Specialized Bicycle Components
|Headquarters||Morgan Hill, California, USA|
|Key people||Mike Sinyard, CEO|
|Products||Bicycle and Related Components|
|Revenue||US$500,000,000 (est.) (2011)|
Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc., more commonly known simply as Specialized, is a major American brand of bicycles and related products. It was founded in 1974 by Mike Sinyard and is based in Morgan Hill, California.
Specialized was founded in 1974 by Mike Sinyard, a cycling enthusiast who sold his Volkswagen Bus for $1,500 to fund a cycle tour of Europe, where he bought handlebars and stems made by Cinelli to take back to the US. Sinyard started out importing Italian bike components that were difficult to find in the United States, but the company began to produce its own bike parts by 1976, starting with the Specialized Touring Tire. In 1981, the company introduced its first two bikes, the Sequoia, a sport-touring design and the Allez, a road bike. Specialized also introduced the first major production mountain bike in the world, the Stumpjumper, in 1981. Like the Sequoia and Allez, the Stumpjumper was designed by Tim Neenan and based on an early Tom Ritchey design. Specialized continues to produce bikes under the Stumpjumper name, including both hardtail and full-suspension models. An original Stumpjumper is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. In 1989, Specialized introduced the Epic, the world's second mass-production carbon fibre mountain bike.
In 1995, Specialized launched the Full Force brand. Full Force was a lower-end mountain bike brand sold through sports stores and discount retailers such as Costco. The move angered some Specialized dealers. In 1996, Specialized withdrew the Full Force line and Mike Sinyard wrote a letter of apology to dealers. By the end of 1996, Specialized had lost 30% of its bike shop sales and, according to Sinyard, "came within a few hundred dollars of declaring bankruptcy".
In 2001, Merida Bikes of Taiwan bought 49% of Specialized for a reported US$30 million. Mike Sinyard remained majority owner and CEO of the company. Specialized is now one of the largest bicycle brands, just below Trek Bicycle Corporation and Giant Bicycles.
In 2012 Specialized issued a recall on about 12,000 bicycles sold through retailers from 2007 until July 2012 for a faulty front fork. Recalled models include the Globe Elite, Globe Sport, Globe Sport Disc, Globe Centrum Comp, Globe Centrum Elite, Globe City 6, Globe Vienna 3, Globe Vienna 3 Disc, Globe Vienna 4, Globe Vienna Deluxe 3, Globe Vienna Deluxe 4, Globe Vienna Deluxe 5 and Globe Vienna Deluxe 6.
Specialized has a history of aggressively protecting its trademarks.
In 1990, Specialized tried to sue RockShox Inc, claiming the company's name too closely resembled the bicycle model name Rockhopper The case was ultimately dismissed with prejudice.
In 2006 Specialized sued Mountain Cycle over its use of the model name "Stumptown" (nickname for Portland), alleging it resembled the Specialized model name Stumpjumper. Mountain Cycle closed doors shortly thereafter.
In 2009 Specialized had a trademark dispute with a manufacturer of bicycle bags, Epic Designs, now Revelate Designs.
In 2011 Portland wheel builder Epic Wheel Works was forced to change its name due to potential trademark conflict with Specialized.
In 2012 the company sued two former employees after they started the bicycle brand Volagi. Specialized lost on all accounts except one and was awarded one dollar in damages after spending 2.5 million dollars on the lawsuit.
In 2013 Specialized mailed a small bike shop owner in Canada a cease and desist letter over its use of the city name Roubaix in its shop name and wheels, the name of a town in France that rose to prominence as a textile center in the 15th century  and has hosted an iconic bicycle race since 1896. This follows on from Specialized's trademarking of the word in Canada. The situation and behavior towards the shop owner caused some reactions from cyclists worldwide in the days after a story on the matter was published by the Calgary Herald in early December 2013. On the 9th of December Fuji Bikes owner, Advanced Sports International of Philadelphia said that in fact, they are the legal owner of worldwide rights to the Roubaix trademark. Fuji has had a Fuji Roubaix road bike model in its lineup since 1992, and has licensed the name to Specialized since 2003. However, as it is not currently possible to have a trademark worldwide, Fuji has no rights to allow use of the trademark in Canada.
In 2014, Specialized forced bicycle builder Neil Pryde to change the name of their Alize bike model.
