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Specialized Bicycle Components

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Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc.
Company typePrivate
Founded1974; 50 years ago (1974)
Key people
Mike Sinyard, Founder
ProductsBicycle and Related Components
RevenueUS$500,000,000 (est.) (2011)[1]
Number of employees
1300 (2022)[1]

Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc., colloquially known as and stylized as SPECIALIZED, is an American company that designs, manufactures and markets bicycles, bicycle components and related products under the brand name "Specialized", as well as the premium and professional oriented "S-works".

The Morgan Hill, California-based company was founded in 1974 by Mike Sinyard.[2]


The company was founded in 1974 by Mike Sinyard,[3] 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.[4][5][6] Sinyard started importing Italian bike components which were difficult to find in the United States,[3] but the company began to produce its own bike parts by 1976, starting with the Specialized Touring Tire.[5][7] In 1981, the company introduced its first two bikes: the Sequoia, a sport-touring design, and the Allez, a road bike.[8] 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.[9] An original Stumpjumper is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[5][10]

Mike Sinyard moved the firm to Morgan Hill, CA in 1984.[11]

In 1989, Specialized introduced the Epic, the world's second mass-production carbon fiber mountain bike.[8]

In the early 1990s, Specialized introduced the Globe range of urban bikes; it had a major relaunch in 2009,[12] which saw Globe become its own distinct brand.[13] After a hiatus in production, the Globe line currently produces cargo e-bikes.

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.[14] Full Force was a lower-end mountain bike brand sold through sporting goods stores and discount retailers such as Costco.[5] The move angered some Specialized dealers. In 1996, Specialized withdrew the Full Force line, and Mike Sinyard wrote a letter of apology to dealers.[5][15] 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".[5]

In 2001, Merida Bikes of Taiwan bought 49% of Specialized (initially reported as 19%) for a reported US$30 million. Mike Sinyard remained majority owner and CEO of the company.[16][17] As of 2016, Specialized is one of the biggest bicycle brands operating in the United States, alongside Trek Bicycle Corporation and Giant Bicycles.[18]

2014 time trial bike of world champion Ellen van Dijk

In 2012, Specialized issued a recall for about 12,000 bicycles sold through retailers from 2007 until July 2012 due to a faulty fork.[19] Recalled models include the company's Globe products.

As of 2023, a customized version of the Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike is used by the London Ambulance Service for their Cycle Response Units which operate in congested areas of the city.[20]


In 1990, Specialized tried to sue RockShox Inc, claiming the company's name too closely resembled the bicycle model name Rockhopper[21] The case was ultimately dismissed with prejudice.

In 2006, Specialized sent Mountain Cycle a letter concerning its use of the model name "Stumptown" (nickname for Portland), alleging it resembled the Specialized model name Stumpjumper.[22] Mountain Cycle closed 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 driver and team owner Robby Gordon to court over the logo used for his Speed Energy drink brand, 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.[23] Gordon was ordered by the court to remove the Speed 'S' logo from his cars and later agreed with Specialized he would change the drink's logo.[24]

In 2011, Portland wheel builder Epic Wheel Works was forced to change its name due to potential trademark conflict with Specialized.[25]

In 2012, the company sued two former employees after they started the bicycle brand Volagi Cycles, for theft of trade secrets and breach of employment contract, as well as other charges. Of Specialized's nine claims, eight were thrown out of court, and the jury awarded Specialized one dollar in damages on the remaining count (breach of employment contract) that went to trial.[26][27][28] It was estimated by (Volagi's founders) Choi and Forsman's attorney, Tyler Paetkau, that Specialized incurred more than $2 million in legal fees to practice "competition by litigation."[29] In September 2016, Volagi announced that it would close after a founding member was injured in a bicycle crash involving an automobile.[30]

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 [31] and has hosted a bicycle race since 1896.[32][33] 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 after an article was published by the Calgary Herald in early December 2013.[34][35] On 9 December Fuji Bikes owner, Advanced Sports International said that 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.[36] 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 in the future.[37]

In 2014, Specialized forced bicycle builder Neil Pryde to change the name of their Alize bike model.[38]

Professional rider sponsorship[edit]

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


Many riders in recent years have used Specialized bicycles in the North American and European professional cycling circuits. In 2019, the professional road teams sponsored by Specialized are Soudal-Quick-Step, Bora–Hansgrohe, SD Worx and Team TotalEnergies.[39]


Mountain bike riders sponsored by Specialized include the downhill world champion Loïc Bruni, Finn Iles,[40] Jaroslav Kulhavý, Christoph Sauser, Lea Davison, Martin Soderstrom, Simon Andreassen, Sam Gaze, Hannah Barnes, Annika Langvad, 2:1 Racing, Nicholi Rogatkin, Curtis Robinson, Matt Hunter and Howard Grotts.[41]


