Chris-Craft to build lifestyle bicycles

Chris-Craft recently announced a partnership with PTX Performance Products, Inc. to create a line of retro-modern lifestyle bikes, expanding Chris-Craft’s offerings beyond its historic boats. The new bikes will integrate the classic Chris-Craft aesthetic.

I find this fascinating, and not just because a new vintage bicycle appeals to my “hipster” tendencies. While there are manufacturers that certainly specialize in other sports, the decision to manufacture a non-motorized vehicle seems unconventional for a marine manufacturer.

However, when you consider the move from a branding perspective, it’s brilliant for a company looking to diversify its portfolio and leverage the nostalgia its products invoke. Even if the product isn’t for marine, it promotes the marine “style.”

Consider a company like CAT, which sells all kinds of branded merchandise from toys to clothing to suitcases and so much more. None of the merchandise does anything to grow the construction industry, but the items create brand recognition with consumers. And they do it well.

Will the customers who buy the Chris-Craft bicycles go out and purchase a boat the next day? Almost certainly not. But that’s not the point; even if these bicycles end up being a high-end product, they are attracting a new consumer that is looking for a different type of activity on a likely lower budget. It’s an interesting business move and one that will be worth following in the coming year.

And if those consumers do ever decide to enter boating or have the income to do so, they are most certainly going to think of Chris-Craft first.

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