Now, as I've never ridden one, this must be down to perception, or branding, but the Cleland's strength seems to be that it's good at moving steadily uphill through muddy conditions. It's not a light weight racer or a downhill monster but it will get you there. That's laudable but not very exciting.
I think the secret to getting this off the ground is to be very specific about what the bikes are for. And on reflection, I'd emphasise the expedition angle. After all, people pay huge sums for very ordinary Thorns, and expedition people like attention to detail and favour function over form.
Hi Dr Bond, thanks for your thoughtful comments, they are much appreciated.
The precise reason why I promote these bikes is because I love riding them. Not only are they great fun to ride but the experience is very different to the point of being addictive. I love the ultra smooth feel of the low pressure tyres and the experience of standing bolt upright, "on the pegs" whilst the bike seesaws beneath your feet.
But how do you market this alternative experience?
Best we can do is make the bikes appealing in other ways and then purchasers can be surprised that what they have bought is more than the sum of the parts. The biggest hurdle is that people assume that because they are upright, they must be slow when in reality the only time they struggle to keep up with mountain bikes is on hills, because the old Clelands weigh more. So it looks like we will be limited to selling to riders who are not speed obsessed.
At the moment, the "Country Gentleman's bicycle" marketing approach is looking most hopeful. This may appeal to people are not impressed by the race inspired cycling mainstream. It would also establish these bikes as a seriously alternative lifestyle choice and also generate some non cycling press publicity.
This would probably require that we retro-style the bikes and also launch the expensive high spec models first.