Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Who's Next? Searching for LeMond's Replacement

As I halfheartedly reported yesterday, and as everybody knows by now, the Great Trek Bicycle Making Company has severed its relationship with Greg LeMond. In fact, Trek has filed suit against him, claiming he’s done damage to the brand. Trek allege that he did so not only by badmouthing Lance Armstrong and Trek, but also by re-selling bicycles he purchased at a discount directly to customers. According to the suit (a copy of which which was forwarded to me by a reader in the legal profession, along with a bill for $1,500):

... since 1999 Greg LeMond has made numerous purchases of LeMond bicycles at employee pricing from Trek with a suggested retail value of over $2,500,000. Upon information and belief, Greg LeMond has resold, bartered for value or otherwise distributed many or most of these bikes, harming Trek and its dealers.

As one example, in early March 2008, a Trek Dealer sold two LeMond Zurich bicycles to two customers. These bicycles sell at retail for more than $2,800, each, and thus are important sales. This Dealer ordered the bikes and expected to complete the sales when the bikes arrived. On or about March 15, 2008, one of the two customers who had ordered the LeMond Zurich bicycles returned and informed Trek’s Dealer that he and the other customer were able to get LeMond-branded bicycles directly from Greg LeMond himself, at a price much lower than the retail price. The customer explained that since they were saving over 50% by buying from Greg LeMond instead of from the Dealer, they ordered La Victoires, a more expensive LeMond-branded bicycle ($5,279.99 suggested retail price), instead of the Zurich bicycles they had ordered from the Dealer. As his business was harmed by the loss of sales as a result of LeMond’s unauthorized and unlawful conduct, the Dealer commented:

“Why would we support a vendor that is deliberately using back-channels to sell products in our market? As an immediate resolution to this problem, the only fair and practical thing that I can see is to bill Mr. Lemond's account for the lost profit $$ that we have foregone as a result of his action. Furthermore, going forward, I would like an apology and his word that he will not sell around his dealers going forward.”

Again, these are only allegations, but if this is indeed true, Greg LeMond may be the world’s most famous shop rat.

Be that as it may, the Great Trek Bicycle Making Company has lost a member of the family. Granted, losing Greg LeMond might be the same kind of familial loss as when your 45 year old unemployed crank-addicted cousin finally moves out of your basement, but it’s a loss nonetheless. And the big question is: who will move in to fill this loss? Surely Trek will need a new quasi-boutiquey brand to replace LeMond, and my money is on these five frontrunners:


Mario Cipollini



Cipo's flirtation with Rock Racing also involved a brief foray into self-branded bikes. Despite the fact that Mario looks like someone you'd find on hotchickswithdouchebags, the cycling press decided long ago that he's got sex appeal, so presumably it would follow that a line of Cipollini bikes would have sex appeal too. In fact, rumor has it that Mario is heavily invested in a company that has figured out how to impregnate carbon fiber with pheromones, and this is just the sort of technology that could give his bikes an intangible advantage in the marketplace. Just imagine walking into a bike shop and being overcome with a heady musk. With male- and female-specific models available, the rider who straddles a Cipollini would be in a constant state of arousal, and the line between "group ride" and "group sex" would become quite blurry. (And also a little sticky.)

Jan Ullrich

Everybody remembers Jan Ullrich as Lance Armstrong’s perpetual runner-up, but few Americans realize he’s also got his own line of bikes. With the departure of Greg LeMond it would follow that Trek would want to bring another former Yellow Jersey into the fold, and Jan could be exactly who they’re looking for. After all, the Armstrong/Ullrich rivalry was one of the most intense in sporting history—if you define “rivalry” as “riding near each-other in the same race sometimes.” So having both these retirees in the same assisted living home would be quite a coup. Plus, the ads practically write themselves: “Jan Ullrich: the rider synonymous with both ‘second’ and ‘seconds.’”

