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Bicycle Built For You?

Race to an industry ripe for invention.

By Don Debelak

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, there weremore than 4,200 bike-related patents issued between 1996 and2000-do the math, and you're talking more than 800patents per year and more than two bike patents per day. Accordingto Bicycling magazine senior editor Garrett Lai, bikes have alwaysbeen a product category with plenty of patent action. "Bikesare accessible, people can see all the parts and how they work, andthey can create a new bike innovation in their garage," hesays.

It's true-inventors come up with new bike inventionsall the time. During our interview, Lai reeled off a quick listthat included Paul Turner, creator of RockShox, the firstcommercially viable front suspension system, and Rolf Dietrich,inventor of Rolf Wheels, which are now featured on Trek bikes. Bothinventors started on their own, like so many others before them,before eventually selling off their businesses to bigcompanies.

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