Mike Sinyard’s Open Letter to the Industry

Specialized counterfeit bikes

It has been quite the week for Specialized, Specialized Dealers, Cafe Roubaix, now Epix Gear, and more. Hoping to get things back on track, Mike Sinyard has posted another apology letter to the company’s facebook page hoping to explain the situation further, including the recent noise over the Epix Gear letter, and citing a huge influx of counterfeit goods as a contributing factor in Cafe Roubaix’s wheels being targeted by Specialized’ lawyers.

Check out Sinyard’s letter after the break.

I Screwed up, and I own it

I would like to apologize and let everyone know I realize I handled this situation wrong from the start and I’m very sorry for that. As many of you have probably already seen by now, I went up to Café Roubaix to meet with Dan in person to apologize and make good with him. Café Roubaix will continue on with its name. The video is up on Café Roubaix’s Facebook page. Dan is the real deal, after meeting him I realize this and am embarrassed by how ridiculous this is. What happened was wrong. There are no excuses but I do feel like I owe it to you all to explain how we found ourselves in this situation, the lessons we’ve learned from it and, most importantly, how it will change the way we do things moving forward.

Over the past few years we’ve seen a massive spike in counterfeit products, and most of the riders have no idea these products are fake, which is extremely dangerous because the risk of failure on these untested products is extremely high. In one instance, the entire head tube and fork sheared off a counterfeit Tarmac, causing the rider who had no idea he was not on a genuine Specialized product to faceplant and destroy his shoulder. To give you an idea of how much this issue has blown up, 10 Specialized employees hunt fake products across 30 major ecommerce platforms, we’ve identified over 5,000 listings, worth $11,000,000 USD in counterfeit goods since January 1st of this year alone. This is about double what it was last year. Due to this we have recently gone after IP and trademark issues more aggressively in the interest of protecting the safety of riders and the livelihood of our dealers and their hard-working employees. See the attached picture to understand how dangerous fake goods are.

In the deal with Café Roubaix, the wheels were the red flag that got the attention of our outside attorney’s who were already sort of on red alert for anything that pops up, although Café Roubaix wasn’t in the same camp as the counterfeiters, they still got caught in the crossfire. There is so much activity with infringers that it’s overwhelming and I don’t see them all. The first I heard of it was Saturday morning and by Monday the thing went huge. But still, that was my fault, which is why I’m so embarrassed. I should have called Dan immediately.

I heard you and you can rest assured I took it to heart. I realize now that we went too far with this aggressive approach and as a result and in some cases we hurt the local bikes shops and small businesses we wanted to protect. As a result we’re going to take a much closer look at all pending and future intellectual property and trademark issues, making sure to only pursue those that present a clear and obvious danger. The letter on Epix Gear was issued before the Café Roubaix story broke and has since been pulled.

I handled this very poorly and I own full responsibility. Dan at Café Roubaix and I have become friends and he’s happy with the solution. I hope you too accept my sincere apology. Like you all, I’m passionate about cycling and want to do everything possible to grow the activity we all love.

Sincerely,

-Mike Sinyard
Founder

Comments

jeff - 12/12/13 - 9:21pm

How far back are we going with the apologies here? Epic Designs? Volagi?
Sorry, it’s too little too late. Only when the public outcry on social media reached epic proportions did Specialize go into nicey-nice damage control mode.
Not buying it…or anything from Specialized.

fan boy - 12/12/13 - 9:22pm

does this mean that Eric at Revelate can change his name back to Epic designs now?

Epic 29 Guy - 12/12/13 - 9:26pm

The solution is easy, for the premium paid on Specialized bikes, just bring the manufacturing home and you would have less of these embarrassing situations. Why? Because the Chinese firms that currently build them cannot steal your designs and counterfeit your bikes.

Case closed.

I will still buy your bikes though.

TJ - 12/12/13 - 9:40pm

I rarely leave comments on forums – but in this case I’ll make an exception. I don’t own a Specialized but by the looks of things they do make great bikes. However, like many I thought it was ridiculous how Specialized’s lawyers were doing.

BUT – I have to tip my hat to Mr. Sinyard. In a day and age where nobody seemingly apologizes for anything – IMHO he has done the right thing here.

off-roadie - 12/12/13 - 9:44pm

Maybe this will be a turning point for Specialized. It’s never too late to correct your path.

Eddie - 12/12/13 - 9:49pm

Weird! You out source your tooling and designs to China and exact counterfeits pop up? Who woulda thunk!!

Chris - 12/12/13 - 9:49pm

It’s fascicle the way Specialized has proceeded without any recognition that they don’t have the authority to have sent that letter in the first place, per their licensing agreement with ASI, and now Sinyard is taking credit for allowing Cafe Roubaix to continue with the name, like he had a choice in the matter.

Robo - 12/12/13 - 9:52pm

haters gonna hate

Good on ya, Mike!!

A. - 12/12/13 - 10:00pm

http://www.Facebook.com/epixgear

Specialized just did it to another company.

