Have you ever wondered if Specialized is a good brand and should you buy one? Well, I got you covered.
There are cycling brands far and wide and distinguishing between quality and crap can take some digging.
If you’re investing in a bike, you want to know that it’s going to be a well-made and reliable ride from a responsible and trustworthy brand.
Let’s shift the magnifying glass to the Specialized brand.
Is Specialized a good brand? Yes, Specialized is a good brand that you can trust, the quality of the products is high and you can definitely buy Specialized bikes without regrets. Because when you buy a Specialized bike, you’re doing more than investing money in a metal frame with rubber tires. You’re also investing in a brand.
Before you purchase your bike, decide if you stand behind the ethics and mission of Specialized.
In this article, we’ll cover the history of Specialized bikes, who is behind the brand, and the quality of the bike that they produce.
Let’s get it.
Back in the day
Specialized was founded in 1974 by a group of riders that wanted more out of the bicycle world.
Their claim to fame was the first production mountain bike, aptly named the Stumpjumper in 1981.
Breaking records again in 1989, Specialized produced the first production carbon fiber mountain bike.
Brief history recap of Specialized Brand
? 1974: Founded by Mike Sinyard, who is still CEO of the company today.
The team worked out of a small trailer, sending out orders of bike components they imported from Europe.
? 1981: the Stumpjumper is introduced
? 1988: sales reach $18 million
? 1989: Specialized introduces the carbon fiber mountain bike
? 1993: first Specialized full-suspension mountain bike is created
? 2001: manufacturing moves to Taiwan
? 2019: Specialized continues to sponsor multiple pros in the road and mountain biking fields
As trail lovers, the founders of Specialized were highly involved in expanding the domain of the mountain bike.
They were forerunners in establishing the International Mountain Bike Association to ensure bike access to trails.
Fast forward to today, and Specialized remains a top-notch brand, competing with the best.
Related reading: Where Are Surly Bikes Made? What You Need To Know
Behind the Brand
Who do you want to design your bike? A rider. That’s the theory that Specialized abides by as well.
The brand is highly involved in innovation and research, studying body geometry and bike engineering
They own the data acquisition tool called Retul and apply heaps of information into their bike building.
The founder created an outreach foundation for young kids called Outride, which focuses on promoting school-based cycling programs and communities.
The mission of Outride involves applying evidenced-based cycling initiatives that intend to improve multi-level health in our youth.
✔️ A few more tidbits about the Outride program:
✔️ 143 Riding for Focus school programs in the USA and Canada
✔️ Ongoing bike ride events and challenges for community involvement
✔️ Researching to understand how bike riding impacts brain function and health
✔️ Grant matching to fund projects for trails, youth programs, and young rider development
To further uphold social and environmental responsibilities, Specialized collaborates with the Fair Factories Clearing House and helped to found the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry Responsible Sporting Initiative.
They recognize that sustainability is an ongoing journey and provide transparency on their information pages about their efforts in this field.
Related reading: Is Specialized Overpriced or Overrated? (FACTS You Should Consider)
Reputation of Specialized Brand
We can thank Specialized for helping in the popularization of mountain biking and the advancement of production mountain bike manufacturing.
In recent years, they’ve gotten a bad rep as a brand for demonstrating litigious characteristics and being tough on their employees to meet aggressive quotas.
Some say they’re soulless. But the company has also shown moments of humanity by traveling to small bike shops to apologize in person for legal action issues.
After this event in 2013, the company committed to being more mindful about engaging in trademark lawsuits in the future.
Mike Sinyard, the founder of Specialized Bikes, confessed that their antipathetic pursuit of trademark infringements originates from the huge amount of counterfeit goods on the market.
At the same moment, he states that he recognizes that the company has taken its protective methods a bit too far.
All in all, they produce top of the line elite bikes and offer a wide range of spec’d out quality bicycles.
Related reading: Are Trek Bikes Good Quality? (All Facts You Need to Know)
The Specialized name is just as recognized as Trek and Giant. It’s well-represented among the pros and their collection of bikes is massive.
