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Green Mojo
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216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was in a local bike shop yesterday and noticed that they are slowly switching all of their merchandise to Specialized gear. Specialized now seems to make clothes, every bike in the world for every rider in the world, chains, tires, gears, shirts, shoes, helmets, forks, shocks, more bikes for other riders, tire repair kits, tools, tshirts, jackets, gloves, etc.

Since they are not so special any more - maybe they should change their name to Normalized??????

Yikes!! If I see another 100 Normalized bikes on the trail today I think I might just throw up.
 

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Bike Dork
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1,365 Posts
Uh, they always did. Their earliest products were cranks and tires, not bikes. They started as a marketing company and remain one. That said you do make some good stuff. My favorite road shoes are Specialized and I've liked their helmets quite a bit. Quite a few of their saddles and tires are quite good too.
 

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Probably drunk right now
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6,753 Posts
Some thoughts...

All major bike OEM's, Specialized included, all make fine bikes. Most major OEM's also have their own branded merchandise and components. If this is "news" to anyone, I'd suggest that they're noobs.

The Specialized's products that I've used are pretty solid performers. I'm not sure why you (or anyone that bashes a larger OEM) feel they're doing something wrong with their approach.

Here's a suggestion for your next post: Replace everying "Specialized" in this post with Cannondale and call Cannondale bbgundale. That would be clever. Or replace Specialized with Trek and call Trek "short walk to the fridge".
 

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noMAD man
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12,227 Posts
Yeah, I heard that Santa Cruz has started selling t-shirts, hoodies, other such items besides their bikes. Those greedy bastids. Who do they thing they are?...J.C. Penney? That's it...I'm selling my SC bikes ASAP.

On a more serious note, I love me some of those Specialized tires, a couple of saddles, 3 helmets, and a bunch of their other crap. It's probably a conspiracy to take over the world.
 

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Thread Killer
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771 Posts
do a lot of OEM companies use the same entry-level stuff, only rebadged for their own company? i know i've seen a lot of bontrager seatposts, pedals, and saddles that look a lot like the same components, only badged with schwinn, specialized, or other brands.
 

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Banned
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As much as I don't care for S's business practices, Their shoes rock, and both myself and my gf wear them, and she uses a women's saddle of theirs, as she's incredibly demanding for fitment. I do limit how much I'd go with them, due to options being out there, but it's hard to doubt them when their good stuff is just that good.

In terms of bikes now, they absolutely suck for making those shocks which can't be replaced with anything else, should the ride not be what the owner wants, or down the road new technology comes out and a rider wants to change to a different shock with new valving technology, either by trickle down tech, or cutting edge tech. It has already been shown that some years after, Spec abandons those designs in terms of support. Their guy here, while really cool about helping people out, threw a corporate line out there that instantly killed 90% of my T-cells in saying "all things are designed together to give the rider ultimate control over any trail". Who is he kidding on this forum? Riders want technology that they can upgrade over time. These lighting companies allow one to do the same and look at how bikes from 10 years ago are given new life in the form of newly valved shocks and shock technology. There's absolutely nothing wrong with an old Tracer, or an old FSR, for instance, but proprietary anything just about sucks.

Hell, I'm not even jumping on the Hope bandwagon, as much as I enjoy that company's stuff, with their wheelsystems that include proprietary rotors.

Brand loyalty sucks, and I'm hardly brand loyal. I think Spec and other companies with these huge accessory lines are buying into this. It's pretty easy in the US to find a car in the lot for the trails with Spec's on top, and then the person gets out and is decked out top to bottom in specialized gear.
 

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Probably drunk right now
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Yeah but...

Jerk_Chicken said:
As much as I don't care for S's business practices, Their shoes rock, and both myself and my gf wear them, and she uses a women's saddle of theirs, as she's incredibly demanding for fitment. I do limit how much I'd go with them, due to options being out there, but it's hard to doubt them when their good stuff is just that good.

In terms of bikes now, they absolutely suck for making those shocks which can't be replaced with anything else, should the ride not be what the owner wants, or down the road new technology comes out and a rider wants to change to a different shock with new valving technology, either by trickle down tech, or cutting edge tech. It has already been shown that some years after, Spec abandons those designs in terms of support. Their guy here, while really cool about helping people out, threw a corporate line out there that instantly killed 90% of my T-cells in saying "all things are designed together to give the rider ultimate control over any trail". Who is he kidding on this forum? Riders want technology that they can upgrade over time. These lighting companies allow one to do the same and look at how bikes from 10 years ago are given new life in the form of newly valved shocks and shock technology. There's absolutely nothing wrong with an old Tracer, or an old FSR, for instance, but proprietary anything just about sucks.

Hell, I'm not even jumping on the Hope bandwagon, as much as I enjoy that company's stuff, with their wheelsystems that include proprietary rotors.