Urb - 12/12/13 - 10:00pm

This would make a great South Park episode! So totally wacky. You just can’t make this stuff up.

casey - 12/12/13 - 10:02pm

6 months ago or so I had one of the mclaren venge copies pictured above come into the shop I work at. The customer wanted us to build the frame up into a complete bike. I can attest first hand to the danger this sort of situation can pose to the bicyclists who fall victim to these counterfeit products. The quality of the frame and visual structural integrity of the frame was ghastly.

I was leery of the frame being fake from the get go as it didn’t have an obvious serial number on it anywhere. So I personally called specialized’s tech department and sent them a few pictures. Within the hour, I was speaking directly to the head of the counterfeit division at specialized and they had already found the seller shut down his website, and froze all of his accounts via the FBI.

Our outside rep was in the area came by to talk to the customer, and even offered the customer a deal on a real venge.

I honestly believe the customer would have been seriously hurt or killed ridding this frame, so I completely understand their standpoint on counterfeit products.

Casey B - 12/12/13 - 10:03pm

Working for a bike company I have seen how this past year has been. The cycling industry is down significantly and many companies in the industry have closed their doors. I wish Mike Sinyard and Specialized luck and prey that this does not hurt them as bad as the rumors say it will.

2MC - 12/12/13 - 10:03pm

Its one thing to sue for direct IP counterfiet its another to sue for what looks-like-them, sounds-like-them, smells-like-them mentality.

The history of Specialized’s litigation cases still makes them look like dufus’s and bullies in the cycling world.

Selling all that is Specialized and never supporting again

Champs - 12/12/13 - 10:04pm

Epic 29er, the ownership at Merida might have something to say about production overseas (relative to whom?)

And say what you like about Sinyard, the guy isn’t a bully. He just wants to know: WHY DO YOU KEEP HITTING YOURSELF?!

Veganpotter - 12/12/13 - 10:09pm

The likelihood of Specialized builders making counterfeits is VERY SMALL. They make too much money off of Specialized to loose them. As someone that has lots of experience making molds for various purposes…making a mold of something to make it appear exactly like something else is EXTREMELY SIMPLE. All you need to do is have an original and boom…you’re set. Realistically, they’d only need one size and with CNC software, a machinist would only need to adjust accordingly to the frame specs that Specialized(or any bike company) has on their own site for customers to look at.

On a side note, I work for a Specialized dealer and this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If there was no publicity, Specialized would have surely taken it all the way to court. I have my doubts that Synard didn’t know about this before the lawyers filed. This isn’t one of many manufacturers selling fake “Specialized” crap. Its someone in N. America with a bike shop that the felt they could leverage. Volagi mostly got screwed because the people that started the company came from Specialized. If they can from Trek or Giant but designed the same bike, they would have probably never been taken to court.

Ol' Shel' - 12/12/13 - 10:12pm

I worked for a mass brand producing cheap kids bikes. They had ‘branded’ parts named ‘Supertrax’, or something similar. Trek’s lawyers contacted us, threatening legal action because the name was easily confused with ‘Trek’. yes.

Their lawyers have to keep busy in order to justify their salaries.

This is nothing new, and counterfeit product has nothing to do with it.

votre mere - 12/12/13 - 10:15pm

how about a guide to spotting fakes if it’s so important for safety? I don’t need to read multiple paragrapghs of platitudes, the Roubaix shop owner’s word is enough. Are products registered through the process provided on their web site presumably authentic?
They go so far as to manufacture fake chicken eggs for human consumption. why wouldn’t they slap together some black plastic and sell it for a thousand dollars? people will fall for it.

L. Armstwrong - 12/12/13 - 10:19pm

When is the Oprah interview?

JOEP - 12/12/13 - 10:20pm

Say what you will, as someone has already posted, Mike came forward and owned it. Personally visiting with Dan at Cafe Roubaix – yeah he owned and and good on him for doing it. That takes ownership of the problem to the personal level, Specialized is still small enough in the world of business to know this was the best way to put out the fire.

Jejeh Moan - 12/12/13 - 10:22pm

Sincere apology or political maneuvering? I think the latter.

If he wants to apologize, I would expect him to apologize and reimburse Tom Ritchey first.

And the stuff said about “fake” products is wrong. I know too many people who ride these, none with any of the issues mentioned…and on bad roads at that! BUT..I don’t condone buying fake products for it is a form of stealing.

A. - 12/12/13 - 10:52pm

Bullsh1t. How many others were tken to court?

Call it what it is, Mike… you were protecting your logo. This isn’t about counterfitting. Nothing with ANY of the companies that you threatened could’ve been mistaken for anything that you make. The original explanation was that if you don’t protect your trademarks you lose them. I get it. Stick to that. Apologize for being a bully and move on. Stop trying to sell the bullsh!t counterfit story.

Ummm... - 12/12/13 - 10:58pm

If it weren’t for the overwhelming bad publicity specialized and their dealer base was getting nothing would have changed. Specialized is a marketing company.
The PR spin campaign they are on now is merely to placate the masses.
Look at how they conduct themselves at the dealer level.
They are a bunch of capitalist bullies.

