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  1. #1
    Ride more, eat less cat0020's Avatar
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    What could contribute for greater market share for recumbents?

    I've been thinking about these questions lately:
    What do you think could expand the market share of recumbent bicycles?
    How to lower the cost of entry lever recumbents so they could be comparable to entry lever upright bicycles? Is the main reason for recumbent no as popular because of price mainly?

    What make people hesitant to try recumbent bicycles for themselves?

    With the babyboomers growing into retirement age, I would think that there is a large market for recumbent bicycles that are still untapped in the US, but yet recumbents still cost way more expensive and retail bicycles stores rarely have them in stock.

    When I'm out riding my recumbent I always get people that ask me about my recumbent bike: are they really comfortable? how do you stay upright? are they dangerous?

    But when I offer them to ride for themselves, people always refuse to try, even after I insist.
    Something is missing.. I can't quite figure out what...
    Master your environment, and you will survive just fine.
    Chances favor the prepared mind.

  2. #2
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Where are the kids recumbents? They are the ones open to change.

    Get them sold in WalMart at a price competitive with other forms of bike.

    To do that I think we need a glamorous recumbents-only bicycling race with sponsorship opps, perhaps on an aerodynamic tail section. Maybe ride on velodromes, but have gears for maximum speeds and different strategies than track bike races, and maybe recumbent vs diamond frame challenges.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rjacob's Avatar
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    People are unfamiliar with them. They need to be advertised more. Show sexy ads in bike magazines, and other media. Right now recumbents are the crazy uncles of the cycling family ridden by ex-hippys, and granola eating save the world types. They would need to be re-associated so that people see them as cool to ride.
    Also, the pricing is prohibitive to many people. Who wants to spend $1000+ on something they don't know if they will like. If they have ridden one upright and liked it, chances they will like another more expensive upright more. But why would they want to gamble so much money just to try a recumbent when they have no idea whether they would like it or not?

  4. #4
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    When you consider that so many people have never even seen a recumbent...I think all it would take is for one prominent person to be widely seen looking cool on a bent and having fun. A sports star, an actor, a popular personality. People will say, "Hey, what's that?!...I want one!" Just need to reach that tipping point.

  5. #5
    Recumbent Ninja
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    I generate a lot of interest by kicking roadie butt. When they pull back into the parking lot to find me cooled off, loaded up, shiowered, changed, and having earned a degree online while waiting for them to finish, they are intrigued to say the least

    Of course, among hard-cored roadies this is ill-advised. I was actually yelled at for passing a paceline at 30mph the other day...."it's too dangerous to pass us" they cried! (and cired, and cried)

  6. #6
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I question why we want to increase the ownership of recumbents. I sort of like being one of the fastest guys around here, after being a 17 mph nobody on my upright. If more people got (fast) recumbents, I'd go back to being just one of the pack. But if you want to generate interest, Greg's way works. I totally spanked the group tonight, about half of whom were Cat4s and 3s. And more importantly, I looked gooood doing it!

  7. #7
    lowracer ninja master lowracer1's Avatar
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    I actually enjoy cleaning the drool marks off my bike after invitational century rides..........
    chris@promocycle.net

  8. #8
    Veni, Vidi, Vomiti SteveE's Avatar
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    I don't think that riding around in what looks like (to a lot of people) a La-Z-Boy recliner is ever going to capture a large percentage of the cycling market share.

    You guys just need to accept your minority status in the cycling community. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ...'holy *****...what a ride!'"

  9. #9
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Why should we care about how much market share 'bents have? I'm prepared to leave that up to the marketing departments of recumbent manufacturers - you know, the people that are paid to do it. I've got enough stuff to worry about already.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  10. #10
    Recumbent Ninja
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    Give John Schlitter enough time, and we'll eventually forget that there's anything OTHER than recumbents.....but I'm just as happy being one of the elite few.

    At the least local time trial I beat CAT 2, 3, and 4s. It was a pretty hilly TT as well. It got plenty of notice and a sweet paycheck. The cat 1's still whipped my fanny though.

  11. #11
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    Well, one thing that's needed is a major change in the attitudes of the bike mfgs and the bike shops! Several years ago when I first got interested in a recumbent, I visited a large bike shop near my home to see what they had. This was a thoroughly professional looking shop with lots of bikes all in racks and a well organized repair shop. When I asked about a recumbent I was led to the very back corner of the sales floor where there was a Burley of some sort and a $2K Cannondale recumbent. Both were hanging from the ceiling where you couldn't easily get to them. The sales guy immediately started questioning my reasoning for wanting a recumbent and tried steering me to one of their GIANT or SPECIALIZED 'comfort' bikes. He obviously had no interest in selling either of those recumbents.

