40 years of
Looking forward

Since 1974 we've been out there pushing ourselves to be better. Without you, none of these stories would have been possible. So from all of us at Specialized, thank you. Here's to another 40 years of always looking forward.

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1974 1983

A van, a man, and a plan. Specialized Bicycle Components starts from humble beginnings, by riders for riders, and quickly begins to make a difference for life on two wheels. The fashion choices may have been questionable, but the products were pretty far out.

  1. Handwritten catalogs

    1974—In this first year, sales are a solid $64,000. Mike hand writes the Specialized catalogs, each one is personalized and written on lined paper. At the same time, the OPEC oil crisis in the USA was reinforcing the future of the bicycle as a transportation alternative. Mike knew he was onto something big.

  2. First Tire

    1976—What better way to see if something cuts it in the real world than a road test? We develop our first tires for the touring market. Over thousands of miles, and a few crashes, the tire is both tested and refined. The Specialized Touring Tire becomes the first breakthrough for the brand.

  3. Original Turbo Tire

    1978—Another innovation in tire technology comes along as we introduce the first widely accepted high-performance foldable clincher tire, The Turbo. Some claim this tire was the beginning of the end for tubular tires.

  4. Everybody could come in: young old, in shape, not in shape. That was the beauty of the mountain bike.

    Mike Sinyard, Founder. Listen as Mike describes the development of our first mountain bikes. [Length: 0:52]

  5. Employees

    1981—On the road, we introduce the first race-ready Allez, and also the Sequoia to satisfy the burgeoning sport touring market. These bikes have a pedigree, designed by Tim Neenan and built by Yoshi Kono, Japan’s most noted Keirin frame builder. And if that’s not enough, Lon Haldeman sets the USA double transcontinental speed record on Specialized tires. A big year in our history book, for sure.

  6. 81 Stumpjumper

    1981—It’s a big year for Specialized, as we introduce the groundbreaking Stumpjumper. The Stumpy, now immortalized in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, was the first mountain bike available in neighborhood bike shops. The initial shipment of 125 frames sold out in 6 days. Tom Hillard rides a Stumpjumper to its first recorded victory this year at the Punk Bike Enduro in Santa Rosa, CA. Many more follow.

  7. Water Bottles

    1981—For the first time, customers are able to get high quality, USA-made and FDA-approved water bottles for their bikes from Specialized.

  8. Stumpjumper ad

    1982—Stumpjumper introduction proves that this represents more than just a new bike; it’s a whole new sport. Within its first year, the Stumpjumper matures from a “big kid’s BMX bike” into an entire culture of its own.

  9. Great American Bike Race

    1982 – John Howard places 2nd aboard a Specialized Allez at the first Great American Bike Race. This race evolved into one of the toughest races on the endurance calendar, the Race Across America (RAAM).

1984 1993

Between all the neon and acid washed everything, Specialized continues to push the boundaries of performance both on the road and on the trails. Riders are on the dirt in record numbers, mountain biking gets a rainbow jersey for the first time ever, and the S-Works program takes life.

  1. Catalog Cover

    1984—Our catalogs have come a long way since the original, hand written catalog from 1974. High quality components and tires, many from present-day competitors, were still a focus for the company.

  2. I remember laying there on the ground thinking: ‘I’ve broken my goddamned arm testing this stupid fork! My season is ruined!’

    Ned Overend, Legend. Known fondly as The Lung and The Captain, Ned has also played the role of The Guinea Pig. Back in the early, formative days of suspension testing, he put many products through their paces. Sadly, as he explains here, some did not stand up to his rigorous standard of awesome. [Length: 1:04]

  3. Ground Control tires

    1986—As a family gets bigger, so must the house. We give ourselves room to stretch and grow even more, by moving from the warehouse in San Jose to the current headquarters in Morgan Hill, CA. This same year, we unveil the Ground Control tire at the Fat Tire Week in Crested Butte, Colorado.

  4. Neutral Tech Support

    1986—It’s time to give back. Specialized starts the first neutral tech support program to help mountain bike racers and promoters at events across the USA.

