The Bicycle

[Picture of Retroglyde]The bicycle has been around for a long time and has a well documented history easily found elsewhere. The bicycle is a classic design in that once it settled down into it’s essential form factor, changes have not altered it’s recognition as a bicycle. It has essentially remained unchanged — and this seems to be true for the future of the device: despite new innovations, such as automatic transmissions, new materials, and new types of uses — such as off-road mountain biking, and BMX.

[Picture of hybrid]The Shimano organisation ( is all about getting people to start riding bikes — especially those who would not normally even consider it.

The Shimano Coasting ( Experiment commissioned an independent study of the bicycle market to find out why people choose not to use a bicycle to get around.

  • One of the startling outcomes was that a statistically significant number of people found bicycle gears confusing.
  • The study also found that people were intimidated by the clique mentality, the exclusive bicycling clubiness, — especially with regard to the shop owners, and staff — people too snobby and enthusiastic about bicycles to be willing to help ordinary people buy and maintain a bicycle for occasional use.

The result was that Shimano is attempting to change everything — the way bikes are designed — and the way they are marketed and sold.

[Picture of automatic gears for a bicycle]Shimano Coasting is trying to make bicycling accessible and fun; their bicycles are low maintenance, and they come with automatic transmissions and coaster brakes.

Trek (, and Giant ( are all making bicycles with big chain guards and upright riding positions.

For example, from Raleigh USA’s site: (

“Imagine a bicycle smart enough to shift gears for you, keep you comfy on those casual rides around town, and one that will permanently put a smile on your face.

“At last, a bike that understands you – the Raleigh Coasting bicycle.

“A dynamic combination of the very stylish Shimano Coasting components featuring a three-speed auto shifting system with a coasterbrake and an elegantly designed frame with a ‘six-pack’ front rack — just the right size for six of your favorite canned or bottled beverages.

“It even has a built in bottle opener.
“The Raleigh Coasting bicycle is smart, simple, practical, and stylish too.”


4 Responses to The Bicycle

  1. Rebecca says:

    Hi, Can you tell me where you found the Shimano study? I looked on their website, but didn’t see the study published. Thank you!

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