Bicycle Design for an Urban Audience

As a bicycle (for youth) enthusiast, I have been really surprised at the lack of consideration that has been given to our inner-city youth as it pertains to bicycle design. These urbanites have a unique sense of fashion, Hip-Hop music, unique hair-styles, their own lingo and culture. Yet, their bicycles, 81% of which are purchased at 'Big Box Retailers', look like everyone Else's. For those of you who do not follow this culture, fashion, music, and culture usually start in urban areas and spread out from there. These consumers are demanding, as was I, yet there is a huge disparity between what they wear, how they talk and the bicycles they ride.

All of the way up to about 1988, there really was no choice for these particular consumers when it came to fashion. Jordache, Levis, and Wranglers were the order of the day. Right about 1989, a company called FUBU (For Us By Us) came and the scene in the fashion world and changed everything! Over the next 10 years and right up until today, all sorts of Urban clothing lines have sprouted up with names like Karl Kani, PHAT FARM, BABY PHAT, Sean John, Rocka Wear and many others. These brands represent somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.3. Billion annually in sales. While this may seem like a 'Drop in the bucket' of total fashion revenues yearly, consider this: The minority population in this country represents 100.2 million people as of the end of 2006 and is growing at a clip of about 4% annually with a combined spending power estimated at $1.8 TRILLION dollars.

If anyone of you are wondering "Where is this guy going with this?" The answer is, there is a huge vacuum in the bicycle market that has to be filled by someone. The big boys, Pacific Cycles, Huffy, and others are sleeping on this market! Not only that, as most of you may know, the Wal-Mart brand of bicycles, created by the big boys 'Next' are very poorly designed and constructed and have lousy mechanical records to boot. I have seen only 2 designs at these stores in the last 10 years that I believed to be hot. One is the ever popular 'Sting Ray' and the other was a bike for junior girls called 'Daisy Diva'. There are a few companies that I believe have nice bikes like 3G Bicycles and Phat Cycles. However, I think there is a level of 'Funk' that has yet to be achieved in design.

I would really like to know if there is anyone out there truly impressed by the product offerings currently on the market. When you respond, remember that I am strictly talking about Bicycles at Big Box retailers, price points between $60-$280.


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Gary Silva said...


October 8, 2007 at 1:22 AM

Gary Silva said...

Hey what is happening .....surfing the net about Major Taylor and I came up with your blog it is very interesting I did read it for the second time.....My name is Gary Silva and you did mention some good co. that I was and I am involve in. the question that you raise is an interesting one.Pacific co is an incredible co. as you know they dominated the mass merchant and also have an incredible power with fatories in China. they all want their buiss and these factories will do any thing to get Pacific buiss.
If you like some thing fresh check out the next big trend.

October 8, 2007 at 1:47 AM

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