What’s the Significance of the Specialized Direct-to-Consumer Move? It’s Complicated.

Mar 23, 2022 at 18:18
by Alicia Leggett  
Tom Richards photo

Specialized made headlines in late January when it announced that it would begin selling directly to consumers, an announcement that had many speculating about the implications of that decision for local bike shops and for the industry as a whole – in which Specialized plays a massive part.

The direct-to-consumer move has industry experts and couch pundits alike tossing out everything from valid concerns (that life will now become harder for independent bike shops) to catastrophic accusations that Specialized is singlehandedly corrupting the bike industry. (It’s not that simple. It never is.)

Specialized’s decision to sell directly to consumers is another move in a series of interconnected bike industry happenings: a proxy turf war in which Specialized, Trek, and other players such Pon Holdings try to establish themselves geographically with strategic retail shop purchases; Specialized entering its next phase of life marked by a new CEO after 48 years led by Mike Sinyard; and the Covid bike boom and resulting parts shortages as a backdrop to all of that, adding record-high levels of cash flow but even higher levels of uncertainty and stress to the bike industry.

The concerns are obviously grounded: one of the largest bike brands on the planet selling directly to consumers may leave retailers high and dry. In a time when bikes are in short supply, too, having Specialized increase its online sales makes stocking bikes even tougher than it already is, since an allotment of Specialized bikes is now being held for online sales only.

We went to Taiwan and started a bike company
The bike industry supply chains are already maxed out.

I wanted to hear some opinions directly from those affected, so I reached out to a scattering of Specialized dealers all across the US. For obvious reasons, the shop employees who are unhappy about the shift requested anonymity, but below are a selection of their comments.

bigquotesEvery Specialized shop is concerned with their recent moves and overstep in their asks. How we each handle our relationship with Specialized is different. Whether we say it we are concerned and upset. That being said our shop philosophy is ‘wait and see’. We are going to do the best we can with what we have. They do make very good bikes. Arguably the best ebikes on the market. As a dealer there is no one brand that offers the breadth of products and categories that Specialized offers. We would be VERY challenged with trying to cobble together an ebike presentation. No one else can supply the quantity of bikes that Specialized does. As challenging as they've always been to partner with, they've never been so odious that I'd seriously consider ending the relationship.An anonymous Specialized shop representative

bigquotesLong term, Specialized is going down a path that will continue to erode dealers' trust. Specialized grew to where it is today by partnering with dealers, but now they are treating dealers like a necessary evil. The lack of trust is self-fulfilling. Treat dealers poorly & dealers will not be happy and will shift energy to other brands.An anonymous Specialized shop representative

bigquotesSpecialized has done nothing new to make dealers feel good about their relationship. All brands have reduced margin, and other benefits, but it still hurts.An anonymous Specialized shop representative

bigquotesThe consumer direct frankly sucks. Specialized already directs and reserves inventory for Specialized.com. It limits the available inventory for independent Specialized bike shops. Specialized owned shops are being built and will further reduce the available bikes. Since there is no transparency to how inventory is allocated it does generate suspicion and ill will. We have customers that are waiting months to a year for a bike that I can't give an expected delivery date for. Compounded by the fact that the bike might show up on Specialized.com many months before the projected delivery date to us.An anonymous Specialized shop representative

Trust was a common thread among the responses. More than one dealer said it felt as if the rug was pulled from under them - that they'd counted on Specialized to continue being a substantial part of their sales, and the shift in Specialized's business model made them very, very nervous. They don't feel as if they were considered in the move or given enough heads up to plan for a change in their Specialized sales (though, to be fair, there have been numerous changes in sales all across the bike industry without anyone's knowledge or consent in the last two years).

One shop said that to sidestep the awkwardness of having bikes become available online before they become available to shops, the shop recommends that its customers sign up to be notified when Specialized stock becomes available online because the shop itself can't get them. At least then, if a customer finds the bike they want online, they can order it for click-and-collect at the shop. Another shop owner said they believe some retailers are buying bikes online from Specialized to fulfill customer orders because it's better than keeping their customers waiting for months while their bikes appear available online. It’s embarrassing, a shop representative told me, to have customers come into the shop looking to purchase a bike they saw available online and have no means of getting it into the shop anytime soon.

Everyone I spoke with said it's too soon to know how Specialized's direct sales will affect the brick-and-mortar dealers.

Still, some shops that had strong relationships with Specialized prior to the move have maintained their positive relationships. Kyle McKendree, General Manager of Absolute Bikes in Flagstaff, AZ, said that the direct-to-consumer shift will be tougher for small shops than for large ones to weather. "In our industry, it seems the bigger you are, the easier it has been to adapt to supply issues and the changing demands of suppliers," he explained. "With Specialized having different dealer tiers, large dealers like us have benefited while my friend's smaller store has had to get really creative to survive. Different markets are also going to be affected differently."

For small shops, losing access to an amount of product could be devastating, though, interestingly, Ian Hughes of Vielo voiced an almost opposite take in a chat with CyclingIndustry.News. The bottom line is that we don't really know how this will play out.

For all shops, small and large, the change represents the evolving role of bike shops in general. The employees at Absolute Bikes, which has a shop in not only Flagstaff but in the ultra-touristy Sedona, are used to helping customers they've never met and with whom they have no existing relationship. As sales shift online, increasing numbers of customers will rely on shops only when they need hands-on service, and shops will have to adapt to that new normal.

"It adds another level of complexity as we are expected to take care of every Specialized customer. Having shops in destination locations means this is not new to us. We are constantly helping customers that we have never met before. Sometimes it's easier and other times it's not," McKendree said. "But when we can make or break a customer's vacation we try our best to help. It will be no different with D2C customers. If we give them exceptional service it will grow our business one way or another."

Then, of course, there's the human element. All the brands understand that - that's why there are sponsored athletes. It's tough to replace that part of the experience with a webpage.

It's tough to boil the complex problem down enough to say which sales channels are best for consumers, but some valuable pieces of that problem include availability of bikes (where direct-to-consumer sales shine thanks to geographic flexibility), access to service (yet another reason we need bike shops to stay around), price (self-explanatory - things will typically be less expensive online), and the overall experience of paying for bike-related goods and services (as some riders love to visit their shop friends while others may avoid the bike shop scene at all costs.) In some cases, the benefits for companies like Specialized of direct-to-consumer sales will be passed on to the consumers in the forms of stock availability and pricing, largely because the direct sales channels grant companies more accurate forecasting data and the ability to invest more specifically in what their customers will actually want.

Another reason it may be - no, definitely is - strategic for Specialized to go direct-to-consumer is the increasing scarcity of brick-and-mortar shops through which a bike brand can sell. Securing a business relationship with a shop isn't as simple as sending an email, becoming buddies, and selling some bikes, especially considering how much competition is out there among bike brands for retail dominance. It's a cutthroat world, baby. But actually. Selling online, directly to consumers, sidesteps the geographic dominance issues and creates an alternate channel to the retailer buyout battle.

Rick Vosper, in an analysis piece on our sister site Bicycle Retailer, explained the situation as such:

bigquotes[Pon brands struggling to get enough retailers to carry their products] speaks to the business model I’ve long called Bike 3.0. The strategy of the top three bike companies - Trek, Specialized and Giant, but especially Trek and Specialized - has been to try to control the market by locking down floor space with top retailers, preventing competing bike brands from establishing a significant sales volume with those dealers.Rick Vosper

Specialized S-Works EXOS Evo shoes
There are still plenty of reasons to go into a shop: like to drink beers or to try on some fancy ballet slippers like these ones.

And while many retailers are rolling with the punches and sticking with Specialized, there have already been some notable instances of retailers cutting ties with the company - and some examples of it happening the other way around, with Specialized deciding to part ways with former shops.

Alpha Bikes, a major German retailer that has operated a Specialized Concept Store since 2008, recently announced that it will switch to selling Giant products this July, spurred by Specialized's direct-to-consumer change.

Another case study of an interesting Specialized situation happened last fall with Mike's Bikes, a Northern Californian behemoth bike retail chain that was definitively one of the top 10 independent bike dealers in the US.

However, Mike's Bikes sold to Pon Holdings, the Dutch parent company of numerous bike, mobility, and auto brands including Santa Cruz, Cervelo, and - as of last October's $810 million deal - the Dorel Group, which owns Cannondale, GT, Schwinn, and much more. Though it’s hard to know where to draw the boundaries around these company conglomerates, Pon may well be the largest bike group in the world, beyond even the scale of Specialized and Trek. Here's where the story becomes a little chaotic. In response to the Mike's Bikes sale, Specialized pulled its brand from Mike's Bikes stores, slashing its San Francisco Bay Area S-Works dealers by a full third. In an email sent to inform its customers of the change, Mike's Bikes wrote of Specialized, "They later notified us that they would also be canceling the orders of over 400 customers who had bought and paid for their bikes in advance. They further informed us that as of October 31, they will no longer provide manufacturer warranty support through Mike’s Bikes for the many thousands of Specialized bikes that we’ve sold."

Meanwhile, Pon said in a statement, "The acquisition of Mike's Bikes aligns with Pon's strategy to expand its retail operations in North America by acquiring premier specialty retail brands in top markets," which seems like quite the acknowledgment of the geographic competition with Specialized and Trek. (It's also rumored, but unconfirmed, that Specialized tried to buy Mike's Bikes and was turned down.)

For a bit of context, Pon deals largely in the automotive industry and can claim more than 20% of the Dutch personal vehicle market share, according to its website, and has long been a leading importer and exporter of vehicles including Volkswagen and Audi. In 2017, Pon bought a chain of 10 luxury car dealerships in the US that sell - you guessed it - Volkswagen and Audi, among other brands. History repeats itself once in a while, and if we're to learn to read the patterns, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Pon strategically buying out retail shops and, eventually, crowding out the other brands those shops carry as it instead encourages them to focus on Cannondale and Santa Cruz. Which brings us back to Mike's Bikes.

Soon after the split from Specialized, Mike's Bikes reached an agreement with Giant that it would carry Giant bikes going forward. But with Pon having acquired the Mike's Bikes and Dorel Sports (Cannondale et al.), Giant, in Vosper's words, should be "very, very nervous." And Specialized has definitely lost some ground.

Even if nothing happens to sour the business relationship between Specialized and a given shop, the battle for shop space and the ebb and flow of all the confounding variables mean that there's lots of flux, and nothing seems particularly secure.

One example of such business shifts is in the case of the shop formerly known as Roseville Cyclery, now Mike's Bikes of Roseville. Until this winter, Roseville Cyclery was a leading click-and-collect seller for Specialized in Northern California. The shop always had a positive relationship with Specialized that began when shop owner Oliver Bell bought his first mountain bike, a Specialized Hardrock, in 1987. "I've been a huge proponent of the brand for as long as I can remember," Bell said. He and his wife opened their shop in 2013 and thrived by carrying predominantly Specialized and Santa Cruz. Then, the pandemic hit. Although by many counts his shop flourished - business rose 86% from 2019 to 2020 - the constant stress of managing unprecedented demand became overwhelming and exhausting, and he began to consider selling the shop last summer.

He sold it to Mike's Bikes, which he said gives the shop access to more inventory and stronger infrastructure than ever before. "We're going to be the same but better," he said.

However, the shop’s business relationship with Specialized - which had nothing to do with the sale - was caught in the crossfire, and as soon as Bell notified Specialized of the sale, Specialized removed itself from the shop. It's only business, but still a loss, arguably, for all parties.

On a somewhat related note, Specialized recently bought an office building in Auburn, CA, roughly a 20-minute drive from Mikes's Bikes of Roseville. It appears likely that there's a new Specialized branded store on the way.

Situations like the Mike's Bikes story - business relationships ending not only because of the bike shop turf war but because of widespread and omnipresent upheaval throughout the bike industry thanks to the pandemic and its influx of new riders - plus the intense growth of direct-sales brands like Canyon, which plans on even more growth if we're to judge from the fact that Canyon recently brought on a former Nike executive as its new CEO, have meant that the writing's been on the wall about Specialized changing its sales model, some say. Throw in massive supply chain disruption and pressure to keep prices competitive with direct-sales brands… Specialized is a corporation, and god forbid, its singular reason for existence is to sell bikes. It’s doing what it takes to sell those bikes.

"Not a single manufacturer has been handling the supply and demand problems the same," McKendree said. "So at the IBD level we have had to adapt to each one of them. It’s easier with some than others, but all are challenging. So it makes sense that Specialized wants to be able to control how they get product to the consumer. This ensures that at least part of their business will continue under their control. Being diversified in any business venture makes sense."

2020 Specialized Turbo SL
As e-bikes gain traction, we'll likely (hopefully) see them become more easily serviceable... which means there will need to be people to service them.

Still, we’re unlikely to see many (or any) of the other establishment brands follow suit, at least right now.

Right after Specialized announced that it would start selling directly to consumers, Giant took a very different approach: the Giant Group USA sent a pointed email to its retailers, according to CyclingIndustry.News, that opened with a statement of the importance of local bike shops and strongly denounced Specialized's decision.

