Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lady's Bicycle? Colour vs Form

Still obsessively browsing the new NAHBS 2010 pictures, I am seeing some bicycles in pastel colour schemes that suggest they are meant for women.

[image by Geekhouse Bikes via flickr]

Here is one from Geekhouse that I must say is spectacular. Personally, I consider this colour scheme "feminine", in the sense that the colours are traditionally seen on women's clothing and accessories. However, it is a diamond frame.

[image by sleepyneko via flickr]

On the other hand, here is a mixte by Velo Orange. The frame is typically viewed as a "women's frame" (at least in the US), yet the colour scheme is traditionally "masculine": a solid, conservative blue.

In a controlled study, I wonder which bicycle would be more appealing to women. (Research grant?)

25 comments:

  1. Color schmuller. OTOH, I volunteer to be a tester! They're all cool bikes. Better, none have carbon seat posts.

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  2. I'm a woman and I'd go for the dark blue one every time.

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  3. Would depend on the individual woman. And man. As a male man I would not buy the light purple bike but would definitely ride the mixte. I would buy a bike in a different purple/blue colour scheme but not that particular one. In that sense it could be argued that the mixte is unisex as I know plenty of women who don't like "feminine" colour schemes on things but I'd asert that you'd struggle to find a man who'd ride the "mens" frame.

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  4. I vote for the lilac and light blue bike! A little too sweet for me, but not a fan of the conservative blue.

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  5. Both appeal to women, the pastel diamond being the more so for its assertive form and extroverted palette. The navy mixte in a diamond form would equally suit her buttoned down masculine counterpart.

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  6. Color is definitely such an important factor, I think! I do have a little bit of a complaint though, while I love the pastels they are still so bright and shiny looking to my eye. I guess that's why I love vintage so much. THE PATINA!

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  7. Though I normally don't go for cotton-candy pastels, I find myself drawn to the Geekhouse bike. I think it is not just the colours, but the attention to detail and the overall dreamy feeling they managed to create. I look at it and imagine a girl in a paisley dress cycling through Somerville, the wind in her hair, the sun setting, and the sountrack playing Plainsong by the Cure...

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  8. Hmm..tough one really as I do like diamond frames, I'm not into the color (maybe if it was seafoam green instead of lilac). I love mixte's, but that color, takes getting used to. I was actually looking at the mixte on Velo-O's site. The Mixte for me.

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  9. I imagine most buyers, regardless of sex, would want their first choice in both colour and form when dropping several grand on a bike.

    Colours are completely flexible on custom bikes such as Geekhouse (so we can interpret Geekhouse pastels any way we wish), but not so on Riv or VO frames. They simply can't afford to offer meaningful colour selection process by the customers, making their own choice ultimately crucial. It's odd that VO picked that dark blue for their mixte.

    In other news, I also don't quite get the Geekhouse fork.

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  10. Well yes, of course ideally you can choose both frame design and colour - but I am talking about a situation where you see just these two bikes as they are, standing there at NAHBS. Are they meant to primarily appeal to men, or women? And do they succeed at achieving that?

    The Geekhouse/ANT segmented fork is a matter of taste. Visually I like it, but I have no idea how it rides and would like to test-ride it.

    The VO mixte colour choice... well, I've said from the beginning that I think it was a mistake. By making it both a mixte and in a masculine, sporty colour scheme, I think they've limited their market considerably.

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  11. The mixte. I have a diamond framed, dark blue bike already - I didn't think of the colour as a particularly masculine choice - and I am allergic to anything pink or that looks as though it has been 'prettied up' for the 'little lady'. But I'm probably a bit wierd

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  12. Hm, that would be a tough decision. Can't I have both?

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  13. with regard to the pastel color scheme on the diamond frame bike; it certainly is a feminine "colorway". ;)

    I think that everyone needs to get out of the mindset that a mixte frame is a "girls" frame and a diamond is a "boys" frame. Those terms seem to be relegated, almost exclusively, to bikes for adolescents and children. After all, a traditional mixte frame is NOT what is being referred to when one describes a "girls" bike, the only similarity is really the sloping top tube... and many, if not all, modern mountain-bikes have sloping top tubes, and we don't refer to all of them as "girls" bikes, do we?

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  14. You're right!
    The color-schemes (for the respective bikes) are 'limiting'. If 'reversed' they could be commercially more viable.:p
    Lemony.

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  15. well, regarding the geekhouse bike, it was indeed intended for a woman, as it was "aptly named" "princess"-- can't target the feminine crowd more strongly than that:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/geekhousebikes/4390486715/

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  16. I see lots of female cyclists with drop bars and diamond frames. I noticed that usually single speed riders prefer diamond frames. Why is that?

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  17. data points:

    For me the blue and orange in combination is what makes that VO mixte look like, say, the uniform of a high school basketball team circa 1976. Not inherently problematic, and even maybe chic in a way, but not my style. Certainly that bike will appeal to men, which is nice. It just really doesn't appeal to me. That said, I think it's great the VO made a mixte frame. Just, sigh, not the mixte I want. I wish they had made it just orange, like a good matte Hermes orange. Or cream. Anyhoo.

    I feel a weird affection for the Geekhouse bike. Maybe because I'm desperate for spring?

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  18. I don't do pink and much prefer the blue. I've always had diamond frames until recently, but a step through is much more convenient and a lot easier with a kid on the back.

    My dad always referred to mixtes as "touring bikes" and the only teacher to ride a bike to my school, the head of PE, a man in his 50's rode a pale green mixte.

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  19. I dislike most shades of pink (from medium pink to hot pink), but I like very pale powder-pink and dusty-rose. Still, I prefer sage green and slate gray. Medium blue does nothing for me though, and as neighbourtease said, it reminds me of athletic teams.

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  20. as for the blue VO mixte-- i don't care for the color either. however, given how reasonably priced the frame is to begin with, it seems entirely reasonable to simply have the frame repainted or powdercoated in the buyer's preferred color before building up. i wouldn't dismiss any new frameset simply because of an undesirable stock color.

    as for the geekhouse "princess" bike: it is, overall, a nicely designed full touring bike, and geekhouse has a flickr set of this model in other, more traditional color schemes:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/geekhousebikes/sets/72157620780338862/

    it's quite nice, but not as thoroughly well conceived as, say, a jp weigle design. in particular, it seems to have a high trail front fork, which is ill-suited to carrying front loads.

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  21. I suppose one could also dip the VO frame and get it to a shiny silver. I would love that.

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  22. Hi, this is Marty from Geekhouse. The purple color is actually very similar to an old Fat City Cycles MTB color, and I would ride a color like this on a personal bike any day.

    Also this bike was built for a woman named Bianca who will be riding this bike along with Greg from Boston to San Francisco this summer to raise money for Autism research. Check out their blog here: http://100daysof.tumblr.com/

    Bianca wanted a light purple on her bike and the light teal was my recommendation and she is very pleased with the end result of the colors and the bike. She also came up with the name "Princess" for the bike and that's why we're now referring to it as such.

    Thanks for the kind words everyone!

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  23. It's interesting to see that Pink colourscheme on a diamond frame...

    Both bikes look fantastic to me - but I know that I'd be more drawn to the blue. I'd considered a pink frame when I was thinking of getting a Pashley Poppy, but it just wasn't for me.

    Ace blog btw :)

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  24. My eldest daughter loves her Pink Poppy. Our local Pashley dealer told us that it is a North/South thing too. Northern lasses tend to go for the Pink while ladies from the South of England like the pastel blue.

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