Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Satisfyingly Anticlimactic


(Art, motherfuckers!)

I'm very upset over this whole Roubaix thing.

So I spent all day yesterday waiting for Specialized to break their silence, my mouth watering in anticipation of either a humble apology or else a "Fuck you, we're Specialized and we will crush you, you impetuous Canadian!" followed by Social Media Roubaix Shitstorm Round Two, and instead, at like 11:00pm, I learn Specialized didn't even have the authority to enforce the trademark in the first place and it's all over.  Just like that:


BOULDER, CO (BRAIN) — Specialized Bicycle overstepped its bounds when it registered the Roubaix trademark in Canada and then tried to prevent a Calgary retailer from using the name, Advanced Sports International’s CEO told BRAIN on Monday.

ASI says it owns the worldwide rights to the Roubaix trademark — it’s had a Fuji Roubaix road bike model in its lineup since 1992 — and has licensed it to Specialized since 2003. ASI’s Pat Cunnane said the company has no problem with retailer Dan Richter using the name on his store, Cafe Roubaix.

“We have reached out to Mr. Richter to inform him that he can continue to use the name, and we will need to license his use, which we imagine can be done easily,” Cunnane said.

I mean, don't get me wrong, it's immensely satisfying to see the rug get yoinked from right under Specialized's feet, and I'm very happy for the Café Roubaix guy and all, but I was primed for weeks and weeks of reality show-style hijinks, and now all I've got is a case of the bike industry slapfight blueballs.

Oh well, I guess I should think positively, and at least all the coverage of the controversy created a bumper crop of disembodied hand porn:


I love how they tried to crop out the disembodied hand but those two digits still managed to sneak themselves in there.  Somehow it's even more arousing than seeing the whole thing.

That's called titillation.

Nevertheless, there is one thing I'm still trying to come to terms with in the wake of all this, and it's that I actually own and occasionally still ride a Specialized:


Yes, there's no sense in hiding it--I have a bike emblazoned with the "scarlet S."  I won't try to make excuses for it.  OK, actually I will.  [Chokes up, eyes begin to tear.]  I was a far less sophisticated person all those years ago.  I was young.  I was innocent.  I got a Specialized.  A Festina Specialized!  (That's how long ago it was, and that's how stupid I was.)  Then it broke.  I think they all did.  Fast forward more than a decade and various failures and warranty replacements and the usual team deal cup-and-ball games and you've got the frame you see above, which I've had since like 2007.

I've very nearly divested myself of this frame many times over the years, entirely because it seemed like at least once a year I'd read something about Specialized that pissed me off.  But I never went through with it, mostly because it seemed like a futile gesture to go through the trouble and expense of replacing something you already own.  I mean, I thought it was ugly, but it worked fine for racing in circles around the park, which was mostly what I used it for.

Then a year or two ago or whenever it was, I got a new road bike:


So at first I said, "OK, that's it, the plastic bike goes."  But instead, what happened was I got addicted to having two road bikes.  It's pure old man laziness.  Instead of changing wheels for different rides I just have one road bike with fat tires and another road bike with skinny tires now.  It's pathetic.

Now though, I think maybe it's reached the point where I can't in good conscience ride the bike anymore.  It just says "Specialized" on it too damn much!  I mean, really, I'm embarrassed to ride the thing now, even more so that I already was.

But what does getting rid of it accomplish, really?  I mean, obviously I wouldn't buy a Specialized now, but I've already had this one for years now.  When this whole Roubaix thing was going on I told myself maybe I'd try to sell it and give the money to the Café Roubaix legal defense fund.  (I mean, I don't know if I'd actually have gotten around to doing that, but thinking it made me feel good, because me me me.)  Now, though, I don't think he even needs a legal defense fund, so it seems like my options are either:

1) Just keep riding the stupid thing until it falls apart since it already exists in the universe and what's the fucking difference?;

or

2) Go through the hassle of finding another frame and moving everything over, because I'm addicted to having two road bikes, and let's be honest, I have so little in my life you could at least let me have that.

So I put it to you:


Should I Keep My Specialized?
Thanks for your input.

