Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Mountainbikes and motorcycles . . . perfect together?

The love of all things two wheeled seems to cross over for many race fans and riders over the years. Many of the top bike suspension designers made there start with motocoss bikes or motocycle racing. Same is the case with a few of the riders like Johnny O'Mara, Shawn Palmer, and Randy Lawerence. All had ties to the dirt bike world before hitting the mountainbike scene. Mert Lawill and Horst Leitner two of the legends for full suspension bike design got there start in MotoCross racing. Same can be said for Dan Hanebrink, the genious tinkerer up in Big Bear. The list of names goes on and on. And don't for get legandary bike magazine editor Zap who started at Motocross Action and now runs a part of the action at Trek Product Management.

So it's only natural for other companies to try to bridge the gap between mountainbiking and motocross riding. Perhaps Fox has been the most successful at this. Other notables include Progressive Suspension, Hayes, Marzocchi, Magura, Curnutt, Answer, Troy Lee, White Bros, and Dainese.

That doesn't mean it's always a good strategy though! The biggest train wreck for this bridging strategy is Cannondale. They proudly launched air and tried to jump to the stars building a full moto business, but they weren't up to snuff when it came to this step-up challenge and crashed hard in bankruptcy. Others like AXO, Alpine Stars, and Bombshell have come and gone from the bike scene like sparkling stars in the night.

So it's interesting to note that Specialized Bicycles has recently been spotted with ties to Ricky Carmicheal and Chad Reed. These high profile Moto athletes are certainly the cream of the crop (alongwith James Stewart - not with Specialized) if your going to promote your company to this side of the two wheeled world.

I can only wonder if we'll start to see more from Specialized in the form of Moto products over the comming year or two??? Certainly tying up two top stars for sponsorship is a good way to get the word out. The Moto industry certainly is a big market and a interesting way to grow a company that may be looking for new markets to enter and dominate. Only time will tell, but this sponsorship by Specialized is an interessting move to watch.


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