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Yoof culture is split in two, those who wear/ride/eat branded products, and those who shun branded gear with a vengeance. So, can big marketing budgets shift the perceptions of the anti-brand consumers? Or, in the bike trade at least, are we creating no-brand consumers because of cheap kit?

Brand versus Anti-brand

Simon Howe, 19, of Weston-super-Mare (pictured above) is a student. He was at Bike 2002 to buy a jump/trials frame. He got one. He thinks it cost about £55 but wasn’t too sure which retailer he bought it from, and wasn’t overly bothered about not knowing.

He’s going to paint the frame himself and hang a few cheap bits off it. As well as creating his own non-brand product, he also rides a Giant. His non-brand bike will be for "just messing about."

At previous NEC Bike shows, every third visitor has left with a tyre or two round their neck. This year was no different but an awful lot of people were also leaving with frames, many of them unbranded.

With Taiwan suffering, anybody can go get themselves a batch of dirt cheap frames to paint-and-badge with micro-brand styling, or sell on to anti-brand consumers.

Effective servicing of a growing niche market? Or drip-drip suicide?

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