Buying a new car is primarily a brand decision. You buy a VW, an Audi, a Ford. A car is a collection of around 30,000 individual parts. Everybody knows that they are not exclusively made by the car brand we’re buying.
Yet we still buy o Hyundai, a Jaguar or a Skoda. One, unified, branded whole.
The individual components of a car are subtlety, invisibly branded. Or rebranded by the car manufacturer The brand of the car is what we are buying. This makes buying a new car so much simpler than it might otherwise be.
Sure, there are different models of cars. But what if we had to pay attention to gearboxes, brakes or even the basic nuts and bolts? This would be ridiculous for most ordinary people.
Buying a new bike is also, usually, a brand decision. We either actively seek to buy a particular brand of bike or we are guided by the bike shop that sells them. However, in reality, the brand of bike is usually just a reference to the logo on the frame.
The late Sir Alex Moulton, inventor of the Mini suspension and his own small wheeled iconic bikes, commented in an interview that bikes had become ‘frames that carry components’.
Put another way, the modern bike has become the opposite of a car. It is a ‘disintegrated’ piece of design.
Depending on how closely you look, about 400-800 parts make up a bike. And many of these are heavily branded. Some of these component brands are so powerful in their own right that many people buy a particular brand of bike because of its gears and brakes.
If we are to convince motorists to consider the bike as part of their journey tomorrow, surely we need to convince them with a brand choice that is simple and familiar.
There are certainly plenty of die-hard cyclists that are happy with the way things are and take pleasure in fine-tuning their new machine. But the vast majority of commuter cyclists just want a simple life.
This is an opportunity for bike brands to command and control the entire user experience and create products that are easier to buy.
It is also a way for a bike brand to allow their customers to express themselves.
It worked for four wheels so it can work for two.