Grant Petersen



Grant Petersen and Trek together? Never, right? Well, not so fast. While Grant gets to indulge his delightfully retro whims through his Rivendell line, he simply does not have the resources to fully realize his vision. After all, Nitto will only make a quill stem that’s so long. However, if Trek were to back Petersen in buying Nitto, there would be no limit to how long he could make them. Because as Grant and his disciples know, a bike doesn’t fit properly unless the stem/headtube setup resembles a flagpole in a golf hole cup. (Flying a pair of moustache bars instead of a flag, of course.) There are also some more components into which Grant would like to incorporate lugs, and Trek money would allow him to do this. Spokes, seatposts, handlebars, crankarms, and bar-end shifters are just a few components that would benefit from a good old-fashioned lugging, according to Petersen. Finally, Grant could finally put his “uni-lug” frame concept into development. That’s a frame consisting of a single, giant lug with just a few short pieces of tubing as filler. It’s monocoque for retrogrouches!

Bamboo


I think everybody knows what the future of high-end bike material is. You know it, I know it, Craig Calfee knows it. Even fixed-gear kids are making bikes out of it themselves at home. Of course, I'm talking about bamboo. Trek have long been on the forefront of carbon fiber technology, and it's likely they'll take this opportunity to step up their efforts in the bamboo arena as well. Don't be surprised if you find a Trek-distributed line of bikes called "Bamboozled" in your LBS soon. “Bamboozled: the bike that brings out the animal in you.” (Assuming that animal is a hungry panda, or possibly a mountain gorilla.)

A Simple Re-Badge Job



Of course, it’s always possible that Trek will take the fiscally-conservative route. This would most likely consist of continuing to sell their current inventory of LeMond bikes but just covering up a few letters on the decals. Certainly nobody would buy a bike called a “Lemon,” but an “Emo” would undoubtedly fly off the shelf! Between the legions of Jimmy Eat World fans and the dozens of people who remember and love comedian Emo Philips, Trek should find plenty of people who identify with their new brand for one reason or another. Best of all, it will only take a few pieces of electrical tape per bike. (Let's just hope Emo doesn't start dishing any dirt on LA.)


76 comments:

Anonymous said...

Podium!

Anonymous said...

Pffft.

genersal lsmenedd said...

zing!

Anonymous said...

hey... i read the whole post and still got fourth... you podium dopers.

JimmyNick said...

Payouts six deep?

Anonymous said...

I vote for "Bamboozled"

Anonymous said...

Read it all, points.

Anonymous said...

hah

Peter said...

wiz bang

Scott said...

I was initially terrified to click on the link to Mario Cipollini's theme site, but oh wow, it's like every party I went to in college!

Anonymous said...

Yawn... another famous battle at Waterloo... what is it with those guys? They love free publicity?

bikeslob 80220 said...

Easy solution to Trek's problem...

a "Collab"....

Frames by Calfee
Wheelset by Aerospoke
paint job by TOONS

Pedal Strike Force Agent Down said...

Ouch!

I'd hate to be Grant Peterson right now.

What a fool. --Riding around with not too much weight on his hands for fun and for comfort.

Anonymous said...

Why not an Armstrong line of bikes? Seems to make the most sense to me. I bet that is what they are actually going to do.

That homemade bamboo bike looks like a death-trap. No way would I ever ride that.

john b said...

RTMS/BSNYC/et al, you apparently have some wonder connections in the legal world. According to cyclingnews, the legal brief you have the $1500 bill for is available in pdf on the TREK website. Don't feel funny bout t though, that's just Greggie trying to cop a feel.

Anonymous said...

never before have I read such a falsehood:
"dozens of people who remember and love comedian Emo Philips"
seriously? Dozens?

Bobbo said...

We love it when companies start arranging deck chairs on the titanic instead of taking care of business

Anonymous said...

Loved the Emo Phillips ref - saw him on TV just yesterday!

Anonymous said...

Edit to above - i don't belong to the "dozens" of fans, his style was seriously overplayed.

sd said...

"Iwoke up wit ha bloody nose.....ewww how did that get in my bed"

GOLD

Scott said...

Anon 12:45

Trek already is the "Lance Armstrong" line of bikes. Hell, Lance was the spokesperson for the rolling out of the new Madone last year, even though he hates compact geometry and doesn't race anymore. They should just change their name to "Trek: Lance Armstong's Bike".

