Occasionally a bicycle is remarkable enough that a number of people forward it to me, and in the last few months one of the most forwarded bicycles has been the Fuji Obey. Despite the fact that it is indeed a noteworthy bicycle for a number of reasons, I have not mentioned it until now. This has been kicking around (the internet at least) for a long time. But if you haven't seen it yet, here it is:
This is perhaps the most contrived collision between a cheap bike and street art since some guy in Williamsburg intentionally ghost-rode his Schwinn Varsity conversion into a Biggie Smalls mural. If you’re unfamiliar with “Obey,” it started as a “street art campaign” and an “experiment in phenomenology” (according to paradigm of accuracy Wikipedia). And if you’re unfamiliar with street art, it’s basically just pretentious litter.
The Fuji Obey is especially noteworthy because it points to a trend of stylistic “collabos” in the cycling world. There are all types of collabos, but one popular type is when a tired old company attempts to breathe new life into itself by paying someone they’re told is cool to create brilliant new products like this. Or this. Sometimes the collabo is even between two tired old companies, like this. But no matter how they occur, collabos, (or “corporate lame brand offerings”) are tremendously exciting. First of all, they don’t “come out” or “become available.” That’s reserved for boring things like sandwiches, commemorative coins, and heart medicines. Instead, they “drop.” Secondly, collabos allow you to advertise two stupid brands on one product for the price of three.
Collabos are particularly popular in the world of hip-hop, where selling out is not only acceptable but required. Pioneering hip-hop branding collabos over the years include The Wu-Tang Clan and General Foods (Wu-Tang Tang), Ice-T and Folger’s (Ice-T Iced Coffee), and NWA and Kellogg’s (Fuck Tha Police Cereal). And beyond that, collabos have existed as long as people have. Some examples of historical collabos are the Jews and Jesus (Christianity), serfs and rats (the Bubonic Plague), and World War II.
So as fixed-gears become popular with “street culture” enthusiasts, you can expect more and more collabos. Like this one, which is only $6,000, and which I'm surprised Eric Clapton hasn't bought yet:
In fact, even I’m jumping onto the tail end of the collabo pack. After considering numerous offers, I decided to go with discount online retailer bikesdirect.com, for a special limited edition of their Windsor “The Hour.” Here’s the original bike:
And here’s the BSNYC collabo:
Notice the collabo doesn’t have valve caps. I hate valve caps! It will also come with a BSNYC sticker (which you can put on yourself) and will retail for $2,500. (Or about 20 Euros.)
Dropping soon on an internet near you!