Low Rider Bike Naysayers

I recently read a very popular bicycle blog where the writer made the statement "Some of the designs I receive are good and some are totally unrealistic". I do not know what he meant by unrealistic but let's wax philosophical on what he might mean. He might be talking about whether the bicycle has mechanical challenges and thereby making it unrealistic. In the 1940's or before, men were dreaming about space travel and there were those who thought that was a pipe dream, today, men being launched in space barely makes the news. When it does, it is because some millionaire has decided to pay $20 million to make the flight. The challenges with space travel are vast, yet, if men and women can travel in space, what is so hard about overcoming challenges with the industrial portion of bicycle design? Maybe he meant the cost would be to high IF it could be done at all. So what! If I bicycle costs $6,000 to $8,000, the company may not sell a ton of them, but there is a market for that as we find with the cost of some electric bicycles topping $8,000.

I helped launch a watch company a few years back, and the concept of the watches was to put all sorts of luxury woods down in the face of the watch (http://www.bannekerwatches.com/), the manufacturer that we worked with was totally resistant to the idea because as he put it "Their is a reason why this hasn't been done." He then agreed to make the watches, but said "We will not put our names on them as the manufacturer." The longer he worked on the proto-type designs, the more of a fan he became of the whole concept and now, one of the designs is even featured on his website. Not only that, others have copied the designs and are now marketing them. As a Reebok commercial proudly claims, "Impossible is nothing". This also applies to bicycle design. Yes there are some staples such as round wheels, a round sprocket, and the like that will stay consistent,(although even round sprockets have been challenged by the advent of the chain less bicycle of the late 1890's) but the design possibilities are infinite!

When I look at bicycle designs that are on the market now, I marvel at the lack of risk associated with the most simple designs by major brands. Take for instance the brand manufactured for Wal-Mart, "Next". I compared this design in 2006 to the designs by Huffy and Mongoose in the 1980's and it is sad to report that they are virtually, from an aesthetic standpoint, THE SAME! What would happen to Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Levis, Nike and other big companies if they manufactured the same products, with virtually no change, as they did 20 years ago. The answer is, they would be OUT OF BUSINESS because some young, hungry entrepreneurs would have exposed their weakness and bought them out. The same with Microsoft. What if they were still writing software like Lotus 3.1? They would be irrelevant today instead of commanding a market share of computer operating systems worldwide of 92%.

I am very excited on today because once some young Bicycle designer wakes up, designs funky and relevant bicycle designs that kids can relate to, want to ride, show off to their friend, and compel their parent to buy, Pacific Cycles, Huffy and the like are going to find themselves with a shrinking market share! I ask myself this question about the big boys "How can they pay someone to show up for 40 to 50 hours per week to design bicycles, day after day, week after week, etc?" Bicycle design isn't something that you can just show up and try to do, like a good song or book, it comes from INSPIRATION. They are wasting their resources conducting business like this. Again, think outside of the box or become irrelevant.

At this time, I am calling on young and hungry graphic\industrial designers to challenge the status quo. You do that by coming up with your own bicycle designs, product designs, fashion designs, software and anything that you may be passionate about. Yes people are going to laugh at you, mock you, tell you it won't work and that you are just a dreamer. Remember, a dreamer named Thomas Edison changed the world, an eccentric man named Albert Einstein made possible space travel, a pirate named Bill Gates and his company Microsoft now command 92% of the world's computer operating systems, a man named Stephen Knight, Founder of Nike starting by selling athletic shoes out of the trunk of his car at track meets, a few years later he signed a rookie in the NBA named Michael Jordan to a shoe contract and the rest is history! Live the dream designers.

Inspired by:

Marshall 'Major' Taylor


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