“Corporations are People, My Friend”

File this under “Damn the Man.”

SPECIALIZED BICYCLES SUES FORMER EMPLOYEES WHO CREATE START-UP.

Specialized is no different than any other large corporation. These non-compete clauses are very common, and they are ridiculous. I understand trying to protect  your proprietary developments in house, but honestly, the day a corporation owns my thoughts is the day I leave this country for good. Seems to be heading that way. I hear Pripyat is nice this time of year.

Support Volagi. Not sure exactly how to do that, but if the opportunity to stand with these guys comes along, do it. And if you’re interested in reading more about why the title of this post is relevant, click HERE and HERE.

On that note, I apologize for injecting politics into this. That shit’s lame. Let’s go drink and ride bikes, or whatever.

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About D2

I am a writer and a photographer. I never killed a man in Reno, but I once rode a bike through a casino in Vegas. Bikes are cool, huevos rancheros are for breakfast, whiskey is for dinner. Denver, Colorado, USA

62 thoughts on ““Corporations are People, My Friend”

  1. Nobody held a gun to these guys heads and told them they 1) had to work for S or 2) they had to sign a non compete.

    Also, nobody held a gun to their heads and told them to steal a customer list when they left S. They did.

    This case is not a simple as it seems. Big guy trying to crush the little guy. That’s the headline, but not the case here, methinks. This country works because property is protected from theft. Ideas and processes and new way of doing things are property. Don’t steal. They stole. They could have done things and made a cool bike that didn’t infringe.

  2. California got it right way back in 1872. If “Me” had his way libraries wouldn’t exist because they’re “houses of copyright theft”.

  3. Stole a customer list? What the hell does that even mean? Is the identity of Specialized distributors and retailers a trade secret? Spare me.

  4. Thankfully,most of these cases are lost by big business and most non-competes are unenforceable. However, what saddens me most is how another corporation is going to pay a shit load of $ to make an example of these guys so that others do not try.Specialized will drag it out even if they cannot win b.c it will cost these guys their life savings and possessions to prove that they are right.

    I hope when they win, they will get recourse in attny fees and other financial suffering.

    I own a Venge, will follow this closely and it WILL affect whether I continue to own a Specialized. The best way to hit Corps like this is in the wallet.

    Maybe we get a petition going?

  5. By the way “ME” , most non competes state that ANY customer met through employment of said Corp. is property of said Corp. Even if you are the one that brought the relationship in….Again, the idea is to create the facade that ALL relationships are owned or created by the Corporation, in hopes of protecting a few or disssuading those to leave. They did not do that. The idea that they own any realtionship or idea is contrary to what this country used to be about.

    Bottom line is, all of us have a RIGHT to work in a field that we have expertise in, to provide for our families

    “This country works because property is protected from theft. ”

    A. I would argue that this country “works” for the big Corporations. Not so much for the little guy in this age of homogenization and mass consumption.

    B. The idea that they stole that design is absurd, it is not like any Specialized frame. It is kind of like Specialized suing others that came anywhere close to their FSR design….that they stole from AMP.

    C. the last time I checked, Specialized was sued by Stan’s No Tubes for idea stealing….. Hi Pot, this is Kettle.

  6. I’m not arguing with you about “policy.” Your points are valid, but they are generalizations which work fine in, well generalizing. Now go read the case; read the filings. Specialized has a case here.

  7. I did read the case. I have been on both ends of non competes. Just b/c they filed a case, does not mean they have one.

    I watched my old company tell a former employee that they were suing for non compete issue that they knew they had no case, but they had more $ and would wait him out. Told him he would go broke trying to defend himself.

    It is as old a practice as non compete agreements themselves. A lot of it will come from whether CA is a right to work state or not.

  8. The other side:

    Setting the Record Straight
    By Barley Forsman (Volagi Co-founder)
    Jan, 4th, 2012

    Specialized is suing us (Robert Choi, Barley Forsman, and Volagi, LLC) – whew, there I said it!! It’s been a long, very rough road and we’ve paid through the teeth for the privilege. But we are endurance athletes and will endure.