By the way, speaking of Specialized, this remains one of the funniest videos I've ever seen:



I really, really hope he disinfected the top tube before he passed it on to the next tester.

Meanwhile, as I wandered around the city yesterday killing time and waiting for Specialized to say something, I wandered into a store (not a bike shop, mind you), where I discovered that the "fixie" tool:


Is the new nail clipper:


I'm oddly pleased that the multitool is reaching that level of ubiquity, and perhaps one day it will rival the gratuitous schlong in sheer universality:


We can only hope.

111 comments:

1girl2wheels said...

First!

le Correcteur said...

First. olelcio 2904

le Correcteur said...

Damn! Second; maybe third too!

Anonymous said...

Scranus

Anonymous said...

scranus

Anonymous said...

Scranus

wishiwasmerckx said...

Toppus Tennus.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Toppus Tennus.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Oopsus maximus.

Captcha problems.

Yarpo said...

Thninth!!!!

le Correcteur said...

"now all I've got is a case of the bike industry slapfight blueballs."

Phrases like this, WCRM, are what keep me coming back. And that video's narrator needs a hard slap; even after his drooling, he basically confesses, "it's the engine that counts, idiots."

Yeah Cleveland! said...

Tep twonty.

Bryan Kraham said...

hope the parent company of fuji doesn't charge him and arm and a leg for the "license" to use the term.

theEel said...

weed.

Yarpo said...

Ten-ty-tenth, then!

Congrats 1girl2wheels, all the way from the Greatingway of Britain! Nice Russkie T-34 tank on your page today. Wave like QE2 from the podium, please. Chapeau to le Correcteur and Doppleganger le Correcteur. Wave like your scranus depends on it.

mikeweb said...

So, evidently Sinyard's crack team of lawyers are basically fucking idiots then.

Right, carry on.

Anonymous said...

Of all the times I've seen a carbon road bike with fenders, this is is only time.

Schisthead said...

I feel horribly for you. There's nothing worse than when you love doing something, but hate what you have to do it with.

I can understand your clarity in hindsight... suspension is the dumbest thing I bought into. Blast the descent, all for the mere price of shitty handling and pedaling for 4/5ths of the ride.

Of course, now I have to deal with the continual questioning along the lines of "Why don't you have suspension" which is almost as annoying as having suspension--but not as annoying as maintaining it.

Comment deleted said...

Keep it. Paint out the trademarks.

ge Roubaix™ said...

mikeweb, Cardinal rule of lawyering: if your client pays up front, always tell them they have a case.

ken e. said...

i know babs will have something to say about the universality "thing".

OTHR 50%!

DB said...

Another excellent post!
I have the same dilemma with a Trek Madone. Trade, sell or keep? It's a perfectly good bike with great components, but it's Lances bike.
Hey. Would someone younger than me make a link to a post?
Bicycling magazine, Road Bike Party 2, blogs.bicycling.com
Thanks. It's great.

DB said...

Crosspalms and I will be voting more than once because we're from Illinois.

Yarpo said...

My commuter mehbile is an early 1990's Specialized Rockhopper with slick tires, rack, and pan-nini-iers. Rode it to work yesterday, and back home last night. I won't get rid of it and I won't feel ashamed, but I am still hoping that Canadia invades Morgan Hill via the Half Moon Bay Invasion Corridor (The Fulda Gap of the Peninsula, for those of you who remember the Cold War) and conquers Specialized and makes a POW of Mike Sinyard Scranusface.

If I'm ever in the neighborhood of Cafe Roubaix, I will pay them a visit, but I WILL NOT stand in a line of white people for the ice cream shop located next to/below them because it's just fucking ice cream, man...you know? Ice cream.

Anonymous said...

OOH! mid-pack fodder top XXX

DB said...

I keep expecting to see Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid around here 'cuz it's scranus freezing cold.

RoadQueen said...

Keep the frame, just paint it.

It's not hard. It's probably even easier to paint a purposefully ugly and symbolic swath of black paint over the Specialized logos than it is to change out wheels.

Paint brush - check
Paint - check

Smear paint on parts to cover up.

Done. Let dry.

trama said...

