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Getting the masses on bicycles

April 22, 2007

There are 161 million Americans who don’t ride bikes.

Shimano saw it as a market opportunity, so they hired IDEO to find out why.

From spending time with non-bikers, IDEO discovered there were a number of attitudes and beliefs these non-riders held, that had become barriers to them ever getting on a bicycle.

1.    They liked biking as children, but adult biking was serious and competitive
2.    The employees in bike retail stores are intimidating
3.    The bikes themselves can be messy and complicated

To overcome the barriers, Shimano went off and created a new category, Coasting.

Shimano Coasting

It’s basically a new carefree philosophy built around meandering around on a bike.

Manufacturers have responding and have produced special bikes with automatic “transmissions”, like Trek’s, new Lime.

Trek Lime

Bike manufacturer Trek is hoping to sell 26,000 Limes this year.

Improved sales training and product innovation have tackled many of the barriers identified by IDEO, but the biggest problem is the lack of facilities (bike paths) and that could be too big a problem for Shimano to solve on its own,

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