    Well over a year ago, exactly one month after we launched Volagi at InterBike 2010, a man approached the front door of my house, knocked on my door, handed me a folder, and told me that I “had been served”. I was shocked and dumbfounded as I struggled to decipher the legal jargon presented to me – what could I have possibly done wrong?! There was no warning, no call, no e-mail, no letter, no ‘cease and desist’ – just a lawsuit.

    Robert and I have known each other since 1997 – when he hired me as a designer at Bell Sports (now, Bell-Easton). We have a long history of innovation – long before we even considered a position at Specialized. Before joining Bell, Robert started a company called VistaLite in 1989 that pioneered flashing safety lights for bicycles – which he eventually sold to Bell. I worked with Robert at CamelBak for almost 10 years. At CamelBak we helped to redefine the hydration industry, several times. Combined, we have nearly 40 patents to our names – all amassed long before joining Specialized.

    In 2008, we joined Specialized (ironically, I started 1 day before Robert). Robert was hired as “Director of Equipment” and I was hired as “Design Manager”. Robert’s primary responsibilities included product development for accessories: bottles, pumps, tools, tires, and some components (briefly). My primary responsibility was to act as the design resource for saddles, grips, bottles, bottle cages, etc. – again, mostly equipment. Aside, for a few top-tube shapes on a few entry level aluminum mountain bikes, I had no involvement in bike design and engineering. As a designer, I was not responsible for, nor did I have access to carbon engineering or manufacturing of carbon bicycles while at Specialized.

    The impetus for starting Volagi was born from a general discontentment from working at Specialized (and the Specialized ‘method’ of product creation), but more importantly, we wanted to create a company that focused solely on the type of riding that we love: endurance road cycling. We are AVID distance cyclists who have completed many difficult endurance events including: Paris Brest Paris (760 non-stop miles), The Furnace Creek 508 (508 non-stop miles), over 60 doubles in California alone, many, many ‘brevets’, and countless centuries. Needless to say, we have put a lot of time in the saddle.

    We wanted to start a company that focused on the real, everyday cyclist – a performance bicycle specifically suited to our type of riding. If you want a bike for the Tour de France, there are a lot of options out there for you, but that is not us. It’s a small but fundamental difference in our approach to the road cycling market: what works best for Lance may not work the best for you.

    So why is Specialized suing us?! Truth is, we’re still trying to figure that out. But here are some basic facts about Volagi and our bike:

    - The Volagi bicycle was not designed, engineered, or created at Specialized, or with any Specialized equipment or know-how.
    - Robert and I were not involved in engineering or design meetings at Specialized about bicycles while we were there.
    - The Liscio was never presented or shown to Specialized because we did not have it while we worked there.
    - The bicycle was designed and engineered AFTER we gave notice at Specialized (at that time we informed Specialized that we would be starting a company in the bicycling industry).
    - The Volagi Liscio patent was filed AFTER we left Specialized (by us).
    - Volagi was not registered as a company until after we gave notice.
    - We have made many attempts to resolve this (or any issue) with Specialized. It was never our plan (or desire) to have it go this far – we never thought it would.
    - We took names of bicycles shops that were listed in a Specialized database (that is really the extent of our evil deeds, and we admit this wrong-doing and have returned everything). FYI, all this information is readily available online, but we want to come clean.

    Again, these are the facts as we know them and we are confident that the truth will prevail in court. It is a shame that we have been forced to defend ourselves for this long. We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and sold our houses to finance all the legal proceedings – we will not allow Specialized to bully us out of existence. This is our dream and we will fight to the end to keep it.

    We’re not asking for your sympathy or your pity – we know in our heart what is right. But we would like to supply some relevant facts so you can make up your own mind about the situation. In the end, we only want to compete in the marketplace. We want to give cyclist the options to choose what bicycle they think is best for them – no smoke, no mirrors, just truth.