Ditch that S-works pos. It will break and leave you in a ditch of hive inducing weeds. You will be like that kid in Breaking Away, except not fit or young, but nevertheless left in a roadside ditch. Don't get left in a roadside ditch.

Ride the Ritte/Russ Denny

btw, les crabon with les fenders just ain't right

The King of Park Slope said...

I have Specialised socks.

Really ... I won them in a race.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Malcolm McClaren should sue Specialized.

grog said...

Stickers: Seal of Disapproval.

crosspalms said...

The fenders make that bike less ugly. Not much, but they're endearing. Plus Cat Stevens offers a toast of tea for the goofy tiller man.

DB, instead of voting twice I'll hang around the backroom and fiddle with the totals while the judges are eating doughnuts.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Or maybe his ghost should haunt Specialized.

NorCoaster said...

Can I have the stem off your plastic bike? I wanna use it on my 80's style mtb.

McFly said...

Dammit. I had just sought legal counsel to sue the wetness out of Intercourse, Pennsylvania.

Actually there is Blue Ball, Pennsylvania as well. And they are geographically close. "Hey babe lets get out of Blue Ball and shoot on over to Intercourse."

Anonymous said...

that McLaren venge video is really gross. i feel kinda violated after watching it, like i need to take a shower.

CommieCanuck said...

So, he can keep the name if he licences the name from Speshulized. That means he has to pay for the fucking name of a town in France.

Lawyers are lovely people who do nothing but help society. What did you do this year, councillor? "I shut down a bike cafe in ButteFuck, Alberta, and it only cost my client $450 an hour.

I was looking at a Roubaix, but only because I thought it was the official bike of a bike cafe in Cochrane, Alberta.

This is up there with Ford suing Ferrari for naming their formula one car the "F150", for the 150th anniversary of the Italian Republic. Apparently, we would confuse a 900hp bright red formula one car with a pickup truck.

LWYR LIPS

mikeweb said...

ge,

I was just thinking the same thing a minute ago.

Retainers won't keep flowing without at least looking busy.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the paint it crowd. The shittier the paint job the better. Think Rust-Oleum™.

JLRB said...

DB 12:33 - I doubt I am younger than you but here you go

Bike Part 2, aka guys making me realize my skills suck

Anonymous said...

Re: that Specialized bike -- keep it and paint a black line through the logos. Or paint the black line through the logos and then sell it. You'll probably get more money for it that way, as long as you sell it fast while people are still pissed off.

P. Bateman said...

you should make the comment podium race a real thing and give away the bike as the grand prize.

duh.

DB said...

Thanks, JLRB!
That worked great. Just watched it a second time.

Buffalo Bill said...

Yarpo, of course you're right. Not only is it just icecream, but you can buy it at most local groceries now too. But it is good icecream, for what it's worth.

DB said...

I liked the Chinese Ladies dating site on the right side of the voting results.
Classy.

Anonymous said...

PAIN TJOB

DB said...

Snob:
It doesn't matter what you do to that bike, everyone is going to know it's still a Specialized.
I'm with Grog. Stickers.

leroy said...

I'm keeping my Roubaix.

But if it's any consolation, I couldn't ride if I wasn't shameless.

commentatorbot_23497 said...

Instead of changing wheels for different rides I just have one road bike with fat tires and another road bike with skinny tires now. It's pathetic.

Exactly. One road bike, two wheel sets and you are done.

This "oh it's fixed now" moment with the Roubaix name still isn't fixed.

There's no way a trademark should have been granted and the fact that the trademark holder is licensing an unenforceable trademark is ridiculous.

I'm going to trademark BSNYC, "Bike Snob" and "New York" and license them to the Intellectual Property thief running this blog. Make sense yet?

piskian said...

You seen that Norwegeeboard bloke riding backwards down a mountain pass at 50mph?
Oozbomber methinks...

Yarpo said...

Buffalo Bill (or Bison William on more formal occasions I imagine),

Okay, I'll take your word for it. So I'll just lurk around the neighborhood in Cochrane, Alberta, and go charging in for ice cream when the line dies down.

