A tough day for Toyota’s social media team

An Instagram post, a department-store mountain bike with a kickstand, and endless mirth.

by Iain Treloar

photography by Toyota


Since it was founded in 1933, Toyota Motor Corporation has had more ups than downs. It was the first car brand to crack 10 million vehicles in a year. It’s responsible for the extremely sensible Prius, which is the world’s best-selling hybrid. It’s the biggest company by revenue in Japan, and it’s the tenth biggest company worldwide.

Toyota, dear reader, knows what’s up.

One area where Toyota may not know what’s up, however, is ‘bicycles’. The company has come to this realisation thanks to an Instagram post from the company’s US arm, first posted three days ago to the company’s 2.1 million followers, which has steadily taken on a life of its own in the days since.

Let’s break down what we’re looking at here.

Background: Toyota 4Runner. Practical, utilitarian, grey, ready to squirt some dirt. RRP: US$36,340 – $50,470, depending on how many trinkets you get with it.

Foreground: Serious-looking mountain biker. He’s got the full-length downhill-bro gear on, some big black boots that I don’t know enough about DH riding to judge the authenticity of, a full-face helmet and some goggles. He is ready to shred some gnar. The props department has nailed it.

Ah. But wait. What is that betwixt our hero’s legs?

It has v-brakes. It has reflectors. It has Schrader valves. Most egregiously, it has a kickstand. It’s about $150 worth of finest department-store duallie, hastily assembled from a box while the photographer waited for the good light. The only thing that would have made it more realistic is if the fork was on backwards.

Now, if anyone – anyone at all – is riding a bike they’re doing it right. This guy’s not riding a bike, though; not really. He’s a prop – like his outfit, like his bike – clumsily calibrated to sell the idea of a Toyota 4Runner to people that actually ride bikes. And those people did not respond favourably:

Select fan-mail for Toyota, 💖 from cyclists

Tough day for Toyota USA’s social media team. The ideal adventure for sardonic mountain bikers worldwide.