    We have, and will continue to have “The Will to Go!”

    Regards and tailwinds,

    Barley”

  9. Specialized filed for an injunction against Volagi…it was thrown out of Court.
    Specialized has yet to state a specific reason for the suit.
    It is a requirement to sign a no-compete if you plan to work for Specialized. I interviews at the Big S, and this subject came up. You have ZERO choice in the matter.

    The Volagi guys took a dealer list, then returned it. This is nothing but fluff, as Specialized dealers are all listed on the website.

    Volagi has a lot of BIG players on their side…behind the scenes. This suit will provide case Law for decades.

    Let us not forget that Specialized has a habit of suing people for little reason. Shops for using the word “Epic” and Mountain Cycle for using the word “Stump”.
    Let’s also not forget that they “hired” a key employee from another US bike company. They were sued for it by the US bike company. The key employee ended up working there anyway, and certain designs of the US bike company ended up on Specialized bikes.

  10. I’m sure there’s more to this case than meets the eye, but “David vs Goliath” stories are always popular among the “99 percenters”, which I suspect has a presence in the DC community. But if a business, be it large or small is paying someone for their ideas, why can’t that business claim ownership of the intellectual property and profit off of them? There was an exchange in the form of wages and benefits. Taking your case to the public in order to create leverage is the first sign that your case can’t win on its own merits. The mob is irrational and filled with hatred of others more successful than they. “Specialized is an EVIL CORPORATION!” Off with their heads!

  11. I don’t know much about all this legal mumbo jumbo you intellects speak of in this here thread, alls I know is fuck the big S in their bullying Arse. You don’t own a mother fuckers mind just cuz they worked for you. Morally, these fucks will be reaping the financial gains introduced into their gigantic bank accounts by the years of hard-work and creativity these two daydreamers put in for half a decade. There are so many holes in this case: No named suit, taking a client list that is on the site, etc. Furthermore, as the Volagi (gay name by the way) boys stated, based on the non-compete, and coupled with all the genres of cycling products that the Big S covers, the boys could legally never work in the cycling industry again, let alone use their fucking heads or creativity at the risk that they could be sued. Fuck all of them, I’m going riding and then to my pub to get Whiskey Drunk out of my Specialized water bottle.

  12. The bicycle as we know it was invented more than a hundred years ago. Anything beyond a diamond frame and a fixed cog is but a subtle tweak.

  13. …michael sinyard was just inducted into the u.s. cycling hall of fame in davis california on november 5th as a “contributor to the sport” of cycling…

    …if you know a bit of the history of ‘specialized’, that fact & this legal case should make you laugh sadly to yourself or choke, as the case may be…

    …considering our humble little mikey sinyard got his start selling bike parts & dope (pot) out of a volkswagen van & was widely known in the early mtb industry for stealing, whoops, excuse me, i mean plagiarizing concepts & ideas & marketing them as his own, i’d suggest that michael sinyard has become over time, despicably self righteous with an out of touch, over-bloated self important ego…

    …in other words, from his current perch, he can’t remember what it’s like to be the little guy “trying” to be creative…

    …there is an amazing sense of hyperbole to specialized’s ruthless legal actions to “…protect their intellectual property…” when you factor in history…

    …20 something years ago, when specialized conceived of the beautifully audacious slogan “innovate or die”, it was perceived as being an absolute joke by most of the early mtb industry…

    …talk about a well conceived model of “…the best defense is a good offense…”…to those outside the biz, it made specialized look like the true geniuses of the industry & as a marketing ploy, as window dressing, it was brilliant…but the insiders knew the truth & most found it offensive…

    …well, these days, michael sinyard truly is a bigwig in the biz & beyond any contributions his company has made, ( every company makes overtures in that direction & it’s usually the little companies that contribute the most percentage-wise ) there doesn’t seem to be any real concern about the health of the sport & activity or industry of cycling…