M - 12/12/13 - 11:02pm

It’s sad to hear about all the counterfeiting of specialized bikes. Worse that the counterfeits are so badly made. I’ve had a counterfeit pinarello for about 3 years now and that bike has been wonderful, guess counterfeiters pay more attention to their bikes? I got my bike all checked out by a pina dealer in the area and he said it’s perfectly safe and a very nice bike, but it isn’t a pina, just a well made copy; in fact he had to check the serial to know it was fake. Slightly heavier than the actual frame, probably due to a different carbon being used, nothing like the lopsided tube shown above though.
Still, goes to show not always a safety issue.

chris - 12/12/13 - 11:06pm

Bring back the Stumptown. And reign in your terrible legal consultants already.

Surly Shawn - 12/12/13 - 11:07pm

He owned up to it. Not too many other CEOs have ever remotely done the same. Whatever his reason or legitimacy, he went and met Dan in person and talked. That is a huge mea culpa.

He saved face in my book and I may continue my love affair with the big red S. Probably a little less, but it’s still on.

Lee - 12/12/13 - 11:09pm

He’s only sorry that he was caught.

If it weren’t for the overwhelming bad press, Sinyard wouldn’t give a rat’s ass that they’re not doing the right thing.

The Conductor - 12/12/13 - 11:13pm

This is all messy.

Props to Mike S for stepping up going in person, and explaining in the letter, I respect that.

But the counterfeit issue is not really the same as the Cafe Roubaix name trademark issue.

Like in the OJ trial, “if the glove don’t fit” had little to do with the actual evidence, other than distracting the jury from the real point.

Companies need lawyers, lawyers need to bill hours. I used to work at a major financial company. A 10 word paragraph would go back and forth from legal 30 times, each time changing a word, comma, etc. Sometimes the copy ended up back to it’s original state. Most of the time I felt edits were simply to justify their jobs. Endless cycle.

mythbuster - 12/12/13 - 11:14pm

The apology is welcome. However there are a few problem with this:

1. The apology is late and it came after they were cornered by social media and outmaneuvered by ASI.
2. They were suing businesses long before the past 3-4 years when the counterfeiting became so prevalent. Thus protection of intellectual property did not bring about sue happy culture within Specialized, it is an extension of it.

Bill - 12/12/13 - 11:16pm

Does no one else find the lack of control specialized has over their brand concerning? Millions of dollars in counterfeits (pinarello is the only other one who seems to have this issue) and apparently no idea what their legal department is doing…

Danno - 12/12/13 - 11:17pm

Good call Chris – Specialized doesn’t “own” the name – they pay ASI/Fuji for use of it and had no right to come down on Dan in the first place. ASI/Fuji saved the day, not Specialized or Mike Sinyard. This is simply damage control after a massive customer backlash. I’ve been a Specialized customer since 1989, my first MTB, and ride an S-Works Tarmac now. But after this and Volagi (local to me) I’ll be shopping for another brand next time around.

Rico - 12/12/13 - 11:28pm

There are many chinese knockoffs besides Spec and Pina, there are colnago, Time, focus, Cervelo… just search on ali baba.

Mindless - 12/12/13 - 11:32pm

Don’t buy Specialized and don’t listen to their FUD. Many better companies to support with your hard earned $$$. The end.

Mortimer - 12/12/13 - 11:42pm

The counterfeit story makes things worse in my mind. Mike you should have just said you were wrong. Making excuses is not an apology – you’ve just transferred the blame. Boy am I glad that new bike I got was not a Specialized.

david - 12/12/13 - 11:53pm

Hey guys this is b.s. to keep on attacking Mike Sinyard. He’s running a multi million $$ company and its hard to get everything right all the time. I don’t see this as damage control, I think that Mike did his research and listen to the voice of reason and then moved in the right direction.
Now, I may have a vested interest. I’m the proud owner of a hot paint job blue and yellow Cruz, and the bike just flat out rocks !! I also own a team Allez E-5 and that’s one of the best bang for the $$ frames that I’ve owned to date.
So just let Specialized get back to biz, and let them continue there efforts in making some great bikes, and provided unbelievable race team support !! Just remember there cross team has been on fire this year, and I think they have one of the top mtb female xc talents in the world with Lea Davison.
So lets give them credit for all the good they do in supporting there racers and I for one think they have the strongest product line in cycling !!
All the very best..David Motay

bin judgin - 12/13/13 - 12:29am

NERDS WEIGH IN!

Specialized takes care of the counterfeit dudes. I’ve seen it first hand.

FSR is still terrible for anything short of a DH bike, Tarmac is a yawnfest, PF30 is not as bad as BB90 but still is terrible, but their bikes look great.

