We often get asked, "Why Specialized?" In a world with so many options it is difficult to account for all the variables and differences from one brand to another. We live bicycles at the shop and asked ourselves that very question when Rocktown opened. We will not carry a product if we don't believe in it, and are contrantly striving to have the best products to keep our customers and friends happy, comfortable, and safe on the roads and trails. Having more people on bikes is great for us all.
Fit and geometry
These are the most important things for a bike. They are important to both the recreational weekend rider and the hardcore enthusiast. Specialized works internally, and with the University of Boulder, to do extensive, science based testing. Being able to create a bicycle that not only excels at the task at hand because it's well built, (we'll get to that later) but also because it is created for the type of ride the user is looking for, and not making the user conform to the bike to ride their desired terrain.
Body Geometry Fit and Retul have compiled over 30,000 unique fits, and the data has driven real world changes in bicycle geometry. Saddles play a huge role in how a rider sits on the bike. Creating saddles that are tested with pressure and bloodflow mapping helps people ride longer, and more comfort than ever before.
"Geometry" is the actual dimensions of the bike as they pertain to handling and demeanor, where "Fit" is how the rider's body is positioned on the bike. They are related however, as weight distribution plays a large role in overall handling.
For example, a bicycle with shorter chainstays (rear end of the frame) has many desireable ride qualities such as quicker handling, more weight over the rear tire for traction, and a lighter bike. But for a touring rig one wouldn't want short chainstays because with added weight the bike needs to have greater stability, let alone room for pannier bags without hitting one's heel on them!
Rider's geometry preferences are frequently changing and evolving, so being able to respond to these changes to get the riders the most optimal setup for their favorite trail or road is important!
Making the most out of the bike:
With a human motor, small changes in technology make big changes for riding. Frames, tires, wheels, helmets, shoes, and clothing are dynamic and need to be the best performing equipment in the world. No other company has been more steady or consistent in putting out top performing bikes across the board. It is telling that Specialized is the most copied and counterfeited bike company in the world. Being able to deliver those products at competitive prices as well is the second part of the equation. Using their Win Tunnel (wind tunnel), Specialized tests a wide variety of equipment for cyclists ranging from the commuter to the enthusiast!. Where other companies have to rent wind tunnels (most of which are unable to test reliably below 31mph) the Specialized tunnel is helping all riders go further for less effort, with less noise too.
I love tires. No one part affects the ride so much. A not so great tire can make a good bike feel vague and sluggish, diminish safety, make the bike feel rough, and prone to punctures. Specialized's first product was actually a tire. Having the best tires is difficult - there are so many different riders, and the terrain they pedal on can be just as variable. Having their own factory is something that no company can claim. Extensive R&D on specific rubber compounds, casings, puncture protection, and treads is all part of the equation. I love that our $330 bikes come with tires that feel like many of the tires that come on $1,500+ bikes elsewhere.
There is so much more I could go into here with the technology of Specialized Bicycle Components, but I'll refrain. We are always here at the shop to answer any and every question about biycles you may have.
Customer Satisfaction and feedback
Customer satisfaction and feed back are as important as fit and geometry, but they are dependent on each other. Working with a large company could be a case for never having concerns heard or being part of the development process. In my 15 years in the bike world I've actually never been as involved with a bicycle company as we are now. Going out to Specialized annually, and speaking directly with the product managers to help change and improve upon what we had last year, gets us better fitting shoes, a quieter helmet, more tire durability (Massanutten anyone?), etc.. The feedback doesn't end after our time in California. All Specialized equipment carry a satisfaction guarantee. That saddle didn't work out? Shoe had a tight spot you didn't notice at the shop? The tire tread wasn't quite what you needed? We can exchange or return to make sure you have the appropriate equipment, and when we do, we give reasons to Specialized why it didn't work out so that if something can be done on their end, it is.
Here at Rocktown, we believe in the equipment and bikes we carry, and stand behind it 100%.