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.
The Shimano organisation (bike.shimano.com) is all about getting people to start riding bikes — especially those who would not normally even consider it.
The Shimano Coasting (coasting.com/publish/content/coasting/sac/en/home.html) 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.
For example, from Raleigh USA’s site: (www.raleighusa.com)
“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.”