Romania’s communist-era Pegas bike is reborn

Romania’s communist-era Pegas bike is reborn
Image: Bicicletele Pegas / Facebook

27 July 2017

Romania’s once ubiquitous bicycle brand, Pegas, stopped production in 2001. Now the communist-era bike has made a return, bringing the Romanian brand back into focus, and back into style.

Looking back fondly on the bikes of their childhood, in 2012 four entrepreneurs bought Pegas’s lapsed trademark, looking to bring back the bicycles — this time with a contemporary flair.

“After the revolution [in 1989] no one valued Romanian products, but now that’s changing,” Andrei Botescu, Pegas’s general manager and one of its co-founders, told The Guardian, “These bikes now resemble memories from childhood. Partly it’s about going back to find our roots.”

In addition to bringing back some of most recognisable features from the bikes of the 60s and 70s — the chopper-esque handlebars and long “banana” seats — the reborn Pegas bikes let nostalgic customers hark back to their particular era, with a range of colour schemes denoting the specific generation they rode “back in the day”, as it were.

While Pegas’s core demographic is Romanians who remember the period when these bikes were the only ones available, the revitalised brand is attracting customers for more than just its nostalgia value.

“We have lots of clients in their 30s, 40s, 50s, who once had a Pegas, but we also have young customers who want a cool Romanian brand to make a statement,” Mr Botescu says, also explaining that there is strong interest from buyers in other post-communist states, which had their own, similar brands during the communist era.

After selling 10,000 bikes in 2016 — largely aided by a funding boost when the chief executive of eMAG, akin to a Romanian version of Amazon, bought a majority stake in the firm in late 2015 — Pegas anticipates selling 20,000 bikes this year.

Moreover, Pegas is set to become an all-Romanian operation: while the new Pegas team needed to use foreign manufacturers for parts in the early days of the operation, the firm is now looking to set up a production facility in Zărnești, the Transylvanian town where the original bikes were produced.

Source: The Guardian