Specialized Story: From Industrial Design to Finish Line

In the United States, Specialized is a leading brand in the $6 billion bicycle industry. As the manufacturer of the first major mountain bike, the Stumpjumper, the company has a long history of innovation and advocacy in the sport. Its most recent models include features like sophisticated suspension systems, carbon and aluminum frames, and on-the-fly adjustable saddles.

We recently talked with Specialized designers and athletes about the engineering behind the product.

“In the bicycling industry, every part of the bike is exposed to the customer,” says Robb Jankura, engineering manager. “And every single part has requirements for performance, structure, and light weight.”

The professionals who ride for Specialized often are first to test those requirements. From racing legend Ned Overend to endurance rider Rita Borelli, the people who push their equipment the hardest serve as Specialized’s most trusted advisers.

“We get athletes on our bikes, and they let us know what they feel and what they think,” says Jamie Stafford, industrial designer.

Borelli seconds that. “Anything we think isn’t quite right or up to par, we give that information to the design team.”

With feedback from the racers, engineers at Specialized quickly make design modifications in PTC Creo. The industrial design department says the software gives them an advantage, especially with its surface design and advanced assembly capabilities.

Check out our video interviews with Specialized racers and engineers, and find out more about how PTC Creo fits into a winning strategy.

But wait, before you watch, note one detail at minute 1:14. Borelli flashes her Leadville 100 MTB buckle. She doesn’t make a big deal of it or even talk about it. However, the 100 stands for miles, and Leadville is Leadville, Colorado—the highest altitude city in the U.S. The Leadville 100 is regarded as the most difficult one-day race in North America, with most of the event taking place at a breathless 10,000 feet or above.

If anyone would know when a bike is ready to carry you across the finish line, it would most certainly be Rita Borelli.

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