Trek Lime

Trek Lime

Trek Lime

Some time ago, Shimano and IDEO collaborated to find out why bicycle sales dropped significantly in the US between 2000 and 2005, even though industry profits were on the rise due to sale of high-end bicycles marketed to the elites. It turned out that while technological advancements such as lighter and stiffer frames, multi-speed gear shifts, carbon fiber etc. excites the experts, they may not appeal to the average Joe (who likely doesn’t know what a dérailleur is, and does not want to find out either). While pursuing high-tech advancement in technology, the bike industry had somewhat neglected the emotional connection with the average users and the amateurs:

The Shimano/IDEO design team conducted observation-based research, revealing a series of factors that influence casual cyclists’ interest and participation: 1) A better riding experience – many adults miss the easy, joyful feel of riding a bike as a kid; 2) Product platform – a new feature set was needed, with automatic shifting and less visible mechanics; 3) The purchasing experience – independent bicycle dealers need to learn to engage with a new customer base that may include more women, amateurs, and inexperienced bikers.

Enter Trek Lime (as seen above). I thought the design was a very good job that fit the target market they were aiming at. The first look brings about a sense of nostalgia – it has a classical look/profile, not much different perhaps from what your aunt may have passed to you when you were a kid. At the same time, it retains a modern and fun image, looks absolutely easy and familiar, and yet it was given some new technological innovations and twists.

It features automatic gear shifting – not unlike those found in automatic-gear cars; the mechanical parts are all concealed within, giving a cleaner and easier-to-maintain look. The saddle doubles up as a storage compartment for your little nifties – for those small stuff you don’t want to hold while you ride, for example. The tires are puncture resistant; at the center of the tires there are little colored plastic parts – “Peelz” is their marketing name – that can be interchanged for different colors (and possibly graphics in the future).

I’m not sure how successful this would be in lifting their mass-market sales – I hope it does well, as I do really like the execution of this whole program from the research to the end-product. From the insightful research that led to the key observations and design goals (IDEO, Shimano); to the bicycle’s design execution (Trek) in assembling the necessary technological innovation and parts to meet the user’s desire, as well as the styling that in my opinion nailed the brief; right up to the website itself – a clean, simple interface, with a casually-posed bicycle that invites you to explore it. They work hand-in-hand to remind and reinforce the idea of an easy, leisurely and fun bike.

Does it evoke the same in you?

Trek Lime website


10 comments so far

  1. on

    […] Links: Trek: Trek Lime Trek Lime Blog AutoBlogGreen Bike Gallery Gems Sty: Trek Lime […]

  2. Bike-Believer on

    I can’t believe Trek thinks they’re going to crack open a new market with this useless machine. If it auto-shifted five to ten gears instead of the same three I have already with my old Raleigh “geezer bike” maybe they’d have something.

    Other things my $40 “geezer bike” has that this FIVE HUNDRED-PLUS DOLLAR MSRP gizmo bike hasn’t: fenders and rear baskets that actually make it useful for something other than noodling around the block.

    What a WASTE! The paper’s business section had this creation on its front page along with an article moaning about the flat growth in cycle sales for the past decade. With the boomer generation aging this is a surprise? And a half-a-grand gizmo-laden fenderless, basketless — USEless — machine is their response? Best of luck to the bicycle industry if this is the best they can do.

  3. Gems Sty on

    Ooh, I didn’t realize it’s selling for >$500. That IS indeed very steep for a bike. Well they DO have baskets and fenders also – it’s just that they sell them as separate accessories.

    $500…I’d get one after they push the decimal leftwards.

  4. Ron G on

    LIME = Less Is More Expensive for the $500 to $600 dollar range you get very little.

  5. Chris on

    Gotta disagree with the naysayers. This machine is really something special, and 500 bucks is pretty “entry-level” when you get beyond X-Mart bikes (that are poorly assembled by teens in the stockroom–the same teens who cart fertilizer around the store, who put cereal on the shelves, etc).

    Just because YOU don’t think you’d spend more than $40 for a used bike doesn’t mean you understand the market. People aren’t deciding between the LIME and a geezer bike.

    Stay tuned.

  6. Joel on

    I too disagree with the naysayers. have ridden mine, 1500 miles plus, and the only problem I’ve had is not having been given any information about how the shifter functions, don’t ride standing up it will throw you when dropping a gear. After all it is a comfort bike, but I ride mine 10 miles in just under an hour, in town, with some small hills, I’m 62 three years out from heart valve surgery and it has improved my quality of life and health. The Lime is doing exactly what I expected in my “geezer” state. Beats the hell out of a treadmill.

  7. Victor on

    I just purchased a pair of Lime bicycles. One for my wife’s birthday and one for myself. This bike simply fit what we were looking for, something simple!

    We were just going to get cheap single speed cruisers from an x-mart store to putt around town. I figured that some gears would be convenient, then I remembered watching a late night infomercial about a mechanical autoshifting bike. So I started researching autoshifting bikes and discovered the Shimano Coasting website. I found a local Trek dealer, tried one out, and instantly purchased the two bikes!

    It is what it is! A simple and sturdy get on and go cruiser bike without any cables, levers, or visible gear mechanisms to maintain. For keeping up with our two small kids who are just now learning to ride their own bicycles, the Lime is perfect. If you need to go up a moderate hill or pull a trailer bike, the low 1st gear is sufficient. Leisurely rolling around the neighborhood, or on flat beach bike paths I’m usually in 2nd gear. If the kids get away from me, 3rd gear is fine for a quick zip to catch them.

  8. Gems Sty on

    Hey Victor, looks like you’ve got yourself a really satisfying bike! 🙂

  9. German on

    A Trek Lime is like an ipod.

    Anybody can use it, simple to ride (coming from a competitive road/track cyclist), fun and such a great design that people will wonder what you are riding.

    Best bike regardless of price.

  10. Tatiana on

    I need some advice : Should I buy the Lime Treek ?

    I’m 24 years old and the last time I’ve bike in my life it was probably 15 years ago. Because I lived in a big city in Brazil it was to dangerous to go around in a bike .

    Now I live in Virginia , in Charlottesville , a very nice place to have a bike , but because I am out of practice I was considering something easy to use .

    I’ve been to some bike dealers and there are so many features in the new bikes that I was discouraged to get one, but then I found the Lime Treek.

    Now I am confused , because It sounds like the right bike to me:
    I’m out of practice, I’m just going to use it to cruise around the town and it seems easy to deal with .

    I’ve read the comments and people are saying bad things about this bike … Being brazilian and new in the U.S I must say that I don’t know the price range and the other options …

    Can I get some advice?


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