"We believe strongly that no one understands a local cycling community more so than your local independent bicycle retailer," the email reads, before skewering direct-to-consumer brands as never having had their customers' backs and emphasizing that the customer service experiences and bike shop relationships will fall by the wayside for brands that go direct-to-consumer.

In response, along with possibly prioritizing brands like Giant that have pledged to stick with the retail model, we'll likely see retailers shift their focus onto their offerings that cannot be found online: namely, service. The role of bike shops is evolving, and the relationships between bike shops and customers will increasingly rely on mechanical work, trail advice, and community support - in fact, the same things that the Big S critics say Specialized is killing. The key is what Bell calls "de-Amazoning," or offering an in-store experience that far surpasses anything customers will find online.

I'm just speculating here, but with the increasing prevalence of e-bikes and with mechanical service representing a proportionally larger part of what shops do, labor prices may rise. After all, car mechanics are paid at least double what bike mechanics make, even though the jobs aren't all that different. If we claim to value brick-and-mortar shops enough to spark this much outrage at Specialized going direct-to-consumer, maybe we should spare some money for where our mouths are and pay bike shop employees as we would pay any other luxury vehicle expert.

Perhaps paying bike mechanics real currency would serve them better than our paying lip service to our principles.


319 Comments

  • 221 20
 Order online for the same price but without dealer support? Sign me up! …..

Buying from LBS not only supports their business, but has many benefits for the consumer. Deals on repairs, tuneups, warranty support, and more. On top of all that, some rad people work in those shops and most will be quick lend a hand or have a nice converasation. If there was substantial discount via direct online order, it might make the sting hurt less. But this is just salt in the wound!
  • 105 2
 The problem with any franchise “dealer” model is the variability of customer service.

I do support my local shops (2 in town, both decent) and the local Toyota dealer is a good/easy place to buy a car.

But-bad shops are too commonplace. Some people might only have one nearby shop-but the shop is dishonest/service dept does poor work etc. For customers in that situation, being able to buy direct is a godsend.
  • 4 4
 (deleted)
  • 252 30
 And then there are the other 60% shops that
- Talk down to their customers
- Have terrible turnaround times
- Mansplain
- Service bikes poorly
  • 40 2
 Yea but, the bike industry can't just continue with a pre internet sales model.

As a customer it's F-ing stupid that I could look online and see a black XL Stumpy Evo Expert sitting on a sales floor in Florida or Pittsburgh but couldn't find the same one available in my state or any surrounding states to buy and the one I had on order from the local shop not showing up month after month after month. (and that started before the covid craziness got into full swing) It sucks that the shop can't help that. But as a customer I just want my bike, If there is a better and easier way for me to get it then...?

IMO there will always be a place for shops, I'd rather try before I buy or better yet demo for a few days. BUT "IF" I have to order something anyway, then I don't see the point of having to go through someone else to do that??
  • 26 6
 Agree 100% scottyrides5 ! Those same Rad people also are usually the ones behind more trail systems, youth programs, community bike events and helping to promote bike related tourism in communities. Your LBS is more than just a place to pick up a bike.
  • 47 69
flag scary1 (Jun 3, 2022 at 12:29) (Below Threshold)
 @plustiresaintdead: it’s really just “explaining” but to people with fragile self images.
  • 25 3
 @plustiresaintdead: Pretty simple... support the LBS that are doing it right and let the one that aren't know what your issues are. I am pretty sure that the majority of shops are trying to do it right. Killing the LBS is not good for the riding community anywhere.
  • 73 11
 @plustiresaintdead: as an ex shop employee from back in the day this is the reason I don't like going into many shops, hit the nail on the head. The stink of arrogance on many shop employees is horrible. Give me direct, I can do all my own maintenance.
  • 17 4
 Without fully understanding the commercial model between Specialized and dealers, it's really tough to form a good opinion.

Buddy bought a bike from Specialized, on top of the purchase price it was $50 to ship the bike from Specialized to the local Specialized dealer who put it together and got it ready to go for him. This implies to me there would be some kind of fixed fee arrangement to handle receiving and set up.

If the shop is getting their receiving costs covered, and still bringing folks in that will likely buy "other stuff" (with higher margins) when picking up, it seems like a win. Sure the dealer isn't getting the margin on the bike itself, but it also means they aren't having to front the capital to stock (as much) and aren't taking the hit on last years models that haven't moved.
  • 24 0
 Local shops have an interesting problem to address. If some hire really qualified mechanics and pay them well (and charge us, the customers more), others will just hire a local teenager who doesn't really know what they're doing. Most consumers (who don't know a lot about bikes) will go to shops that charge less (aka with the kids in the shop), which disincentivizes the shops from hiring and paying for good mechanics. It's easy to say just support your LBS, but we're the ones who know enough about bikes and service to make that informed decision. It's gonna be a tough thing for small, local shops to navigate.
  • 10 4
 Ford cars are going to consumer direct also.
Businesses are seeing online sales increase (Amazon just surpassed Walmart in sales), and foot traffic drop in retail stores. This is the future, embrace or lose. I don't go to many to stores in person except for food.

www.caranddriver.com/news/a37187201/ford-build-to-order-online-ordering-changes
  • 1 0
 @abzillah: We're going to see more and more auto companies moving to this model in the near future.
  • 1 1
 @billg: To my understanding the bike will be shipped directly to the customer, no bike shop will be involved in the process. I believe the bike will be mostly assembled and the customer might be putting on front wheel, handlebars and pedals. Maybe more maybe less, but I’ve seen some wild packages with mostly assembled bikes in the last few months at my lbs.
  • 5 6
 Boo hoo hoo

…...now send me that new Demo please and I’ll take it from there.
  • 17 6
 There are plenty of LBS that I wouldn’t want touching my bike, let alone taking my money and working on it.
I’m happy to not pay them a penny.
  • 76 0
 That still doesn't change the fact that there are 49million kangaroos in Australia and 3.5million people in Uruguay which means if the kangaroos were to invade Uruguay each person will have to fight 14 kangaroos…#reallysad
  • 11 0
 You get deals on repairs and tuneups at your shop? I bought an Evil locally and never got anything like that.
  • 50 57
flag nixgame22 (Jun 3, 2022 at 17:33) (Below Threshold)
 @plustiresaintdead:

60% huh. Really? Where did you come up with that number?

Tell ya what, the next time you’re feeling “talked down” to or “mansplained” to, why not stand up for yourself and explain your side of the conversation?
I imagine most of that is a sales-person just trying to do their job and perhaps they’re just not that great at it (yet). Maybe that sales-person has Zero idea of your level of competence, and tada, tries to sell you on something and you’re feeling get hurt for some reason.

Instead of Allowing your victim-panties to get twisted, stop taking everything so damn personal.


Poor service or repairs? Tell them. Help them grow and learn as an employee and become a better business.

Poor turn-around times? Perhaps ask why. You might learn this world doesn’t revolve around you.

Conversations > wanting to be the King Comment bitcher.
  • 7 1
 @browntown40: you can have the bike sent to you or to a partner shop. If it's sent to a partner shop, they would do the assembly. There may be a small fee one way or the other, I can't remember.
The dealer gets half the margin that they would if they sold the bike themselves.
The bike is decently pre-assembled, but there's still plenty that can get messed up by the consumer. Specialized does throw in a torque wrench with the bike, whether sent to the home or to the shop, when purchased from their site.
Personally, I would love to pick up Specialized and stock none of their bikes. They make great parts and accessories. The shops sitting on 5000sqft of floor space are going to be the ones hurting.
  • 5 1
 @abzillah: fords decision to go DTC is more about limiting dealers’ ability to price gouge and manipulate the market. Ford markets themselves as the Everyman’s brand and dealers charging $100k+ for a truck doesn’t really jive with that ethos. Overall i think fords decision is a net positive for the consumer. Not sure if that’s the case with the bike industry, though.
  • 12 1
 Judging from the bike mechanic vitriol in the other article I give zero f’s if those clueless anti consumer mechanics no longer have a shop to work at. It really sucks for the bike shop owner who is stuck between being bike advocates for all vs relying on bitter shop employees looking down on everyone to pay the bills. D2C is superior if you have bike wrenching skills.
  • 18 8
 @nixgame22:
Its not 60%. Its 100%.
I recently decided to get something new. Every single shop I went to in my region was arrogant and treated me like some total muppet.
I have been riding decades and worked in a shop as not just the mechanic but the manager. There is no way I would support my lbs’s. I do not need them. Their absence is of no consequence to me. They are responsible for their own demise. Such a shame.
For the 3rd time now, I bought on line from one of the many small UK brands that make amazing bikes and deliver amazing customer service.
  • 17 5
 @nixgame22: lol you work in one of the shitty shops don't you
  • 3 2
 @moabenchilada: good riddance, imo
  • 7 0
 @plustiresaintdead: I'd stick with your 60/40 number.
Dilemma is: most LBS just barely get enough margin to make a living.
I think most start passionate and all but quickly realize that there is just not enough money to be made and watch their investment gets burnt down.
So here it begins:
Mood deteriorates, employee motivation sinks, some compensation by passionate (and unterpaid) mechanics, price increases for little drive-by services which annoys customers, plus 1000 other reasons which put stress factors in daily business.
Not just common to bike shops btw.
It's just too easy to lug around virtually everything around the country or globe. Kills local economies/stores. Allows the big dogs to outgrow the smaller ones. And it will continue to go down that path.
  • 2 1
 @billg: Your post is quite possibly the most intelligent and objective take on any pinkbike discussion topic I've read.
  • 11 2
 @plustiresaintdead: or to put it in real terms.

- tell them the facts
- don't drop the 30 bikes waiting to be repaired to fix yours immediately.
- tell you what's actually the problem rather than what you would like it to be.
- don't do a full strip and rebuild of your bike when all you have asked and paid for is a new innertube.
  • 5 0
 @billg: not sure how it works with specialized but the direct to customer via a shop model varies from brand to brand. orbea was full margin for the dealer, devinci was 10% margin. cant say I've. ever heard of a manufacturer charging the customer for shipping to a dealer mind.
the problem comes when a bike has an issue and the customer that had their bike direct expects the dealer to do any remedial work for free.
contrary to what you may think the manufacturers don't compensate shops for labour.
  • 2 2
 @manhattanprjkt83: "The stink of arrogance" .. BOOM !! there's the mtn bike industry in a nutshell. That is the main reason instead of buying a new bike (which I sorely need) I'm buying a new truck instead.
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: idk, I feel like with the rise of direct-to-consumer and larger investments from national and regional chain stores the crappy local shops have already folded years ago and the ones still surviving tend to be doing something right whether it’s good service, good selection, or good location that keeps them running.

I do like my local small Specialized shop and have a bought a bike there. I hope they stick around.
  • 4 2
 @ilovedust: wow. Sounds like you live in a bummer of a place. There are lots of good shops where I live. Also kind of sounds like maybe you are part of the reason so many folks hate shops these days seeing as how you spent so much time working in one. Folks like you won't ruin it for me. I love supporting my local shops. Cheers!
  • 4 9
flag sonuvagun (Jun 5, 2022 at 0:50) (Below Threshold)
 @otterdirt: Why did you invest your energy in being shitty to the guy?
If the dude has a Ukrainian flag next to his name, it is a list a possibility that he has experience in a different culture than what you're used to (snobbery in places you might not expect). And then, why try to mask your being a total c*nt with a pretentious "Cheers?"
  • 2 3
 In my area most of the local bike shops have many of these traits . Especially poor maintenance. Talking down to customers and or sales people who don’t ride and don’t know how to recommend the proper bikes to the customers @plustiresaintdead:
  • 6 0
 @billg: as one who works at a “Tier 2” Specialized dealer, we don’t see the $50. It’s a convenience/shipping fee collected and kept by Specialized. It’s a racket, honestly.
  • 1 1
 @nixgame22: tell us how you really feel.
  • 1 0
 @dtownVT: I can confirm as working in the top dealer in the US well was the top. I’m sure you can guess lol. Specialized was a pain in the ass to work with. Better without them and their needy bullshit
  • 59 4
 Uh, more $ for Specialized. That's a no-brainer.

Have the consumer bike prices gone down after launching the direct to consumer model?
Nope (actually many are up).

Without having to include a dealer margin does the profit for Specialized now go up by quite a bit?
Yep!

