While at Cirque, I learned that the rights to the Herse name had been purchased by Mike Kone of Colorado. Together with builder Mark Nobilette, they plan to build custom bikes under the "Rene Herse" name. This has generated some lively discussion on the Classic Rendezvous list and more than a few e-mails among those of us who build this style of bike. Mike and Mark plan to offer bikes at the very top of the price range and in the Herse style.
I'm throwing this out for discussion because it is an interesting marketing tactic. I don't think these new bike will be mistaken for real Herse bikes in the same way that the current Buggatti cars made by Volkswagen are not confused with classic Buggattis, But that is not to say they might not be excellent products.
If Mike and Mark plan to produce bikes that are comparable to the classics, and they do, then they have set a very high hurdle indeed. It is easy to say that you will build bikes that can carry on the legacy of, perhaps, the finest constructuer in history. But quite another thing to do it. It certainly takes a lot of confidence to believe that you can rise to such a standard and to essentially announce to the world that you will henceforth start building the very best bikes on the planet. Certainly Mark is a fine builder, but I have never seen any of the bikes from Mike's last venture, "Cone Head Bikes" so it's hard for me to speculate on the outcome. And Herse was famous for technical innovation. Can one suddenly decide they will be innovative? It's certainly possible in a larger company that can hire a research department, but for a small bike shop? I guess we'll see when the first bikes are delivered and are ridden. Let's not forget that Herse bikes are even more renowned for how they rode than what they looked like.
So, what do you think?
19 June, 2007
Posted by Velo Orange at 9:01:00 AM