Commuter bikes back on sale

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.

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One thought on “Commuter bikes back on sale

  1. Metropolis just posted an article by Linda Baker about the Dutch-style bikes arriving in the USA now:

    a growing number of manufacturers are introducing Dutch-style city bikes here, part of a larger commuter trend sweeping the industry. “The Dutch bike is the icon of practicality,” says Rob MacDonald, co -founder of Vancouver’s Jorg & Olif… While high-performance racing bicycles embody an aerodynamic Lycra-clad aesthetic, the updated commuter classics bypass the road warrior in favor of the fashionable flaneur. “Style is a great way to get people to ride in the United States,” says Benno Baenziger, Electra’s co-chief executive officer. “Our goal is cycling the way they do in Europe—as part of everyday life…” Dutch-style bikes reflect growing public and private interest in commuting, according to Tim Blumenthal, executive director of the trade association Bikes Belong. Commuter-bike sales increased about 12 percent between 2004 and 2007, according to bike-industry consultant Jay Townley. In 2007 most of the major manufacturers —including Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Raleigh, and Giant—introduced new models for shopping or riding to work. “That wouldn’t have happened five years ago,” Blumenthal says… “People are thinking about their carbon footprint,” says Tim Rutledge, of Seattle Bike Supply, explaining Batavus’s decision to enter the U.S. market. “It’s the time for city bikes, for sure.”

    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].

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