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.

1 comment:

  1. Those are all really good points. They shouldn't make it so obvious that it isn't the same bike sold. Like you said, geometry is one thing..... At least Graham Obree didn't design it outta washing machine parts.