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It is time for the bicycle industry to retire the model year convention


Root of all N+1 Thought

The model year convention is the most explicit manifestation of N+1 Thought there is. What better way to sell another bicycle to someone who already has one than to use a date to signal that the latest model year is somehow better than the one the owner already has? Getting rid of this convention will improve efficiency and sustainability of the bicycle industry. Below are some of benefits:

Reduce emissions and waste: Manufacturers will no longer introduce something new every twelve months when there really isn’t anything new to introduce. This will eliminate planned obsolescence and in turn reduce unnecessary production, cut greenhouse gas emissions and extend product life cycles. Cyclists will own their bicycles for longer.

Encourage innovation: Manufacturers will be able to allocate resources towards the development and introduction of material long term innovations to products rather than squandering those resources on short term cosmetic changes in features and specifications that offer no real benefit for consumers. Cyclists will be riding better designed and made bicycles. 

Match supply with demand: Manufacturers will no longer have to make huge annual production runs to meet fallible demand forecasts and will instead be able to develop mechanisms that match more accurately production capacity with genuine market demand. This will reduce inventory overhangs (such as experienced in the wake of the pandemic), take financial pressure off of retailers and improve the long term sustainability of the industry.

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