    …it’s become about one thing…WHO’S GOT THE BIGGEST PIECE OF THE PIE ???…

    …so mr michael sinyard can be considered a winner by all practical standards ‘cuz he’s got one of the biggest pieces of the pie…

    …& lest i be misinterpreted, i don’t fault sinyard for building a ‘cycling empire’ for himself…it’s admirable to have created a business out of something he loved to do, especially something as healthy as cycling & specialized has employed some wonderful people throughout the years…look no further than the truly awesome ned overend…

    …but i’d suggest a perspective was lost long ago by michael sinyard & personally, like many others, i find the methods he’s utilized to build that empire over the years to be despicable…

    …anyway, that’s neither here nor there as my little diatribe is not about to change anything…while mr sinyard can these days afford to ride anywhere on the planet, at any time, with a list of who knows who from the world of cycling, i’d honestly bet my relationship with cycling is more meaningful than his…

    …there are certain things money can’t buy…

  14. @bikesgonewild, I bow at your handlebars. Well said, well thought out, and well delivered. Good on ya!

  15. …kid dick…no bowing allowed, we ride side by side…

    …but thank you & i hope others will read it because i think it sheds some light on the early days of specialized…

  16. @BGW I actually read your whole comment (damn ellipses and all) Good points mate!

    @otb again It appears to me you are one of the 99% who wishes he was in the 1% so you grovel and asskiss in an effort to suck up to those who you think are your betters. I got news for you, chump, you’ll never be in the 1%. Your post indicates you are a useful idiot. Wipe that brown lipstick off your smug kisser and wise up.

    @D2 thanks for the post. Further proof that our vanishing democracy has turned into a kleptocracy. A reverse Robin Hood.

    On a serious note, and speaking of Robin Hood, maybe that’s what America needs. Corporations and politicians make money the old fashioned way: THEY STEAL IT. Why shouldn’t we follow their brilliant example.

    Bring back Robin Hood, I say and if that doesn’t work there’s always the guillotine.

    When in doubt go looney tunes, starring otb again as sir loin of beef

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qtgm5g5Gyo

  17. Oh and another thing. One way to get back at specialized is buy a Volagi.

    Pay cash so the accountants and lawyers can’t trace it.

    Support these guys with your $.

    Fuck specialized.

  18. Specialized surely has the bigger dick, but can they get it up enough to truly fuck Volagi? Either way, it won’t be pretty and people will get hurt.

  19. Specialized: a leader in bicycle manufacture outsourcing! Sinyard got his company rolling stealing Tom Ritchey’s fabrications and taking them to Japan to get his first Stumpjumpers built and then imported to the USA. I’ve always viewed the big S as a marketing company, not a bike maker. I guess now I’ll alter my view slightly to a litigious bicycle marketing company.

  20. I’m three beers deep and there’s no sign of stopping. It’s Friday night in Suburbia…

    That said, let me reiterate: Fuck Specialized. That is my argument, the court case be damned.

  21. a certain DC writer said it best…..”If i see another fucking specialized on the trail today I am gonna puke”. He knows who he is, and truer words have never been said. Lemmings.

  22. @ Me – Do you have a link to the filing? I’m too lazy/busy/drunk/sober/tired to search for it beyond clicking the links in the post above and reading (skimming) the offerings at Velonews.

    Some questions in no particular order of importance (and certainly not directed only to Me):

    1) Doesn’t this involve more than just a non-compete clause (time and geographic limitations)? No trade secrets issue?

    2) The second company, as I understand it, has a patent on the design?

    3) Is the language of the non-compete clause included in the filings?

    4) Does anyone know (provide name of, or cite to) the relevant case law as to how non-compete clauses are enforced in that jurisdiction? (California, I assume.)

    5) This isn’t going to arbitration?