  5. We were going to the dealers and pushing shoes and the dealers were making fun [of us] and saying ‘Hey guys, you can’t continue to make this kind of sh*t.’

    Listen as Ermanno Leonardi, Managing Director, Italy, talks about a period in our history he’d rather forget: when we were less than successful at shoes. [Length: 1:37]

  6. Team Stumpjumper

    1988 – The movers and shakers of the off-road circuit, defining what racing XC is all about: Team Stumpjumper.

  7. Specialized Shoes

    1988—Inspiration strikes at ground level—literally. Touring shoes developed in collaboration with Nike are initially distributed by Specialized, but it doesn’t take long for our engineers take matters into their own hands (or feet) and develop Specialized’s first line of cycling shoes. The famous Dirt Dog mountain bike shoe is launched, and remains a go-to favorite for years after its introduction

  8. Carbon Innovation

    1988—The innovation rolls on, and the Stumpjumper Epic, our first carbon fiber mountain bike, is built in Morgan Hill. In this same year, the Allez Epic carbon fiber bicycle wins the U.S. National Criterium Championship.

  9. IMBA

    1988—Specialized joins IMBA as a founding corporate member and holds the "No Trails, No Sales" breakfast at Interbike in cooperation with Bicycling Magazine. IMBA made its first pitch to the bike industry, saying that the future of mountain biking will depend on responsible riding, volunteer trail work by mountain bikers, and political clout. Linda DuPriest of Specialized joined IMBA's board.

  10. http://youtu.be/857NPIzJBHg

  11. http://youtu.be/bcb8YyhLA0w

  12. No plan, no budgeting, no nothing. Thirty-thousand pounds in my bank account and we started from my house the first of September that year with a staff of three.

    Richard Hemington, Managing Director, UK. Listen as Richard describes those early ‘by the bootstraps’ days getting the UK office up and running in 1989. [Length: 1:41]

  13. First Aero

    1989—A joint venture with DuPont, we launch the Specialized Composite Wheel to the market, and it instantly gains acceptance, popularity, and a streak of wins under track and TT racers. Notably, this was our first collaboration with world renowned aerodynamicist Chester Kyle.

  14. Overend Wins 90 Worlds

    1990—In Durango, Colorado, Ned Overend wins the first UCI Mountain Bike World Championship

  15. Overend in Hall of Fame

    1991—Specialized team captain Ned Overend is given well-deserved recognition for his continued domination of the sport by being inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

  16. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJTNTx7mHWE&feature=youtu.be

  17. Dawn of S-Works

    1992—The much-anticipated S-Works division springs to life in Morgan Hill—a designation rooted in the exclusive factory “works” motocross bikes used by pro racers .The first S-Works model was a steel hardtail mountain bike, featuring the all-new Specialized Future Shock suspension fork. To this day, our S-Works title is reserved for elite bikes and equipment representing the most revolutionary and innovative designs.

1994 2003

We go carbon fiber and suspension crazy. FSR is born, taking mountain bikes to a new level while FACT carbon fiber finds its way to road bikes in our group rides and the pro peloton. Mario Cipollini also takes time trial skin suit fashion to previously unheard of levels of chic.

  1. The Flying Scotsman

    1994—So much can be done in 60 minutes, and Graeme “The Flying Scotsman” Obree proves it, breaking the world hour record on Specialized Ultralight Composite Wheels.

  2. Jerseys

    1994—Racing has always been in our blood: and in our wardrobes.

  3. Getting Full Travel

    1995—We launch Ground Control, a line of mountain bikes exemplifying our dedication to full-suspension performance.

  4. Hummer Support

    1995 – Race support vehicles had a different look, back in the 90s. Sadly, we had to sell the Hummer to pay for hotel rooms damaged by a certain downhill team in 1996.

  5. Pulp Traction

    1995—"Love can make you do crazy things…And these guys love to ride!"

  6. We got that saddle going in a year when the company was floundering, badly. The revenue and the margin from that saddle saved us.

