Specialized allowed us to visit their headquarters in Morgan Hill, CA to poke around and see a little bit more of what they do. This facility houses a variety of Specialized personnel ranging from athletes, managers, engineers, designers, and much more. Experience what it feels like to be Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory below.
Immediatly upon entering, there is a neat area they’ve developed that allow for a view into the Specialized World and their history. Many iconic bikes and products are stored here on display for all to see. Specialized has made more than just bikes and this area highlights some of their key achievements.
I remember seeing Palmer’s bike on eBay but Specialized clearly wanted it and purchased it from Palmer. Yes the fire pole in the corner is also functional. It’s much faster than stairs from the second floor.
If you’re in the Morgan Hill area, Specialized allows people to walk around the area above to see some of their history and where they’ve come from. The rest of the facility is mostly off limits to the general public so consider yourself privileged to see the goods below!
Specialized has developed some new electric assist bicycles called the Turbo. They aren’t cheap but are buckets of fun to commute on. We got a chance to pedal their Turbo eBike around and its easy to maintain a good cruising speed on board one of these. Unlike most bikes in this genre, the bike actually feels like a quality bike with decent parts versus a cheap bike with an electrical motor. The bike works by assisting your pedaling and potentially has a future to help riders with varying levels ride together easier as well as the typical commuter benefits of this design.
Some of the people who work at Specialized also ride into work so having a safe place to store their bikes is important. There didn’t appear to be much spare room on most of the racks in this hallway and that’s a good thing! The only apparent prerequisite for storing your bike here is that it must be a Specialized.
It should come as no surprise to you that many people at Specialized ride bikes. Given that their main product is biking there were a lot of neat parts and pieces littered across the employee’s bikes. Therefore there are a lot of bikes around their facility to accommodate this. They have various Lunch rides daily that many of their employees and athletes participate in. Specialized certainly learns from good products and it shows in their constant evolution in their product range whether you look at their bikes, clothes, tires, or various part offerings.
If you know some Mountain bike history then it’s quite plausible that you know who the guy on the Dew machine is without us having to tell you. If you don’t know, it’s mountain biking legend Ned Overend.
UCI World Mountain Biking Champion (Gold, 1990; Bronze 1991)
NORBA National Mountain Biking Champion (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)
NORBA National Point Series Champion (1987)
XTERRA World Champion (1998, 1999, 2nd 1997)
United States National Winter Triathlon Champion (2000)
United States National XTRERRA Series Champion (2001, 2002)
UCI Masters Cyclocross World Champion [Men 55-59] (2012)
Colorado Road Champion (2004)
and many more -Wikipedia
Moving on to the second floor in the facility we bumped into a neat area that housed a lot of sketches and art pieces that inspires some of the designs that have come out of Specialized.
A lot of the Specialized design influence can be attributed to Robert Egger and his work. Although a lot of these ideas on paper are only conceptual, they often provide some vision for the final design. Egger’s designs come from a variety of things and a lot of them were on display on this wall and adjacent areas. Furniture, mopeds, and much more can be seen in this area leading into the design studio that we weren’t able to show you unfortunately.
A big part of what Specialized is made up of is dealers. Dealers are the channel through which you get your Specialized bikes and all the lovely bells and whistles that end up on them. The Core Store is nested inside of Specialized HQ that allows Specialized to help dealers merchandise and display Specialized products in some of the best ways possible. While there isn’t a perfect setup for presenting merchandise, some bike shops may not be in-tune with good merchandising techniques. If you’ve ever visited a bike shop with gear scattered throughout the shop this point should ring home quickly.
We shot this little video below for you all to check out what the Core Store is all about. You can watch the video below to learn more about the Core Store, merchandising, and more.
Inside the Core Store, Specialized also nested a Body Geoemtry Fit area where to illustrate how to help riders fit on bikes better. Comfort and fit are an integral part to going fast on the bike and Specialized takes this seriously. While this area currently is not specific to gravity athletes, comfort and fit certainly still play a major role in how you fit on a bike no matter what it is. All cycle sports rely on the human motor and fit in general is a vital piece to going fast with the ultimate goal of winning.
Like all good products, testing is imperative to success and Specialized takes testing serious. As one of the biggest bike companies it is perhaps even more important that their products are safe and tested properly. They allowed us into their testing lab where they test not only Specialized prodcuts, but many competitor products as well. With Specialized making more than just frames, they test a wide variety of competitor products as a results.
There are a lot of ways to test protection products. A safety rating value doesn’t always capture everything unique to our sport and sometimes unique tests are derived to mimic different scenarios that can happen. For example, Specialized has a variety of anvils and apparatus’ that test helmets in some very neat ways as well as a soak chamber to mimic water/sweat usage.
Have you ever consider helmet often gets hot / wet / salty and can affect the durability or effectiveness of it? When you wear your helmet, it often becomes wet and this can affect its ability to protect you should the material properites change as a result. Specialized tests helmets in a variety of conditions to try and ensure your helmet is up to the task of protecting your head. When you think about what a helmet goes through on a day to day basis even if you don’t crash it’s an important piece to make sure is tested thoroughly.
In addition to the general company stuff, Specialized also has a lot of areas for their athletes and employees to enjoy. They’ve got a special gym for their athletes as well as a pumptrack in the back and much more. A fun work environment helps everyone not only stay more healty but enjoy coming to work every day.
Visit www.specialized.com to see their full range of products, dealer locations, and services.