Wednesday 26 July 2017 06.30 BST
In communist Romania, almost every child had a Pegas bicycle. In a country cut off from the outside world, the state-owned company’s distinctive bikes were all people knew. However, with the violent end of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s reign in 1989, all that changed.
Foreign brands flooded in, and Romanians ditched their Pegas bikes along with other vestiges of the communist-era, and the company shut its last production lines in 2001.
In 2012 four 30-somethings bought the lapsed trademark to the brand with the idea of recreating the bikes of their childhood, and set about updating the designs for the 21st century. The idea came after one of them started to look for a suitable replacement for his imported bike, which had been stolen; something that looked cool but was also less likely to entice thieves.
“After the revolution no one valued Romanian products, but now that’s changing,” says Andrei Botescu, one of the co-founders and the company’s general manager. “These bikes now resemble memories from childhood. Partly it’s about going back to find our roots,” he says.
The team brought back some of the distinctive touches from the bikes of the 60s and 70s, including the elongated “banana” seats and chopper-style handlebars, and decided to alter the colour schemes each year so people would know which generation you rode. They marketed them to 30- and 40-somethings with fond memories of the bikes of their youths.
“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,” Botescu adds.