SANTA BARBARA, CA (BRAIN)—Specialized wrapped up a three-day women’s product launch today in Santa Barbara, California, where it hosted a half-dozen writers and editors from women’s health, fitness, travel and outdoor magazines.
Carmella Petitt, who handles public relations for Specialized, said the press launch is one of several ways the Morgan Hill, California, company reaches out to new potential female cyclists—many who already are fitness-oriented and practice several other sports such as running or skiing—and expose them to cycling’s health benefits as well as create brand awareness.
Journalists hailing from as far as New York and as close as the Bay Area got a rundown of the company’s women’s-specific road and mountain bike lines and related accessories, and tested the newest bikes on roads, bike paths and dirt trails alongside this beach town’s scenic coastline.
Specialized has seen growing interest and an increase in sales of its women’s-specific bike line. For 2010, it expanded into a new category in road with the Amira, which it’s targeting to competitive cyclists looking for speed and efficiency. The bike, which comes in S-Works, Expert and Comp models, features a longer toptube, shorter chainstays, flared headtube and carbon layup that boosts bottom bracket and rear triangle stiffness, compared with its road line sibling—the longstanding Ruby. Weighing 15 pounds, Specialized claims it’s the lightest weight women’s road bike on the market.
“We know that women are competitive and desire to have the same performance as men,” said Eron Chorney, women’s brand and product manager for Specialized, explaining the thinking behind the new bike.
Meanwhile the Ruby—with five different spec versions—is redesigned and repositioned as an endurance road bike for comfortable, longer hauls. Though it retains attributes such as a taller headtube and longer chainstays, the 2010 frame gains more vertical compliance, torsional and bottom bracket stiffness compared to the ’09 model.
Other women’s road models that carry over into 2010 include the alloy and carbon mix Dolce and flatbar Vita, which target recreational and fitness riders with accessible price points. Chorney said the Vita bike, which ranges from $500 to $1,200 at retail depending on spec, has seen 30 percent growth in sales over the past year and represents its "fastest growing" road platform. She said consumers use it for everything from commuting to charity rides.
Its women’s mountain bike line, which carries over with a few tweaks, includes five different platforms—three full-suspension and two hardtails—with full carbon fiber frame options and top spec available on the S-Works models.
Aside from custom-tuned suspension for smaller and lighter female riders, Specialized touts features like low stand over height, women’s-specific components, frame geometry and custom tubing that are common to all models throughout its women’s mountain bike line.
PHOTO: Specialized’s Eron Chorney details the changes made to the 2010 Ruby road bike.