A quick look through the 2004 bike catalogs shows that both Trek and Specialized have brought their formerly for-sale-in-Europe-only commuter, street, and utility bikes — complete with fenders, generator lights, and rear racks — to the U.S. market. Previously, both (along with Cannondale and other major U.S. bike manufacturers) had sold commute-ready bikes in Europe and “comfort” bikes in the U.S., assuming that Americans wanted to ride on paths on the weekend, but not to work or around town during the week.
The mere fact that these bikes are available is significant in two ways: first, it plants the seed into bike buyers’ minds that commuting is an option, even if they don’t ride out of the bike shop with a commuter; and second, it shows that there’s market demand for commuters. Either that, or the bike companies figured that they, and not accessory makers, should reap the profits off accessory sales, or are just responding to market pressures from the likes of Breezer or Burley.
Metropolis just posted an article by Linda Baker about the Dutch-style bikes arriving in the USA now:
Also this year, Shimano launched Coasting, Cannondale finally brought more of its Street models stateside, and Trek created the SoHo and Portland premium city bikes [read more at CyclingNews and BikePortland].