  23. Yeah, whatever. Fuck Specialized. They make great products, but fuck them. Fuck Trek while we’re at it, since Burke is just as predatory as Sinyard. Fuck Cannondale, since they’re owned by Dorel…

    I hope they lose this case quickly enough that Volagi can survive, but the truth is none of us would be riding bikes as nice as we do without Specialized and Trek. I’m not excusing their behavior (IF things really are as Volagi says), but to say they haven’t had a huge positive impact on the industry is asinine.

  24. as an aside from the discussion, you shouldn’t apologize for injecting politics into riding a bike. being engaged doesn’t negate the joy of riding and blowing off politics in no way guarantees the preservation of the trails and roads we (I) many times take for granted. sometimes it’s people who sit through lots of boring meetings and write grants who ensure that there are trails to share. and of course there’s the ultimate buzz kill, climate change. without nature it’s not much fun to ride.

  25. Big J-

    1) Doesn’t this involve more than just a non-compete clause (time and geographic limitations)? No trade secrets issue?
    -Specialized has not given a specific reason for the suit. They are basically hiding behind the no-compete.

    2) The second company, as I understand it, has a patent on the design?
    -Yes, Volagi has a patent on the design.

    3) Is the language of the non-compete clause included in the filings?

    4) Does anyone know (provide name of, or cite to) the relevant case law as to how non-compete clauses are enforced in that jurisdiction? (California, I assume.)
    - 3 & 4 : As I understand it from a friend who is a patent attorney, no-compete clauses are usually non-binding, and ostensibly unenforceable in California. The reasoning is that the impede the ability of the person who signed the agreement to find work, and that can also hinder business.

    5) This isn’t going to arbitration?

  26. I spent years working in shops, watching the big companies treat bike shops and their territories like personal fifedoms. They lie about never putting the brand in a shop in less than a five mile radius. They bully the shop owner when they bring in a different line, or get parts and accesories from another distributor. If you carry 2 major lines they will get bent if their line is not represented as strongly. The reps often behave like little kids that dont get their way. Ive seen them balk on legitimate warranty issues and deny poor design until their death.. Generally if I cant talk to the guy that welds my frame…Im not getting it. Thats why my garage has two Kelly’s a Standard and an old Colnago. Ride what makes you happy….

  27. i would like to interject here that that bicycle these folks are making, or being stopped making, or going broke trying to make; IS MUTHER HUMPING BAD ASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
    If any of you David vs Goliath types want to defend your side please send me your cash donation I will put you money where you mouth is and buys one of those.
    Us daily commuters need a carbon complete, hydraulic disc, hydraulic shifting, room for full coverage fenders, rear rack ready light and tight.
    And I ain’t even playing.
    jimmy c
    hydro shifting: http://youtu.be/NZrovhfUU_A

  28. @JimmyC Thanks for the hydro-shifting link. Very inspiring design. Rare to say “innovative” and truly mean it. This system is like coding to the interface – inside joke for you developer types.

  29. I think I’ll have to wait to see Specialized’s side of this to pass judgement. As much as I dislike the company, their products, and most of their customers, there’s no arbitrary line in my mind where a company is big enough to be ok to rip off.

    The way these guys are shooting their mouths off to the press like a couple of complete amateurs provides little confidence that they didn’t step on their dicks at some point. Saying they returned the client list after walking off with it? Returning one physical copy of a piece of information doesn’t mean you don’t still have it. Client lists, and any kind of marketing analysis are just as much of a trade secret as engineering is. While they didn’t register the company name until after they left, they do seem like the kind of boneheads that use company e-mail to communicate with investors. If they said anything to an investor about having access to extensive dealer contacts, they’re fucked.

    I guess the lesson, no matter how this shakes out, is that if you go to work for someone known to be a vindictive prick, you should probably hire a good lawyer the second the thought of spinning off enters your mind.

  30. it appears that Spezed resorts to frivolous litigation and cannot exist without attacking small businesses such as the entrepreneurs at Volagi. Spezed appears as a subversive, non competitive, and repressive company. Spezed is obviously frightened of any serious efforts by small companies trying to extend cycling’s products, especially if “not invented here at spezed”.

