March 22, 2023

Tricia Oak

Business & Finance Excellency

Do not Fall for Bike Marketing and advertising Nonsense

Table of Contents

Have you ever appear throughout a new product or service and instantly rolled your eyes? If you are a bicycle enthusiast or a challenging-core bike tech nerd like me, this will inevitably take place. A new merchandise will enter your consciousness through an write-up or an advert, or in my circumstance, a push release, and you will enable out an exasperated groan.

I initial observed this all-around the time bike makes fell in enjoy with the phrase “laterally rigid and vertically compliant.” This distinct meaningless marketing tagline has luckily fallen out of favor. But I was reminded of it all over again when a new solution not too long ago landed on my desk: a pair of gravel-specific sun shades.

Really do not get me wrong—different lens tints can present added benefits. “Trail lenses” for mountain biking are a prime example. They can help bump contrast in the woods to enable riders far better see trail obstructions at large speed. But “trail lenses,” like “gravel lenses,” are created for precise lights conditions—not the surface area your tires are rolling on.


The complete factor bought me considering about how corporations build, frankly, bullshit categories to market to riders. They know that most riders now possess sunglasses, and if they by now have various lenses for cloudy times or path driving, then it may be tricky to influence them to acquire anything new. So in its place, another person manufacturers them as “gravel unique,” and voilà, advertising and marketing magic!

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Shimano’s most current S-Phyre sun shades feature a lens tint claimed to be certain to gravel.


This form of promoting is not one of a kind to the gravel classification, while that class is at this time where the major offenders roll. Remember indoor cycling kits? Providers have been marketing summer season-excess weight kits or some form of mesh outfit that was not acceptable for getting worn in public (until you had been extremely cozy with showing a ton of skin) as a kit particular to riding indoors.


You really do not want an indoor specific kit to train inside of. Shorts and a summertime baselayer will work great.

Trevor Raab

I have no unique gripe with cycling garments that’s produced to assistance riders manage sweat. But let us not fake the sweat that riders deal with inside is by some means distinctive from sweat outdoors. Just put on your summer time package and shell out your money on a significant-high quality enthusiast! Thankfully, the indoor-unique biking kit has, for the most section, light away with the situations. It’s virtually like people realized it wasn’t needed.

For this past illustration of foolish category-based marketing and advertising, we’ll return to gravel. If you stick to the classification in any depth, then definitely you’ve seen firms that now give gravel-particular footwear. There are two most important differences between a gravel shoe and what the the vast majority of riders will realize as a mountain bicycle shoe. Just one is the capability to mount toe spikes. The other is a little bit additional versatility in the sole to help with comfort around the usually extensive gravel occasion distances.

If you are a longtime mountain bicycle rider and it seems to you like I just wrote a description for a mid-degree mountain bike shoe, spot on, my mate. Businesses simply took those mid-level products in their variety and began advertising and marketing them as gravel-specific sneakers.

In some cases, yes, the media can participate in into this. I unquestionably see it materialize rather a little bit, most typically in equipment article content that are extra stories about a new product launch rather than an actual evaluation. As a test editor, I try out to give readers an trustworthy assessment of gear irrespective of its advertising class.

For example, in the past many a long time, I’ve definitely develop into fond of cargo bib shorts. My recent favorites are built by OrNot out of San Francisco and offered just as a cargo bib short. By distinction, some makes have decided to current market them as gravel shorts. Why? I have no thought. There are so many diverse circumstances when possessing a couple more effortlessly accessed pockets helps make sense—but none of which have to do with the kind of area that bike is on. Cargo bibs are also amazing for riders who discover pockets on the back of a jersey to be cumbersome and difficult to achieve.


Trevor Raab

When seeking for equipment, I usually urge folks to disregard the categories and feel about the product’s utility. The bicycle sector loves to push points on you, but each individual after in a when, it continue to churns out goods that are truly practical. Even if your first response is an eye roll.

Headshot of Dan Chabanov

Take a look at Editor

Exam Editor Dan Chabanov bought his start in cycling as a New York Town bicycle messenger but swiftly observed his way into road and cyclocross racing, competing in qualified cyclocross races from 2009 to 2019 and profitable a Master’s Nationwide Championship title in 2018. Prior to signing up for Bicycling in 2021, Dan labored as component of the race corporation for the Red Hook Crit, as a mentor with EnduranceWERX, as perfectly as a freelance writer and photographer.