    The major bike mfgs could do a lot to promote recumbentry it they offered something like the Sun EZ-1 or Sport below $1K. I know of a shop in another part of the state sells the Sport CX for $900. It's a very user friendly recumbent that most could easily adapt to. Then get the bike shops to put it up front and in center. Promote it instead a devoting most of your efforts in turning us into LA wanna-bees! To us aging baby boomers the Sun Sport remind us of the bikes we had as kids. I'm extremely pleased with mine and plan on putting lots of easy going miles on it in the coming years.

    I have a difficult time believing that the mfgs don't recognize the potential market as the baby boomers hit retirement. In general we have the most financial resources that anyone before us has had AND we plan on staying active as long as we call. I couldnt ride if I didn't have my recumbent, regardless of what the jerk in the bike shop had to say! The mfgs should hook up with organziations such as AARP and have displays of user-friendly recumbents at senior-related trade shows and the like. In other words, embrace us instead of shuning us!

    BTW - most of the kids in my neighborhood aren't the least bit impressed with my recumbent (it doesn't hop curbs and do other trick things). The older adults have really taken to it and have expressed interest in it. For the most part forget the kids and recumbents - instead, try focusing on those of us of more advanced age.

  12. #12
    Ride more, eat less cat0020's Avatar
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    Growing up, I had ridden my bicycle just about everywhere, to school, to library, to the store, to visit friends, to that secret hiding spot near the lake, etc..

    It seems to me, nowadays kids gets driven everywhere, school bus take them to school, driven to soccer games, etc.. never even have much time to even hangout with their friends or even find a secret spot.. Kids nowadays seems to look at bicycles as the "uncool" way to travel. I don't know if promoting younger riders to ride recumbent would be as feasable task as promoting recumbents to older riders.

    By that rational, the pricing issue should have less impact in growing the market, but to an entend (say $2000 or above). It all depends on how much the potential purchaser is willing to spend for comfort... and I believe that most people would spend much more if they only realize the comfort of the recumbent bicycle versus DF bicycles.

    Still more thoughts.. but please continue to discuss..
    Master your environment, and you will survive just fine.
    Chances favor the prepared mind.

  13. #13
    Recumbent Trike countersTrike's Avatar
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    Lance Armstrong was never on a Wizwheelz? Cindy Lohan was never on a Trailmate? An entire list of small kids 'bents never appeared? No Bicycle Rod 'n Kustom, Unique HPVs? No articles in Forbes, Wired, Popular Science, any newspapers? My memory must be failing.

    Probably pushing "green", how useful for hauling 'bents can be (like the older special Utility Vehicle, or canoe, organ, refrigerator hauling) or recycling old bikes (like Mother Earth News) would help the industry these environmentaly-minded days.

    Ordering unique parts or tires from faraway or hiring a machinist to repair something impossible to replace is kind of a turn-off. That is how it is now- "reverse advertising".

    CountersTrike

  14. #14
    Senior Member rjacob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by countersTrike View Post
    Probably pushing "green", how useful for hauling 'bents can be (like the older special Utility Vehicle, or canoe, organ, refrigerator hauling) or recycling old bikes (like Mother Earth News) would help the industry these environmentaly-minded days.
    I think that just emphasizes the ex-hippie, save the world, granola eating persona that recumbents already have.

    One of the things that popped into my head when reading about the utility vehicle, hauling, etc, was a little old lady riding one of those old trike bikes with a basket.

  15. #15
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    I think the main thing is to ride your bent, and be seen by people. I just cycled around Georgian Bay, and I had a number of cyclists come up to me saying that they'd thought about bents, and asked a bunch of questions about them. That might nudge them towards getting a bent. And non-cyclists who had never heard of them see it, and think, that looks fun. And I talked to a number of people who don't cycle because of pain, and talking to me gets them thinking about bents.

  16. #16
    Senior Member geofitz13's Avatar
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    I agree that it would be a great help to have some sort of celebrity "spokesman" in improving attitudes towards 'bents. Here's an example of a negative attitude....Due to a recently discovered problem with some cervical discs, I have been advised to stay off bikes. Head position is difinitely aggravating the disc problem, resulting in a pinched nerve at this time, and I have been warned it could get worse. Docs have no problem at all with me getting on a 'bent, tho. Improved head position, less strain on the neck, shoulders, you all know the drill. The problem is me. Somehow, I almost feel like a traitor or something, abandoning the DF for the bent, somehow I will not really be a cyclist anymore, just some tree hugger or something. A really bad attitude that I am trying to fight, cuz I really want to stay on the bike. Looks like the bent will be my only option. So this Saturday I am hitting a local shop that specializes in bents, and will start doing some research and test rides.
    It seems so obvious that as we get older and some of the abuse we heaped upon ourselves when we were younger would start to catch up to us, and the 'bent seems to be a way to keep active. But that attitude....
    Wish me luck!

