MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN)—More than 575 retailers from around the United States joined 170 international dealers at the 2012 Specialized Dealer Event in Monterey, California. It concluded over the weekend.
The event, held just an hour south of the company’s Morgan Hill head office, was integrated with an international press launch that gave attendees the opportunity to see and, more importantly, ride the new 2012 bikes and equipment.
“This was the first time we hosted dealers in Monterey, and the response has been great,” said Sandi Saenz, Specialized global events manager. “The past few years have been destination venues at altitude, so the sea level location made for more enjoyable riding for a wide range of riders–not to mention the incredible scenery and riding on the shores of Monterey Bay.
“We were actually pretty excited this year, as it gave an opportunity to show off our new Core retail store while the dealers passed through Morgan Hill on their way down to the venue," she said. "Sometimes we take it for granted, but when dealers travel into town from around the country, it’s a real reminder how great the riding actually is in our backyard–the same riding that inspires everything we create.”
With such a wide array of dealers from across the country, opinions of what items were the most noteworthy varied, but one universal highlight among dealers was the new Auto Sag feature found on the re-invented Stumpjumper FSR. The feature, which uses a patented valve system that allows riders to adjust the rear suspension consistently and quickly, offered two distinct benefits, beyond ride quality, according to Blaine Grove, manager of West End Bikes in Houston.
“This is going to allow us to help dealers make sure customers bikes are perfect every time–not everyone in a shop is a career mechanic, and it’s not always easy to make sure that suspension is set ideally for riders. The Auto Sag will let us set up the suspension literally in seconds, and show riders how easy it is. It’ll make for great test rides, and make it easy to convince the customer how simple it is to keep their suspension tuned,” Grove said.
“Also, if a customer comes into our shop after visiting another brand’s store, they’ll be impressed with how quick and easy the setup itself is in comparison. We’ll look like stars, and they’ll have a lot more confidence in the bike,” he added.
In addition to the bikes and equipment designed to push the limits of performance, like the all new Tarmac SL4 and Stumpjumper FSR, many were created directly from the feedback of dealers.
“We especially liked the new Sirrus and Vita,” said Marty Epstein of New Jersey’s Marty’s Reliable. “It’s a model that we haven’t carried in the past, but the new design is great. I love it. We rode up to Pebble Beach and back, and the geometry fits really well, and handles like a real performance bike, but is easy to ride.”
The Sirrus and Vita fitness bikes were first introduced this spring during an East Coast demo tour that visited New York City, Boston and Washington D.C., and met with rave reviews. The increased energy and resources in the fitness category represents a greater push by the company to meet the needs of riders who want the comfort and confidence of a flat bar position without sacrificing the performance and handling of a true road bike.
In equipment, dealers identified the Wire Tap glove, an option on three full finger glove models featuring a metallic inlay in the tips of the thumb and index finger that allows the use of smart phone touch screens. The unique feature brings smart phone simplicity to the $45 BG Gel and BG Ridge Wire Tap models, just $5 more than the non-Wire Tap gloves, and the $60 BG Element winter glove.
Other highlights were the continuity of colorways through bikes and equipment in the Specialized Women’s line.
“Dealers are pretty excited about this because it lets them sell an entire package, not a bike and individual accessories–more geared to the psychology of how women buy,” said Rachael Lambert (pictured), Specialized women marketing manager.