Specialized Bicycle Components

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc.
Industry Bicycles
Founded 1974
Headquarters Morgan Hill, California, USA
Key people
Mike Sinyard, CEO
Products Bicycle and Related Components
Revenue US$500,000,000 (est.) (2011)[1]
Number of employees
300 (2002)[1]
Slogan Innovate or die
Website www.specialized.com

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,[2] 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.[3][4][5] Sinyard started out importing Italian bike components that were difficult to find in the United States,[2] but the company began to produce its own bike parts by 1976, starting with the Specialized Touring Tire.[4] In 1981, the company introduced its first two bikes, the Sequoia, a sport-touring design and the Allez, a road bike.[6] 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.[7] An original Stumpjumper is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[4][8] In 1989, Specialized introduced the Epic, the world's second mass-production carbon fibre mountain bike.[6]

In the early 1990s, Specialized introduced the Globe line of urban bikes. The line was the subject of a major relaunch in 2009,[9] which sees Globe become its own distinct brand.[10]

A 2008 Specialized Stumpjumper with full suspension
A 2008 Specialized S-Works Transition carbon Triathlon/Time Trial bike.

In 1995, Specialized launched the Full Force brand.[11] Full Force was a lower-end mountain bike brand sold through sports stores and discount retailers such as Costco.[4] The move angered some Specialized dealers. In 1996, Specialized withdrew the Full Force line and Mike Sinyard wrote a letter of apology to dealers.[4][12] 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".[4]

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.[13][14] Specialized is now one of the largest bicycle brands, just below Trek Bicycle Corporation and Giant Bicycles.[15]

2014 time trial bike of world champion Ellen van Dijk

In 2012 Specialized issued a recall on about 12,000 bicycles sold through retailers from 2007 until July 2012 for a faulty front fork.[16] 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[17] 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.[18] 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 2010 Specialized took NASCAR racing driver & team owner Robby Gordon to court over the logo used for his own "Speed energy drink", claiming it was visually similar to their own 'S' logo. Gordon sued Specialized after receiving a cease-and-desist letter in September 2010 and Specialized then counter-sued Gordon.[19] Gordon was ordered by the court to remove the Speed 'S' logo from his racecars and later agreed with Specialized he would change the drink's logo.

In 2011 Portland wheel builder Epic Wheel Works was forced to change its name due to potential trademark conflict with Specialized.[20]

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.[21][22]

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 [23] and has hosted an iconic bicycle race since 1896.[24][25] 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.[26][27] 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.[28] The dispute between Specialized, ASI and the Canadian shop owner was resolved in December 2013, and Specialized vowed to be more cautious in its pursuit of trademark violators going forward.[29]

In 2014, Specialized forced bicycle builder Neil Pryde to change the name of their Alize bike model.[30]

Professional Rider Sponsorship[edit]

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.[31] Specialized has previously supplied teams including Quick Step and Festina.[31][32] 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,[33] 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.[34]


Team Gerolsteiner riders (right) with Specialized bikes and gear
Specialized bikes of the Quick Step team, Tour of California, February 2007

Specialized sponsors the following cycle teams:

Specialized sponsors the following riders:


  1. ^ a b "Specialized Bicycle Components Inc.". 
  2. ^ a b "Reinventing the wheel". The Economist 324 (7770): 61–62. 1992-08-01. 
  3. ^ Clarke, Jody (2009-09-18). "Mike Sinyard: Riding the mountain bike craze to a fortune". Moneyweek. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Overfelt, Maggie (2008-05-20). "King of the mountain bike". CNN Money. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  5. ^ "Specialized" (PDF). Cool Brands. 2008/09. p. 120. Retrieved 2009-09-25.  Check date values in: |date= (help)[dead link]
  6. ^ a b Rogers, Seb (23 October 2010). "Interview: Specialized founder Mike Sinyard". What Mountain Bike. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  7. ^ Rogers, Seb. "Specialized Bicycles Stumpjumper Comp HT (09)". BikeRadar. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  8. ^ Eng, Sherri (1994-09-26). "Mountain bike founders still cycling". Calgary Herald. p. C1. 
  9. ^ Boulanger, Gary (2009-09-16). "Specialized relaunch Globe urban brand". BikeRadar. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  10. ^ Booth, Philip (2009-06-12). "Tech features: Specialized launches Globe brand". Road Bike Action Magazine. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  11. ^ Boulanger, Gary (2008-03-20). "Cannondale purchase raises ire of Specialized founder". BikeRadar. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  12. ^ Kaufman, Steve (1996-12-26). "Mountain-bike innovator now rolling with the punches Specialized has matured with founder". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  13. ^ "Merida buys not 49% but 19% of Specialized". Bike Europe. 2001-08-07. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  14. ^ "Correction: Merida Buys 49% of Specialized". Bike Europe. 2001-08-08. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  15. ^ Mesure, Susie (5 July 2009). "Bicycle races: Manufacturers struggle to keep up with the boom". The Independent. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  16. ^ "Bicycles recalled after faulty part leads to falls". CNN. 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  17. ^ http://www.plainsite.org/flashlight/case.html?id=2173443
  18. ^ "Specialized, Mountain Cycle disagree on "Stumptown" - BikePortland.org". BikePortland.org. 
  19. ^ "Judge Forces Robby Gordon To Remove Logos From Energy Drink". sportsbusinessdaily.com. 
  20. ^ "Epic Wheel Works will change name due to potential trademark conflict with Specialized". BikePortland.org. 
  21. ^ "Specialized sues Volagi over Liscio road bike". VeloNews.com. 
  22. ^ "An expensive dollar: Volagi owes Specialized $1". VeloNews.com. 
  23. ^ "Roubaix". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ "Must Read: Specialized muscles vet over shop's name - VeloNews.com". VeloNews.com. 
  26. ^ "Specialized's disastrous trademark case is unnecessary to defend the brand - VeloNews.com". VeloNews.com. 
  27. ^ "Social media explosion over Specialized's Roubaix lawsuit". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. 
  28. ^ "ASI says Calgary bike shop can use Roubaix name". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. 
  29. ^ "ASI, Specialized and Cafe Roubaix in ‘complete alignment’ over trademark". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. 
  30. ^ "Allez, allez NAZARÉ". 2014-04-04. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  31. ^ a b c Arthur, David (4 January 2010). "Astana to ride Specialized bicycles". Road Cycling UK. Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  32. ^ Brown, Gregor (8 January 2007). "Specialized answers the call: Quick-Step's new 2007 ride". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  33. ^ "Biography - Martin Sörderström". Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  34. ^ Rasoulution Communication Agency (January 21, 2011). "Martin Soderstrom joins Specialized Freeride Team for 2011". PinkBike.com. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  35. ^ "Specialized and Team Saxo Bank join forces". Specialized Bicycle Components. 2008-09-01. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  36. ^ "Matt Hunter". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  37. ^ "Darren Berrecloth". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  38. ^ "Lene Byberg". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  39. ^ "Dan Hugo". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  40. ^ "Chris McCormack". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  41. ^ "Ned Overend". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  42. ^ "Christoph Sauser". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  43. ^ "Burry Stander". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  44. ^ "Conrad Stoltz". Specialized Bicycle Components. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  45. ^ "Christoph Strasser". Specialized Bicycle Components. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Riedy, Mark (2006). Stumpjumper: 25 Years of Mountain Biking. Halcottsville, NY: Breakaway Books. ISBN 1-891369-63-6. 

External links[edit]