This is quite a painful rant to write as I turn my back on Specialized, anyone who’s read this blog know how much I love their bikes, how much I bought into their Rider First Engineering and how much I value their investment in things like ReTul and their support of cycling but now it all ends.
Specialized have scrapped the Amira which was their female specific road bike and decided that on their data collection from Retul that there’s no need for sex specific geometry.
As someone that’s been a design engineer longer than Alice Barnes has been born I both bought into the RFE ideology and I understand why it might not be applicable. A frame is just that, we bolt parts on to it, we take those parts and we fettle our position until we find that perfect compromise between comfort and performance.
Now with the launch of the sex neutral Tarmac SL6 Specialized say they can concentrate on parts development that would enhance the riding position, I’m calling bullshit on the reasons they give.
Firstly, what parts are they going to develop? Do they really think that they can improve on eTap? And if I need to buy an aftermarket stem or seatpost you can bet your arse it’s going to have 3T stamped on it so really all your left with is wheels and the power crank perhaps Specialized want to take on Chris King or Ceramicspeed or perhaps it could just be all about profit. Yah I believe women got dropped because the bottom line is more important.
Bike companies often invest in female specific stuff, bib shorts are a prime example, my hu-ha could have female specific padding unfortunately because I’m 6ft1 I’m not allowed them because the market for 6ft tall women is tiny and instead of using scientifically crafted wonderment I get to use mens bibshorts and have flap mash. I’m just not a viable market, it’s the same with specialized.
Someone looked at market penetration and thought “ we really aren’t making enough money” and found a solution to service the shareholders over the people that buy the products.
Specialized I feel as with most of the cycling industry tries to apply the male market understanding to the female market without any understanding or recognition for the different social pressures, women for example generally earn less so they have less money to spend in the way those boys do that use my glass ceiling as their sturdy floor.
Fact is if you make only one frame not two, you have less stock laying around, you have less loss, less shrinkage, less spoilage and more profit, this is the motivation behind ending the female specific line of premier road bikes and I would have had more respect for the company with they had said that and possibly I wouldn’t be thinking of doing a frame swap with either a Canyon or a Colnago. What Specialized need to understand is that while I’m a woman I’m not a fucking idiot.
I think that instead of finding a working solution to allow Specialized to furnish the female market and understand that we are more likely to buy a 9r or 10r frame with better wheels or groupset than we are to buy an S-Works with all the bells and whistles.
When I was shopping for a replacement form my Amira, I looked everywhere, I even emailed Specialized in Chessington and they couldn’t find one, which set an alarm bell off and I thought I new model might be on the horizon and I ended up buying a tarmac, which is lovely, it’s not as planted as the Amira I don’t think it’s as good as the Amira and now I have no choice in the bike so I’m moving brands.
In the same way that I won’t support Rapha, I won’t give my money to Specialized anymore.