  31. They didn’t steal a ‘client list’. They took the dealer list. Yes, they returned it, but so what. Every dealer is listed on the SpecialEd website, so basically, they took something that is common knowledge.

  32. All I know is that this is perfect timing. The only specialized bike i own is on ebay right now. Good riddance.

  33. Anybody else think Volagi didn’t do itself any favors with the paint scheme on that bike? It’s IDENTICAL to the one on my buddy’s Specialized Epic…

  34. …let’s face it…theses two guys maybe didn’t handle their exit & new start-up strategy very gracefully but then again specialized has never handled anything gracefully either…

    …tit for tat & so, good luck guys…

    …i don’t think you should be handcuffed by “big business” whilst starting up a new venture when the only “real” common interest is a product (the bicycle) produced by hundreds of companies world wide…

    …@sfb…yep, i agree…as i say, their exit & start-up strategy could have been handled way better…

    …it’s almost seems like the heart of this matter is a lawsuit based more on a personal vendetta by sinyard because he feels insulted by these guys, than it is about any “intellectual property” issues by ‘specialized – the company’…

    …just a thought………

  35. it almost seems like the heart of this matter is a lawsuit based more on a personal vendetta by sinyard because he feels insulted by these guys, than it is about any “intellectual property”” issues by ‘specialized – the company’

    …i just quoted myself ‘cuz my comment makes a lotta sense to my way of thinking…maybe i’m right, maybe i’m wrong but despite a lotta corporate law ‘blah, blah, blah’ goin’ on, ‘specialized’ is still just one guy…

  36. All right, I was trying to stay quiet, but here goes:

    The Volagi guys fucked the dog. If they stole a customer list, that’s illegal, unethical, stupid and a crystal-clear breach of an otherwise unenforceable non-compete. They tried to cheat, got caught and will get what they deserve. Bad business practices lead to failure.

    Specialized is a litigious outfit, one of thousands in the U.S., the bigger the better. Think Microsoft. Think Apple. Specialized DOES hold high-quality IP (intellectual property) and the current business landscape in the U.S. is to prosecute such assets through litigation. I once competed against an outfit that had patented a fucking wavelength for god’s sake, like the entire universe started and stopped on either side of 1.3 µm. The patent stood for less than two years, but in the mean time, they made hay before the rest of the industry leap-frogged them.

    Me? I’ve signed a couple of non-competes along the way. Generally, your other option is unemployment. I’ve never had a problem, and yes, I’ve been recruited out of those companies to work in the same high-tech industries. Just don’t step on your dick, and no one is coming after you. They can’t. Prior art clearly suggests that a corporation cannot prevent an individual from working for a living.

    Me? I have a ten year-old Specialized FSR fullie in the quiver. It has almost 8000 miles on it, which is a butt load for a mountain bike. The FSR four-bar design (which is patented, by the way) is a good design. Ride one of those Epics with the “brain” 90-degree shock valve thingy— it’s a damned good XC machine.

  37. …hey, mikey…here’s your “…customer list…”…what ???…the volagi guys got a printed out version of this ???…

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCDealerLocR2.jsp

    …there may be other aspects to the case but there’s your ‘customer list’…’specialized’ offered it to me, on-line, no charge…took all of 15 seconds to find…

  38. BGW— dealers are customers for bicycle companies, are they not?

    If that’s all the Volagi guys stole, and Specialized is able to prosecute the non-compete they signed, then they’re dumber than a sack of hammers. Charles Darwin would be proud— they deselected themselves from the industry. Dumbshits.

