Has bike tech become too complicated for its own good? - The GCN Show

Dan Lloyd and Si Richardson react to the news that Trek is slimming down its options and question whether more brands should follow its lead

Clock19:17, Tuesday 12th March 2024

American brand Trek Bicycles recently announced that it would be adjusting its business strategy and reducing the number of bike options it sells by 40% within two years.

This is part of a wider cost-cutting exercise that would see Trek reduce its number of Stock Keeping Units, otherwise known as SKUs. To understand why Trek is cutting SKUs, we need only look at its current bike line-up.

Trek currently sells a Domane SLR6 with Shimano 105 as one of its options. That is one model of bike, but each model comes in eight different sizes and has six colour options for each size. Therefore, that one model of Domane results in 56 SKUs for the company.

Not only is it a lot to take in for the company itself, but also for the consumers. Trek's change of approach is commendable because it should simplify things for both the company and its consumers.

This has prompted two important questions in this week's GCN Show: has bike tech become too complicated for its own good? And should other brands follow in Trek's footsteps?

Leading the conversation this week are Dan Lloyd and Si Richardson, who between them struggle to count the number of Trek models on the market to the public (22 Domanes, 13 Madones and 18 Émondas, in case you were wondering).

The extent of options available to consumers has both Dan and Si wondering whether this might not become all too much for the consumer, especially a newcomer to cycling, who might simply be persuaded from buying anything in the first place. We'd love to know your opinion on this one. Do you think Trek's move is a smart one, and do you agree with Dan and Si that bike tech has become a little too complicated for its own good?

Let us know in the comments below.

Elsewhere in this week's Cycling Shorts, Dan is forced to cop some of the blame for the UCI's quick intervention into the world of time trial helmets.

After Visma-Lease a Bike caused uproar with their new Giro lids last week, and Rudy Project followed suit shortly thereafter, the UCI decided to ban Specialized's head sock and launch an immediate investigation into its competitors.

Read more:

Hacks and Bodges

SKUs explained and the UCI's latest investigation interrogated, it's time to move on to this week's Hacks and Bodges. And no, we aren't including Visma-Lease a Bike's helmets! Remember, you can submit your entries for Dan and Si to cast their votes on via our uploader.

Please remember to include as much detail as possible. We are currently experiencing occasional problems with the uploader but we're working on a fix so please don't give up, come back and try again the next day when hopefully all will be resolved. We'll make sure no Hack or Bodge is left behind!

Read more: Upload your cycling photos and be featured on our GCN shows

A solar lamp and more on this BMX bike

Regular reader Tim, who himself owns a Planet X Exo II TT bike and a Merida 300 road bike, has spotted a rather peculiar BMX bike at his place of work in Bicester.

Mooching around the bike shed of this "well-known supermarket delivery company", Tim stumbled across a BMX bike that not only has a solar light attached to the rear stay/rear wheel, but also storage compartments up at the front end. Perhaps this is the new frontier of supermarket delivery! Is this eye-catching contraption a Hack or a Bodge? Give us your votes in the comments below.

Gardening gloves do the trick for Mark

Over in Widnes, Mark has found his innovation in bike cleaning - gardening gloves.

"Cheap solution to the post-ride wipe-off," he writes. "Cheap HomeBargain gardening gloves have the perfect texture to take the grime off. Much easier to get into the nooks and crannies."

Visma-Lease a Bike, watch your backs!

Our last submission this week comes from Aidan, who has clearly taken some inspiration from Giro and Rudy Project with their outlandish time trial helmets. His goal is simple with this effort:

"Trying to shave 4 watts at 50kph over 40km!"

Is he on the right track?

Read more: UCI approved our new Rudy Project helmet 10 days ago, says Bahrain-Victorious boss

Coming up on the channel this week*

Wednesday 13 March: Milan-San Remo preview show

Thursday 14 March: Cycle to Work for beginners: Here's everything you need to know

Friday 15 March: We take on the epic climbs of Taiwan

Saturday 16 March: Hank rides a bike to London that costs less than the train fare

Sunday 17 March: It's a tyre showdown: 26mm vs. 30mm vs. 35mm

*Video schedules are subject to change

If you like the look of Dan and Si's t-shirts on this week's show, the good news is they're available now to buy over on the GCN Shop. There are loads of designs and styles to help get you fully ready for the spring racing season. Head over there or click on the rail below for more info.

Did you know? You can now listen to The GCN Show as a podcast. That means you can still get all the insight from the latest episode of the show without actually having to look at Dan and Si at all, if that's ever been an issue for you. Search for 'Global Cycling Network' on your chosen podcast provider.

For all things general news, check out this tab on the GCN website.

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