but unforgiveable use of elitist marketing was an innovation too far for mountain biking - the infantile divisions they wanted to create linger on, even today.
If I understand you correctly, are you saying that many, if not all of the Klein enthusiasts you know today are elitist and condescending to enthusiasts of other brands? Illuminating interpretation that moves my points swiftly into rather paranoid personalisation about Klein owners... No - not what I was trying to convey at all... It's 'unforgiveable' marketing precisely for the sort of divisive interbrand 'pride'/rivalry that is still harboured/demonstrated. To me, that was a step too far for my perception of the whole mountainbike scene BiTD. I didn't want it to become a mainstream business/attractive to investors etc. But guess what - it did. Bring on the takeovers and acquisitions, let's serve up the homogenised corporate solutions...
I have thick skin so if you believe I'm guilty of acting like that, please let me know. Otherwise, for myself, there are many Klein owners that actively participate on this board and "elitism" isn't the first, second, or fiftieth word that would pop into my head if I were to describe them. I think "elitism" is being substituted with the more proper marketing term = "aspirational". The LAST thing any company wants to do is to alienate prospective customers so why would Klein seek to market itself as a "we're too good for you" type of company? To my eyes and understanding of their advertising messages, it was "aspirational". Sort of "you've arrived" type of message that doesn't mean that anyone else can't "arrive" with you and own a Klein. Elitist - aspirational, whatever. Not cool in my book. Why should aspirational = most expensive? Why do I have to spend more to achieve that dubious social status? Good design and at a good price is the challenge - and if successfully done - very cool!
They made bikes at several price points to make sure they had something to offer people who were willing to spend a little or a lot on a bike. They went on to make bikes at various price points for sure, after the period that I refer to here - but I don't recall mass marketing of those models - that was left to distributors/dealers if at all. That broadening of the range would be the period prior to takeover I shouldn't wonder - examples of that 'weakening' of the brand litter the motor industry too (and no doubt caused a litlle heartache to owners that paid top dollar to 'aspire' in the first place.
If you see otherwise, that's your opinion but I think you're missing their point. Maybe Europe's culture interprets that type of advertising differently than in the U.S.?
And for myself, I'll just say that all these "elitist" comments are really unfounded. "Fan boys"? I guess that's meant to be pejorative but I think it's fair to say that everyone on this board is a "fan boy" of sorts in some regard because it seems everyone has their brand/bike of preference, no? 'Fanboy' is/was a banterous/humerous jibe thrown around here and, as this thread has gone all bitter and twisted, I'll reiterate the humour/levity I was trying to leave on the thread...! They're only bikes....
Wrapping up: Klein bikes = uber cool Klein owners = the worst people on earth. That still makes the bikes cool.
On the upside - a peak period aspirational Klein picked up on the cheap today is probably 'cool' and, all Mountain Kleins were always 'cool' in my book...
On a seperate issue, who did the oversize aluminium first - Cunningham, Cannondale or Klein?