Pynchonite - 12/13/13 - 12:29am

So, this is probably a cynical ploy to placate potential customers and keep product moving. And this doesn’t give anyone back their time and money, like Volagi, Relevate, or for that matter Lemond, (yeah that was Trek – that’s the point). BUT if it does lead to an actual change in policy, we should all revel in the power of social media to make positive change. Buy other bikes if you want, just know that Specialized isn’t the only one doing this.

nick - 12/13/13 - 12:54am

Why don’t you ask top mtb, female, xc talent, Lea Davison what she thought of the recent Specialized/Total Rush store in Melbourne’s, re-opening with semi nude, body painted women?

Bill - 12/13/13 - 1:08am

Mike
You blew it again! This was no genuine apology. Own up to being a bully. This counterfeit excuse doesn’t work with the people who’ve been paying attention to your actions the last twenty years. You’ve been ruthlessly attacking other brands for much longer than the 3-4 years your talking about in terms of counterfeiting. Don’t confuse the issue, we aren’t that dumb! You could do yourself we’ll be offering a true apology where you just say you messed up. That you allowed your business to take on a bully mentality for many years and you didn’t act like a true leader to steer the business in a more positive direction. As shown by Jack Daniels, there are upstanding ways to deal with people you feel are taking advantage of your trade rights. Your business gas went after brands using names that weren’t the same as yours and didn’t share a similar aesthetic (ie: Epix and Stumptown). When you received a cease and desist from Transition for using the exact same name you wouldn’t respond til Bicycle Retailer and Industry News came asking about it. I believe your response was, “they are obviously different types of bikes, I don’t see why we can’t peacefully co-exist”. You said this because you knew they couldn’t afford to fight you, but the shoe had been on the other foot you would’ve made them change the name. There’s no doubt about this, because you’ve done it for a lot less. So, it really is about bullying and reigning over smaller businesses that couldn’t fight back and to give an apology for any less is disingenuous!

Diggety - 12/13/13 - 1:12am

You specialized lovers on here are a bunch of sheep.

OB - 12/13/13 - 1:15am

Oddly Specialized, has had a long standing an in house legal department, presumably so he could have a close working relationship with them. Mike mentions outside additional legal staff in the apology. That seems like a lot of lawyers for him to manage.

Anonymous - 12/13/13 - 1:22am

You spesh lovers on here are a bunch of sheep.

Mark - 12/13/13 - 1:55am

Leopards never change their spots … Specialized do not exist in my world anymore …

Alb - 12/13/13 - 2:02am

The counterfeiting bluff is a nice distraction but I expect won’t wash with the people that know what the company are really like. As CEO the buck has to stop with Mr Sinyard – hence why he’s making the apology – the same would happen in any other industry, doesn’t make it any more ‘special’. They were backed into a corner and had no other option than to publicly grovel to try to save what little face they have left. The fact he did so with with a piss-poor apology sighting counterfeit goods is almost laughable. We all know the team of lawyers are there to aggressively pursue and protect market share, snubbing out anything that could be tenuously linked as a competitor (usually smaller businesses as they give up easiest). All it needed was a plain and simple “we f***ed up” (perhaps better, “sh*t, we’ve been publicly busted”). At the end of the day it couldn’t have happened to a nicer company. Judge with your pennies people, it’s Karma-time for Special Ed.

Bazz - 12/13/13 - 2:16am

Hang on, are Specialized now trying to say that they went after Cafe Roubaix because they thought he was selling counterfeit Specialized goods?

They are try to deflect from the fact that they tried to crush Cafe Roubaix because they used the word Roubaix for their shop name and wheels.

I wonder if Specialized’s spin doctors advise politicians as well?

adam sharp - 12/13/13 - 2:19am

Brought a new specialized camber29 …2013 model..had problems with both wheels buckling just riding through the park. ..had them repaired twice and gave up in the end ..specialized did nit want to know about it.shocking customer service ..thank god the guys at rutland bikes uk are not like them and rebuilt my wheels free of charge..ive always had specialized bikes but after this never again

Holden Flabcock - 12/13/13 - 2:32am

Too little too late. Spez can go do one. Will make it my life long mission to never buy anything with the tainted logo on it.

AC - 12/13/13 - 2:33am

“Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching” (I don’t know who said this, it wasn’t me)

Specialized is sort of doing the right thing after being called out and having done the wrong thing multiple times. Not really praise worthy in my book, nor a company I want to support.

WSBC89 - 12/13/13 - 2:47am

To be honest, which other company would have done this? This was great of Mike! I think all of this is pushed to hard by the social media, and all the hate is overstated.

I will still ride Specialized.

Typical Spesh - 12/13/13 - 3:12am

“Couldnt Sleep?” More like you couldn’t sleep knowing that there was 11 million not ending up in your pocket…

Sorry Mike, but your ploy at diverting attention to the real issues by claiming “counterfeit goods” is bogus.

This guy was building high quality wheels, that didn’t bear a single wordmark with the Specialized name.

I’d like to see you admit the real reason you pulled off of going after Cafe Roubaix, which is that you had ZERO ground to stand on with the Lawsuit anyway. Same reason why you dumped millions into trying to sink Volagi just because you were upset a couple of guys decided to start their own bike company with the same entrepreneurial spirit you had once.