JLRB,
At about 4:00 minutes into the video my fandom of Eskil Ronningsbakken, of backwards hillbombing fame and the Friday Quiz, died a little bit. Downhill, backwards, on just the front wheel? Holy Meat Puppets!!!!!!

I'm going right out on my roadbike and will do NONE of those...

Alan W. Watts said...

Sell all of the bikes and ride you wife's; you need a cleansing period from your posessions.

Herschel Raney said...

Since I just read Penn's "It's All About the Bike" while sleeted in this weekend I have to say, go get one of those damn Rourke's. Those guys sound badass. Maybe they will paint your Specialized as a bonus?

And what? Still riding that vegan Brooke saddle and no updates on the quality? WTF?

Once again, fuck the robot test.

Anonymous said...

Thought this guy had an interesting take on the Big Red S. Hope the author doesnt mind the extra traffic...

http://yourbikehatesyou.blogspot.com/2013/12/everybody-else-is-doing-it-s

Spokey said...

"That's called titillation."?????

Sounds more like handillation to me. I'd love seeing some titillation.

urchin said...

Keep the bike--why afflict another with the apparent shame of owning it? Stop the cycle of, uh, cycle!
And: thumbs down on that polling site FWIW.

streepo said...

ubiquitous schlong.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Trek-Giant-Specialized

Ford-Chevy-Dodge

Who cares? Not me. I ride a German recumbent.

The Backmarker said...

AWW

Ride his wife's bike or his wife?

McFly said...

Disembodied light aqua-blue pole is the new black.

I would keep the Special bike.

Because 48 cm frames are difficult to sell.

Keep it for 'Lil Snob. He can probably ride it in 2 or 3 years.

Anonymous said...

So you're proud to ride a German made bike. Interesting.

not anonymous said...

Specialized denied! Excellent, so all of the negative press for nothing. Sinyard can't be in a good mood right now. I wonder if I can return my Cafe Roubaix tee-shirt?

nscadu 9 said...

sell, excuse to get a new non-crabon frame.

Anonymous said...

I say keep the specialized but put some tape over the name. or have some fun with duct tape and a sharpie
Eg:
S-Works = ASs-Works
Specialized - LEGalize POT

Anonymous said...

Um, while that fixes the problem with Spezialiced, I'm still concerned that somebody - ASI - is ASSerting a trademark on any use of "Roubaix." I wouldn't be so quick to agree that there is a likelihood of confusion by the average consumer and agree to a "license."

Anonymous said...

Sell the S-works frame, fork, post, boner stem on Ebay. Make commentariot write your ad.

Purchase nice steel bike with good tire clearance with longer top tube, and shorter stem.

CommieCanuck said...

And: thumbs down on that polling site FWIW.

If you read it quickly, it seems to read as "Fister", the ultimate poll-smoking website.

GHEY POLL

Good to see the numbers back where we can ignore them for the robot test.

CommieCanuck said...

Aren't Sworks some Tolkien characters from Middle Earth?
J.R.R. should sue.

Spokey said...

CC

I read it as Fuster and wondered what a fuster was.

J.R.R. tried to sue S*****. Look where it got him. Now he's dead.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Never really thought of it as proud. Just different. Like to do my own thing not just follow the rest of the flock.

Anncipo 278

That's a strange robot check.

Dooth said...

Raffle it off and donate the proceeds to charity.
Who could pass up a chance at owning a piece of cycling history?

Comment deleted said...

It's so nice to see somebody trying to swing the "Intellectual Property" hammer and having it rebound and hit them in the balls. It needs to happen more often.

mikeweb said...

'Back in the day' I used to have a Specialized healment, as did a couple of other guys working at the bike shop. The neon green letters were simply stickers on the black thin shelled healment, so naturally we changed the name to

SPECIAL ED

Anonymous said...

keep it,,do you have any idea how much that bike is going to be worth some day??

Anonymous said...

Keep the bike. There's this fabulous stuff called paint that we have on this side of the Atlantic; you can use it to hide unsightly lettering and so on. It's even available in a variety of colours.

Or there's tank tape.

hey nonny mouse

JB said...

Zero US $?

Anonymous said...

Tilford doesn't have much to say. He'll get back up to speed though.

Anonymous said...