Cameron said...

I'm a little disappointed Cipollini couldn't sneak his name across his frame a few more times.

Anonymous said...

while working on a clever reply to the post (since I can't seem to write my own) i was playing with the letters in Lemond to see what came up. I think this is the best of the second rate choices:
OND (acronym)Office of New Drugs

Scott said...

Cameron,

Yeah, especially since he rode Cannondales back in the heyday of Cannondale putting their name on the bike in as many places as possible (4x on the downtubes alone!).

JIM N said...

Ullrich would never turn his back on the People's Giant Bicycle Manufacturing Plant #12.

On the serious tip though, what did Trek think Greg LeMond was doing with $2500000 worth of bikes if not selling them to someone? If they were selling them to him @ wholesale then what's the issue?

OpenYourEyes said...

It really needs to be "The Lance". Even though there is the Mandone, there needs to be one with a slick Lance on the downtube, toptube, forks, chainstays (with a www.livestrong.com). Nothing says Trek more than the Lance. And as far as the marketing campaign, it needs to be: The Great Trek Bicycle Company is proud to introduce The Lance. And to go with what he will be remembered for best, the catchphrase will be Always at least a step ahead.

The Lance - Always at least a step ahead.

O' Bama said...

anyone have greg's email/cell# ?
i need a new bike, and at a price like that, i could give it to hillary as a consolation gift.

Anonymous said...

open your eyes,
would the ultegra version be called The Shaft? the 105 The Rod?

thefutureofamerica said...

Liestrong.

OpenYourEyes said...

Those are good suggestions for the lower-end models. Part of the campaign will have to be: Winning races through medicine, rather, science.

And the head tube logo will be a silhouette of his hairline, kind of like the mazda logo, because a hypodermic would be too suspect.

Anonymous said...

A competing model could be The Spear made out of bamboo.

Hilton Meyer said...

They should leave biking altogether and take on nike with Lances, runstrong.com record breaking carbon fibre sole with aerolaces.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Wait a minute !

TBTSAP fka BSNYC –

Humorous critiquing of bikes, companies, artists, trends, designs, etc. ? ;

Pistadex creator and monitor ?;

Avid Craigslist connoisseur ?;

Trendsetter ?;

THE BSNYC SUMMER LIVE-BLOGGING SPECTACULAR!!! ?;

Sudden Name Change: “The blogger-turned-street art phenomenon formerly known as "BikeSnobNYC"” ; and “received an invitation yesterday via email from the Great Trek Bicycle Making Company to listen in on a "company update" via conference call.” ?

Greg LeMonde’s sudden breakup with TGBMC,Trek ?

Are you trying to tell us something ? Are you going into partnership with Trek to introduce the Zen bike ?

sd said...

Anon 2:27- and still have absolutely no idea what you are trying to say. Really, the entire thing is completely unclear.

T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

That homemade bamboo bike was probably the funniest thing I've seen in a while...

M. Weed said...

2:27,

It's a good theory. It makes sense to me.

Nick said...

Just goes to show you that the brand on bikes today means virtually nothing.

Nick

daddo.one said...

you've forever lost me to "hot chicks with douchebags"

va bene!

wishiwasmerckx said...

For years, Armstrong let Ullrich get just close enough to smell his farts. Now he's going to relegate Ullrich to second place in Trek sales as well? Brilliant.

daddo.one said...

from DBWHC:

The biceps + tight designer shirt is indeed a new sign of the coming douchepocalpyse, and we should all be very scared. And Senn invokes the Holy Pumpy, in casting in with....

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice an eerie similarity in style and syntax between BSNYC and douchebag1? Is the Snob secretly moonlighting on a second venture?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:42,

I only wish I could take credit for the work of genius that is HCWDB.

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

SD SAID @2:39p.m.:

Perhaps you should drink less beer, learn to read, discern and analyze, then you will be able to follow a train of thought to a logical conclusion. Or you could just watch more sitcoms on regular T.V. in which style my comment was written. As another commenter frequently says ... "just sayin'".
Signed,
The commenter formerly known as: Anon 2:27p.m.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that HCWDBs is really the same two girls with different dbs ?