Except you entrepreneurialism required taking a Richey frame to Taiwan to rip off and called it a StumpJumper to start your bike company… Bad seeds grow trees that bear rotten fruit…

mac - 12/13/13 - 3:30am

Spin, a common word used in UK politics and by god Mike Sinyard knows how to use it. He and his team are currently in the process of showing us all that Specialized aren’t the bad guys here in fact, we should be feeling sorry for them. I mean lets be honest, they only stamp on the small guy for the betterment of humanity, what could be more right? I’m now just awaiting the obligatory baby kissing photos…

Special Ed - 12/13/13 - 5:55am

I look at Chinese bike parts on eBay all the time! If I did it in a shirt and tie instead of sweatpants, would Synergy Lanyard give me a job?

Didn’t this guy’s company begin by putting a dumb name on tires he didn’t manufacture? Now they make and sell all kinds of high-quality dog-doing-its-business-top-tubed circus bikes. It’s a real American success story and all of you are jealous!

i - 12/13/13 - 6:54am

Pretty lame excuse. A genuine apology would have ended after the first paragraph. Neither of this week’s dust ups had anything to do with counterfeit goods and we all know it. Neither did Specialized’s numerous other IP bullying cases.

Mike, you’re just digging deeper.
Try again at apology, this time don’t make excuses, and apologize to Epic Designs and Volagi.

NASH - 12/13/13 - 7:25am

That is very scary to have the front end completely tear away from the frame, another reason to ride Ti over carbon as you can see the build quality as it is not hidden under paint and filler.
Wonder what the legal situation would be if you tried to claim against Specialized if you injured yourself on a Specialized branded counterfeit frame. Could be argued that if they are so aware of the number of counterfeits on the market they should have taken measures such as holographic labels on their frames to enable the public to more easily spot counterfeits products and educating the public to the counterfeit issue. As Specialized have done neither of these things, a claim for negligence could be made.

ThinkAGAIN - 12/13/13 - 8:01am

If Mike was so sorry he would step down as chairman of Specialized and show the world that he has a moral compass, which guides his actions. Instead he chose words, indicating that his moral compass is broken and only point in the way of profit.
As a chairman of such a globally recognized company he should set an example to others and show that the mostimportant thing in cycling industry are cyclists and not the intelectual property. Intelectual property is just another way to say that your compass only shows in the way of profit, while the thoughts and opinions of customers don’t matter. Let them have their IamSpecialized marketing stunts, which are only sand in your eyes, while they are doing the complete opposite under the radar. And once a big story breaks out into the media, then they think that a simple appology will do the job. Again sand in your eyes. I am not hating, I am just stating that such double edged actions don’t leave a good impression about a company in the eyes of the owners and potencial buyers of their bikes. Expect a HUGE marketing campain after a while, when the dust settles and we all forget about the recent events. In it the big S will position itself as the most carring and willing to do all for the buyers bicycle producer in the world. As long as such actions keep occuring in the cycling world it will only keep making our beautiful sport into an ugly, twisted and sinister grotesque.

Danny - 12/13/13 - 8:13am

When you trademark a popular word of cycling’s traditional lexicon, do you have to provide evidence you have some entitlement to the word? Or is it enough to just want to be associated with the attributes of the word; attributes and a reputation built by ASO and the hard men racing this beautiful race for the last 117 years, effectively stealing the work of others.

Kieselguhr Kid - 12/13/13 - 8:19am

Am I the only one the doesn’t understand what a bunch of presumably fake Big-S branded broken frames and parts has to do with a bike shop named after a city in France?
It’s like they are saying “We’re sorry we got caught bullying this small business owner but we had to because if we didn’t WAR! FAMINE! ANARCHY!!! So really, don’t hate us, it’s for your own good we’re doing this”.

plum - 12/13/13 - 8:28am

Specialized exists to do two things, in spite of your moral opposition: make money, and not lose money.

Blurbikerider - 12/13/13 - 8:28am

Gotta go after those fakes cause Genuine Specialized never break .Time and money would be better spent on their own bike construction.

satisFACTORYrider - 12/13/13 - 8:29am

the letter I could do without. As long as he did right by the shop guy that is good enough for me and that is between them. The fsr comment was nothing short of stupid. Carry on. Not hatin just statin.

bikermark - 12/13/13 - 8:35am

10 Specialized employees looking for counterfeits; 0 Specialized employees proofreading Sinyard’s missives.

Dan - 12/13/13 - 9:30am

I’m dropping Specialized from my shop. I’ve already had customers come in, telling me about their disappointment with the company and it reflects poorly on me and my business. I want to work with reputable companies and right now Specialized in not one of them. They are quickly joining the camps of other large brands who lost sight of the sport and the consumers who support their businesses. Goodbye Specialized….