    Larry Koury, Managing Director, Canada. Listen as Larry explains how our first Body Geometry saddle in 1996 was ground-breaking, in more ways than one. [Length: 0:36]

  7. The Cactus Cup

    1996—The Cactus Cup grows in popularity and goes global, with races now being held in France, Brazil and Japan. At the same time, Team Specialized gets a sponsorship boost, becoming the Mountain Dew/Specialized Team.

  8. Hearst

    1997—We never stop innovating.

  9. Body Geometry R&D

    1997—Body Geometry is born, and in collaboration with Dr. Roger Minkow, saddle technology sees new heights in comfort and performance with the introduction of the first medically proven design.

  10. FSRxc

    1997—With innovation comes expansion, and Specialized introduces a new category with the FSRxc—a lightweight, full-suspension trail machine.

  11. Palmer

    1997—The Specialized Mountain Dew MTB team bolsters its roster by signing Downhill sensation, Shaun Palmer.

  12. Cipollini Is Specialized

    2001—Mario Cipollini also signs with Specialized.

  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFeS2i8dKW8

  14. 01 Race Win

    2001—Angel Casero delivers the first Specialized Grand Tour victory by winning the Vuelta a España aboard an S-Works Aerotec road bike.

  15. Cipollini Earns The Rainbow

    2002—Mario Cipollini puts his S-Works E5 to work, winning Milan-San Remo, six stages of the Giro d’Italia, and the UCI World Road Championships. This makes Specialized the first American bike brand ever to win the UCI World title.

  16. That Roubaix, ten years on, I’d say it contributed a lot to the way people ride: what people ride, where they ride, and how they ride.

    Richard Hemington, Managing Director, UK. Listen as he describes how the Roubaix bike, launched in 2003, has changed things. [Length: 0:55]

  17. Dolce

    2003—Specialized launches the Allez Dolce and the Allez Vita, our first ever women’s road bikes, featuring women’s geometry and components. The 44cm frame came equipped with 700c wheels, which was groundbreaking for smaller riders.

2004 2013

Tom Boonen decides it’s time to start annihilating Paris-Roubaix, the Stumpjumper turns twenty five, and the Epic 29r wins Gold. The race wins keep coming, we all keep riding, and Specialized keeps innovating.

  1. On a Rampage

    2004—Sixteen-year-old Kyle Strait wins the Red Bull Rampage aboard the Demo 9 downhill machine. Earlier in the year, Strait wins the junior division bronze medal at the UCI Downhill World Championships

  2. Gerolsteiner

    2005—We throw our sponsorship weight behind a new professional road racing team, Gerolsteiner, captained by Californian Levi Leipheimer.

  3. 25th Anniv. Stumpy

    2006—The beloved Stumpy reaches a milestone with the 25th Anniversary of its release. And, we couldn’t let a 25-year anniversary go by without releasing a new, highly evolved Stumpjumper—the first full-carbon version.

  4. Tarmac Debut

    2007—Tour de France, Tom Boonen debuts the Tarmac SL2, which he uses to win two stages, and the Green Jersey. Later that year, Paolo Bettini wins the UCI Road World Championship aboard his Tarmac SL2.

  5. Epic Victory

    2007—On the dirt, Christoph Sauser wins the UCI Marathon World Championship on his S-Works Epic.

  6. Ride to Vegas

    2008—Ride to Vegas. A small group of Specialized employees, dealers and friends join together to ride from our Morgan Hill office to the annual Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, NV. The multi-day ride covering some of California and Nevada’s most beautiful and challenging terrain to raise money for breast cancer research.

  7. Burry Does It

    2009—Factory rider Burry Stander quickly puts the new technology to work, winning the UCI U23 XC World Championship on the S-Works Epic

  8. NICA

    2009—Specialized becomes the Founding National Sponsor with the simple goal of getting more kids on bikes.

  9. 09 Race Wins

    2009—In a textbook repeat performance, Devolder again wins Flanders, and Boonen takes Paris-Roubaix the week after–proving the mettle of the Tarmac and Roubaix bikes in the cobbled spring classics.

  10. 10 Race Wins

    2010—Fabian Cancellara wins both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in such a dominating fashion that conspiracy theorists accuse him of having a hidden motor inside his Specialized. No, it’s just a fast man riding a fast bike.