Brand loyalty sucks, and I'm hardly brand loyal. I think Spec and other companies with these huge accessory lines are buying into this. It's pretty easy in the US to find a car in the lot for the trails with Spec's on top, and then the person gets out and is decked out top to bottom in specialized gear.
I agree. But it's not just Specialized. It's almost any OEM. If Specialized's integrated approach makes anyone upset, they must certainly be outraged by Cannondale. SRAM and Shimano take this approach with their drivetrains at some level as well.

I don't understand why people latch on to Specialized. Don't like it? Don't buy it. Seems kind of simple to me. Are people outraged by Cannondale? SRAM or Shimano? Don't buy from them.
 

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Banned
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I'm not happy with C'dale either with the Lefty, and I have worked on several, and it's annoying with the stems and other stuff that go along with it. At least they had the decency to slightly alter their headtube diameter so one can fit a 1.5 (contrary to belief, they weren't originally in this diameter), and then fit a proper fork on. The lefty is solid, however. And Cdale has for the most part shied away from proprietary rear shocks.

To a lesser extent is the SRAM Shimano debate. At least for now, Sram is still open, so all you need to do is match their RD with their shifter, BUT they do acknowledge the Shimano mechs exist and make shifters for them as well. With shimano, it got dangerously close to hubs integrating with rotors, then levers integrating with shifters, and not being compatible with alternate downline equipment, such as brake calipers and derailleurs.

15mm is a **** approach as well. How many times can we all buy the same thing? I think consumers have to speak in terms of not putting their money into proprietary if they don't want it, but alarmingly, most people buy complete bikes and now I'm seeing nearly entire lines with 15mm forks.

What is odd was how years ago, every company had their own brake mounts and rotor mounts, then we got to an ISO standard, and then Hayes and Manitou refused to give up on PM. For me, that's the **** end of the stick because all it does is allow the brake manufacturer to make one caliper and several different adapters, so now again we have another brake mount standard. Now we have manufacturers making different rotor standards, deviating from ISO, such as centerlock and Hope's new Pro3 and Pro4.

It's not a competition. I think nearly all forms of this proprietary-ism is terrible and bad for the consumer and puts control of when we HAVE to buy in the hands of the manufacturers, an incredibly dangerous place to be. Where are the ISIS cranks and BB's now? Where are those Klein AirHeadset owners who need new forks? Where are those with funky brakes with odd mounts? Now we have Spec with their own shocks that have a history of not being replaceable in a few years when support dies, Turner figured this out in 2000 with the Stinger and then K2 stopped supporting their licensed Razorback altogether.

The combinations are infinite.
 

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BTW- not bashing on S as a whole, just that aspect. Not every manufacturer makes the best in every category for every rider, that's why I don't want to be bound to any brand, for such things as forks or shocks, for instance. I want to get the best one in that class, no matter what brand.
 

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The problem is not that Specialized makes a lot of different products. The problem is that they use their leverage to shove these products down the dealer's throat. This limits the selection available to you and me. As dealers pick up company branded products it is inevitable that they scale back on other products to keep inventories from ballooning. Sure, some of the substitutions will be to great products. However, some some substitutions will be inevitably be to inferior products as dealers try to reach quotas.

Trek and Cannondale are guilty of this as well. I was always fortunate in that my shop was in a market that didn't have many other options for the manufacturer. I could sell what I wanted to sell and tell them to take it or leave it. Other shops don't have this luxury and ultimately that is bad for the customer.
 

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Jerk_Chicken said:
I actually don't see bashing specialized as much as it's bashing an aspect of the industry many manufacturers, including S, partake in.
This quote from the OP:

"Yikes!! If I see another 100 Normalized bikes on the trail today I think I might just throw up."

is clearly bashing. It gets tiring, but hey, THIS IS TEH INTARWEBS!
 

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Doctor
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264 Posts
Yeah, interesting discussion. :thumbsup:

It's not any different with other vehicles. Try to get parts for your Honda (car or bike) at a Suzuki dealer. Other than tires/wipers/fluids, etc. you're outta luck.

Bikes last a long time, for the most part (I still ride my '85 Ritchey every week). A lot of this "product development" is just a way to sell new stuff. We can complain about it, but there's plenty of folks buying the new stuff.

jeff
 

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Probably drunk right now
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Okay but...

halftard said:
The problem is not that Specialized makes a lot of different products. The problem is that they use their leverage to shove these products down the dealer's throat. This limits the selection available to you and me. As dealers pick up company branded products it is inevitable that they scale back on other products to keep inventories from ballooning. Sure, some of the substitutions will be to great products. However, some some substitutions will be inevitably be to inferior products as dealers try to reach quotas.

Trek and Cannondale are guilty of this as well. I was always fortunate in that my shop was in a market that didn't have many other options for the manufacturer. I could sell what I wanted to sell and tell them to take it or leave it. Other shops don't have this luxury and ultimately that is bad for the customer.
As you pointed out, this is not a Specialized issue. It's also Cannondale, Trek/Fisher/Lemond, and even some more boutique bike companies.

This also limits the selection for you and me. So I assume you'll also jump in and bash these other OEM's for doing what Specialized does?

I don't care for it more than you do, but to bash Specialized for doing what the entire market tries to do isn't fair.
 
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