Loki - 12/13/13 - 9:59am

You, us, we’re all to blame. We created these problems and all the comments show two symptoms of the disease in the bike industry. Our buying behaviour is forcing every business in the industry to watch every penny. We’re the one’s who buy from Wiggle/AliBaba/etc and then take it to the local bike shop to get it built up. One poster actually bragged that he took his counterfeit Pinarello to a Pin dealer. Speechless.

And then we act as if we hold the moral high ground when a business acts like a business. Yes, the Big S sailed too close to the wind. Regardless of the various theories most probably the best possible outcome thanks to the ‘net. But, to quote ‘many better companies to support with your $$$..’ really? Better at being a business ? Too many facets of the bike industry are enthusiast first and business second, and bad business is bad for bikes. We’re happy to be ruthless spending our money, we have no loyalty when we’re sales trolling but we react in righteous indignation when a corporation acts like a corporation.

You can’t fix stupid, not even with duct tape.

Great Gazoo - 12/13/13 - 10:17am

The bottom line here: Buy your crap at authorized dealers and the counterfit products won’t have anyone to sell to. End of Story

Luka - 12/13/13 - 10:19am

Agree with @thinkAGAIN.

Folks, going up to visit the person he was about to squash isn’t a big deal. He makes a lot of money. It’s a day out in Canada. Pretend to be sorry, pretend to be someone’s friend. Probably offer to make him an authorized Specialized dealer for no hassle (so that he can line his pockets again).

Don’t believe his gesture is the greatest ever. Look through the history of blunders and the actions that have been taken. Just recently, the doofus from Lululemon stepped down for screwing things up.

The fact that Sinyard’s letter includes images of counterfeiting cracks me up. Wonder if he sketched this all up in PowerPoint. “Look, really, this counterfeiting stuff is real!”

Classic deflect tactic.

Sinyard, you control the company, the money, the people that work for you. You create the culture within which your minions work. Yes, this is your fault. Again.

Like a lot of people have pointed out, there are a lot of other bike manufacturers/builders out there who deserve support, who have good business practices and ethics. Who truly respect the community. Trying to pull the wool over our eyes is not respect.

Superstantial - 12/13/13 - 10:56am

… and the winner of these comments is cracked-frame (12/13/13 – 9:13am).

Congratulations.

SuperBee - 12/13/13 - 11:34am

I’m not sure whether or not his apology is genuine and neither do you. However, I do know that Specialized has invested a LOT of time, money, resources and products in the NICA league. You can’t tell me that that’s not a great program. As a coach and an athlete’s parent, I appreciate all that the company has done to promote mountain biking to our youth. It wouldn’t be possible to reach as many kids without their kind of support, as well as the support of all of the other companies involved. To that I say THANK YOU!

Chuck Dick - 12/13/13 - 12:08pm

The irony here is that Specialized products are purportedly terrible (judging from the posts), yet they’re probably the most counterfeited bicycle brand there is.

Chuck Dick - 12/13/13 - 12:18pm

@ Jejeh Moan “If he wants to apologize, I would expect him to apologize and reimburse Tom Ritchey first.”

Nice try on the analogy, but Tom Ritchey was a competitor. Too bad he lost. Dog eat dog, right? American free enterprise tenets at work, right? Machiavellians always win in business. F.A. Hayek and Milton Friendman couldn’t be more proud of what Specialized has achieved.

Yet we poo-poo the enterprising business owner who achieves his status within the guidelines imposed. Tom Ritchey, as great as he was, wasn’t a good businessman. We idolize Steve Jobs, for example, yet we forgive his supposed sins and travails as part of the price of being in business.

Doorway Sniffer - 12/13/13 - 12:41pm

I’m okay with capitalism and I’m okay with protecting what is rightfully yours. As a business owner I’ve gone through having to protect intellectual property. I’m not okay with the sense of entitlement that comes with these successes. I believe they feel like those names are really their property and are too dim to realize that these tactics will land you in a hornets nest with information so easily accessible. I really can’t believe their stupidity and pompous entitlement complex. I am bummed that we have 2 Specialized Bikes in our quiver and they will be eliminated as soon as I can pawn them off after the dust settles a bit. They will never receive consumer support from my family again.

Robo - 12/13/13 - 12:59pm

holy crap guys. First you haters say you want Specialized to back off, apologize, and change their ways, then they back off, apologize and vow to change their ways. One would think you’d be happy, but then, this is bikerumor. So you continue to bitch and question the validity of their motives. This isn’t the federal government, these are bike people. People I’ve spent time with. I assure you, Sinyard is sincere and the people that work at the company are not evil, soulles, demons out for your hard earned money. If you’re still wound that tight about this, maybe you should go for a bike ride and clear your head….

Jeff - 12/13/13 - 1:23pm

@ Chuck Dick – no one said there bikes are crap. Not my cup of tea, but they seem well regarded.
These days, there are a lot of good options out there. I would choose to spend my money on another brand that doesn’t have the Spesh corporate culture. The consumer can has choices. (I’ve been around long enough to remember some really bad mountain bikes…)

In addition to the lawsuits, I also think their whole “Innovate or Die” slogan is incredibly ironic. They did not produce a 29er until it was quite obvious it would be profitable, then went all in and marketed like mad. I am now curiously waiting to see if they ever produce a 650b bike.