Speshy has a long and storied history of screwing over dealers (and coffee shops, suspension companies, and anyone else they can possibly sue).
  • 28 4
 From my personal experience, Trek does far worse than Specialized, so I'd say they are all operating under the same slimy set of morals.
  • 5 0
 off the top of my head, both specialized's and trek's new top of the line 2022 DH bikes are cheaper than they were in 2015. maybe its a dh bike thing? alu vs carbon? Either way, even just keeping the same price through inflation, shortages, and rapid growth of the sport over 7 years would be impressive
  • 38 5
 @slowroller719: Thank god we all live in, what should be, a free market, therefore there are many more options that are less slimy than Trek and Specialized, that also have much better customer service and prices. I love great bike shops, but I haven't found one in many years. . . just look at the article from yesterday about fixing your own bike, all of the bike shop employees go off about how dumb their customers are, I can fix 90% of my bike on my own, and sending my shock in for service is practically hassle free. I wont miss bike shops, their lack of readily available parts, their high prices, their elitist attitudes or their hours that only work for people who don't have jobs.
  • 8 7
 @unrooted: Yeah, what the hell is this with closing at 5 or 6pm and then not opening until 11am on the weekends? It doesn't seem to follow any logical business sense to me.
  • 12 2
 @unrooted: And then even within an LBS some mechanics treat people differently. I've spent entirely too much money at my LBS over the past decade, all the mechanics know me, and I ride with most of them when our schedules line up. My partner has an 2014 steel road bike and needed a new derailleur, so I wholeheartedly recommended she go to the LBS. I was at work so she went alone. The same mechanic I've rode with, had beers with, and gone to socials with his family mansplained to her that her bike wasn't worth fixing, and needed to buy the shiny new gravel bike from their dealer partner. She left, I spent 30 minutes online, bought and replaced the derailleur, and haven't gone back since.

I for one look forward to the culling of shitty LBS and their attitudes.
  • 2 0
 @ericbe3: Nailed it.
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: That's really the key isn't it? The free market will separate the winners and losers.
What's interesting for me is a "great bike shop" becomes a "terrible bike shop" when they have one employee who acts like a jerk. When I ask to talk to the head mech - who is the only person more skilled than I - some idiot that can't convert imperial torque specs insists he can tell me what's up. Ugh.
  • 36 6
 When asked for comment, Mike Sinyard explained, "Over the past few decades, Specialized Bikes have been highly successful at screwing over many parties, including burdening our customers with custom standards that don't fit with other parts, and attacking as many other bike-makers with a nearly endless barrage of lawsuits. It was time to turn our sights to new parties to screw over, and naturally the local bike shops seemed like a perfect target."
  • 3 0
 I think they are feeling pain, newer specialized bikes have less stupid standards
  • 3 0
 Dude, that's hilarious...absolute gold!! hahahaha
  • 30 3
 Consumer direct will suck…..for shops.

For consumers, it’ll mean easier access to bikes. Considering Giant dealers can’t order bikes and are pushing their customers to order the bikes online for local pickup, just ordering direct will be easier.

With any brand at this point, being a stocking dealer is a joke. Shops are putting in orders over a year in advance for products they won’t see or will get out of season (Rock Mountain didn’t ship their winter fat bikes orders this year until winter was over).

Much as I dislike the business practices of the red S, the whole market is shifting away from people going to their local shop to get a bike. That’s not changing.

I suspect shops with good customer service will weather these changes and stay profitable-bikes aren’t a loss leader but the margins aren’t great. All those folks who just bought a new Stumpy Evo will still need their bike serviced.
  • 11 2
 There isn't any incentive for the LBS to help with problems that occur with an online sale - damaged upon arrival, or issues building, etc. Its going to be a shitty situation when issues arise and that goes for customer, LBS, and probably customer support at Specialized.
  • 16 0
 hell even ford just announced that they are going to be bypassing dealers for EV sales. The economy is changing, the shops that adapt to the new market will survive. the ones that don't will go away.
  • 46 4
 I like my LBS, but the reality is I live in a rural area so my LBS is a 45 minute drive away in Portland.

I bought a Specialized last year, and used their "Buy online, ship to the store" process. Why? Because of course bike shortage, but I called several Specialized dealers asking if they had my size (XL, or whatever the S* equivalent is) in stock and got negative responses. Of 4 shops I called, only 1 offered to place an order from Specialized, and they couldn't give me any indication of how long it would take, citing the supply chain issues we're all aware of.

However Specialized's website showed the bike was available in stock in my size. I was able to order it and it arrived within a week to one of the dealers I hadn't called. I went to pick it up and the salesman mentioned that they already had it in stock. My bad, but I'm not going to call all 12 dealers in Portland after hearing about supply chain issues from the first 4. The ordering and delivery process was super easy and smooth.

I like my LBS. I like supporting local businesses even though I am an evil capitalist at heart. But, for me at least, the LBS is just inconvenient and expensive. I needed a bolt (a single bolt) and my LBS wanted to charge me $20 + $10 special order fee. Plus I have to go back to the LBS (again, 45 minute drive..) to pick it up. Or, for $4.95, I order it from JensonUSA or BikeTiresDirect (which, humorously, is technically an LBS for me).

I don't have a solution. I'm not a particularly big fan of ordering a $5000 item online without a local shop backing it. But then again, I have *never* been blown away by the service I've gotten at *any* of the LBS in Portland. And from what I understand we tend to have pretty good shops. Like the time I paid $800 for a complete overhaul of my MTB and got it back with a leaky dropper post and my fork's setup having been completely changed.
  • 4 0
 @browntown40: Shops that have a shrinking customer base (from say until recently instore bike brand, going entirely direct to consumer) would see a further shift towards service as their main function. Having spent several years in the largest bike shop on the west coast, I can confidently say that even when bikes were flying out the door, service was the shop's money maker. The margin on bikes is just too slim.

This is to say, There will be more incentive for the shops to service and fix these bikes, Highlighting how when the owner would otherwise need to ship the bike or part, or go through a lengthy shipping and warranty process, they could simply bring it to a shop and get it fixed right away.
  • 13 5
 @browntown40: I would so much rather deal directly with Spesh than the absolute dunces at my LBS. Spesh customer service is great.
  • 7 1
 @igxqrrl: River City Bikes holds it down for the homies. they have saved me with numerous times with random small parts and proprietary bits for reasonable prices (IE frame specific guides/internal routing pieces, individual headset bearings, nipple washers, etc.). I stop in to buy a saddle, tube, or Gu whenever I'm nearby to say thanks. Highly recommended.
  • 2 0
 @Oblisk: I agree on bike margins and service being the lions share of profits. I don't think there will be incentive to fix D2C bikes with the same urgency as a bike that was built/sold at the shop. I think that's where the "wait and see" comments in the article come in. I know my LBS has a 1-2 week lead time on repairs - is a customer really going to want to wait that long and also pay for the repair? I dont think a LBS is going to prioritize a repair just because it is D2C, let alone do it under some type of warranty reimbursement through Specialized - if thats even a thing.
  • 9 0
 To me, this is the big counter-argument to Levy's op-ed. You want to support your LBS? Let them wrench on your bike. The margins are way better.
  • 4 0
 @igxqrrl: Conveniently, Jenson is my LBS. Several of the employees at the main warehouse follow me on Strava so when I walk in to pick up my order, they great me by name. Pretty handy, actually.
  • 4 0
 @browntown40: I agree-curious to see how that will be addressed. Will the Big Red S have some compensation model for dealers handling warranty issues (like a car dealer)? They should, but likely won't.
  • 7 0
 @twentyfos: props for the shout-out to a good local shop!! For all the slagging on bad shops (and I'm happy to join in) good shops should be recognized.

On that note, I'll give a shout out to Pedal House and All Terrain Sports in Laramie-both shops are honest, do good work, and support community events. I've bought bikes from both and will continue to do so when they can get what I need!!
  • 7 3
 I like my local bike shop. It is five blocks away and full of rippers who know what they are talking about. I like that they get paid to work on bikes and help people love the sport. If I need a piece of gear or part fast and am in a pinch enough to pay retail I will go there.

But... last year my family bought five bikes and only one was from the LBS... they simply didn't have the size/model/color I needed. Size and model being essential choices with this sort of investment. Plus, anything you buy there is full retail. I have even been to good bike shops before that gouged prices on parts, I don't know why they would do that.

So between doing almost all repairs and upgrades myself, and always shopping online for convenience, lower prices and selection, I feel for bike shops, I really do. I hope they stick around because they are awesome but it must be a real challenge. I think there is so much pressure for LBSs to compete with large online retailers. I would like to support my LBS exclusively, but the costs in time and money are really high compared to online, especially if you are a competent home mechanic.
  • 2 1
 @browntown40: The incentive is to get all the after-sale money the customer spends, tune ups, replacement parts, clothes, tires, etc. There really is no difference between a customer buying online and a customer buying at the shop across town. Gone are the days of free lifetime tune-ups, all those tunes are billable now. The classic LBS mindset of "you didn't buy your bike here, so we'll treat you like trash" is what's been killing LBS for decades.
  • 1 0
 @maxyedor: the bike shop should still treat them like any other customer is my point. That means if the D2C bike has issues, it gets put in the queue and will be charged accordingly. Now if someone bought a new bike at the shop and has issues, most decent bike shops will remedy it asap and usually for free depending on what's wrong. The scenario im talking about is that short period of time after build/purchase where issues do pop up.
  • 1 1
 @twentyfos: no, they really don’t. I have bought multiple bikes from them, and every time I go back to try and give them some support on small parts I get some arrogant PDX hipster mechanic telling me I don’t know what I’m looking for…. I asked them specifically about some parts for a spesh frame and they told me “You know we don’t have it, but there are more bike shops in this town….”
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: +1 for Dewey @ Pedal House. also.....They still hang bike thieves in Wyoming.
  • 1 0
 @igxqrrl: Glad we can help be a part of keeping your bike rolling! Cheers!
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: We love our local customers/friends!!! We have some local events coming very soon, so come ride with us this summer.
  • 1 0
 @Oblisk: and just like the auto industry, the service departments will grow from break-even necessities to real profit centers. IOW "Your BB service is going to be $300, pay at the window."
  • 29 0
 Wait a second, wasn't there just an article about how everyone should work on their own bikes?
  • 20 1
 The bike industry is so strange. I'll never understand it. Anybody get to make a decent living in it except the folks at the top that don't really seem to care about bikes? Everybody seems to get used and abused and spit out young. I am pretty confident it doesn't have to be that way although I can't say I have any good suggestions on how to fix it.
  • 6 2
 Margins are so thin on making profit, not like they’re turning out hundreds of thousands of units like Toyota so you don’t have economy of scale
  • 10 0
 unfortunately this is the same in many outdoor industries. There are masses of passionate people who want to make their love of sport their work, but only so many jobs
  • 5 0
 the bicycle retail industry is dysfunctional. decades ago, I had that enthusiast ambition and thought I'd become a small business owner. few years of feeling it out and no way, it's gross. what I loved about cycling would eventually be picked away.

there are some success stories and people who have found a healthy niche. making a really impressive go at it. from what I observe, you need to have the control - product/service and culture. of course, you need to be wily enough to find that market, cater to it and keep it. no small task.
  • 8 6
 It's just a hobby though. And while the world gets increasingly more unequal these situations become more and more perverse. ie. One buys new specialized every year, one who sells them struggles to pay rent buys 26er off ebay
  • 3 5
 @browner: isn’t that just capitalism though
  • 9 3
 Typical us pro capitalism downvote response. Enjoy your worsening social situation
  • 3 0
 @mknott9: The margins as a percentage are WAYYYY higher than with cars. I worked at a dealership and the profit on a brand new luxury car is a couple thousand MAX. As a percentage of what a luxury car costs that is miniscule. And often times they're sold at cost or even below cost with the dealer hoping to make it up in finance (extended warranties, GAP coverage, accessories, etc) or down the line as a service customer.
  • 31 12
 Good. All but a few bike shops are insufferable to deal with. Dtc is the future. If bike shops can't adapt and focus on service and aftermarket components and consumables, let em fail. Bring on the downvotes nerds, you know I'm right.
  • 2 0
 exactly. the free market doesn't owe it to you. the shops that have given me crap for bringing in a dtc bike just stopped seeing me altogether. the shops that are stoked to see a bike come in the door for service get my support. easy decision for me.
  • 27 9
 Sorry, I can't really defend the LBS's too much here. For bike sales, they are simply middle men, and I've been disappointed the vast majority of times I've needed anything done from them. They frequently come with elitist attitudes and often poor knowledge of the bikes they are selling (like a LBS telling me a specialized stumpjumper isn't good for bike-park sized jumps). My experience is that they are simply a business up-selling you and trying to make money just like the bike manufacturers are.

