By Yokota FritzBicycling Magazine posted their article about Shimano's Coasting group:
This spring, as customers flock into bicycle stores in such places as Orlando, Florida, and Portland, Oregon, they'll find a new kind of bike amid the carbonized rows of road whippets, the hulking forms of downhillers and the hipster parade of cruisers and fixies. This new type of bike most resembles a singlespeed cruiser: The upright, sweeping handlebar holds no gear shifters or brake levers. The seat is wide, and positioned low and far back so riders can plant their feet firmly on the ground while seated.
The most interesting technology of the bicycle is hidden. A dyno-hub powered by the front wheel provides juice to a small computer chip that automatically shifts between the bike's three gears. But this innovation is not what makes these bikes potentially revolutionary--various forms of mechanical automatic shifting have been around for years. These bikes might change the way you, your neighbors, maybe even the whole country, think of cycling. And the reason is simple yet powerful: marketing.
Read more at The Revolution Will Be Simplified. See also the Associated Press story on Coasting: "Bill Lange thought his bike riding days were over. Gears were complicated. Stores were intimidating. Plus he wasn't exactly itching to put those tight spandex shorts on his 58-year-old body. Then Lange, of suburban Milwaukee, saw an ad for a new type of bike out this spring. The Lime, by the world's top bicycle maker, Trek, automatically shifts gears, has a wide seat and fluid style that looks like the bikes Lange rode as a child." (Via the Hugger.)
Shimano has opened up their coasting.com website for public perusal, featuring Coasting-equipped bikes from Trek, Giant, and Raleigh. Shimano has recognized this trend toward easy-to-ride bikes for anybody.
Shimano introduces 29er wheel
Bicycling on Shimano's Coasting
well, marketing and the market. People want to ride :)
The Coasting technology is nice, but I've never, ever heard someone say they don't ride because there's too many gears. They said they don't don't ride because they don't want to be flattened by an SUV. Shimano should be investing in local infrastructures that allow people to better use the technology that's already been successful for over a century.
Whatever it takes. More people on bikes means more awareness and more voting power for cyclists. More sway with polititians, more chicks on bikes. I'll take it.
I've met people who are intimidated by the gears on bikes. I see people almost everyday walking their bikes uphill because they don't understand how to use the gears. Shimano is onto something.
They're also pushing this very, very hard. The PR person for the biggest local bike store plugged it on the university radio show about bikes, plugged it when she was suppose to be talking about the women's group rides they were putting on. Nevermind Ellen and Bicycling Magazine, when it gets down to that level you know it's a major campaign.
Shimano Coasting Components