Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here's to making it easier for the lowly bike shop guy...

First of all, I have to say a big, sarcastic "thank you" to Specialized.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Big Red S, but I'm a bit peeved about something I just saw on  A little background...

I first saw the new Transition back in the summer of 2007, and I was very excited.  Great lines, superior aerodynamics,  higher quality carbon, and better pricing structure made me think "Cervelo P3 killer."  I showed the photos to a few prospective buyers (who were considering the P3) and their response was unanimous - I pre-sold about 10 of them.  After waiting for over 9 months for the bikes to arrive (6 months later than promised), my customers finally took delivery and everyone was happy.  The bikes looked great in the flesh and it looked to be a lasting design that would be easy to sell.  This thought was further buttressed when the Transition won the Ironman World Championship in Kona and Specialized replaced Cervelo as the Saxo Bank Cycling Team bike supplier.  I was pretty pumped that the bike that won Kona would soon be the choice weapon of world TT champ Fabian Cancellara in 2009, further legitimizing the bike as a world-class TT rig.

Then I saw the "Tech Feature" on Fabian's custom TT bike on today.  Wow, a great TT bike that looks absolutely NOTHING like the current Transition and will probably never see production.  Specialized has one of the best marketing machines around, so it baffles me that they would have their highest profile TT  rider on a one-off bike.  I'm a big fan of innovation and I want Fabian to be fast, but having him on a bike like this will make it difficult for me to tell people that the stock Transition is the best TT bike they can get (even though it probably is) - after all, if it's not good enough for Fabian, why would it be good enough for them?  
It's commonplace for pros to ride custom bikes, but 99.9% of the time it's essentially a stock frame with altered geometry to suit a particular pro's riding style.  I don't have a problem with that - pros are pros and they should get the geometry they want.  But when they are on a radical departure from the stock bike, all it does is make it harder for me to sell the high-end product on my floor as legit pro-quality equipment.  It was probably easier and cheaper to make Fabian a custom rig than to set up a whole new Transition mold, but damn guys, help a brother out on the sales floor!  Without guys like me you couldn't afford to pay him.

Having said all of that, I'm still happy to be a Specialized dealer.  Great company, great products, great service.  I just wish they would take a page from the Trek playbook - Levi, Contador, and Lance all ride production road and TT bikes.  That makes for an easier sales pitch when you have a guy who wants to ride a bike just like the one he saw at the Tour.  Just a thought.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I love the Spring Classics!

Ahh, spring.  Green grass, flowers, Easter, and of course, the awesome week that starts with the Tour of Flanders and ends with Paris-Roubaix.  These are the two manliest races on the calender, and even though I get Tour fever in July like everyone else, these are the races that really count.

While watching Roubaix, an old racing adage came to mind - "I'd rather be lucky than good." I'm not trying to take anything away from Boonen, but watching Hushovd crash into the barrier while following him had to take some of the pressure off.  That, along with Flecha attacking then almost immediately crashing in front of Hoste & Summeren (after Flecha sat in the break doing NO work, but I digress...) definitely helped Boonen roll into the velodrome like a god for the third time.  As a Specialized Bicycle retailer, this is the part where I'm supposed to tell you that the reason Tom was spared misfortune is that his bike flat outperformed those inferior Cervelos, Ridleys, Giants, and Canyons, but who are we kidding - Boonen won because he was the luckiest bad-ass in a break full of bad-asses.  A great bike helps, but as a friend of mine likes to say, "It's not the arrow, it's the Indian." 

I promise my next post won't completely revolve around pro bike racing - the classics are wrapping up soon after all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I've finally started writing this stuff down...

After listening to my friends tell me to chronicle my observations of the world for the last few years, I have finally given in ( I think they were just tired of listening to me babble - now they can read or ignore my thoughts at their leisure).  I won't take on anything particular in my first post, but I will say "Welcome" to everyone who decides to follow this blog.  Enjoy and keep an eye out for future posts!