Professional Rider Sponsorship
Many riders in recent years have used Specialized bicycles in the North American and European professional cycling circuits. In 2010, Specialized is the bike supplier to Team Saxo Bank and Team Astana on the UCI ProTour, the latter deal being announced in January 2010 as a result of team leader Alberto Contador's demands. Specialized has previously supplied teams including Quick Step and Festina. Until 2008 the disbanded Team Gerolsteiner was using Specialized. Specialized bikes also sponsors the University of Georgia and Colorado State University Collegiate Cycling. Three-time world downhill champion, Sam Hill, Australian rider rides for Monster Energy Specialized.
On October 17, 2010 Specialized announced a tie up with Team Columbia-HTC for 2011 and beyond. Specialized will supply the team‘s frames, forks, and helmets. The men will race the S-Works Tarmac for most road races, the S-Works Roubaix for cobbled classics, as well as the new Venge and the Shiv TT in time trials. The all-new S-Works Prevail and TT3 helmets will protect the riders in road and TT applications, respectively. The women will race on Amira road bikes and Shiv TT bikes for the time trials.
Specialized also has various athletes in various disciplines of cycling utilizing their equipment. Martin Sörderström, a Swedish professional mountain biker and winner of the 2010 Eurobike Dirt Jump Contest, utilizes the less traditional P.Bike series from Specialized in free ride mountain bike events.
Sponsored teams and athletes
Specialized sponsor the following cycle teams:
- Omega Pharma-Quick Step (BEL)
- Team Astana (KAZ)
- Team Saxo Bank (DEN)
- Blue Water Cycling (DEN)
- Team IG-Sigma Sport (GBR)
- TIBCO Women's Pro Cycling (USA)
- Whole Athlete Junior Team (USA)
- Durango Devo U-23 Team (USA)
- Team Specialized Racing - Juniors and Masters (USA)
- California Giant Berry Farm - U23 and Elite (USA)
- Team CHEMSTAR U-23 (USA)
- AMGEN Breakaway from Cancer - Masters (USA)
- Team Specialized–lululemon (USA)
Specialized sponsor the following riders:
- Matt Hunter (CAN)
- Darren Berrecloth (CAN)
- Lene Byberg (NOR)
- Aaron Gwin (USA)
- Martin Soderstrom (SWE)
- Todd Wells (USA)
- Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE)
- Ren Chen (CHN)
- Rebecca Rusch (USA)
- Troy Brosnan (AUS)
- Javier Gomez (ESP)
- Simon Whitfield (CAN)
- Jan Frodeno (GER)
- Tim Don (GBR)
- Lisa Nordén (SWE)
- Bárbara Riveros (CHL)
- Paula Findlay (CAN)
- Philip Graves (GBR)
- Peter Reid (CAN)
- Jordan Rapp (USA)
- Rasmus Henning (DEN)
- Dan Hugo (RSA)
- Chris McCormack (AUS)
- Ned Overend (USA)
- Christoph Sauser (SUI)
- Burry Stander (RSA)
- Conrad Stoltz (RSA)
- Ben Hoffman (USA)
- Melanie McQuaid (CAN)
- Desiree Ficker (USA)
- Allison Powers (USA)
- Mark LaLonde (USA)
- Meredith Miller (USA)
- Christoph Strasser (AUT)
- "Specialized Bicycle Components Inc.".
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- "Roubaix". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
- Tom Babin (2013-12-07). "War veteran forced to change bike shop’s name after threat from U.S bike giant Specialized". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
- "Allez, allez NAZARÉ". 2014-04-04. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Arthur, David (4 January 2010). "Astana to ride Specialized bicycles". Road Cycling UK. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- Brown, Gregor (8 January 2007). "Specialized answers the call: Quick-Step's new 2007 ride". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- "Biography - Martin Sörderström". Retrieved 2011-09-10.
- Rasoulution Communication Agency (January 21, 2011). "Martin Soderstrom joins Specialized Freeride Team for 2011". PinkBike.com. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
- "Specialized and Team Saxo Bank join forces". Specialized Bicycle Components. 2008-09-01. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- "Matt Hunter". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Darren Berrecloth". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Lene Byberg". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Dan Hugo". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Chris McCormack". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Ned Overend". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Christoph Sauser". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Burry Stander". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Conrad Stoltz". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Christoph Strasser". Specialized Bicycle Components.
- Riedy, Mark (2006). Stumpjumper: 25 Years of Mountain Biking. Halcottsville, NY: Breakaway Books. ISBN 1-891369-63-6.