Retro-Authentic Consumption Arrives in China, Riding a Luxury-Priced Postman’s Bike

China’s Forever bicycle company, which has been in business in Shanghai since 1940, has begun offering shoppers a line of retro-styled “fashion” bikes for twice the cost. The Forever C line, catering to customers nostalgic for the era when bicycles ruled China’s city streets, has a logo based on the 1950s version of the company’s emblem and is sold through an

online boutique


A report in the Global Times noted that

the bikes use curved handlebars

, rather than cheaper straight ones, “for a more attractive, retro look”:

By September 28, more than 600 had already sold, about 30 percent of them to shoppers in Beijing. The classical black model was the most popular, the first batch of which is already out of stock and the second batch being manufactured and delivered to consumers.

Like the designer selling

$220 hand-forged axes

in Manhattan, the young people behind the Forever C division are seeking to create a marketing halo around the perception of simplicity and practicality.

Seeing the great popularity, the first physical store is being outfitted in Shanghai and is planned to be open this month. Stores in other big cities will open successively. Besides bikes, the store will also sell bags and later there will be bells, baskets, shoes and other “lifestyle” products that go along with the bike’s brand.

In an

interview with CNN Go

, Gao Shusa, the 26-year-old co-founder of the design company that came up with the Forever C line, said that the new model had to be reshaped for comfort, because the original postman’s bike that inspired the bikes “required people to hunch their backs.” Plain and awkward is the new aspirational,

all over the world


“It is a soft-spot in everyone’s mind,” says Gao. “When you see a postman’s bike, you are not just looking at a bike, but a period of Chinese history. It’s part of an identity, part of people’s wish for a better life.”