  39. …mikey…my dad, excuse me, lawyer is bigger than your dad, whoops, did it again, i meant lawyer…

  40. …& “…dealers…” are bicycle store owners, most of which sell various brands despite this becoming the era of ‘major brand bicycle super stores’

    …like i say, i think sinyard is insulted & thus pissed at these guys…

    …despite ‘specialized’ being the bicycle industry’s equivalent of ‘big business’ it’s prob’ly still ‘hands-on’ enough that these guys were in meetings with sinyard & others regarding ‘specialized’ product biz & as has been mentioned, it seems they were setting up their biz at the same time…

    …while that is a no-no in one sense, it’s also a weird ‘chicken or egg’ situation…

    “…i’m not gonna quit unless i know i’ve got options…” OR “…i know i’ve got the option of relying on my own creativity & having looked into that, i feel confident enough that i can quit & go in that direction, so therefore, i do quit…”

    …who gets to actually define the ethics ???…

  41. >>>>…who gets to actually define the ethics ???…

    BGW— the layers, duh.

    It’s a simple contract, and if you violate it, you may be sued. You’re surprised? You would have it some other way?

  42. …mikey…duh, yourself…it’s the judges who define ethics…the lawyers try & influence the judges…

    …NOTHING about the law is as simple or as black & white as you portray it…it’s all in the interpretation & there are always plenty of gray areas…

    …sometimes you are signing a contract that was drawn up by a company lawyer obviously with their best interests in mind & none of your own but that is not to say that it is necessarily as enforceable as the company would have you believe…

    …angry buddhist…seems like the internet is becoming a stumbling block for michael sinyard in his desire to control that whole sandbox…i’m bettin’ ‘specialized’ has hired more lawyers than designers or engineers as of late…

    …& again…considering the early history of ‘specialized’, there is a sadness to this whole situation that most lawyers would never understand…

  43. I just remember in ‘Klunkers’, Mr Sinyard going on about it being a big tent & we should open it up & invite everyone inside, (or something like that), sort of contradicts the current stance.

    I did go look at Volagi’s website & those are damn nice looking bikes.

  44. …yep…call it sad, call it ugly but the bottom line is that none of this shit is in the true spirit of riding free-spirited through the beauty of nature & sharing it with friends…

    …but then again, i’m prob’ly an idiot for thinking it’s ever been that way beyond the first day of there being an mountain bike industry…

    …lotta lip service is paid to the joys of mtb riding but everybody in the industry wants to get a leg up on the next guy…

  45. Hey BGW,

    No you’re not an idiot, the same way Charlie & JP are not idiots, you’ve stood by & respected an ideal & a principle.

    Everyone else went off & made a livelihood out of bikes to various degrees of exploitation, (not that there is anything wrong with that except that Fuck it there’s lots)..

    Many of them are now enjoying the status of ‘Elder statesmen’.

    Sorta like the ANC in my home country at the moment.

    In my opinion, you three have been true.

    But that’s just me..

  46. …thanks, hurben…it’s a dichotomy to be sure…

    …all the original guys who are still heavily involved hadda make choices along the way & i guess sometimes those choices led them away from the ‘sense of purpose’ that defined the early days & while i can’t fault that natural evolution (biz is biz, no matter the industry, ya ???), it is a shame in a way to see the present results…

    …i’m not naive enough to think any industry could really set it’s own ethical standards & maintain them but i do have mixed feelings, having watched something grow & blossom from such tiny roots to the absolute world wide phenomena it’s become, especially in light of having worked in that industry & creating certain ‘accoutrements’ that are still in use today…

    …years ago, i was asked by a headhunting firm to work for ‘specialized’ with an offer of considerably more money & despite my intrigue, i spurned the offer to stay with gary fisher’s company which i felt truly was innovative…

    …6 months later, that iteration of fisher folded, leaving 30 of us jobless & i’d burned that particular bridge…c’est la vie…i wasn’t really enamored of leaving marin, so i guess i didn’t look too hard for work elsewhere in the biz…

    …with some of the machinations i see throughout the industry these days, i can’t say i honestly regret that decision despite the money i might have made…call me crazy but i have my own sense of ‘standards’

  47. …cycling…what is it about this wonderful, healthy & amazing activity that draws some of the personalities it does ???…

