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March 29, 2009

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I would describe this as an example of commodification where brands are seeking to differentiate themselves in the market with a perceived customer value. When the technology has become common, or there is no real proprietary edge, companies must find something easily measurable to create customer appeal.
Back in high school the VW GTI came out with what we thought a lot of horsepower, 90 or 109. A number of years later the 190 Hp for the maxima sport edition was rave about. Today, you can get an accord with more Hp than the maxima, and a base civic has 120 hp, more than the GTI.
The same can be said for TV size. TV size is an easy metric to latch onto. IPA beers latched onto IBU's. You can probably think of many more.
So to it seems with bicycles. everyone has similar materials so it is easy to latch onto an easy metric to compete in, weight. Putting a measurable value on happiness or enjoyment from an object is a much tougher alternative. But then again, many marketing adds do go that route. the move "crazy people" humorously took this direct marketing approach to an extreme. Applying the car ad from the movie to bicycles, we end up with; "buy this 14 lb bike and win the TDF, or at least best your buddies".

I do not know if weight brings a lot of customer value (best left for future discussions), but it makes it easy to compare bikes. Well, at least easier than comparing the simple pleasure of riding between different bikes.

BTW, passing large SUV's and high HP cars in traffic rates a 10, beating them off the line turn it up to an 11.


David: Thanks for the comments! Your analogies are great. I have a few thoughts about bike weight--like you said, "for future discussions". Thanks for reading and participating--at 11.

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