IMO if you care about bike culture, you should come to dig days, support your trail systems/associations, ride your local bike park, and help out newcomers you see struggling.
  • 13 3
 To be fair, I wouldn't ride a flex-stay Stumpjumper on bike park jumps. I would prefer an Evo for anything that big. Also a lot of shops support local trails and bike organizations. Every shop I've worked at in the last 10 years has done so.
  • 3 1
 @seraph: You can also support those local trails and bike organizations directly. The shop I worked at a few years ago did no such thing
  • 5 3
 @seraph: for what 70% of bike park riders do, a flex stay bike is probably fine. Most people are riding blue flow trails with like 10 foot tables. If a mountain bike can't handle that (beyond a full on xc bike) it should be pulled from the market or sold with a disclaimer that it isn't a mountain bike.
  • 1 0
 Most of the shops around me have always help me when needed but I have never seen them show up for trail work day. And Im on the trail crew.
  • 4 1
 @adrennan: A flex-stay stumpy has the same ASTM F2043-13 category 4 certification that the evo, status, and enduro have. All the travel of a DH bike come to play in fast, rought terrain, or jump lines that are stupid large (i.e. won't find at a typical bike park). I'm saying it loudly bc I used to believe I wanted my DH bike for big jump lines, and was shocked that I preferred both my 150mm trail bike and a cheap rental stumpy on black magic at killington
  • 3 0
 @IsaacWislon82: you don't gotta convince me. I was defending the use of a lighter trail bike. I see the people at the parks. for all but the most advanced riders, trail bikes do just fine
  • 21 0
 Cut out the middleman, charge the same, pocket more profit.
  • 5 0
 classic MBA strategy
  • 19 1
 I love that Transition kicks back a portion of their online sales to the LBS closest to the buyer. Smart move and signals a great partnership with their dealer network.

www.transitionbikes.com/OurCommitment.cfm
  • 2 0
 I could be wrong but I think Norco also does this
  • 18 1
 Maybe this has already been said, but now that mountain bikes are in the $3000+ range for an entry level bike, I would sure like somewhere that I could demo one before dropping thousands of dollars on it. What other product in that price range do people purchase without seeing in person. My car is worth less than my bike and I wouldn't have bought that without a test-drive.
  • 18 3
 Many of my best friends are shop employees or owners. And yet I still don't approve of the historic business model. I don't get my car serviced by the dealer so why should that be required for bikes. Any car mechanic can work on any car and any bike mechanic can work on any bike. It shouldn't matter whether they sold it to you or not. Shaking up the LBS marketplace will be a good thing. We need to move to a model where you can get your bike serviced anywhere instead of the current situation which is extremely anti-consumer.
  • 9 0
 The shops that have given me crap for my consumer direct bikes over the years have lost support very fast. There is always another business willing to take my money and not be condescending
  • 14 0
 My experience with DTC and LBS:

- 2017 - Buy direct to consumer bike for $4k. wrench myself - kind of fun, but not worth the time. wait for 3 weeks for a response from DTC company to take care of anything - replacing defective shock it shipped with, send spare hangers I ordered, etc.

- 2019 - Buy sweet $7.5k bike from LBS. Awesome staff, awesome service - I'm stoked.

- 2020 - Return to LBS for service, whole staff has turned over. New staff has total condescending ahole vibe, work on my bike is 1/2 complete when I go to pick it up, suspect they didn't do some requested suspension work, etc. Very unhappy.

The benefits of a LBS bike depends on the service you get from them, which depends on the people. I paid extra for a LBS bike so that I had knowledgeable ppl who could work on my bike and would be cool about it. But when you feel like the LBS is full of untrustworthy, arrogant people that are ripping you off, it's really hard to advocate going the LBS route vs. saving money and wrenching for yourself on a DTC bike. These small businesses really need to teach their staffs how to add value to and appropriately interact with customers or else the DTC is going to smoke them.
  • 5 0
 I have had this with shops lately too, they half ass it most of the time. Finding good mechanics is like hens teeth.
  • 2 0
 @poozank: yeah, very disheartening to see since I'd prefer to support local businesses. More shop owners need to take the reins of their businesses and take a hard line on instilling the right service-oriented culture and also spend some time understanding employee motivation.
  • 13 0
 I think this will end up leading to a rise of shops supporting smaller brands. Which I'm all for. I just went into a shop the other day and they were selling Forbidden, Transition and some brand called Mullet. Was good to see. They were choosing really cool "smaller" brands to support. Dharco. Kali. Stuff like that.

I think as these large brands go this direction the smaller brands will get more shop love. Guess we'll see.
  • 2 3
 Specialized has been known to treat their dealers bad and be cutthroat for like forever. Since I worked in a bike shop in like 2007? Well it's been forever since then and almost every shop near me stocks primarily Specialized. The writing has been on the wall for ages and LBSs still never changed. When Canyon entered the market the ticker started ticking, I'm surprised it took so long.

I don't know why Canyon gets so much hype. Nobody under 40 rides Canyon. Polygon and YT are way way more popular for kids, teens and young adults, at least from what I see in my area.
  • 2 2
 @office: Canyon is great bang for the buck and has a pretty vast range of bikes. Makes it really easy to shop and find what will fit. I love YT's line up. I'd take a dirt love right now and the Decoy is one of my favorite E-bikes out there.

Specialized has been good for shops because you know they'll sell. Similar to Santa Cruz or even Trek in some regions. They have stock and they sell. It's my understanding that you have to shell out quite a bit of cash to get started with the big S.

I think with all these direct to consumer companies one of the other things you'll start to see is LESS bike shops full of bikes. I think you'll end up with boutique shops and service shops. You'll have big building ships with huge selections of brands and a high end presentation. And then you'll have shops that pivot away from that and have smaller scale shops focusing on service and repair.... and building those direct to consumer bikes for people. Think.... dream builds in your LBS format.
  • 2 1
 Yes dharco the brand sponsoring the top team in dh racing. Small brand lol
  • 12 0
 As a shop employee I will explain why a lot of shops are not happy by this.... in my shop 90% of the Click N Collect(where we get half margin) bikes that come in come from our sales floor. We do all the work and help the customer pick the right bike.... we can't get the bike, but they have it for sale on their site..... forcing them to purchase the bike from the Specialized site. It's the most frustrating thing in the world. It really does feel like they don't have our back... also not sure about other shops, but when they announced the direct to consumer part our inside service has declined from great to I'm done with them. Its very sad
  • 2 0
 Yeah, I have a friend in a Specialized Shop, he tells me similar horror stories. Need to preorder half a year in advance, can't even order what the customer asks them to, and drsireable bikes just get cancelled right before they should be delivered. Or a price hike between order and delivery. The announcment of the direct to customer program was enough to push them over the edge and start talking more seriously to other brands. I suppose many current specialized dealers look at their options currently.
  • 19 8
 Cool, even more reasons to dislike Specialized and continue my stance to avoid purchasing any product from them. Even without this B-to-C shift...

Do they sell good products? Absolutely.
Do they sell the best products? Nope.
Do they sell any products that are a better value than other brands' products? Nope.

Specialized's only real benefit is that someone could walk into a shop with little to no knowledge or market research, buy Specialized branded bikes and kit and gear and parts, and know they are getting something good. Not the best, not the best deal, but good. Without the LBS support Specialized is just another generic brand.
  • 8 0
 I would argue they are the Apple of the cycling world you really cant knock their products for the most part but they are they evil empire a bit
  • 2 1
 @poozank: I can agree with that. Stay within their closed environment, you know you'll get something that works and works well. No need to shop around outside their brand if you don't want to. Just like Apple, not the best quality nor the best value, but no need to shop around and nerd out on tech specs if that isn't your thing.
  • 12 2
 My favorite Specialized story was when I was in the front seat of a Downieville Outfitters shuttle with the owner Greg and he was telling me about one time he was so pissed of at Specialized for not delivering his rental bikes so he could run his short weather window business. The van launched into unflattering stories about the Big S before they realized a few Specialized employees were in the van. Greg’s relationship was terminated and he’s been happy with other brands like Pivot ever since. You reap what you sow.
  • 2 7
flag jaydawg69 (Jun 3, 2022 at 13:49) (Below Threshold)
 pretty one sided story there.... maybe there was a reason why?
  • 7 0
 Greg rented Santa Cruz bikes for years. RIP his DV shuttle business. Long Live SBTS and his Lost Sierra shuttle business. Dude is a legend.
  • 7 0
 @jaydawg69: His business has about 4 months to operate so a delay of a month costs him 25% of his rental revenue which impacts how full his shuttles are. It’s not just a single local shop sale so I understand why he was pissed off. You’re right, maybe he didn’t pay an invoice on time. I don’t know the full context but I think he had the right to be frustrated with Specialized. Specialized then decided to unilaterally cut him off, potentially because of what he had said. Seems like behavior consistent with the (alleged) Mike’s Bikes drama. I have friends that work at the Big S but they won’t be getting a dime from me moving forward.
  • 16 5
 After all, car mechanics are paid at least double what bike mechanics make, even though the jobs aren't all that different.

You really just compared an Auto Mechanic to a Kid at the bike store?
  • 5 1
 And perhaps the author can demonstrate how removing then pressing in a wheel bearing isn't all that different than for a hub bearing !
  • 3 1
 Auto mechanics have become highly skilled computer technicians, while bike mechanics are only recently beginning to have to deal with that shit.
  • 7 0
 @vggg: very different. Not everyone buulds wheels and reshims dampers
  • 1 0
 @zapper302 to be fair I've met some great bike mechanics that I'd trust to work on my car, and some not-so-great auto mechanics I wouldn't trust to work on my bike.

Not saying the two jobs are the same, obviously one requires some vocational training and a more significant time investment than the other, but a good mechanic is a good mechanic in a lot of cases. Most of the time it comes down to understanding how things work (we call that "experience") and being able to interpret instructions in a technical manner if it's something you haven't done before. Not to mention a feel for when to STOP and try something else.
  • 2 0
 I started as a bike tech before becoming a qualified auto tech. There's a reason auto techs are paid more. However, both are really fine for the love of the product. There's not much money to be made in either trade, unless you're a heavy diesel mechanic or work for a race team.
  • 10 1
 Every Bike brand is considering DTC, end of story. Specialized chose this route for many reason but the most likely is that they are preparing for a sale of their company to a large venture firm. In order to complete a sale with maximum valuation they decided to set up DTC to prove that they're going to be significantly relevant in the coming years. Sinyard is out, his son not going to continue in the company and therefore its time to cash out.
  • 3 1
 Spot on, the VC is the corruption of everything good usually
  • 11 1
 LBS's will quickly need to transition to the cycling world's version of a Grease Monkey. 30 minute tune with a beer while you wait!
  • 4 0
 I'm for sure more inclined to buy accessories after a beer or two. Accessories and beer are both way higher margin than complete bikes.
  • 16 8
 This is why I've never supported shops who carry trek or specialized. The vibe of all of them is like a pretentious car dealership, they instantly want to sell you something or judge you because you're not riding said brands. Most shops who carry these brands have disgusting employee benefits in place to upsell the customer. These are also the same shops you hear nightmare repair stories from. The greed trickles all the way down.
  • 10 2
 The real problem with this is kool-aid guzzling retailers that believe they need Specialized, or any one brand for that matter. If Specialized disappeared overnight we'd have people holding pitchforks for like, a day, but then all the other bike brands would gobble up that share of the market in about 3 seconds. Nothing to see here. Carry on.
  • 3 0
 My fave lbs dropped specialized 5+ years ago and never looked back.

As a customer I prefer no spesh because they carry a wider variety of brands now.
  • 2 2
 I never understood the worship of Specialized. But as a rider, I've never seen the appeal. For years I've found their designs to be basic, generic and uninspired. I owned an FSR in 2004 and have ridden modern ones - I never found anything "special" about specialized. People constantly joke about Yetis being dentist bikes, but they have a unique suspension platform and their bikes seem like a bargain vs top Specialized models that are well over $10k with essentially the same suspension platform as my 2004 FSR.
  • 4 0
 @Chippps: The worship of Specialized comes down to their marketing. They do one hell of a job marketing their product, and they devote lots of resources to making sure that continues to happen. Their product is very good, but it's no better than the product of any of the other top manufacturers. Specialized is a marketing machine, and a very effective one at that.
  • 8 0
 I like the idea of supporting an LBS. But I have yet to find one that won't talk down to me or try to force me to buy something I don't want that they have in store rather than special ordering it for me. The Specialized dealer near me is in that group so I've always avoided both.
  • 10 3
 I still remember the email I got from Specialized last fall when Mike's Bike was acquired by Pons. Their wording was very odd - almost xenophobic in the way they stated Mike's Bikes was being bought by a foreign company. I'll try to dig it out and update, but that's the one thing that stuck out in my mind. The email had a very emotional tone if that makes sense, which was just weird all around.
  • 2 0
 @aaronjb: The email I got was different. Now I'm going to have to find it.
  • 13 3
 @aaronjb: Ok. The one I got says the below (dated 9/7/2021).

"...They've been a great partner, but our relationship with them has ended as they undergo new ownership by a European cycling company."

When reading it just seemed odd to reference they were a "European" cycling company. I doubt they would have said "American cycling company" if it had been another American owned company, so just struck me as an odd thing to include. Perhaps I read too much into it. Blank Stare
  • 14 3
 Specialized we love you! …said no one ever
  • 13 3
 "everyone who owns a specialized franticly smashing the dislike button on every comment" lol
  • 14 5
 Since the Horst link patent ran out there is literally no reason to buy a Specialized. I do feel bad for the shops though.
  • 2 0
 What if I really want a flex-stay trail/all mountain bike?
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: not sure if serious
  • 9 1
 This just sounds a lot like a future of turning bike shops into shitty specialized and trek franchises that all look and feel the same when you walk into them.
  • 3 0
 Future? That's pretty much what it is now
  • 6 0
 Absolute Bikes will go way beyond any other shop to help you. I've seen them take a part off a new bike to keep a vacation going. They know whats up. They don't tell every customer we can order it and you can wait a month but if you go on Amazon you can get it tmrw.
  • 13 3
 Specialized sucks and so do ebikes.
  • 10 4
 This will surely be controversial, but in my experience local bike shops can suck a D.

