This is the table of contents for the April, 2010 issue of Bicycling, The 2010 Buyer's Guide:
I've color-coded (shoulda done it on Photoshop, for that handy ctrl+z function, 'cuz I kinda goofed it up, but ah well..) it for you to show how many pages are spent on each category of bicycle. Granted, I realize that Bicycling has a target audience and most Bicycling covers that I can recall showcase someone who is obviously a model and not a cyclist, on a shiny road bike, in shiny clothes, photoshopped onto a fictional landscape. While that is understood-- I will commence my analysis.
DREAM: all road bikes. Because the only people dreaming about bikes are roadies.
RACE: and the only people who race are roadies.
PLUSH: what most recreational or enthusiast roadies should be on. A bike that's fast, but easier on the body. No human pretzels.
ENTHUSIAST: Oh, they made a separate category for this. These are actually race bikes, but Bicycling didn't get to say enough in the first "race" category, so they added this one.
RECREATIONAL: I expected to see some cheaper plush bikes, but more race steeds here. Not sure what's going on.
ENTRY-LEVEL: Everything listed above-- just cheaper. Can't get enough of the road!
TRI & TIME TRIAL: Another division of on-road racing.
Then we hit TOURING. Don't blink, it only gets 1 page. Happily, Rivendell-- true artists of steel steeds-- gets recognized for their Betty Foy (mixte touring) and Sam Hillborne. No sign of the Trek 520 or a Surly LHT-- the two most common (and high value) bikes you'll see on a bike route!
WOMEN'S ROAD & TRI: because sadly, high-end bikes usually don't have a women's equivalent-- so we need another category to point out those companies that DO offer an equivalent. Like a SPECIALIZED S-WORKS AMIRA ($7,200) in a *women's race fit*. GOOD WORK, SPECIALIZED!! Although Trek does offer the $8,600 Madone 6.9.. but in a basic women's fit, no "women's race" fit from them yet . Basically, what I'm sayin' is that the brand that offers the most expensive women's race bike (IN A TASTEFUL COLOR) is likely to win me over. So go ahead-- duke it out.
Then we foray into MOUNTAIN in only 3 (+women's) categories that stick to lighter duty riding: XC & TRAIL, RECREATIONAL, ALL-MOUNTAIN & WOMEN'S. Understandable, as those riding a Demo probably aren't reading this magazine. Also wondering: when will "women's" just be included in all the categories, instead of a microscopic category of its own? Presumably, it is suggested that everything else is "men's" if "women's" is separated out.
THEN, this is interesting.. we get the "ALTERNATIVE" category. Alternative?? Wow, so I thought that the obvious dominance of road bikes in the 2010 Buyer's Guide would be enough to suggest that Bicycling promotes road bikes as the "norm" and all else as "not the norm," but they went ahead and literally called the "rest" of bikes "alternative." Interesting. Additionally, it's interesting to see what gets clumped together under "Alternative": CITY, CYCLOCROSS, TRACK, TRAVEL, KIDS, TANDEM. All very, very different bicycles.
So, what does this suggest?
- Does it suggest, simply-- that Bicycling has a target audience of roadies and caters to them?
- Do roadies TRULY make up the bulk of the cycling market? I think we sell as many, or more, flat-bar 'recreational-city-commute-bike-path' bikes as plush road bikes for STP riders (a 200 mile, 1 or 2 day ride) at Gregg's Cycles.
And all this, leads me to this question:
- Do we only PERCEIVE roadies to dominate the U.S. cycling population due to media portrayal?
So you've made it through my candid, wandering, asides-aplenty review of a table of contents..
what are your thoughts?