Sponsored triathletes include Brent McMahon, Jenson Button, Rubén Ruzafa, Non Stanford, Conrad Stoltz, Melissa Hauschildt, Tim Don, Lisa Norden, Chris McCormack, Francisco Javier Gómez Noya, Gwen Jorgensen and Benjamin Hoffman.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Specialized Bicycle Components Inc". Forbes.
  2. ^ "Pandemic Check-in: Specialized's founder, Mike Sinyard". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Reinventing the wheel". The Economist. Vol. 324, no. 7770. 1 August 1992. pp. 61–62.
  4. ^ Clarke, Jody (18 September 2009). "Mike Sinyard: Riding the mountain bike craze to a fortune". Moneyweek. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Overfelt, Maggie (20 May 2008). "King of the mountain bike". CNN Money. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  6. ^ "Specialized" (PDF). Cool Brands. 2008–2009. p. 120. Retrieved 25 September 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ Karlgaard, Rich. "Hippie Capitalist: Specialized Bicycle's Mike Sinyard". Forbes. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  8. ^ a b Rogers, Seb (23 October 2010). "Interview: Specialized founder Mike Sinyard". What Mountain Bike. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  9. ^ Rogers, Seb. "Specialized Bicycles Stumpjumper Comp HT (09)". BikeRadar. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  10. ^ Eng, Sherri (26 September 1994). "Mountain bike founders still cycling". Calgary Herald. p. C1.
  11. ^ "Mike Sinyard | Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame". 27 March 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  12. ^ Boulanger, Gary (16 September 2009). "Specialized relaunch Globe urban brand". BikeRadar. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  13. ^ Booth, Philip (12 June 2009). "Tech features: Specialized launches Globe brand". Road Bike Action Magazine. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  14. ^ Boulanger, Gary (20 March 2008). "Cannondale purchase raises ire of Specialized founder". BikeRadar. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  15. ^ Kaufman, Steve (26 December 1996). "Mountain-bike innovator now rolling with the punches Specialized has matured with founder". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  16. ^ "Merida buys not 49% but 19% of Specialized". Bike Europe. 7 August 2001. Archived from the original on 4 May 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  17. ^ "Correction: Merida Buys 49% of Specialized". Bike Europe. 8 August 2001. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  18. ^ Frothingham, Stephen (25 February 2016). "Big Three brands duke it out with March discounts". Bicycle Retailer. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  19. ^ "Bicycles recalled after faulty part leads to falls". CNN. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  20. ^ "London Ambulance Service - Cycle responder". www.londonambulance.nhs.uk. London Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  21. ^ http://www.plainsite.org/flashlight/case.html?id=2173443[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Specialized, Mountain Cycle disagree on "Stumptown" - BikePortland.org". BikePortland.org. 31 January 2006.
  23. ^ "Judge Forces Robby Gordon To Remove Logos From Energy Drink". sportsbusinessdaily.com.
  24. ^ "Robby Gordon Settles His Dispute With Specialized, Alters Logo". Sports Business Daily. Advance Publications. 23 December 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Epic Wheel Works will change name due to potential trademark conflict with Specialized". BikePortland.org. 10 March 2011.
  26. ^ Fretz, Caley (3 January 2012). "Specialized sues Volagi over Liscio road bike". Velo News. Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  27. ^ Zinn, Lennard (13 January 2012). "An expensive dollar: Volagi owes Specialized $1". Velonews.competitor.com. Archived from the original on 25 June 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  28. ^ Mintz, Howard (13 January 2012). "Legal feud between bike giant Specialized and Bay Area startup ends in mixed verdict". Mercury News, Bay Area News Group. Archived from the original on 1 May 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  29. ^ Payne, Paul (13 January 2012). "Jury awards $1 to Specialized in Cotati bike feud case". THE PRESS DEMOCRAT. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  30. ^ MacMichael, Simon (30 September 2016). "US bike maker Volagi Cycles suspends operation with co-founder in coma" (news article). Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  31. ^ "Roubaix". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  32. ^ Babin, Tom (7 December 2013). "War veteran forced to change bike shop's name after threat from U.S bike giant Specialized". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  33. ^ "Must Read: Specialized muscles vet over shop's name - VeloNews.com". VeloNews.com.
  34. ^ "Specialized's disastrous trademark case is unnecessary to defend the brand - VeloNews.com". VeloNews.com.
  35. ^ "Social media explosion over Specialized's Roubaix lawsuit". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.
  36. ^ "ASI says Calgary bike shop can use Roubaix name". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.
  37. ^ "ASI, Specialized and Cafe Roubaix in 'complete alignment' over trademark". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.
  38. ^ "Allez, allez NAZARÉ". 4 April 2014. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  39. ^ "Men's WorldTour team bikes and equipment for 2022 | Who's riding what?".
  40. ^ Smurthwaite, James (6 January 2016). "Loic Bruni signs with Specialized for 2016". Mountain Bike Rider. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  41. ^ a b "I Am Specialized Riders". Specialized. Archived from the original on 27 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.

Further reading[edit]

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


• Brand strategy

External links[edit]