Every single bike shop in my city has either ripped me off, treated me like crap, or talked down to me and made me feel like an idiot before it inevitably transpired that they were the ones who didn't know what they were talking about. Higher prices AND crap customer service?? No chance pal.

If you open a shop of any sort you're buying into capitalism as a system - and that means you take the ups and the downs. The market decides who succeeds, we owe you nothing. If you want my business then offer something to earn it. If I can get the same product online for less and faster and with better service why on earth wouldn't I? If you don't like that upgrade what you can offer or accept that your business can't keep up, stop winging about it. You bought into the whims of the market when you opened your shop so stop complaining just because it might not be going your way right now. Do something about it or accept there's no place for your business model anymore.

Well done specialized for updating their business model to move with the times.

If you've got an awesome LBS near you then that's great, maybe you feel like you owe them and you want to keep them going, that's ace, lucky you. A lot of us don't, a lot of us are served by charlatans and I'm sick of the story that they're heroes who deserve to exist. They're rude, obnoxious con artists and they can F off. Direct to consumer is a god send.
  • 5 0
 I do sympathise with the LBS, understandably this is challenging. But while some LBS's have evolved and adapted, some more than others, I still see many that are operating the same way a LBS did 50 years ago. I mean, some dont even have a website! Specialized wont be the last to do this and as hard as it is to hear, building your business model around the uncontrollable actions of 1 or 2 uncommitted (contractually) suppliers seems precarious at best. Its time LBS's take matters in their own hards and evolve the service and sales model. We all love them, but hoping they will survive by a few of us trying to support them seems optimistic.
  • 6 1
 The biggest problem with all of this is that Specialized keeps designing and releasing very nice bikes. There are other nice bikes too, don't get me wrong. S has hit the last round of releases out of the park. Tough to hate.
  • 4 0
 With the current trend of consolidation, bike manufacturers (and the private equity that capitalize them) will work to control the vertical from materials source to marketing to sales. They'll only put up with local shops as long as they need to, or as long as it doesn't impede direct sales.

If I were an LBS principal, I'd be looking to get an offer from a manufacturer for a buyout ASAP. Like it or not (mostly not), this is how it will be.

The well-run, professional shops will get offers first, and then the others will either eventually, or just close up.

It's A Strategy (TM), as the kids say.
  • 12 3
 Well written Alicia.
  • 2 0
 Seconded. This is a great article
  • 4 0
 This is a business response to the growing market share of DTC. Spec can now be cross shopped against Canyon and YT by anyone, anwhere in the world.
I don't love it but I get it.
I will happily keep taking my bike to one of the several LBS around me, as long as they continue to perform services I don't have time or tools for. Unfortunately I couldn't find anyone to service fox suspension (2021 uppers and air can, nothing boutique) a month ago. Of the 4 shops I spoke with, they all said it would be 5 weeks+ because they would have to send it directly to fox. I can do that myself...
  • 5 0
 Oh boy here we go … another article written on behalf of Specialized…. Wait…. Wth…. Great now I’m questioning my alternate reality where Spec runs Pinkbike. So confused.
  • 4 0
 Having managed a bike shop and worked at a few, I'm a bit jaded as to the true value they can bring to a customer. Most people just want to buy an item and be done with it. Or they want service on a bike that they bought elsewhere--normally a crappy, low-buck thing. There are shops that specialize in selling to cyclists and racers, but those are a rare breed. And those will continue to do well, even with a DTC model, as they usually have a steady stream of high-margin, lower-priced items being purchased. As well as recurring maintenance revenue. Smart shops usually cultivate a community of riders and racers to maintain cashflow. Selling an actual bike at a dealer is a low-margin, high-risk endeavor. No small-town shop wants to float the stock necessary to satisfy everybody all the time. The result is long waits for orders and dissatisfied customers.
  • 2 0
 The small shops with no real inventory are not getting mentioned. If you don't live in a large community with a large bike culture this is not any real big deal. Bike companies need to be willing to sell shops one bike at a time.
  • 5 1
 Every new city I move to, I'll try out the local shops. Only twice have I felt the desire to return to the shops. High prices, lack of knowledge, pushy with their inventory. I try repeatedly, but almost always end up buying online or buying the parts online to build my own bikes. I'll keep trying, but almost useless once you progress beyond where you need them for mechanic work (which was day 1 of biking for me as I refused to pay their ridiculous prices).
  • 7 1
 Are you saying the PB comments section was making catastrophic accusations?

Preposterous. That would never happen.
  • 5 1
 It’s high time for welding lessons so I can get/make my bike whenever I want and don’t have to deal with those dumb a** clowns inbetween who have lost every tiny bit of the sport‘s vibe.
  • 4 0
 Skip the lessons, watch youtube and buy a nice tig machine and a good fixture table and the world's your oyster.
  • 3 0
 My LBS was bought by Specialized. I don’t ride one, but I still go there for service because the same people work there and they do a fantastic job. Only difference is they’re all wearing Specialized hats now. The store manager told me they’re close to getting more brands (Pivot, Ibis), back on the sales floor. All this to say that I don’t think we’re getting the full story in these pieces.
  • 5 0
 What the article didn't talk about (but I have a window into courtesy of a close friend) is the war going on over staff. Between Specialized and Trek in the SF area there are well over a dozen shops that are corporate owned. But there aren't enough experienced staff for all of them. Guess who is winning that war? Mechanics.
  • 1 0
 @ggladstone: goid mechs there are at indy shops
  • 3 0
 There will always be a need for a guided sales process for consumers that need that support. For nerds like us, we often do our on research and just need bikes to show up. I've purchased bikes from online and local shops. My buying decision will always be driven from what I'm getting from my dollar.

If I was a shop carrying Specialized or other brands that are scaling up direct to consumer sales, I would look to scale back what I have on my floor from those companies. Shops that have a great guided sales process will win over those who don't (I can think of two local shops that fall into these categories).

As others have stated, the money is in service and other goods anyways.
  • 3 0
 Basically same as everything these days, the internet means we do all the paperwork, legwork, admin and finance. Used to be you walk into a travel agents and buy next year's holiday fully insured monthly payment done. Now you got to book every damn piece yourself, check all docs. Same with bikes and parts, you make it work, you buy the tools, you buy two in different sizes and do the logistics of getting them back.
  • 3 0
 I think there is a business model for bike shops where they advise you on which d2c brand and model to buy, double check and tune up on arrival and do maintenance. You pay the manufacturer for the bike and the shop for the advice and the work. Service only, no bike inventory, truly brand independent.
  • 2 0
 I'm patiently waiting for the day. I own a shop (kinda - depends who you ask). It's fully mobile - focused on suspension and MTB. Not only do bike brands have no interest in working with me, I don't really want to get into that in the traditional way. I want basic tax exempt access to whomever I feel has the exact right bike for my individual client at the time. To be able to call any single brand at any moment and get exactly what my customer needs would be aces. Or as you suggest - I just recommend which bike or frame to buy and the MFG ships it to me for the customer since I'll be the one building it anyway. This is the fairest approach since the MFG has to carry the warehousing cost. The difficulty now is that not many brands will do this for an indie shop like me who's not a regular retailer for whatever brand in question.

I think some of the mid-market brands will adopt this strategy in order to keep up with the big guys. They don't want to now, but when we return to the days of bike brands having yearly inventory at all times, it only makes sense. If a brand has a qualified network of approved smaller shops why wouldn't they want EVERY one of them to be a potential destination for the inventory to land. Pivot, Niner, Revel, etc. seem like brands that could/should do this eventually.
  • 3 0
 Since we're doing LBS shoutouts, all three of the ones here in Chilliwack are really good and I'd rather buy a bike from any of them than Specialized. Pedalsport is my favourite for selling value performance stuff in a comfortable, non-snobby environment. I don't see Specialized direct-selling tubes to homeless people.
  • 3 0
 Yes! And Pedalsport does lifetime free labour for bikes bought there! Waiting for them to open so I can pick up my kids new bike! Haha The staff are incredible there. Just bought 3 full face helmets from them on Tuesday. And they're the Trail Sponsor for 2 Cents on Vedder.
  • 1 0
 @el-brendo: Guessing the bike is being ridden right now, happy new bike day to your kid!
  • 3 0
 Bike sales are critical for bike shops to stay afloat. After reading a number of these responses, it seems a lot think the service department is what is the real money maker at a bicycle shop. While the margins are better in a service department compared to bike and even accessory sales, a sale of a typical bicycle of say $750 nets the shop around $300 in net profit. This sale may have only taken 20 minutes, how long do you think $300 profit takes a service department to make? In my home state, this would be anywhere from 2 to 5 hours of labor. The point I'm trying to make is the vast majority of bicycle retailers rely on ALL oppurtunities of income. This change will dramatically affect bicycle shops, the best will survive and continue to be around, but many will be closing their doors over the next few years. I guess change is good, but working at and owning a shop for over 20 years of my life has left a special connection to what a LBS is and I do not want to see them disappear.
  • 3 0
 I don’t understand the need to sell complete bikes over about $5000 or so - above that point aren’t you committed enough to the sport and picky enough about your equipment that a rider is far better off buying a frame and building what you want? And when something breaks, do you want your bike sitting in a shop for 2 days or so? No, just buy the tools and fix it yourself. In my opinion, Specialized makes great bikes, and it’s even better that I can easily order most of their frames from online shops now. Compare that to say Rocky Mountain, where I can pay $9000 for their top of the line Instinct and then still immediately have to pay more to fix their insane choice of putting a Fit 4 damper in the Fox 36 instead of a Grip 2 damper. But can you order an Instinct frame from one of their dealers - no not usually - each year’s frame only offerings sell out very fast. Why don’t high end bike companies focus more on making and selling good frames and let me choose and do my own builds?
  • 1 0
 Margins. The price of a complete bike includes markup on the components, which bike companies can't get by selling frames only. With that said there are obviously some exceptions. I'm thinking of Banshee's interchangeable dropouts which give the option to use older non-boost wheels. That's a feature designed to sell frames, not complete bikes.
  • 5 3
 i am not a bikeshop owner and i couldn't really know the profit margin of selling a bike. I still assume that the profits do not come from selling bikes rather from service, parts etc.
But i have lived for a long period of my life in a town in which when someone wanted to buy a specialized he should visit the local shop, then the local shop contact the central dealer e.t.c
both shops are official specialized dealers but it looked that everything ran through the main dealer.Who is mainly the one who imports the bikes in the country.
Many times people used to contact the local shops in other big towns in order to get things run faster.
And sometimes buyers went even a trip to the neighbour country because the dealer there seemed to have better access on specialized bikes.
Can you imagine what the customers are going through in situations like e.g Warranty claims ?
That is why i find this move better for the end consumer.
  • 1 1
 The profits come from selling bikes. Repairs do make a little money, but they are more of a neccessary service. Repairs are how you get people into your shop. On a typical day we used to sell 5 bikes, but did like 15 repairs at the small shop I used to work at.
  • 1 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: Especially in Germany (especially where i live ) you have to make an appoitment in order to have you bike serviced. And the cost of the service is merely 1/3 or 1/2 of the retail price of the item. For example : how much does it cost to have a rockshox Lyrik fork serviced(wipers,oil etc change)?
Last price i was given was 250€...When the materials cost almost 30€ ....
Or maybe another example: what is the profit when you are selling one liter of bike shampoo 14€ , when online you can get it fo 8-9 € ?
Most of bikeshops here do not have a place to keep your bike for service as well..

I would love to hear a number regarding the profit of selling a bike. Is it 5%-10% or more? just an example since the percents can vary for many reasons.
  • 7 5
 Ultimately this is bad news for everyone except Specialized. Specialized is going to sell their bikes at the same MSRP that the shop would have charged, and shops are going to have to raise prices on service to cover lost margins on bike sales. Consumers pay more, shops make less, and Specialized cashes in.

