I came across a great review of a presentation from the Shimano marketing team at the National Bike Summit, where they detailed the background of their Coasting program. Shimano worked with IDEO to develop a strategy to get more of the 161 million Americans who don't ride back onto bikes. This research led to a revisiting of cruiser bikes, and subsequently to a series of new bikes from Trek (the Lime is shown above), Raleigh and Giant.
In any case the original post I found goes over some of the findings that IDEO uncovered, and the resulting product strategy. But the comments, from bike mechanics, enthusiasts, lawyers and others, are the best part. The only thing missing from the conversation are the designers and product strategists.Personally I'm not convinced that the strategy will get more people onto bikes. The cultural issues raised in the comments are significant. But it's a great product design conversation, from a group of 'non-designers'.