Paint over the specialized frame. Matt black can look good.

Quick Catch Me, I'm Jizzing said...

Babble can swallow that, or so I've read.

CommieCanuck said...

Speshulized TT bike, ToC 2008

CommieCanuck said...

Keep the bike. There's this fabulous stuff called paint that we have on this side of the Atlantic; you can use it to hide unsightly lettering and so on. It's even available in a variety of colours.

Paint? Is that like chroma thin layer liquid coating? you guys have funny words for everything.

dancesonpedals said...

NEWSFLASH:

Lance Armstrong announces new endoresment deal!

"I'm proud to be associated with a product I'm proud of, that I use every day & whose manufacturer is willing to ignore the stigma of my doping scandals.

John Glanz, a spokesman Uniball NA, manufacturer of Uniball Pens, didn't have the heart to tell let Armstrong know he'd been punked.

"We'll let this play out on social media until he figures it out"

Anonymous said...

Donate all unwanted Specialized bikes to me if you'd like. Especially the ugly plastic ones. Mountain, Road, Bmx. I'll ride em. No other bike company ever did me any favors either. They all want to seperate you from your money. If Specialized wanted to hire me as team rider, put me on the cover of their 2015 catalog, I would say "Let's do it." I wonder how many Specialized haters would say "Naw, I don't agree with your business ethics, no thanks."

Philip said...

Mike Web - Changing Specialized to Special Ed is brilliant. Dang. That's worth buying a Roubaix for...

a) If France will shut down foreigners for using the word "Champagne" and "Burgundy" as product names, why not "Roubaix" and "Alpe d'Huez?"
b) If the guy is selling "Roubaix" wheels, yeah, there could be confusion in the marketplace, and a case could be made that he did it on purpose in order to sell more wheels. "CAFE Roubaix" wheels less so.
c) The "Epic" bags debacle was stupid, but "Revelate" is an awesome name. In fact, I'm going to name my line of bicycles that... hmm.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine the glee over at Fuji when their legal guys told them that Special__ed was going all thug again, this time with a trademark that they didn't even own.

Reminds me of when Disney sued a preschool which had cartoon characters painted on a wall on their playground. Hanna-Barbara stepped up and gave them permission to use THEIR cartoon characters instead, and might have even done the painting. They got to be the good guys while showing Disney to be the IP thug assholes that they are.

Fuji's move also makes the point that a trademark owner can avoid defending the mark (where it's necessary, which it was not in this case, even if Specialized had the right to do so) by licensing it.

Of course, Specialized would demand $100 million for a license, since they have shown themselves to be colossal assholes on so many occasions.

ouabacher said...

CC, a little wind tunnel work on the rear step of that ToC "tri- bike" would've TOTALLY saved that dude three or four watts, easy!

Anonymous said...

My scranus has a black and red colorway.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

I say ... have some fun with duct tape and a sharpie
Eg:
S-Works = ASs-Works
Specialized - LEGalize POT

December 10, 2013 at 2:08 PM"

This strikes me as the most satisfying and entertaining proposal to deal with Snobby's dilemma.

I have a pair of big chunky 26" tyres stamped "BIG MOUNTAIN". I'm hoping someone can tell me this is a bastard company because I would love to modify them by removing the M and the AIN in MOUNTAIN, then remove a segment of the O so it becomes a C.

I think I'll do this anyway, so what's the best way to remove this white text from the black tyre? Or should I just cover up the letters with black shoe polish?

Meantime Snobby, if you decide to paint your bike get a tint exactly the same as Cadburys purple (the colour they've copyrighted) but insist it's your own invention inspired by cinema and call it "Stephen Spielberg's The Color Purple".

And if you can find a keyring or something with Oprah's face on it you could glue it to the headtube and call the completed masterwork "Stephen Spielberg's The Color Purple featuring Oprah Winfrey"

You could sell that to some Hollywood cokehead for heaps!

Comment deleted said...

In Polish, I think his name is Mike Świnia.

Nice job stepping on your veiny corporate dick, Mike.

Schisthead said...

Hint: Sandblasting takes care of hot patches on tires rather handily.

McFly said...

