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Specialized is a bike manufacturer based in California, USA. The company produces bicycles and components for a wide variety of cycling disciplines. Specialized also sells a range of premium products under its S-works brand.
After launching the Specialized Touring tyre in 1976, Sepcialized went on to release its first two bikes five years later. The Sequoia had a relaxed design for touring, whilst the Allez was an out-and-out road bike. In the same year, Specialized launched the Stumpjumper, the world’s first mass production mountain bike.
During the 1990s, the company came “within a few hundred dollars of bankruptcy,” however a change in ethos helped it to survive. The message of “Innovate or Die'' is still used within the business today. Specialized began to take a more holistic approach when it came to its products and how cyclists used them. Its ‘Body Geometry’ saddle in 1997 was the first of a range of products that were ergonomically designed to ensure a rider could cycle pain-free.
In 2001, Taiwanese manufacturer Merida Bikes bought a 49% share in Specialized for a reported $30 million, with Sinyard remaining as CEO and owner. The company developed into one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in the United States as the early 2000s progressed.
It hit an estimated revenue of $500 million in 2011 despite having to deal with the recall of 12,000 bicycles sold via retailers around this time. Specialized has sponsored a vast number of professional riders and teams across road, track, gravel, mountain biking and triathlon over recent years.
Since becoming bike sponsor of Belgian team Soudal Quick-Step in 2012, the team has claimed more than 600 professional victories. Specialized will remain partnered with the team until at least 2027.
In order to fund his European cycling tour, which would eventually lead to the founding of Specialized, Sinyard sold his Volkswagen campervan for $1,500. The van now takes pride of place at the company’s headquarters. Amazingly, without a vehicle, Sinyard used to make the 140-mile round-trip to pick up Cinelli parts from San Francisco airport by bike in the early days.
Current sponsorships: Soudal Quick-Step, BORA-hansgrohe, Team SD Worx, TotalEnergies, Trinity Racing, AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step
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