I recently went to a blog I read about bicycle design and ran across this photo. Now, before I go any further, I want it to be understood that I am in no way slamming the designer of this bike, the judges who took their time to be a part of the process (some of whom are from notable bicycle brands), nor the blogger for posting it. As I was reading the post and viewing the comments, I marveled at how much thought went into this whole process. Even the people who took their time to comment were challenging the process to produce a better design.
I had to stop reading because it became obvious to me WHY the recreational bicycle offerings today are, well BS! It is so because this same process DOES NOT happen when it comes to the bicycles that the less affluent or non serious riders are willing to pay or can afford. I live in the poorer part of town here in Denver (by choice) and I notice that the service at the bank, Post Office, Gas Stations and the schools is terrible as compared to the same businesses in other, more affluent parts of the city.
This happens because business owners, school administrators and others DO NOT take poorer or less affluent people as seriously as they do people who are more affluent. Why? To answer than would be an exercise in pure speculation, however the only reason I can be absolutely sure of is poor or less affluent people are alot less likely to complain to the people who can make a difference and thus, business owners aren't held accountable for the crappy service they give. Many of you will say "Well they need to change their thought process." You can be a wise guy or gal if you want and pretend that everyone should think the same, talk the same, be educated the same but this is to ignore the very reality of how our beloved country continues it's prosperity.
I said ALL OF THAT to say this, the same mind-set is at work in the bicycle industry also. I posed this question to an industry insider a few years back (Richard Schwinn) and he said "Brian, factories have to have the tooling to totally change the design process and that takes huge investment." If that is so, who is designing the bikes, the company paying for the manufacturing or the the manufacturer? These 2 may be one and the same with the bigger companies but any of us who pay for services of any kind would never continue to use a service provider who didn't give us what we wanted for our money! If you went into a Burger King and said "I want a Whooper minus cheese plus pickle" to which they replied "We can't do that here." You and I both know what the outcome of that conversation would be don't we?
Around 2002 or 2003 Schwinn came out with the new era version of the Sting Ray.(See Above). I do not have sales figures on this design, but I know everywhere I looked, some kid had this design and the kicker is, I heard grown men saying "If that was bigger I would get one." There was an excitement in the air about the above design and, no offense, this design is, at best MARGINAL! What that excitement showed was people are hungry for something new (not that this concept was new at that time) and something that was affordable! Look in Big Box Retailers, where 78% of these folks buy there bicycles, and you see brands like 'Next' and other brands that are just.....TERRIBLE.
I think at a time in the history of our economy, where all it takes is a Youtube Video, flood of visitors to a website and a company can be started online for, literally less than $5.00 per month, Pacific, TREK, Doral and others be warned...You are no longer hungry, you have overlooked the pennies of the many in favor of the dollars of the few. Anytime a company in the history of our economy has done this, they have lost huge market share and some have went out of business...The choice is yours.
28 June, 2009 Labels: bicycle design, bicycle design blogspot, bicyle design blog, bike maufacturers, creative bikes, cruiser, major taylor, marshall major taylor, rec bikes Posted by Dale 7:00 AM