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Tour of Specialized Headquarters


We’re lucky to have the world company headquarters of Specialised Bicycle Parts right here in Morgan Hill. They’ve a very nice museum you’ll be able to drop in and see anytime, nevertheless it’s even higher to rearrange a proper tour with them. We have been guided by Bob Friedrich, one in all their product managers, who was gracious, humorous, and educated. My “previous goat” driving buddies went for a shorter model of our Tuesday experience for about an hour, to depart time for the tour, which took about 90 minutes. The tour was a motorcycle nut and enginerd’s dream. We began out within the museum, studying a bit concerning the historical past of the corporate. I used to be acquainted with it general, however realized some extra tidbits.

A duplicate of Mike Sinyard’s hippy-mobile which he offered to get his enterprise going.

Mike Sinyard, the founding father of Specialised Bicycle Imports, graduated from San Jose State. Upon commencement, he wasn’t certain what to do with himself, however since he as a motorcycle fanatic, he hoped it will have one thing to do with bicycles. He went to go to Italy in 1974 after commencement, promoting his VW bus to fund the journey. There he met  Cino Cinelli. a well-known Italian maker of high-quality elements, Mike turned Cinelli’s sole US importer, and based “Specialised Bicycle Imports” to promote elements to bicycle aficionados. He didn’t have a motorcar, so made his first deliveries, in a territory starting from San Francisco to Monterey, utilizing a trailer hooked up to his bike.

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The First Specialised supply van

By 1976 the corporate was importing different high-quality manufacturers as nicely, and commenced having its personal elements manufactured. In 1981 the corporate began promoting its first two bikes, the Sequoia, a touring bike, and the Allez, a street bike. However the huge breakthrough was after they launched the Stumpjumper later that 12 months, the primary mass-produced mountain bike. All three are nonetheless within the firm’s product line, and the unique variations are proven within the museum:

Left to proper Stumpjumper, Sequioia, and Allez

Surprisingly, the Stumpjumper’s success was not instant. Mike needed to tour all around the state convincing sellers, who have been all road-bike oriented on the time. The preliminary manufacturing run of 700 was offered out earlier than they arrived from Japan, and no additional convincing was wanted. It took the corporate a number of years to make amends for the backlog of demand. As an apart: In 1977, my spouse purchased a motorcycle, as a result of she wished to have enjoyable rides across the neighborhood and do errands. The bike store offered her a motorcycle with drop bars, which she hated (in addition they induced her some shoulder ache). Bike outlets did that to everybody again them. I swapped them out for flat bars after which she was snug.Though a few of success of the early mountain bikes was on account of folks eager to experience off street, I feel lots of people simply wished a extra snug driving place.

There have been different enjoyable facets to the museum I’ll cowl beneath. Earlier than we noticed them, we took a visit over to Specialised’s wind tunnel, which they allow you to stand in whereas it’s turned on. They ramped it as much as 67 mph whereas we have been in there.

The inlet to the wind tunnel is the far wall, which is honeycombed to provide smoother airflow.
The honeycomb inlet
The followers on the other wall

The airflow sucked one in all our members glasses off his head and flung them in the direction of the followers, that are protected by netting. It took a couple of minutes to search out them afterwards, happily intact.

Now it was again to the museum My favourite was the precise bikes on show that have been ridden to success by Specialised’s sponsored riders.

The nice time trial rider Fabian Cancellara, aka Spartacus, received one in all his 4 stage wins on the Tour de France on this bike:

Legendary mountain bike Ned Overend gained the primary ever “fats bike” championship (on snow) on this bike. He gained general, at age 59:

There have been a number of different notable bikes, together with one which Peter Sagan utilized in his unprecedented three-peat on the world Championships, plus the one he used to win Paris-Roubaix. Peter, from Slovakia, is well-known in biking circles for being fairly a personality. There was an excellent quote on the wall from him: “They chuckle at me as a result of I’m completely different. I chuckle at them as a result of they’re all the identical”. There was additionally the bike Tom Boonen used to win Paris-Roubaix, and the one Gwen Jorgensen used to win the gold medal in triathlon in Rio.

The opposite enjoyable facet of the museum was the show of idea bikes from through the years by their good designer Robert Egger. Here’s a small collection of many:

The Morgan Hill PD requested for a particular police bike. They preferred it when it was unveiled, till they seen it had a donut holder as an alternative of a bottle cage. Apparently they have been much less amused than Robert about that:

A racing tandem from greater than 20 years in the past. It has some revolutionary options nonetheless in use, corresponding to an handlebar stem meeting harking back to Specialised’s fashionable “Shiv” design:

Ned Overend nonetheless works at Specialised as a product tester. Out of respect for his age, Robert made a duplicate of his first bike:

Should you ever go to Morgan Hill, the Specialised museum is a must-see, which you are able to do on a drop-in foundation. If you’d like the full-blown tour you simply have to offer them slightly superior warning, like perhaps name the day earlier than.

After the tour we had lunch. I took the good distance driving residence, impressed by all of the photographs of world class riders and seeing their bikes in individual.

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