Branded: It's a Car...It's a Bike...It's...Superfluous!

We've had a lot of laughs here over the years. However, in my unrelenting quest for humor I'm afraid I may have finally gone too far. Further to yesterday's post, a commenter informs me that I may have hurt Gwyneth Paltrow's feelings:

Bike Snob STL said...

Really snob? Its easy enough to find real bike dorks to make fun of, but not having cleats on your shoes while on a movie set? Some wardrobe person gave them to you and said to put them on. I thought you were cynical, now I realize you just like to be an asshole. You're petty - a lot like the people you like to condem.

October 13, 2011 10:02 AM

First of all, it's not "condem," it's "condom." Second of all, yes, you're right, it was awful of me to post a picture of Gwyneth Paltrow in cleatless bike shoes that already appeared in a major publication and then not say anything particularly mean about her. Furthermore, Gwyneth Paltrow is a wildly successful person coveted around the world for her talent and beauty, so I'm sure my failing to either actively insult her or else draw an ejaculating penis on her face like Perez Hilton would have hurt her deeply. Given all this, I regret deeply having tried to "condom" her--an activity reserved exclusively for that guy from that band Clodplay.

Nevertheless, I do reserve the right to make fun of that Serotta with the aero bars:

While all the other bystanders were ogling Ms. Paltrow, three or four dentists were drooling so heavily over the Serotta that they had to break out one of those saliva vacuums.

Speaking of Serotta, the name may have cachet, but it's nothing compared to the prestige of owning a bicycle branded by car company:

Yes, according to the article, car-branded bicycles make "solid sense:"

From a marketing standpoint, a car company selling a branded bicycle makes solid sense. If you’re into four-wheeled fun, there’s a good chance two wheels also light your fire. And for anyone aspiring to own a Mercedes-Benz or other exotic car, a bike’s a nice way to get a Three-Pointed Star or Land Rover in the garage at a fraction of the cost.

But don’t dismiss all auto-bikes as mere sales tools. These days, companies as different as Ford and Ferrari are selling bicycles that offer consumers cutting edge products that won’t embarrass you at the next latte-fueled gathering of road warriors.

Amazingly, there is almost nothing in the above two paragraphs that is even remotely true. I can imagine someone who longs to own a Land Rover but can't afford one might eventually wind up with a cheaper SUV. I cannot imagine this same person saying, "You know what? I'll just go for one of these instead:"

Big luxury truck, crabon road bike...same difference, right?

And as for the part about these bikes being "cutting edge products that won’t embarrass you at the next latte-fueled gathering of road warriors," I doubt even the Fredliest of Freds would be impressed by this:

Colnago has been hawking Ferrari "collabos" for ages, and as the Colnago marque becomes increasingly irrelevant (most hardcore roadies prefer Polnagos now) it would appear that they've finally decided to give up altogether and embrace the growing expensive-road-bike-with-flat-bars trend.

But not all car company bikes are meant to evoke speed and sweatpants. Some, like Ford's rolling clothes hanger, are all about marrying cutting-edge technology to almost total uselessness:

This is because, like most American auto companies, their entire understanding of cycling consists of watching the occasional Walmart mountain bike roll by on the sidewalk. "Let's make one of those, only really expensive," you can practically hear the designer saying to the intern who actually came up with this.

Of course, some of these carbikes do have legitimate racing pedigrees, such as the Specialized S-Wanks McLaren Venge Schmenge:

If you're a cycling fan, you may remember this as the bicycle aboard which Matthew Goss won this year's Milan-San Remo. Or, if you're more of a tech geek, you probably recall it's the bike that made the guy from Bike Hugger so excited that he left a substantial "deposit" in his bib shorts.

However, there were some glaring omissions from this story, chief among them being that Parlee Prius "collabo" bike you shift with your mind:

The entire project played itself out on Prolly's Purple Bikey Blog in "Crying Game" fashion, only the "big reveal" was brain shifting instead of a penis. The bike is certainly minimalist. The rider, however, is not, since he has to wear sensors on his head and some kind of wiring harness thingy on his back:

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain--or, in this case, the hump on the rider's back.

This, of course, opened the door for other shift-by-thought designs, such as a bicycle that shifted by means of sexual arousal. The prototype was a simple three-speed design, and the shifting was actuated by sensors that monitored the girth of the rider's erection. Here was the "granny:"

Here was the "middle ring:"

And here was the "big ring:"

All you did was think about one of these images in order to determine your gearing, and a boldly futuristic handlebar display then confirmed your choice:

On the plus side, the system had the potential to transform ride reports forever, and would doubtless have led to thousands of people boasting about how they cleaned that super-technical climb while remaining in their "recumbabe." However, there were also a number of shortcomings (so to speak). Firstly, the system was male-only. Secondly, the arousal scale needed to be painstakingly calibrated for each individual rider, taking into account not only the size of the endowment but also what the rider found arousing. For example, certain riders found the "granny" image more arousing than the "big ring" one, which had the unforeseen effect of transforming the system from "high normal" to "rapid rise."

Of course, if you're too lazy to shift you might just want to consider leaving the riding to someone else. For example, a reader recently forwarded me the following "Groupon" offer, in which you can have someone schlep you around Portland in a pedicab while you get wine-drunk:

Now you can be smug and pretentious.

automotive ,automotive news ,automotive magazine,automotive industry outlook 2012,automotif,automotive magazine automotive ,automotive news ,automotive magazine,automotive industry outlook 2012,automotif,automotive magazine