Why don't you try getting on the EBAY and find you a Volagiway down tube sticker kit. It would then possibly be the most ironic bicycle ever known to mankind.

Besides the Softride.

ouabacher said...

McFly FTW

babble on said...

Pant pant pant... better late than never, right?

Mmm universal schlong. Only wait... does that mean everyone has to have one?! That's a pretty hot bird in your photo, but I like her better without it.

Shame is over-rated, snobbers; don't bother. As for the S... frame? Wellllll, you just put it out there that you are willing to consider a new frame, so maybe one will fall in your lap, as it were, and you can give the offending frame away to some deserving soul.

And BTW your Ritte would look really sweet with shiny gold wheels, you know. Because mmmm shiny.

Grump said...

I too, have one of those "S" bikes. It's an older "Tree root Hopper", hardtail. I would have sold it off, long ago, but for the fact that I think that they named the fork after my wife. Since my wife and I do not see eye to eye on the value of multiple bikes, I'm sure that sooner or later, I would have heard...."Of all those damn bikes, you have, you got rid of the one with my name on it.....you bastard".
.

BamaPhred said...

Snob's SpecialEd fenders need mud flaps, according to Grant Petersen in his book Just Ride.
Shameless book schilling, I know.
Just jealous of the fenders, the guts to put them on, and ride an S Works.


McFly said...

Or even better contact the owner of The Worlds Greatest Madone and see where he picked up his bolt-on aftermarket kit and turn it into THE WORLDS GREATEST ROUBAIX. Adding "Worlds Greatest" May keep you out of copywrite infringement.

Got to go with the Cafe Roubaix wheelset.

Tubasti said...

I'm riding the bike named after the hill where Lance Armstrong used to see how his blood bags and EPO injections were working, so, BikeSnob, you have my consent to ride your Tarmac.

Lemon Dee said...

BIG F and E stickers

FACIALIZED

Or LEGALIZE POT

Or just SPECIAL

Smuttynose Impaired said...

F and E stickers?

F and A stickers more like it.

The Fuck says What?

Anonymous said...

Link text

Dream Job said...


black electrical tape wrapping is better than LOGOs of any kind. In my opinion.

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babble on said...


ps

You ARE fucking hilarious, Snobbers. I almost always have a laugh out loud moment here, and some days tons of em. And what a peanut gallery. Between you n'them, I learn a LOT here.

So... you said something yada yada broken frame yada yada new frame yada yada... say WHAT?

I heard something like that about Campy parts, too, though of course when my derailleur exploded all over my spokes I had to replace the parts myself. Worse, the damned thing is trying to do it again! I keep bending the little hangar somehow, and my derailleur acts all weird in the middle bit (and sometimes explodes!) when I do. This is already the second one I'm replacing in two and a half years I've had the bike.

So... is it true?

babble on said...

Sheesh. I deleted the comment to correct a mistake and then forgot to make the correction. G'night all.

Anonymous said...

The only specialized gear I own is a seat and now I can feel good every time I slap my ass cheeks down upon its face!
So fitting.

Fredrik Jönsson Norrström said...

Dear bikesnob,

I so happen to own a S*****lized bottle cage. It just so happens to be such a formidable colour match with them handlebar and seat posts on my Bullit, and the temptation at the LBS was just to great to resist.

Will I go to hell?


Can I amend myself by cykling through hail and snow all winter?

ps. No I'm not a robot, goddammit. ds.

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

I took my specialized to a guy in Brooklyn and he painted it.

Anonymous said...

Babs, better never.

ge Roubaix™ said...

Sigh, is this confession? Yes, I used to have a special ed helment, have ergo grips, wife's commuter has S tires and there are probably other ways they've subliminally infiltrated my life. Damn you sinyard.

Roille Figners said...

Day late, dolla short. I'm-a-say sell the Spezialiced. Why? Because it's crabon, and you clearly hate it, and hate its maker, and did so even before this little trademark flap. Life is too short to ride a bike you hate. Let go. Sell. I'm not saying give it away. Just cut the tie. No big deal.

Regular guy said...

Two fingers? It ain't titillation until the whole hand is crammed in there.

Merry Krammus indeed.