a post to the iBob list linked to this post by the owner of Heron. this got me thinking about the Long Tail again, because Todd talks about saturation of the "Bobish" niche, what with Rivendell, Heron, and Velo-Orange all making similar lugged steel frames for similar purposes.
How to define "Bobish"; it's an ephemeral idea. It means taking the scenic route, not wearing a lot of polyester, riding a steel bike, taking a picnic with you. It's the type of riding most Rivendell owners do, the kind they advocate in their literature.
As with a lot of things, there's a wide spectrum of Bobishness. I'm bobish, but I'm also young and I like to go fast. Most of my riding is on the streets of DC. All the other Bobs ride a little differently from one another in different places. 50 years ago none of the Bobs would know about any other, and now we're all able to talk to one another almost effortlessly, trading parts and stories and recommendations.
The result is going to be more Bobs, as the gospel spreads--Bobs have kids and talk to their "real life" friends. Three framemakers in our one arena thus isn't necessarily a lot. The past few years have seen the explosion of the Bob niche, and I expect it will continue to grow, at least in part because it makes sense. It's a type of riding centered on common sense, fun, and exercise. And it's addictive, as can be seen from looking over a day's iBob emails.