difficult rear wheel/gear cable disconnection than any derailleur bike. It would be nice if they emulated Cinelli’s old hubs and the rear wheel could drop out of the bike but leave the rear cog and chain attached to the frame. Unless, of course, these bikes are equipped with better Kevlar tires than anyone has seen before.

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  • mechanic Mark November 20, 2006 at 8:55 am

    I saw the coasting group at Interbike this year. The hub is a regular three-speed Nexus that is shifted by an electronic control box powered by the front dyno hub. The box pulls the cable which shifts the hub. The front and rear hubs have these plastic half-spheres which cover the axle nuts and are supposed to look cool. I don’t know about that. Seems like it would only take a few weeks of locking the bike up around town before those caps get all scratched or knocked off, and that’s just one more step to removing the wheel for a flat repair.

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