The ads below are both for an innovative new type of bicycle, the high-end “townie”. These are bikes that are designed for everyday use by people wearing normal clothes, but unlike traditional city bikes, these townies use high-quality parts and materials, and are elegantly and stylishly designed.
When I first started seeing ads for these bikes, I thought they were uniquely American. Europe has a long tradition of everyday cycling, but they also have a long tradition of well-crafted (if somewhat dowdy) city bikes. I figured that it must be an American thing to make bikes combining style, performance, and ease. Boy was I wrong.
The ad on the left is from the US magazine Bicycling, and it is for a US company called Electra. Stylish, slick, and targeted at people who like nice bikes but who also dont want to get all geared up just to go to the store or to meet a friend for brunch.
The ad on the right, from the UK Magazine Cycling Plus, is for… BMW? Yes, BMW makes bicycles. Hot.
Still, the Electra is more radical and untraditional, with a laid-back position and a chopper-style sweep to the whole design. The BMW looks basically like a extremely stylish mountain bike.
BMW, however, seems to be working on some long-term ideas that look pretty interesting: