Category Archives: Specialized

Mountain Bike Action

It’s not a stretch at all to say I wouldn’t be where I was today with mountain bikes had it not been for Mountain Bike Action.  I read it for months without really understanding what was going on, but it was so exciting.  Every other month there would be a bike you’ve never heard of, that they just raved about.

January 1988 MBA

January 1988 MBA

Where I lived at the time, you’d see Specializeds, Nishikis, Treks, maybe a Rocky Mountain.  Which were all good bikes to be sure, but they weren’t exotic.  Not like Yetis, or Kleins, or Serottas, or Savage Terminators.  Learning that bikes like this existed showed me that something really cool was going on.

I think you can attribute a lot of it’s coolness to editor Zapata Espinoza, because after he left in 1993, things really went downhill.

(See what I did there?)

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Freeride Revival is go!

Well, it’s not really a go yet because we don’t have the bikes, but, the time is right.

First though, we need to talk about what Freeride was, just in case you don’t know.

In the mid to late 90’s, a group of BC riders were getting themselves into Bike magazine regularly thanks to their ridiculous skills on the skree slopes of Kamloops.  Eventually, a large chunk of an issue was devoted to these guys – Richey Schley, Wade Simmons, Brett Tippie, and others – and the scene was blown wide open.  But, the scene needed better bikes.

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1998 Rocky Mountain Pipeline

The first bike that comes to mind when you think “freeride?” The Rocky Mountain Pipeline.  However, Cannondale desperately wanted their bike to be one you thought of first.  So much so that they trademarked the name “freeride.”  Which was kinda dumb given that skiiers had used it for years, but we’re talking about trademark law in the U.S. – logic and reason do not apply.

This threw a wrench into Rocky’s plans to use it obviously. Until someone at Rocky came up with Froriders.  History was made.

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Specialized

I’ve just never been a big fan of Specialized.  I’ve owned three of them over the years, but all were purchased on snap decisions.  I can honestly say that I’ve never lusted after a Specialized.  The very idea is comical to me in fact.  They are now the largest bicycle company in the world, and are even less lust-worthy than ever before.

We’re going to dig deep into Specialized here, so you may want to get yourself settled with a snack or a drink before you begin.

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1997 Specialized Stumpjumper M2

Specialized is of course known for being among the first to mass produce a mountain bike, the seminal Stumpjumper. I do have to give credit for them maintaining the Stumpjumper all these years – although it’s not same bike at all. Rocky Mountain built the Blizzard for 31 years, and it was still steel at the end, but the current Stumpjumper is a aluminum carbon fully suspended hardtail 29er 650b.

I’ll explain that later.

What I didn’t know though, (and this comes from Wikipedia so have those large grains of salt handy) is that Specialized founder Mike Sinyard just bought a Fisher/Ritchey in 1980 or whenever it was, shipped it off to a factory in Taiwan, and said ‘copy it.’

Full disclosure; this is what the Wikipedia article says;

The first Stumpjumper was produced in Japan and was based on a design for a custom-made bike originally marketed by Tom Ritchey, Gary Fisher and Charles Kelly

I read that as ‘Sinyard had a Ritchey copied’ but I could see how that’s not necessarily what happened.

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Completely irrational

I have very strong opinions with regards to cycling.  A lot of them have very little basis in reality, most of them don’t even matter.

But welcome to the Internet!  Every feeling that everyone has is somehow valid, no matter what.

Enjoy.

1. I refuse to acknowledge Bradley Wiggins’ knighthood.  The guy is a jerk, period.  Also, not even born in the UK.

2. I refuse to acknowledge Chris Froome’s knighthood.  Oh wait – he doesn’t have that.  I just wanted to mention him because he was also not born in the UK.

2a. I refuse to acknowledge knighthoods. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government, or recognizing achievements in cycling.

3. I really don’t care about Lance Armstrong.

3a. Wait – I do care!  I saw the TV documentary Stop at Nothing, and I can you that he is INSANE-O. He is a clinical psychotic.

4. Trek’s president, John Burke, is a jerk.  He forced Greg Lemond to apologize for claiming that Armstrong was doping.  And yet, when Lemond turned out to be right, what did he do?

Nothing.  Nothing is what he did.  Well, he also bought out Gary Fisher and eventually made his bikes disappear…

5. Treks are the most boring bikes made on this planet. The only current one I like is the Superfly, which was a Fisher before it was a Trek. Otherwise, cookie-cutter bikes with graphics maximized to appeal to consumers.

6. Specializeds are the most boring bikes made on this planet.  I don’t care how good the magazines say they are, I would never ride one.  If I see you riding one, know that I am secretly judging you.

7. I will not name my bikes nor will I refer to them as “rigs,” “steeds,” or “whips,” because doing so is silly.  (it’s cool if you name your bike though, I don’t mind) Bicycles are damn cool on their own and do not need to be compared to other vehicles.

8. I used to not like GTs just because of their “triple-triangle” design. I realise now though, that I was young and foolish, and that those bikes had fantastic paint, and just plain looked good.