    …i guess it starts with the competitive nature of the sport which evolved out of simply enjoying a bike ride…

    …the sinyard’s, the armstrong’s, the flagstaff ‘attitude’…

    …i don’t have a real point other than to point out the obvious…

    …for each of us, it all started with simply enjoying a bike ride…

  48. …SPECIALIZED WINS !!!…breach of contract…damages = $1.00…

    …bwahahaha ad infinitum…

    …waiting for more info but this was the first word out a’ the courtroom…

    …so justice was done, the contract was upheld & volagi pays for their insolence…that’ll work out to $0.50 per man…

  49. http://www.bicycleretailer.com/news/newsDetail/6366.html

    …actually robert choi will have to shoulder the bill…barley forsman found not liable…

    “Specialized founder and president Mike Sinyard said he was satisfied with the outcome.

    …”This lawsuit was a matter of principle and about protecting our culture of trust and innovation. We respect the ruling of the court in our favor. We are very satisfied with the outcome and the damages set at $1.00. We really want to put all our passion and time into growing the sport of cycling.”

    …ya, sure…okey, dokey…

    “According to earlier court filings, Specialized had spent $1.5 million in legal fees up to the start of the trial last week.”

    …yep…all about principals…

  50. blah blah blah… I’m kind of embarrassed that I own three big S bikes. My Stumpy from 1996 is now about to die, so I’ll have to find another brand to replace it with.

  51. I gots a Special ed Allez I snagged for twenty clams at a thrift store. Two or three sizes too small, but for twenty bucks it’s a great donor bike. The lugged steel frame will probably hang on my garage wall until I’m done picking it clean.

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  53. To all of you who (still) own a Spezialized… Are your Chesse Meters broken?!!
    In ’89 someone gave me a Hardrock, took me about 2 mos. to save up for a Ritchey that hard rocked my world forever. (especially after retrofitting w/Unishock & Pederson Brakes)
    In 2000, bought a house where there were no trails but epic mtn. roads, after a 12 yr hiatus from skinnies & overacheiving trigeeks, I got a S. Allez w/105 for half price($500) from Supergo(Purveyors of massive amounts of low grade dairy). In 2001 I crushed my friends(and a few fallen rocks) up L’ Alpe Du Huez w/40# panniers in freezing rain while they rode carbon w/record. Two days later I snapped the deraileur hanger in Provence and was taken in by a Frenchman who was a rider and a chef on vaca. The next 3days were spent riding his old bike 54(I use 61) w/rusted(fused) seat post tiny ’80′s shoes(pedlas also fused), watching all day live coverage of the tour, while eating gourmet food. FOR FREE! Truly an “Epic”(used w/permission from “MR.” Sinyard).
    A point? You ask…I have S. to thank for taking me there & on my first MTB ride. As do millions of other riders who got their start on an S. Fortunately we owe them nothing in return, cause those bikes were all acquired through legal means. We get to move on to bigger and better things. If we love riding exciting high quality products from craftsmen and innovators and entrepreneurs who raise the bar(usually much higher than any of the big 3 with their megamillions) we get to purchase those products without fear of impunity. What a country! Even partial Capitalism is better than what the other guys got.
    The big S may have sold a few good products(wether they stole them or not) but, how big a mtn of cheese would you have to nibble through to find that needle in a haystack? For every good bike that they ever sold there were 10 others out there on the free market that you could and still can purchase which are as good or better than an S.
    When I ride by someone riding that Queso, I don’t chastise them or spit on them but, I do silently pity them(except of course for those riding a Roubaix with those innovative(cute) little dampeners in the seat stays) and hope they eventually discover a better alternative.
    For those of us who’ve been around long enough to make such historical correlations, Specialized IS the new Schwinn! I suspect they too will die such an uncerimonious death. Hopefully through the purchase by a large Chinese manufacturer who will likely take the big S. to the next and final level. Please God, in my lifetime?
    Ride whatcha got!