That said, all companies and shops are in this business to make money - some are greedier than others (Specialized), but maybe this will open some doors for other companies to move in and find more of a footprint via shop relationships where Specialized leaves a void? Optimism is hard.
  • 6 1
 The jobs aren't that different?
Try something as simple as removing your exhaust system mate and you'll change your mind
  • 9 3
 One more reason th never buy any Specialized product!
  • 3 1
 Evolve or be left behind. So many shops have had their head in the sand because they've done things a certain way for 25 years or just been angry about D2C sales without identifying a strategy on how adapt. Reallocate square footage from sales to service, shift from bike inventory to parts inventory, perhaps consider a mobile service van or 2. There is plenty of opportunity to be successful in the bike industry today independent from whatever Trek's and Specialized's visions of global domination are.
  • 2 0
 That last sentence is gold. Unfortunately this is the American Corporatocracy. Some forward thinking IBD's will do their best to pay properly and retain talent...but until there is some sort of broader labor movement I won't hold my breath on more systemic changes. Would LOVE to be proven wrong. Employers need to step up.
  • 2 0
 Wait... People choose bikes based on what's in stock in the local shop? I thought most people choose the bike they wanted and then found a dealer they may or not have any relationship with to special order them the bike they really want. This seems to be business as usual for rural consumers. Besides, people have been buying cheap parts online for shops to install for years. Blame Amazon, blame nashbar/performance, blame Canyon and YT, or evolve with the modern marketplace.
  • 4 0
 LBS need to get out of this, Horse and cart thing - New ways always coming knocking and will continue... You need to learn, grow and adapt or get left behind.
  • 2 0
 Just an observation, but if you look at the upvotes against bad bike shop behavior vs the upvotes for positive behavior, it would appear many more are unhappy with their LBS than not. If so, Specialized is just following the consumer. For the record, I purchase both online and at my LBS. My last 2 bike purchases were: 1 consumer direct, 1 LBS. These were both in the last year. Both models have pluses and minuses. I guess that’s why I use both. That being said, it would be a hard pill to swallow if you were a long time dealer of Specialized and one of the good bike shops.
  • 1 0
 I suspect there's an inherent selection bias in any comment section. Here, people who wanted an excuse to complain about a bad LBS are probably over-selected as compared to their base proportion; people who are happy probably just kept scrolling instead of seeking commiseration in the comments. As for myself, I dislike Specialized's business practices and came to the comments to enjoy the agreement of my preferred flavor of echo-chamber (and was not disappointed).
  • 8 2
 Saying a bike mechanic is remotely close to a car mechanic is insanity.
  • 1 0
 Very true. Bicycles are not rocket science. If a highschooler can wrench, you can too.
  • 2 0
 I dropped Specialized from my store. It wasn't a hard choice to make when Trek was able to ship tons of bikes and is still invested in retail themselves. Bikes shops need to leverage their superiority in their respective community's to stay relevant. If you could be out sold by a corporate store then you bike shop is obsolete. As long as you can sell more then they could you will be aloud to keep operating with their support. Every manufacture is picking and chousing what local shops they want to keep working with. You have to pick one manufacture and go all in our you will be put on the backburner.
  • 5 0
 Specialized is opening a store directly across the street from Mikes Bikes in Los Gatos. It’s certainly a statement.
  • 2 0
 My international local specializedd shop, act like they are selling ferrari or real estate. last time I went to enquire,the junior salesman had pointy shoes, a big watch and wanted me to buy the sss2 yellow, talked like the world depended on his advice and was surprised when I was not going to buy it.
Almost wasted his time and spacealized.
Why do you think they double up their sales programs and go this way.?
  • 2 0
 While I agree with the sentiment that bike shop employees should be paid fairly, I feel like being a biker becomes more and more a privilege for the wealthy. Bikes are crazy expensive (got my first FS bike, a Cube Fritzz, for 1600€ new on sale (20%) in 2015) and bike repair and service work goes in the same direction.
I certainly don't want my hobby to become similarly expensive as owning a damn car. Instead, I truly hope that prices are gonna come down again, and that bikes and its components have a focus on easy servicing, that could also be done by a layman.
Biking should be accessible to anyone, no matter your income!
  • 2 0
 So many ways to look at this and although it sucks for IBD’s carrying specialized, it’s really just more of the same battle that shops have been fighting for years now. Specialized has the right to do what they want, even if it screws over a bunch of their dealers. Doesn’t make it pretty or kind, but they can do it.

Service is a huge asset to shops being successful. It’s how we really make money. Selling bikes and accessories is great, and can be profitable, but the bikes themselves are never great margins anymore. If you can invest in brands that keep it real and want to sell thru shops, great. Also selling accessories that follow MAP pricing guidelines is key so someone doesn’t usually find it for cheaper online. But at the end of the day, service and a good attitude is what will keep shops around. That, and investing in your communities so they invest back in you. If someone walks in with something they bought online and wants you to assemble or service it, be polite and make money off your intellectual property and time, and always charge something for service.

Definitely not defending the idea of cutting out the middle man, but it’s not a new concept, and shops unfortunately just have to find ways to stay relevant.
  • 2 0
 Lets be honest, there is no money in owning a LBS. Its a lifestyle job. Who here has owned a LBS for 40 years and has retired comfortably at 65? Focusing on service is a losing option as well because nobody wants to spend the money that it takes for a good mechanic to take the time to do the little things. E-bikes add a whole new layer of complexity and with the warranty repairs that are common they cannot expect local shops to do the work for free. IMO it's the bike shops have to step it up and offer premium service and support to the avid rider who needs and is willing to pay a top mechanic. The main problem is there is no pot of gold at the end of the day for the average LBS. RIP LBS
  • 2 0
 I've been having this conversation a lot over the last several years. The real ethical problem here is that those shops, in many cases some of the very same people and/or their children, are the people who build specialized and trek into the behemoths that they are thanks to lifetimes of comparatively un-lucrative work. To be thrown so vigorously under the bus after holding up their end of the bargain is what really hurts. Not to say that there hasn't been a lot of close-minded and backwards retail management in bike shops, or that many shops are awful, because obviously there are a lot of miserable shops and idiotic shop owners. The real catch here is how the industry is consuming itself at the expense of the people who made it worth working for in the first place. It was never a business to get into for the money (if you're a retailer!), but it shouldn't be both financially unsustainable and a constant knife fight for financial viability often competing against your actual suppliers. I started working in shops full time in 2010 and 2 of my previous employers, very successful by bike industry standards, have since been gobbled up by Trek. I would never have wanted to work for a Trek tm shop back in 2010, and a Specialized concept shop would never have inspired the same commitment to the incredibly varied and engaging life of a bike shop worker. Before you know it we'll all be "technicians" instead of mechanics, working to service, assemble, and dispose of Amazon Basic e-bikes in a windowless warehouse and the institutional memory that good shops preserve about parts that aren't worth fixing (except to the owner of the parts! the customers who are supposed to always be right! pinkbike commenters!) and tricks to squeeze more performance out of systems not designed to be as neglected and abused as they always are will be lost forever. Bike shops are dying and being replaced by bike stores, much to the loss of our entire community. It'd be one thing if it were just capitalism, but the fact that the suppliers themselves who form the backend of the shop structure gutting the shops is what makes the whole thing such a nasty piece of work. Specialized's R&D motto is famously "Innovate or Die" (passing over some of their innovations that might kill you- futureshock recall, sl7 recall, etc), but for them to be the ones doing the killing of their own retailers is one of the many seeds of a lot of the back-of-house hatred for the big red S.
  • 2 0
 FWIW I tried to speak to a dealer about a frame inspection / warranty replacement on a 2020 Enduro. The shop i bought the bike from didn't want to deal with it, told me to speak to a local shop who didn't want to deal with it either.

Cut out the middle man & spoke to spesh directly & its sorted a few days later. IMO the local dealers didn't really show any value, was easier to just go direct.
  • 6 1
 If they sell direct to consumer does that mean I pay less for a new bike?
  • 9 0
 no
  • 4 0
 I was really hoping for an across-the-board price drop, but no such luck. Oh well.
  • 3 1
 The problem is dealers that go forward with Specialized. Force Specialized to choose between consumer direct or a dealer network. Do not them have it both ways. Its simple Drop em or be part of the problem.
  • 1 0
 Great read. Having dealt with Specialized recently they’re absolutely not set up to deal with consumers directly. I still can’t even find the suspension settings for my Enduro on the site because they haven’t updated it. There have also been many times that I’ve timed out sitting on hold for their Rider Care Reps. Conversely to that I’ve also found that many local bike shops, not the ones in popular mtb destinations, tend to seem a little unmotivated and not so quick to help. After going back and forth with a decent size store over a brake bleed I wasn’t happy with I bought to tools myself, YouTubed it, and my brakes are great now.
  • 2 0
 "I still can't even find the suspension settings for my Enduro"
  • 1 0
 @kleinschuster: thats not updated for newer enduros chief
  • 2 0
 @poozank: Maybe they realised that its not as easy as putting in two numbers. The only way youre going to get to know your suspension well is by trying everything.
  • 1 4
 @poozank: what's changed since 2020, the fork? Don't be lazy and head over to Fox or Rockshox sites for their tuning tool. Either of them will be equally in the ballpark for an initial setup as the Specialized one. Also, watch your cultural appropriation of words around here, wouldn't want to offend the tribe...
  • 1 0
 @kleinschuster: That wasn't the point, of course there is other ways to solve this but specialized hasn't updated their site, thanks for your non-input
  • 1 0
 All the bikes shops in my area are chock full of bikes. I spoke to the owners of two shops I frequent and they both said people aren't buying bikes now. We went from bike boom to what seems like a bike bust. Now the shops have massive inventories which they can't sell and will have to liquidate in the fall when 2023 models come out. The Specialized shop near me is pretty frustrated with Specialized at the moment. They once carried almost exclusively Specialized bikes but expanded to a bunch of other brands because dealing with Specialized was so difficult.
  • 2 1
 I don't see how D2C is that bad when I can order online from many shops already. How's that different than Specialized selling directly? Some online shops may have Specialized bikes that specialized.com doesn't and vice versa.
  • 1 0
 One of the largest bike retailers on the west coast recently sold their stores to Specialized. I think they want to own their own vertical, from stores to online. They are big enough to do this and exclusive stores that only sell their products going forward serve their business model.
  • 2 1
 It’s easy to say when you don’t own a shop (I don’t) the direct to consumer model needs to be embraced. It’s the easiest way to get bikes where they are purchased. Have demo bikes size s1 - 6 to help people get size right, but shrink the shop to just service dept. Then, let people schedule service when parts are in, don’t keep a big shop with inventory and weeks of repair bikes sitting around. Charge people parking fee if they don’t come get their bikes. National inventory easier to manage than thousands of shops everywhere
  • 2 1
 As a consumer, I appreciate the move and I find it more convenient. I do my own maintenance and really have no reason to ever go to a bike shop unless I need a quick pair of gloves or something. This business model was inevitable, and I fully expect to see more of it from other big brands in the future. Brick and mortar shops will evolve to the market with more service and experience based setups. Not all change is bad.
  • 1 0
 I have to wonder if the Big S's decision wasn't really grounded in the surging demand during the pandemic. LBS' pay for bikes upfront. There's no way most could buy the supply needed to meet that demand. Perhaps Spesh could meet the consumer demand, but was hindered by dealers who could not some up with the upfront cash. I was told by my LBS that Spesh was the only manufacturer who was keeping up orders. So, I asked if they could get me a Stumpy Evo, then the bike of the year. They had all kinds of top builds, but I wanted the Comp. So, they took a grand from me as down payment and had it to me in a week. Meanwhile, everyone on Pinkbike is complaining that there are no bikes to be had.
  • 1 0
 I’m sure there are specialized employees who are part of the Pinkbike community, and if I had to guess I bet these folks are not millionaires and work at specialized because they love biking, and love to be a part of the cycling world in their professional lives. We always tend to look at “the big S” as this corporate monster, screwing over the little guy and destroying the community - but honestly they’re more likely trying to make their employees enjoy coming to work every day by paying them competitive wages and just staying afloat. We love to slam corporations, but idk, I know peeps who work at spesh and those individuals sure as shit aren’t making millions of dollars. They do it because they enjoy the job. Sure this decision may not be in the best interest of bike shops, but specialized has a duty to their sr leadership, but also their employees to stay profitable. As many people have mentioned, the world is a changing place - adapt or die. Shops will figure it out.

But hey maybe I’m wrong and specialized is trying to just make their top dogs the next Jeff bezos Smile
  • 1 0
 My LBS is actually just a wrenching shop. They have some inventory of parts but not very much. You get great service and mechanic work for competitive pricing since they don't have to cash flow a ton of inventory. Won't work for every scenario of course, but getting parts/bikes from online or secondhand and letting them do the work has been a great setup.
  • 2 0
 Hey guys , Ford is dropping dealers for evs which means they are going away from dealership model.

It’s a direct to consumer model now. The winners will be the best customer service company/logistics
  • 1 0
 Ford is also one of the most corrupt/evil big businesses in the US. Not exactly a company anybody should want to be compared to.
  • 1 0
 I understand in part the push to direct - in fact, a Pinkbike article in the same email as this one was about servicing your own bike. If you can service it, why not assemble it as well? The problem is that I don't want direct Specialized, I want direct non-Specialized/Trek/Giant. Trek has bought up many shops in northern Virginia and Maryland, drastically reducing the selection of brands. And one of the few independent shops here that carries a good selection of brands is completely pretentious and talks down to people. I don't know the answer, but I'm sick of the "bigs," no matter how many bike models they offer or even how good they are.
  • 1 0
 Under the previous retail model the greatest risk to Specialized is any given IBD's ability to pay, with the boom fading DTC one of the ways they plan to reduce that risk and it's impact on their business. Selling fewer bikes at a higher margin will have a positive impact on their bottom line at the very same time. Love it or hate it, it is just business.
  • 2 1
 Make no mistake. This is a dagger in the heart of the IBD. This from the same company that formally built an ad campaign around not selling products online. Dishonest, and in my view, short sighted. I've always been a Specialized product supporter even when I worked for a competing company in the bike business. I've purchased my last Specialized bike. I support the dealers and their employees.
  • 2 0
 car mechanics are paid at least double what bike mechanics make, even though the jobs aren't all that different .. had a chuckle over this one. eg- removing an alternator out of a 2003 Tdi vs anything on any bike ever.
  • 1 0
 Of my lbs doesn’t have the bike I want to buy in stock then what’s the difference between me ordering on my computer at home compared to the sages assistant in the shop? The whole point of lbs is getting there product then, not when it’s delivered
  • 1 0
 Wait. Automotive & bicycle mechanics aren’t all that different?
Sounds like an opinion of someone that is not educated in automotive technology or service practices. More moving hard parts and electronic modules in a single door panel. Lol
Just sayin.
  • 2 1
 My wife went to a shop in sedona, the guy recommends an XL Orbea Rallon. She is 5 foot 6. He just happened to have one. Perfect for her because it is almost 6 thousand bucks, its in stock, and its her favorite color.