Ethan - 12/13/13 - 1:42pm

Airfare to Portland is cheap; “Small businesses” Mountain Cycles and Sugar Wheel Works, though they have moved on, both arguably deserve the same kind of apology. That would do a great deal to repair the brand’s reputation here in “Stumptown”.

Jib's Mom - 12/13/13 - 1:43pm

Specialized is just like any other large corporation – they’re sole purpose and goal is to make a profit no matter who they step on and what damage it may cause to the country or the economy. Time for all of them, and their lawyers, to go away.

Doug - 12/13/13 - 1:52pm

This is what I hear from Mike…paraphrasing….I don’t want to make any excuses, but here’s my excuse, blah blah blah counterfeits blah blah big apology blah blah blah blah I give Dan permission not to change his shop’s name blah blah blah. That’s the way I heard it in the video.

Thumper McDonut - 12/13/13 - 2:19pm

5,000 counterfeit parts worth over $11,000,000? Give me a freaking break! The average value of a counterfeit Specialized part is $2,200? Hahaha, what a load of B.S.
If half the counterfeit parts are tubes, as they’ve claimed in the past, that means the rest of the parts average ABOVE $4000… I absolutely love it when corporations just make up random numbers to prove a point. How unbelievably pathetic.

JonDangerFTW - 12/13/13 - 2:22pm

Looks flexy

Lukee - 12/13/13 - 2:30pm

I agree this is not a real apology. Specialized has destroyed countless brands by such bullying.

Like the issue with the horst link, Specialized petitioned to use the design, solidified the rights to it and then threatened everyone using the design with lawsuits (which was open to everyone). that is why there were dozens of horst link frames and then amazingly only specialized.

My favorite is Stratos suspension who licensed valve technology from a motocross firm called onsport. Specialized and FOX tag teamed to throw Stratos into litigation to basically drive them into bankruptcy (to then release the BRAIN technology). I remember someone close to the owner telling me that Sinyard called him and told him either give him the rights for pennies on the dollar or he will litigate him till he has nothing left. That type of behavior is b.s.

For everyone here coming to Sinyards defense, remember this: Specialized began as a counterfeiter. Remember the days of REPACK. Sinyard bought one of Gary Fishers bikes and took it to TAIWAN and had it copied and bam, here comes the Stumpjumper. It is amazing that the repack guys tolerated that but those were the good old days and they were hippies inventing mountain bikes. HE was always a snake. Specialized started by stealing someone elses’ ideas. Sinyard sold Taiwanese junk out of his van until the stumpjumper took off.

Brands that make their stuff overseas open themselves to this counterfeiting. Now their own factories sell this knockoffs direct. Specialized makes too much money to care about that, but some small guy in Canada needs to be put in his place like the worthless chump he is. This apology only exists for damage control. If people didn’t bomb Facebook and these sites, that guy in Canada would have been lucky to even get a we’re sorry from a secretary in the legal department. They don’t care, they got caught- that’s it.

DJ - 12/13/13 - 2:32pm

…and where did you get your numbers from Thumper McDonut? You seem well versed in the value of counterfeit goods.

Psi Squared - 12/13/13 - 2:35pm

Time will tell if Sinyard and Specialized have changed their ways. Given their history I think it’s best to take their apology and vow with a very large lattice of sodium chloride.

Thumper McDonut - 12/13/13 - 2:47pm

@DJ – uhm, I got the numbers from reading the article and this fancy thing called “math.” Maybe you should try it sometime? Divide $11,000,000 (the stared value of the counterfeit goods) by 2500 (the roughly half of the parts that aren’t tubes) and what number do you get?

Maybe you should try to be more well versed at reading and less well versed at being a mingling little tool.

CE - 12/13/13 - 2:56pm

Yesterday, I was willing to give Specialized a B- minus for Sinyard’s awkward, but apparently contrite apology. Today that’s gone down to an F.

Dustin - 12/13/13 - 3:51pm

I can only hope that the two riders who were injured when their steer tubes failed while riding 2012 Specialized Tarmacs (and prompted a massive Specialized recall) share Mike Sinyard’s unwavering obligation to serve as the savior for cycling injustice and wrong doing.

I’m hoping that those two riders (just like our savior.. Sinyard) also sought to protect cyclists from poorly designed/manufactured “Specialized” forks which could be “extremely dangerous because the risk of failure on these untested products is extremely high.” Guess products don’t necessarily have to be counterfeit to fail. Oops..

Dang it Specialized. I currently own a Tarmac and wanted to add a Venge to my stable. Not anymore. My next purchase will be a Giant Propel. I figure if Specialized is afraid to respond to Giant’s challenge of posting aero test results for the Propel and Venge in the new Specialized Wind Tunnel, then the Propel must be a viable alternative.

