Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 20th, 2007 at 1:21 pm
Yesterday I got my first, hands-on look at the fruits of Shimano’s new Coasting product initiative.
Only three manufacturers (Raleigh, Trek and Giant) are licensed to make bikes with Coasting and I gave Trek’s offering, the “Lime Light” a closer look.
The bike I rode was a more manly-looking version of the green Lime model I’ve shown pictures of before. This one, a Lime Light model ($469), was black and gray and is a pared down (and $80 less) version of the Lime.
First thing I noticed were the bulbous, futuristic looking, Jetsons-inspired hubcaps.
Besides that, on the surface, the bike looks like a standard cruiser (albeit with a smaller frame). But once you start pedaling you notice something very different…it shifts for you!
With power generated from a front hub dynamo, the system smoothly changed gears as necessary. On a mild grade in front of the downtown Bike Gallery (going south on 10th Ave), I pedaled hard and cycled through all three gears. The shifting was quiet and smooth.
Here are the brains of the system:
Belying its cruiser appearance, the bike had a lively feel (my 18.5″ tester weighed in at just over 31 pounds). The seat tube is relaxed and the bike has a comfort feel, but the top tube is noticeably shorter than some of the more tankish cruiser/comfort/city bikes on the market.
The coaster brake left a bit to be desired, it seemed like too long before it engaged.
It was raining, so I kept my test ride short. Overall it was a solid, easy to ride, good looking bike. Will it (along with a massive marketing campaign) help get the 161 million non-cycling Americans back in the saddle? That remains to be seen, but after riding it, I think Shimano’s marketing push will be just as (if not more) important to its success.