Especially since she regularly hits 20 foot gaps and monster trucks basketball rock gardens on the ews circuit. (Sarcasm here)

"It fits you perfect!" As she is pedaling around the parking lot with sag set for a 250lb guy.

We left, bought a great trail bike same brand, right size on jensen and saved 1000 bucks on a 3000 bike from his price. Same fricken bike. Came with a shock pump and delivered in under 7 days.

My local mechanic moonlights in his yard with full park tools and does all our work so good and so cheap I tip him an extra hundred. We both come out better.

I know the work is done right. I wont set foot in the shop he works at. It is full of ebike rentals for screaming down the bikepath at mach schnell.
  • 1 0
 Love my local bike shops. Shout out to Coal City and Arrowsmith Bikes in Nanaimo. They are always helpful, back the product, give great trustworthy advice and are involved in the local scene. They hook me up with quick repairs and I love going in to the shops. Wonder if being part of a vibrant mtb community in a smaller city helps out. Most of the complaints seemed to come from people in big metro areas. May be something to small town living.
  • 1 0
 Most people who walk into a bike shop that does not have a decent inventory of bikes to look at, will turn around and walk out. Plenty of great bikes out there that will still work with a LBS, and you will ultimately have more variety and a better bike. I envision lots of shops being gobbled up corporations and turned into Apple store-esque versions of the LBS.

"The Galactic Empire is doomed and will fall within five hundred years. Following that event, a period of thirty thousand years of war and barbarism will follow."
H.S.
  • 1 0
 AL, thanks for your hard work on this article. Sadly, I haven't enough time in a bike shop aside from passing through to see what's new at retail. Most of the time I feel like I am being railroaded to buy sub-par accessories pushed by the LBS's brand commitment or highest margin items. Sound familiar? With so much access to good virtual information & instructions to complete your own service and further encouragement from even the likes of PB (www.pinkbike.com/news/opinion-you-should-be-fixing-your-own-bike.html), what purpose does the bike shop serve in our diminishing bricks and mortar world? My personal experience with service at various bike shops has been about 50-50. Half the time I would have been better off doing the maintenance or repair work myself, even if it involved purchasing specialized tools for the job. The worst feeling you can have is going into a retail environment with the hopes of buying something right now and being told "(We) You can order it online !!" You quoted Vosper's piece from Bicycle Retailer, "Trek, Specialized and Giant, but especially Trek and Specialized - has been to try to control the market by locking down floor space with top retailers, preventing competing bike brands from establishing a significant sales volume with those dealers." Why is this so shocking? It is a smart business strategy used by any profit seeking company. We wouldn't walk into a Ford dealer and ask, "Where are your Chevy's?" would we? Unsurprisingly, car manufacturers are openly pushing online the D2C, fixed pricing, business model. (www.kbb.com/car-news/ford-ceo-wants-future-of-online-sales-fixed-car-prices )
I also feel that although the pandemic revealed the ugly truth about the worlds interdependent and fragile supply chain--this was an anomaly, along with the unprecedented demand for bikes. As we go into the current market of high inflation and after the supply chain has caught up to the lingering post pandemic demand we may see a nice glut of most goods which was the norm to in the bike industry. Hello year end discount sales, demo bikes, and more good deals.
  • 1 0
 Bikes shops have become a joke, and I fully support this move by Specialized. Here’s what we’re seeing from a consumer stand point, which is unacceptable.

Bike shop A: “our service department is first come first serve… You need to drop your bike off and right now we are about two weeks behind before we can work on it. We will call you when it’s done.”

Bike shop B: “We are three and a half weeks out”

Bike shop C: Online SL purchase went to LBS…LBS concealed delivery/tracking… LBS finished the build two weeks after delivery”

Summary: Customer service in local bike shops has gone the way of the dodo… Specialized recognized this and is now giving consumers the option of dealing with them direct. WIN WIN for consumers.
  • 1 0
 Specialized has some of the worst customer service. It took over a month to get a response from their online customer service system, so bad that they asked me to review how they did before actually contacting me! On top of almost all of their designs having catastrophic failures, frame and yokes breaking almost daily. Unless they plan on fixing this and improving customer service I do not see going well for consumers.
  • 1 0
 I've been in the bike industry long enough to know that ANYTHING, literally ANY SINGLE THING that a huge capitalist company like this says is subject to change at any time! I don't know why anyone believes a single "intentional statement" or promise from any of these brands. They can make all the commitments and grand gestures they want, but the moment there is a more profitable strategy available to them, they will shift toward it and renege on their previous agreements to their own consumers, regardless of whether they directly contradict things they have said in the past.

For those that argue "that's how business works in America" you're right, and it sucks, and that's why you can't treat these companies with any degree of sentimentality. It feels like a garbage bully situation where brands say "this is how it's going to be, so you either say yes or you don't get bikes" and shops have very little choice. As part of a generation that has emphasized and educated people on the importance of consent, it really feels like Specialized is f***ing you without you agreeing to any of it and it's just gross capitalism.

Look at what these companies DO, not what they SAY. The dollar is the SINGULAR FOCUS once a company gets to a certain size, so don't let any amount of marketing bullshit or sentimental statements try to convince you otherwise. Get your bike, ride it for what it is, but remember those f***ers will do anything to continue growth and increase profits. They do not care about you or your shop.
  • 1 0
 Any sincere messages or intentional statements from Specialized are just efforts on their part to slow the erosion of your trust while they gain new customers who don't care about the values that the company was built on. Capitalism, baby.
  • 1 0
 I work at a speci retailer, actually one of the biggest. We had several customers who had pre-ordered MTBs through us that had been waiting for months, when speci went DTC and the bikes they were waiting on were available from their website. Mind you, we had put in our allocations the previous year and had been guaranteed allocation and delivery dates for those bikes that then came and went with no bikes arriving. I've personally lost several high $$ sales because of this, I have to imagine other sales people at our other locations have as well.
Clearly we're not the only shop that has had this happen to them: bikes that had already been promised to us and thus our customers being pulled out of distribution for specialized's direct sales inventory.
The salt in the wound then is that just about every week for the last several months we've gotten a story in the retailer newsletter about another shop being bought outright by speci, painted as some feel-good nonsense about "another shop joining the family", when I know what that will really means: another shop getting eaten to be one of specialized's factory stores that I'm sure the company will prioritize for distribution over their traditional B2B retailers.
Needless to say I'm pissed at the big S these days
  • 1 0
 As the headline says, it's complicated. But it's not unprecedented or unforeseeable. We are seeing MBAs implementing buzzword brainstorms like "leveraging synergies" without a nuanced understanding of the entire ecosystem. Every one of the full line brands encompasses a spectrum of buyers where the top and bottom end have literally nothing in common. Compound that diversity of customers with complex & unreliable products, a half million terrible shop experiences and the "bike industry" is emerges as a total mess. This industry isn't "going Amazon" or into consolidated retail, or any other single place. It's literally going in a thousand different directions and the real victims are the folks that just want to buy a bike. That works. At a fair price. With a decent after sale experience. Sadly, full Balkanization should be complete by 2027. I've seen this movie before in a different industry.

It's probably unreasonable to expect visionary industry leadership to emerge whereby standards are competently set or technology evolves much past finely tuned, but century old claptrap. Yeah, it's depressing, but there are individuals with the right stuff. Typically, though, they are not in the right places with the right resources. If you think of the Athertons' team or the work Rob Metz is doing, there are rays of hope. But rays of hope can't fix rear axle standards, approximate tire sizing, misleading component weights.

Am I exaggerating? Where else can you find such a leaderless mess of imperial mixed with metric, bizarre standards, and nearly inscrutable paradoxes like "clip in with clipless"? Any industry that would actually sell and promote press fit bottom brackets or unified rear triangles should be expected to be "completely, perfectly, and incandescently" incompetent.

So just sit back and laugh while the clown show continues to put front derailleurs on thousand dollar bikes and sources LCC components that actually don't work. (You know who I'm talking about Kona/Alhonga)

The good news? Calvin at Park Tools should be getting huge company bonuses for years to come as folks turn away from the mess and take care of their own problems.
  • 1 0
 I’m interested to know what sort of commission/bonus an LBS gets when the option to have your your new bike delivered and assembled there is. I had my eye on a new roadie for a birthday present to myself and ended up going that route. Beforehand I had emailed my LBS several times asking if they would soon have available stock or if I could order one through them. Unfortunately, they did not respond. i 100% want to support my LBS and when my bike was delivered to and assembled by them I spent an additional $1000 in upgrades/new shoes/pedals etc which I certainly would not have ordered online. If the LBS can charge Specialized a reasonable amount for building then be able to sell additional parts and accessories then maybe direct to consumer is not the worst thing? To be fair, Trek and Giant have had brick and mortar stores for years, why should Specialized be any different? In my experience bike shops, just like ski and snowboard shops are often not at all welcoming to newbies. If you are not clearly “an enthusiast” it’s pretty easy to spot the shitty, condescending attitudes in shops. It’s not surprising that online direct to consumer sales are becoming the norm. And impulse buys are waaay easier from the couch..
  • 1 0
 LBS now need less people on the floor after covid craziness has ended. So they should invest money into getting a web developer and putting solid website up and running. I am shopping for my bikes out of the office chair and ain't got no time to visit every store or call them for availability. I know exactly what I want. Those shops that have shitty websites and not a real-time inventory are doomed in 21 century and I do not feel bad for them. I ended up buying all my new bikes in the last two years from two LBSs that had real-time inventory because it is easier for me to check them eve every day, a 5 min a day.
  • 1 0
 yup, the margin on completes is just too thin anyway. I was a service tech at 2 shops in younger times. This should play out well for the tech side of the bike industry. Lotsa newbies riding now…with no tech skills…lotsa older people with cash wanting specific builds…with no tech skills. So a smart shop will let go of its sales staff, keep a couple service writer/sourcers, look for a smaller location and do service and custom builds. it seems to work in many places in Europe, like France, Italy and Spain. There are hardly any “bike dealers” there. Mostly small service shops that also do custom builds, and sell some soft goods, (with keystone margins).
  • 1 0
 Automotive companies are doing it, Volvo are doing it (for new and used!).... Motorcycle dealers don't seem to be preparing for it yet, but its coming for them too!
Its a shame when you have great bike shops that are fun to go to and chat with the team. My last bike came mail order (from a bike shop across the country). Thing is with so much info available online its easy for people to research and decide what they want, then order online.
Tough times ahead for dealerships/bike shops
  • 6 6
 I buy bikes where I can develop a relationship with the shop. I get deals on parts and service this way. Specialized is already over priced for less value. Dehumanizing the bike purchase even further. Smart move Specialized....
  • 3 4
 Overpriced compared to what? They are generally better priced than a lot of their rivals, at least if you look at companies in the Pon holdings (except maybe Cannondale). They definitely better priced than the boutique companies outside of Transition (which is also quasi-direct to consumer). Canyon and YT is better priced fwiw, but both of those companies are direct to consumer from the ground up.
  • 2 3
 @HB208: Good luck negotiating the MSRP price on a website. I have never paid MSRP because I have built a relationship with my LBS and always get a discount. You will pay more for Specialized because of direct to consumer (which, ironically will mean that Specialized will also pocket more money from the purchase because they are cutting out the middle man). Any time I pay more for something comparable, then it's over priced in my mind.
  • 3 2
 @rossi45: What shop is selling for less than MSRP right now? Probably very little.
  • 3 3
 @HB208: First. Mine did for me on my most recent bike. Second, see the forest for the trees man. You may pay MSRP today, given current bike demand situation, but at least you are building that relationship with the LBS. When you go buy another one in a year or 2, they will remember that and so long as you built a good relationship, you have a chance at getting a deal. Try doing that on a website....
  • 1 0
 @rossi45: My neighbor is the sales manager for the largest specialized LBS in my area, so I do have a good relationship with a dealer. If I bought a specialized, it would be through him. I shoot the shit with that shop and another one all the time so I do have good relationships.
  • 5 1
 @rossi45: so you've managed to squeeze discounts out of a LBS and basically took margin away from them and call that having built a relationship.
The LBS might see things from a different perspective. Customers won't blackmail them anymore while they will still be screwed by the big S.
LBS must rethink the business model and adopt. After all, running a LBS is a business - neither big S nor the consumers are your friends.
  • 1 1
 @singlespeedman: That's one way to put it I guess. if you know how a business is run then you understand that, giving a client a discount on a bike sale, is an opportunity to build loyalty and future business. Economics dictate that brand loyalty (or customer loyalty) is the single most important factor to a successful business. It's called customer retention. It's why you get discounts on car purchase, or how banks provide incentives or discounts on credit cards or mortgages to attract new clients and keep them (enter a million other examples here) The LBS (or any successful one, anyways) understands this. So, the long game on the margin is returnable over time as the customer comes back to do service and buy parts. For what it's worth, I have built a good lasting relationship with my LBS ( a very very busy one at that) and they usually jump me in the queue when I want some service done. It's the little things that you will not be getting from a website, my man, that make relationship building important (maybe not to you anyways, but to me and many others). And yes. The LBS is my friend. They treat me right. We ride together and go on trips together. We do all the things that make bike ownership fun and exciting that a local community based business can only offer.. If you want to go to some faceless website and buy your bikes and parts, have at it.
  • 1 0
 @rossi45: companies spend tons of money to make consumers believe they are friends. That's is an ideal scenario - I take your money and the more I take, the better you (the consumer) feel(s).
Nothing bad about it, but it's all about money. If you stop leaving your hard earned $ at your LBS, the relationship will chill, at least on their side ;-) and they'll look for new "friends" aka customers with $ in their pockets.
  • 1 0
 @singlespeedman: What's that got to do with me getting a deal at my LBS? That's the whole point of this conversation. Getting a deal. Where are you going to get the better deal from? An LBS where you can speak to the staff and owner and build that relationship which, in turn, gets your better deals? Or a faceless website where they just post the MRSP, you click and add to cart and buy....at that price?