Donnie Darko - 12/13/13 - 5:24pm

“No, really, WE’RE the victims here!” LOL. Just shut up, Mike. You’re not making it any better for yourself.

lonefrontranger - 12/13/13 - 6:59pm

look people there’s an easy way to figure out if the product you’re buying is fake or not. Specialized has a very simple registration program for their bikes. You just check the serial# on the BB shell and enter it into their “product registration” field on their website. Done and done. We did it with our new Crux Pros (that we shall now have to warranty the SRAM hydros on THANKS SRAM but that’s beside the point) and it took all of 30 seconds.

Buying cheap bikes on Ebay is an easy way to get involved in a scam if all you’re interested in is getting the cheapest possible price for high end equipment. If it looks too good to be true, it very likely is. ALWAYS check for serial #s on any bike you purchase on craigslist or Ebay – 90% of the time it’s legit but that other 10% it’s either fake or stolen and you could be liable or hurt.

I work in pharmaceutical legal affairs and there’s a case to be had on both sides of this issue. I agree that onshoring manufacturing to the USA would solve a number of issues.

Dan - 12/13/13 - 7:24pm

I like my Stumpy EVO, I liked my Crux, and I’m definitely going to like my AWOL frame when it shows up.

Sh*t happens…especially in the business world. Thanks for the letter Mike!

Ol' Shel' - 12/13/13 - 7:25pm

Check out my new model, the “BumpHumper”. It’s part of my Fat Chance Legstrong brand.

Bike King - 12/14/13 - 8:15pm

On Mike’s @$$ kissing tour, Bike King of Clinton, New Jersey deserves an apology too.

SuperDave - 12/15/13 - 7:37pm

Epic 29 guy: You do realize that even if Specialized were made in Morgan Hill, they could still be copied and reproduced in China, right? Where do you think fake Rolex watches are made? Or fake Levis, or…

Vince - 12/15/13 - 11:05pm

I will never purchase anything that is branded Specialized. Specialized has brought this on with their outsourcing to China……..those carbon frames were most likely made in the same factory. Mike Blowhard is just that. It’s not always about you Mike!

Dominc - 12/16/13 - 3:33am

So his company gets embroiled in some bad taste bullying of small bike shops makes a photo-op apology to ONE of them and his letter to the industry two days later is: “don’t make fakes of my stuff”? What a disingenuous f-ing c-nt!

Dave - 12/17/13 - 10:31am

So I noticed most people saying the Speci bikes are made in China…the higher end setups (basically not the kids bikes) are made in Thailand, where MOST manufacturers are.

Yes, there is a difference.

Counterfeiting will happen everywhere, even if they brought manufacturing back to the states, so do your research on where you are getting your good deal from.

And regardless of your opinion of the company, for him to step up, apologize, and make good with the Small town shop is respectable. How many of your favorite companies would do something like that, and own up to it?

bicycle coach - 12/20/13 - 11:59am

ok, let me tell you a bit about Specialized: pissed by prices of bike clothes in US i started to import team replicas clothes from China…as far as other brands had no issues(or small things that I fixed)to me about it as I clearly stated that these are replicas Specialized pulled a case on me(I sold 42pcs of jerseys with their logo)…do you think I had civil court case or received a letter? no, with no notice, with no warning I was attacked by Homeland Security team in the morning and pulled to JAIL with criminal charges with higher bond than 95% people in JAIL(100k)…this is how Specialized works, it’s not fun, it’s not cool, it’s a vicious company and they should build their bikes, components in US instead of wasting money on best Lawyer Agency in entire United States. I will release full story article in the future, together with number of Specialized recalls issues and stories which I had “pleasure” to read when I was preparing for court…who I’m currently? I’m a cycling coach for kids-yes, I love cycling and bikes!

MY ADVICE TO ALL MY KIDS AND GUYS I WORK WITH: STAY AWAY FROM SPECIALIZED, THEY ARE NOT CYCLIST FRIEND!!!

mark - 12/23/13 - 9:56pm

Couldn’t Sinyard get a high school graduate to proofread his letter?

huh? - 01/05/14 - 12:39am

@Dave I think you mean Taiwan not Thailand.

Also, it’s a no-brainer that if you’re buying any brand name carbon bike for under 1k, you are not getting the real thing.

JM tournier - 01/07/14 - 1:36am

You should ashame of yourself! I’m done with Specialized.

me - 02/04/14 - 6:08pm

@bicycle coach- you know what? You were selling fakes and profiting off of Specialized’s name and logo. Doesn’t matter if you call it a replica or not, you’re infringing on copyright and were breaking the law, so yes, you deserved to go to jail.

This is DIFFERENT that Specialized and other companies bullying smaller brands just because the name they use vaguely resembles one of their product names.

I generally support the former, not the latter.

mark - 04/07/14 - 4:44am

I am from south Africa and we have just had a issue with fake pinnerelos, which was all-over the news, unfortunately the same shop also sold me a fake specialized sl 4 and am now busy stripping it and hopefully get a refund to buyers out there beware.

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