  17. #17
    Ride more, eat less cat0020's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by countersTrike View Post
    Lance Armstrong was never on a Wizwheelz? Cindy Lohan was never on a Trailmate? An entire list of small kids 'bents never appeared? No Bicycle Rod 'n Kustom, Unique HPVs? No articles in Forbes, Wired, Popular Science, any newspapers? My memory must be failing.
    You don't see the concept of recumbent riding images nearly as much as a DF cyclist in pharmaceutical products (pain killer, alergy medicine, etc..), bottle water, financial services, vacation spot commercials.. etc.. I guess the marketers that produce those never quite consider recumbent riding as an (better) alternative..
    Master your environment, and you will survive just fine.
    Chances favor the prepared mind.

  18. #18
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    Two things:

    1. Recumbents need to be in local bike shops right beside all the Treks, Cannondales and Giants.

    2. Recumbents need to be less expensive.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  19. #19
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveE View Post
    I don't think that riding around in what looks like (to a lot of people) a La-Z-Boy recliner is ever going to capture a large percentage of the cycling market share.

    You guys just need to accept your minority status in the cycling community. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
    Actually, if we could get Paris, Brittany or Oprah photographed riding a recumbent on a regular basis that would do amazing things. Even better would be to have a marjor character on a TV show riding the bike on a regular basis. But it has to be a serious character, say Warrick Brown on CSI, or one of the characters on Gossip Girl. Getting athletes like Tony Romo or ARod to ride a recumbent would help too.

    If you think its ridiculous that recumbents might become popular, consider the SUV. Any car designer of the '70s would have thought that the SUV becoming the dominant design of the 2000's was a laughable idea. But here it is.

  20. #20
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    But when I offer them to ride for themselves, people always refuse to try, even after I insist.
    Something is missing.. I can't quite figure out what...
    Don't know - i'm with Jeff-O regarding having nowhere to go & try one out - even just sit on in a shop.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    if we could get Paris, Brittany
    No, no, no! Please, someone who will be taken seriously. Besides, I don't think those two have the attention span to become regular riders.

  22. #22
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Availability and price matter, but the biggest factor is image. Right now in the US, the stereotypical recumbent rider is an older man, gray hair, beard, and pot belly. To take it further, they ride in sandals and baggy shorts. The stereotype didn't just pop out of thin air, an amazing number of bent riders fit the profile. While I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being what we are, it's a fact that the younger, fitter crowd does not want to identify with that identity. Thus you'll get the comment, "That looks like fun. Maybe I'll get one when I'm OLD." To them, riding a bent would be giving up their youth. And you know how much our culture worships youthfulness.

    But again, I'm happy the way things are. The hammers can check my bike out and comment how fast it must be, then when I whup them, they think I must be Superman(tm). DUH!!! I sure don't want them getting one!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cat0020 View Post
    I've been thinking about these questions lately:
    What do you think could expand the market share of recumbent bicycles? ..
    This is pretty simple. Get the UCI to drop the diamond frame and go with the lowracer. ;-)

  24. #24
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    This is pretty simple. Get the UCI to drop the diamond frame and go with the lowracer. ;-)
    +1!

    I want to see what Lance could do on a Ti-Rush w/full fairing!

    He'd be in Paris a WEEK before the chase group!



    other than THAT, ...there used to be A Bent 4 Rent*!


    *The worlds largest recumbent only RENTAL shop, featuring bikes & trikes from dozens of manufacturers.
    You could rent a BikeE or a Windcheetah, by the hour or by the day.
    Too bad it closed in '98.

  25. #25
    Recumbent Ninja
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    Heh. I ride with a group of CATted racers every Tues and Thursday. They usually get around our 32 mile loop in around 22 point whatever mph. It has 6 miles of flat at the beginning and end of the ride, and everything in between is rollers that peak to a good steepness so you slow way down near each crest, plus a 1.5 mile long monster hill at gets to above 12% in two places.

    My previous best had been right behind them at 21.7. I've finally tinkered with the lowracer enough and gotten enough training and time on the bike in preparation for a 500 mile 4-man Texas Time Trial RAAM qualifier.

    Last night I rolled in with a 24.2 avg . I got yelled at last week for passing the entire paceline of 30 people in one single flyby, and last night they were so pissed n one said a word to me.

    So don't worry - we're getting noticed here, at any rate

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