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A number of the guys who ride near me and have been riding bikes (mtb) since the 90s still refer to high spec parts as being 'gucci'. It's an effective term and easy to understand what they mean but interested in if there was any real history behind the term. Does any one know the origins of it?

I did some research and it seems in wider use than just New Zealand but couldnt find any history. I know Bianchi and Gucci did do a collaboration but that seems pretty recent.

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migrated from bicycles.stackexchange.com Apr 19 '13 at 18:42

This question came from our site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles.

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This is a question about the derivation of a word, not about cycling. Perhaps migrate to English? –  Neil Fein Apr 19 '13 at 2:53
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I'm pretty sure 'gucci' is a general (not bike specific) term for high end stuff. –  freiheit Apr 19 '13 at 3:22
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I think it's pretty clear that "Gucci" refers to the brand of overpriced handbags, et al, that people who want to pretend to be someone else buy to show off. Same with the parts. Likely the use of the term in cycling is a regional thing. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 19 '13 at 10:54
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I checked with somebody on English Language & Usage and they thought it looked like a good question for them, so I'll migrate it there. –  freiheit Apr 19 '13 at 18:41
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1 Answer 1

The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (2008) says:

Gucci adjective stylish, especially cleverly so. From the high-profile fashion brand UK, 1995

Searching Google Groups, here's a 2000 post to a Straight Dope Message Board thread on "Gen-Y Slang":

CLASSIC = stylish, "Gucci," hip, awesome

And a 2001 post to a alt.military.uk thread on "Contemporary British Army slang"

scran= food, tab=ciggie, gucci=showy or flashy, i'll think of some more later

It's quite hard to search for early uses other than in slang lists. However, when searching for bicycle-related posts, I found this February 1994 post to rec.bicycles.misc titled "Cycling jerseys. Are they better than sex?":

I was kicking around the idea of getting one of those slick looking cycling jerseys with the gucci rear pocket.

That was until I saw the price tag on these thinks. Anything from $80 to $200, depending on how stylish you want to look and whose product you want to advertise.

(Someone later replied: "Well, I don't really think it's a gucci pocket... ")

Whether this is the same use or not, the slang use is widely later used for mountain bikes from 1995 onwards.

From a July 1995 post to rec.bicycles.off-road:

You also seem to have a problem with my riding position...so what if I ride with my head on the bars!!! Well mister, next summer I'm teaching at the Colorado "How to ride your Gucci Mountain Bike better" summer camp. There's going to be a whole wave of riders emerging with their heads firmly planted on their handlebars.

An August 1995 post to rec.bicycles.marketplace was titled:

Gucci parts For Sale

An 8th November 1995 post also to rec.bicycles.marketplace titled "FS: DEAN Titanium MTB frameset 19.5in. $800":

Also available: Mag21 SL TI long travel suspension fork $225
many other components available, just ask!
bike could even be sold complete with loads of
Gucci parts.

And a week later to the same group, a reply to "Lots of High-End MTB Stuff For Sale":

I am interested in many of your bike parts but need more info. [...] How did you end up with so much gucci bike junk?

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