You are here

American Bicycle Group changes Ocoee brand name after learning of lynching connection

Published June 26, 2020

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (BRAIN) — American Bicycle Group, best known for its Litespeed and Quintana Roo brands, is changing the name of another of its brands due to a previously unknown connection to 1920 lynching.

ABG launched a line of consumer-direct mountain and gravel bikes called Remōt at the 2019 Sea Otter Classic. It later renamed the line Ocoee, after a region in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee. 

Just this week, Peter Hurley, ABG's president and CEO, learned that the name Ocoee is also associated with a 1920 lynching of an African American on election day in Ocoee, Florida, and the burning of that African American community. 

Hurley announced Friday that the company would change the name, although it hasn't determined the new name yet. Current owners of Ocoee bikes will be offered the opportunity to have their frames re-branded at no cost.

"All of our brands are about providing equal access to everyone, in sports and in life," said Hurley. "In originally naming the bike 'Ocoee,' our focus was on enjoying and exploring the outdoors and adventure. We had no understanding or knowledge of any other potential meaning or historical reference to the word. Now that we are aware of what Ocoee can also mean, it will be changed. Our entire team supports racial equality and stands ready to create a new name that reflects our beliefs."

ABG is researching the historical background of potential names and doing a legal check of previous name registrations.

Hurley also released a letter to current and future Ocoee customers:

For those of you who don't know me or who haven't had the chance to meet me at an event, a bit of background: I grew up in New England a generation ago, but I see so many parallels in the world of late 1960s and today. For my generation, we dealt with the strife and divisiveness of the Vietnam War and were also witness to the advances and courage of the civil rights movement.

Over the past few days, I've become aware of a horrible event associated with our brand name. With fair warning, I invite you to read about it here.

As our team here in Tennessee grows, it's simply not tenable to set a path forward that builds on the legacy of this event, so we're going to do what we always do: lead with integrity.

This means a new brand name, of course, but also new decals available for those who have already purchased an Ocoee, a review of our internal statement on diversity and inclusion, and the opportunity to set a precedent of goodwill.

This is not about politics. We're building for the future. That means an engaging and honest conversation with our consumers at all levels. And, we're asking everyone along for the ride.

Join the Conversation