Specialized Bicycle Components
|Mike Sinyard, CEO|
|Products||Bicycle and Related Components|
|Revenue||US$500,000,000 (est.) (2011)|
Number of employees
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 company 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 fiber mountain bike.
In the early 1990s, Specialized introduced the Globe line of urban bikes. The line was the subject of a major relaunch in 2009, which saw Globe become its own distinct brand. The Globe brand has since been discontinued, and Specialized now markets "lifestyle" bikes under its main brand.
In 1995, Specialized launched the Full Force brand. Full Force was a lower-end mountain bike brand sold through sporting goods 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 (initially reported as 19%) for a reported US$30 million. Mike Sinyard remained majority owner and CEO of the company. As of 2016[update], Specialized is one of the biggest bicycle brands operating in the United States, alongside Trek Bicycle Corporation and Giant Bicycles.
A customized version of the Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike is currently used by the London Ambulance Service to equip their Cycle Response Units which operate in congested areas of the city.
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 sent Mountain Cycle a letter concerning 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 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. 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.
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 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. It was estimated by (Volagi's founders) Choi and Forsman's attorney, Tyler Paetkau, that Specialized incurred more than $2M in legal fees to practice "competition by litigation."
In September 2016, Volagi announced that it would close its doors after a founding member was injured in a bicycle crash involving an automobile.
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 9 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. 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.
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 2019, the professional road teams sponsored by Specialized are Deceuninck–Quick-Step, Bora–Hansgrohe, Boels–Dolmans and Axeon–Hagens Berman.
Mountain bike riders sponsored by Specialized include the downhill world champion Loïc Bruni, who rides for the Specialized Gravity Team, Finn Iles, Jaroslav Kulhavy, Christoph Sauser, Lea Davison, Martin Soderstrom, Simon Andreassen, Sam Gaze, Hannah Barnes, Annika Langvad, Mitch Ropelato, Curtis Keene, 2:1 Racing, Nicholi Rogatkin, Dylan Dunkerton, Curtis Robinson, Matt Hunter and Howard Grotts.
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, Lucy Charles and Benjamin Hoffman.
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