You’ll find professional to beginner bikes in sleek road rides to rugged mountain frames.
The design range includes bikes of the following categories:
? Mountain bikes
? Road bikes
? Active bikes
? Kids bikes
Let’s explore each of the categories listed above a bit further.
Specialized Brand includes a variety of mountain bikes in their lineup. You can find a trail, cross-country, downhill, fat bikes, and BMX bikes alike.
Trail: Big adventure riding
This is where Specialized started with the original Stumpjumper – which you can still buy in the modern version, by the way.
The new and improved Stumpjumper is boasted as a “singletrack flow finder” and this full-suspension bike will completely dominate the trail.
Cross-country (XC): Take to the dirt
Specialized bike claims to have the fastest XC bike in the world.
Full-suspension to a hardtail, you’ll find lightweight frames and geared out specs across the lot
Downhill: Full rodeo
For monstrous riding, these downhill bikes are the type of beast you want to saddle. The only option in this category is expert-level.
Fat Tires: More chubby, more better
The fatties by Specialized bikes will float over obstacles like a cloud. When that gnarly pow-pow (aka snow) won’t stop you from riding, this is your vehicle.
With one bike in this category, you might be able to find a more robust BMX brand out there.
However, true to form, Specialized will deliver a quality bike for hitting the ramps and berms.
Mountain E-bike: Up the trail tech
For the rider that regularly faces major uphill climbs and long stretches, the Turbo e-bikes will amplify your efforts by 4x and last for 5 hours of use.
Another specialty of the brand, their road bike range is expansive. Featuring frames specific to performance, gravel riding, cyclocross, and triathlons.
Performance: Blaze pavement
If the pros will choose it, you know it’s going to be a great ride. Specialized’s most honored road bike is their Tarmac design.
Yes, it’s the price of a car, but holy hell it’s decked out in some major tech. When you’re ready to compete with the elite, here’s your ticket.
Gravel: Back road bliss
These bikes can handle the rumble of a gravel path without transmitted it to your shoulders and neck.
Cyclocross: Sling mud
If you’re looking for entry-level cyclocross bikes, look elsewhere.
The lowest buys here start at a few thousand. However, they’re built to take a beating and handle the slick race track.
The CruX model has a few Cyclocross World Championships behind it too.
Triathlon: Travel like a dart
With time-trial speed in mind, these Specialized bikes are built like aerodynamic points.
From moderately priced to house down-payment, these are very “specialized” bike frames.
They even feature a hydration system that houses a water bladder inside of the frame so it doesn’t catch any wind drag.
Road E-bike: Power up
Add a little zing to your hill climb with this battery-powered machine. It can assist you up to 28mph and last 120 miles.
Exercise-forward bikes for fitness and function that will get your sweat on or help you achieve the right commute.
This category covers fitness, transportation, and comfort.
Fitness: Get toned
Easy fitness on a quality bike. No need to race or go wild on the rocks.
These bikes blend comfort and speed for a great workout.
Transportation: Pack it up
Here’s where biking hits the scenic route. When it comes to bike packing, Specialized has some great options.
Comfort: Cruise easy
There are some suave comfort cruises under this label. Easy to mount and a breeze to pedal. You won’t be taking these bikes on any single-track, but they’ll sure look good on the boardwalk.
Active E-bikes: Pedal power
You’re not left out if your knees stop you from ascending the hills and lasting long stretches on your ride.
The Turbo line from Specialized bikes will take you up to 80 miles and amplify your efforts 4x.
From toddler to 10+ years, your kiddos are covered. The smallest balance bike is pretty darn cute and the big kid bikes are capable of hanging with the grown-ups.
Is Specialized a good brand? We’ve covered the story here. The company started small and with a dream and has since expanded into a billion-dollar corporation.
They’ve had their hiccups along the way and gotten into some sticky situations, but who hasn’t?
Specialized brand has been improving their relationships with shop owners and rebuilding their community trust.
What they’ve always excelled at is quality bike builds. They brought us the mountain bike in the 70s and have continued to deliver excellent bicycles since that time.
The final word: good brand, they are.