Carlos from Philly said...

FYI: I love you again.

(since you were wondering, i'm sure)

daddo.one said...

yeah mostly i think those are actually hot bimbos with douchebags

roomservicetaco said...

Love LeMond the rider, but he sure seems to have a way of pissing people off, doesn't he.

roomservicetaco said...

According to the LeMond lawsuit, Trek was obliged to give him 10 bikes per year:

http://www.trekbikes.com/pdf/media/en/03202008_Lemond.pdf

Anonymous said...

the shark has been jumped, but you should have seen the jumper's awesome landing

bikesgonewild said...

..."aaaaarrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"...

...quote by jan ullrich from somewhere deep in the black forest, on learning that his bikes might get picked up by trek...

Anonymous said...

lemond as the most famous shop rat.........beautiful!

as usual!

pinchfinger said...

I like Cipo's line of bikes...gives new meaning to :"I'd like to be her bicycle seat!". Yes indeed-ie.

With regards to Hotchickswithdouchebags.....who knew??!!.... such a site existed.... Simply amazing.
It just shows to go that chicks may be hot, but they are still stupid.

What else? Let's see...

I'll bet Trek can't see straight, they are so pissed the one team they back is not going to be in the TdF this year.

I got an idea..maybe Bob Roll is available as a marketing tool...bikes for old speedsters who are still cool. Can't you just see a model called the "BobKe"?

Anonymous said...

roomservicetaco:

I tried the cite you posted ... it shows the trek home page (?) and says "Sorry, thepage you are looking for is no longer available"

Another cite shut down by too many hits from rtms/bsnyc readers !

AMRcyclist said...

Cipollini should be the next Dame Edna!
http://www.dame-edna.com/

Jim said...

HotChicks With Douchebags? Where'd you get that URL from? Googling "Funniest Memes, 2006"?

mr.complaint said...

Emo Philips, he's related to the screwdriver, right?

Floyd has time on his hands. He could hit the promo-road and sell a crapload of bikes.

Tyler may be up for it too. I'm sure Heras would be willing to pump some tires.

Djamolidine Abdoujaparov's name might be too long though.

Anonymous said...

"benefit from a good old-fashioned lugging"

Like comment podium chasers?

Back to bed.

Anonymous said...

Snob, I still think that you are steppin out on us. Please be careful, use protection, and don't bring a virus or other STD home here.
Anon 3:42

Andy Pandy said...

I feel strangely troubled by the concept of “straddling a Cippolini” but could accept mounting a Lance

Anonymous said...

Podium!

ah, shit

Philip Williamson said...

Ah, shit, you should jump the shark more often!
The real indicator of "this blog's going down" is if you acquire a creepy stalker, or suddenly develop a younger sister or cousin (the Scrappy Doo/Michelle Trachtenberg Effect).

Did Trek really sign a contract promising "best efforts?" haha! that's legalese for "die trying."

sd said...

Anon 2:27-
I'm sorry, I couldn't follow all of the ?'s and ;'s and random spacings through my absinthe haze. I see now that you made a few easy observations about RTMS, then followed them through to a conclusion that doesn't have any relationship to what you observed.

My bad.

beth h said...

Any bike labeled "emo" would HAVE to come with a used mechanic's shirt and a CD of Morrisey's greatest hits.

roomservicetaco said...

Anon:
"I tried the cite you posted ... it shows the trek home page (?) and says "Sorry, thepage you are looking for is no longer available"

Looks like the URL I posted was truncated. Try:

http://www.trekbikes.com/pdf/media
/en/03202008_Lemond.pdf

[may have to cut and paste twice]

Anonymous said...

flax fiber? museeuw? c'mon, nuf said.

Anonymous said...

“Jan Ullrich: the rider synonymous with both ‘second’ and ‘seconds.’”
Awesome.

MarvinK said...

They'll just bring Klein back...

Anonymous said...

what bands are good to see for emo hairstyles?
[url=http://www.emo-hairstyles.info/]emo hair[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hi your website is cool
Take a look at that cool emo video clip:
http://tinyurl.com/75993v

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