I doubt I have a better chance at getting a deal on a Specialized bike when bought through the website, then I would if I deal with my LBS. Actually, I know this from experience. I started buying bikes from my current LBS 10 years ago. Every....single....bike I have bought I didn't pay MRSP. Parts? I always get standard 20% off. Want some service, I always walk in and drop my bike off and get it at the end of the day. Yes, i spend a bucket load of money at my LBS, but I am going to spend a bucket load anywhere, because I love this sport. If I am going to spend, I spend where I get the deal. How did I get the deal? By building that relationship. Not every customer, that goes to my LBS, gets the same kind of treatment as I do because a) I am spend the time to build the relationship and b) They appreciate I chose to do my business with them as opposed to elsewhere. Do I care if I stop getting deals because I stopped shopping there? Well, no. I probably stopped shopping there for a reason. But, at the end of the day, I stand by my point. You have hell of a better chance getting deals at your LBS than from some website. But you do you, my man.
  • 4 1
 With dealers in my area being as bad as they are, i'd understand any brand.
  • 2 0
 Funny how even with the direct to consumer option, you still can't buy bikes because out-of-stock, and they refer you to find a dealer.
  • 1 1
 Yep. I've had two friends recently interested in certain Specialized models. When they were both told it could be a months to a year, one went with Giant and the other YT instead.
  • 1 0
 @mungbean: Specialized is stocked up with all the bikes. no wait.
  • 6 6
 What do you expect from the Amazon of the bike industry? They aren't "for cycling" anymore. They're simply "for profit"... and yes every company needs to have profit at the top of mind but when you're cannibalizing the sport, community and every partner that helped you get to where you are today to monopolize cycling, well specialized you can go f*** off.
  • 2 2
 consumer direct is better gives a lower cost to customer without a middle man. only thing i ever get when i go into an lbs is attitude and inflated prices, reminds me of dealing with a car dealership. gotta bring value or you are going away
  • 2 2
 No doubt a complete fantasy, but wouldn't it be interesting if shops simply refused to work on product from large DTC brands? The bike industry is, and always has been completely screwy. With bicycle prices going beyond the absurd (seriously... look at the cost of brand new motorcycles that have exponentially more parts and materials, cost more to design and engineer, build and much, much more to ship) it's a wonder that participation in cycling isn't rapidly declining. If it weren't for e-bikes, the decline would likely be very apparent. Then again... If e-biking is all you are interested in; why not stop screwing around and just buy a motorcycle?
  • 7 0
 They could refuse to work on DTC bikes... And consequently get absolutely fucked, because some other shop not feeling so entitled will pick up the slack and repair those bikes. They wouldnt sell a single thing to any DTC owner ever agin.
  • 1 1
 Seems the DTC market is only going to get bigger. I'm surprised there aren't more companies popping up to teach people how to work on their bikes. There is room to make money here. Lots of DTC folks will need this...and clearly, there will be more and more DTC riders on high-end rigs.

For example:

Give us $XXX bucks and we will give you access to a pro level video that teaches you how to do a 50hr service on your front fork and send you the parts kit and any specialized tools you'll need for your fork's manufacturer.

Want to true your wheel? Here is a package that includes a video teaching you how to true wheels and the package comes with the tools you'll need. $XXX bucks

Want to bleed your brakes? Here is a package that includes a video teaching you how to do it and comes with any specialized tools you'll need based on your manufacturer. $XXX bucks

Want to press in a new headset?....Here is a video show you how to face your frame and press in the headset, and comes with any specialized tools you'll need to do the job base on your manufacturer.

Your making money on videos, your making money selling tools...I don't understand how anyone isn't wealthy in today's world. Its just easy to make money, if you'll do the work.

Your only competition is mediocre videos on youtube. Heck, use the existing youtube ecosystem of repair vids to make your vids better.

Evolve with the market.
LBS will only die due to lack of innovation.
Always a way to make money...but its much easier for LBS to play victim than to evolve and do the work.
If you're willing to do the work & evolve, its easy to build a business and be wealthy.
  • 1 1
 "car mechanics are paid at least double what bike mechanics make, even though the jobs aren't all that different. " Lol.
I assume most bike shops don't require licensed mechanics ....do they?
But overall I guess the statement is true. Apples and oranges aren't that different after all.
  • 1 0
 don't have much sympathy for shops after getting gouged during the pandemic. same with car dealers. hope they get a taste of the volatile market like we (consumers) just did
  • 1 0
 Woa, this article is “The Usual Suspects” of articles! You’re reading about big bike company shenanigans and then, BAM, the twist is you should pay your bike mechanic way more money!
  • 1 1
 Also, for the record, Giant bikes can be ordered consumer direct as well from the giant website. So them making a statement about not being involved with consumer direct business practices is complete b.s. They have also instigated a lot of tension between local bikes shops in my area, trying to swoop in and replace (laughably so imo) specialized, and to fulfill these new promises, cancelled thousands of backordered bikes at the smaller shops to fulfill the need of the larger shops orders. To be fair, its a two way street. As soon as Specialized heard the big shop was going to start carrying Giant to fulfill the orders on hand, Specialized went down the street to the small shops and went into business with them, Literally out of spite. So now everyone can get all the bikes everywhere. yay. Kinda sucks to suck doesnt it
  • 1 0
 Knowing this requires research by the author. Only the finest journalism going on here.
  • 1 1
 Bought three bikes direct online for half the price of what the shop would charge and did not pay tax. Had my family do the same for theirs too. Everything the bike shop sells I can get cheaper or faster if not in stock. I see the future of bike shops as mostly service centers for those who can't or don't want to do repairs on their bikes.
  • 1 0
 With the way things are going I’d expect to see more brands making this move as soon as it’s a possibility for them. It’ll make for interesting times in the cycling industry.
  • 1 0
 Does anybody know when Specialized will be selling direct to consumer in Canada? Right now I do not see any bikes that are available to purchase online on the Canadian web site.
  • 2 2
 To make more money and make their life easier not to have to deal with a middle man/women/person/kettle/whatever you call yourself these days. Don't kid yourself into any other reason
  • 1 2
 When you buy your bike online, there should be a dropdown to choose the local shop you wish to receive it from. The manufacturer should then gather customer ratings about said shops. Praise and promote the good ones, and sack the crap ones. Then it would be a win/win.
  • 2 0
 They have been doing this for a few years with "Click-n-Collect" and it's still an option even with the DTC choice. Trek started this back in 2015 or so (I think)
  • 2 0
 Cutting out bike shops means higher profit margins for manufacturers. Like Canyon.
  • 2 0
 Great article thank you for this. Im seeing people flipping SE Epics. Its gone too far.
  • 2 0
 I don't think this will change the purchases of Specialized products. Everyone who wants an epic will still get an epic.
  • 2 0
 Still waiting for my Status purchased from a local bike shop. Can’t wait!
  • 2 0
 Booooooooooo this is so sad. Gone are the days of LOBS. This sport has changed
  • 1 0
 Can we get a round of applause for actual, sponsor disapproved journalism on PB? Was Aston the last one not to just pump out fluff?

Thanks Leggo.
  • 2 0
 Specialized paid attention to BIkesdirect.com slinging all those Motobacons for years and saw the $$$ on the wall!
  • 2 0
 We are living in "Bizarro World". It is not just the bike industry it is everything, everywhere!
  • 2 0
 Fun fact: I quite liked the look of the 2003 epic.
  • 5 7
 It's called greed. They get to keep more money in their pocket while not lowering prices so it's a win-win for them. Although there is one exception to this and it's the Status frames. I called every Spez shop in town trying to order a 160 frame and they all said they're not allowed to and you have to go through Spez directly. Ended up finding a leftover 2021 here in PB from a shop but I will say that frame is a really good value for the price. So I guess maybe the Status is an example of the value proposition Spez could be going full direct but that's pretty much never going to happen.
  • 1 0
 Not sure what you mean, the Status is in stock on Specialized's website right now, frame-only or complete bike, in all sizes and colors. You can have it sent to your home or your local Specialized dealer. You can only order online, the shop cannot order or stock it. I just bought a Status 160 and had it sent to my LBS. I think they get 50% of their normal margin. With in-store bikes they give free maintenance for 1 year, but not for bikes ordered online. Makes sense.

I agree with you that the Status is a good deal ($3k for a complete bike, $1.4k for frame + shock). I looked at the Ripmo AF, but it just got a price hike and they're hard to find or they come with G2 brakes instead of Codes.

As an aside, the shop told me they can order any bike that's in stock on Specialized website, except for the Status.
  • 6 1
 "Greed"

The average LBS provides way too little value for the huge price differences vs. buying online.
  • 1 0
 Short sided comment. Suggest you take a walk into your LBS and see just how many bikes, parts and accessories you STILL CANT GET… direct to consumer options put the timing of a purchase in the consumers hands, no longer making them slaves to a LBS’s allocation process… or lack there of.
  • 6 3
 F*ck specialized.
  • 3 0
 LBS or die!
  • 1 3
 Quote from the author: “It's tough to boil the complex problem down enough to say which sales channels are best for consumers,”

Do you think that the consumer will do what is best for their money and the seller will adapt to sell or die?

Are people so used to being told what to do and being jerked around by narcissistic authoritarians this statement goes without notice?
  • 1 0
 Just wait until they introduce the BUFU (BUY US FU(K YOU) line of bikes to take over where STATUS left off...
  • 1 0
 If a Lbs can't survive without its bike sales it doesn't deserve to be open.
  • 1 0
 Doesn't Specialized own Pinkbike now, through a couple different companies?
  • 1 1
 sadly i don't think we will be back to when bikes were a plenty in store or online.
  • 2 3
 I once read a sign outside of a mechanic shop saying
“If you Keep buying your car parts from Amazon, there won’t be any mechanics to install them!”
  • 6 0
 the mechanics could complain about it and refuse the job... or... they can install the cranks, charge an hour for labor, and get on their way.
  • 1 0
 This is what happens when you have a Dutch Master.
  • 1 0
 No Status available in the online shop?
  • 1 0
 the hole industry is rollerblades
  • 1 0
 Good to know I can buy a Rallon direct from Specialized now
  • 1 0
 I would love to hear a pinkbike podcast on this!
  • 1 0
 Rad. Now that there is DTC, can we get singlespeed frames?
  • 1 0
 Are we going to all a out trek too or nah?
  • 1 0
 I didn't read al that shit. Derek @bear valley bikes is the man.
  • 1 0
 Isn’t it Canyon/YT to blame for this approach ?
  • 1 0
 They should offer D2C consumers discounts
  • 1 0
 Hats down for @alicialeggett
Good job!
  • 4 4
 I'll still keep buying my specialized ebikes from Berkshire turbo.
  • 2 2
 No idea why you've been down voted, any one who has dealt with them can surely only upvote. An amazing bike shop, will fall over themselves to help out a customer, and will always match any price so they consistently have the cheapest specialized ebike prices in the UK. Amazing shop. I live 4 hours drive from them - I got my kenevo there and I always took it there for servicing etc until I sold it.
  • 2 0
 @everythingscomingupmilhouse: it's because I mentioned ebikes and amusingly that triggers the hoi polloi.
  • 1 0
 Deleted
  • 10 13
 It’s russias fault - Joerrack Obiden
  • 2 0
 Thanks, YT
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