  11. Holy Shiv

    Specialized debuts the new Shiv time trial bike at the Tour de France, which Cancellara uses to win both time trial stages. Later that year, he rides the same bike to a TT World Championship victory. The Shiv wins again, this time at Ironman Kona under Chris “Macca” McCormack.

  12. Demo Dominates

    2010—Legendary Downhiller Sam Hill, and his fellow Australian, junior division protégé Troy Brosnan, both win Downhill World Championships in Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada, aboard prototype 2011 Demo 8s.

  13. McLaren Venge

    2011—We should call it “Year of the Drool," as cyclists everywhere catch a glimpse of the new S-Works + McLaren Venge, a new aerodynamic road bike platform made via a partnership with F1 car company, McLaren.

  14. 29er Makes History

    2011—Jaroslav Kulhavy utilizes the Specialized 29er advantage to lock up both the UCI XC World Cup title and the World Championship aboard his S-Works Epic 29. To date, the Epic is the only full-suspension XC bike to win a World Championship, and the only 29er with the same accolades

  15. Missle Command

    2011—Specialized add the HTC team to their pro team roster, and the “Manx Missile”, Mark Cavendish, wins the TDF green jersey and the Road World Championships.

  16. Antelope Blindside test

    2012—All of our helmets meet international consumer safety standards, including the little-known Antelope Blindside Impact Test. The fella in this video was just riding along in South Africa when this lively creature failed to signal and entered oncoming mountain bike traffic. Thankfully, the rider’s Prevail helmet did its job, and he walked away with nothing but an amazing story to tell.

  17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KATucvlq9c

  18. Golden Boy

    2012—One year after making World Cup history aboard his Epic 29, Jaroslav Kulhavy reaches the pinnacle of the sport by capturing the XC Olympic Gold medal.

  19. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7P-8bOK5Ps

    After three weeks of racing through everything Italy had to offer, Vincenzo Nibali—with with the help of his Astana teammates—secured his first pink jersey in dominant fashion.

  20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwermUnZrcU&list=UUcrBtxD8xy2cxeXM7f-xihA&feature=share&index=7

  21. Win Tunnel

    2013—The dedication to aerodynamic innovation comes to life when the Win Tunnel is built at the Morgan Hill headquarters.

  22. BMX gold

    2013—Danny Dhers sings with Specialized, jumps aboard the all-new P.20 Pro, and promptly wins his incredible fifth X Games BMX Park gold medal.

  23. The Golden Tune

    2013—In a one-of-a-kind partnership, world-class Swedish suspension manufacturer Öhlins partners with the Performance Mountain Bike product development team to bring unrivaled suspension technology to the world of Downhill mountain biking. The Öhlins shock is found on 2014 Demo 8 and Enduro Evo models

  24. Bigfoot believes in you

    2013—It really does exist. Skeptics said it couldn’t be done, a 160mm-travel 29er. The Enduro 29 did more than just turn some heads in its debut year, it won the “Bike of the Year” awards from pinkbike.com and vitalmtb.com.

2014 The Future

Disc brakes on road bikes? Remote controlled tire pressure systems? Sounds crazy but, sure why not? Something really cool that we don’t even know about yet? Pretty much guaranteed. We live for the future and hope you’ll be right there with us.

  1. The Captain

    Is this any way to treat a World-Championship-winning Hall of Famer? Ned’s a good sport, and when others thought he was “too old” to win races, all he did was continue to dominate the cross-country world. Since joining Specialized in the early 1990s, Ned Overend continues to be integral in the development of Specialized bikes and equipment.

  2. Stybar Lobby

    2014—The future looks bright for Specialized athletes, and we celebrate the greatest achievements by honoring them in the lobby of Specialized headquarters in Morgan Hill. Our latest inspiration? Cyclocross World Champion, Zdenek Stybar.

  3. Concept Tandem Bike

    2014—Some of our most successful products come from imagination and experimentation. What will we think of next?

  4. Design

    2014—From the fertile minds of our designers and engineers to your garage. Keep the rubber side down.