Shimano Coasting is dead. Well, for now at least. Originally designed as a way to get non cyclists – who were intimidated by shifting, Lycra, and competitive cycling in general, to get into riding a bike. The concept was basically to take all the “hard” parts out of riding a bike, the consumer could just jump on and ride. The bikes were much more than stylized single speeds though, and boasted a front wheel dynamo and speed sensor that then transmitted info and power to a shift CPU under the bottom bracket that then shifted the rear 3 speed coaster brake based on the front wheel speed. Coasting bikes were actually pretty fun to ride, and rewarded your effort with a comforting whirr when shifting gears. Some bikes like the Trek Lime boasted under seat trunks, customizable color plates, and nearly flat proof tires – all in trying to remove the inconveniences that could come with riding a bike. The only problem with marketing to non-cyclists though, is well, they are non cyclists.
Coasting initially had a strong roll out with the bikes being featured on talk shows such as Ellen, and featured in the New York Times. More than one manufacturer offered a Coasting bike as well, with offerings from Trek, Raleigh, Giant, Fuji and others. After the initial take off though, sales soon fell flat. Perhaps they will simply take a break from the auto-shift market, or maybe Coasting was a way for Shimano to test the waters with electronic bike parts. Either way it seems that this forward thinking marketing strategy in the world of bikes will be abandoned for now.
Thanks to Yannig Roth for the heads up!