When I wrote this post on Medium, I was mad about quality control in the bike industry and now the Interwebs are fired up about business practices. Recalls, defects, and the biz had me talking all weekend with insiders who also wondered if the aging boomer leadership of this industry is capable of taking it further, like to the next level. As if Burke and Trek’s dealings with Lance and company are and were any less ethical than a trademark battle. Or offshoring manufacturing, gray marketing yourself with mail order, and paint jobs that’d never pass the most lenient EPA inspections in the States. People are mad at Spesh, sure, shake your fists, but welling consumer anger would grow much fiercer if more daylight showed them how bikes are sold worldwide. Remember the sport’s greatest hero is a world-class bully and was funded by a bankster with support from big bike companies.
While editors and ad departments are yelling at each other about running the Spesh story and risking ad dollars, I’ve held the 7th issue of our Magazine to add late-breaking reports on this topic and another about hydro. Expect the Mag later this week.
The reporter from the Calgary Herald who heard about Spesh v. Cafe Roubaix story convinced a reluctant shop owner to tell him about it, updated his report today, and we’re waiting for an email from Spesh with a response.
After noting a Spartacus moment was coming on this, I’ll add the bike industry has not seen anything like it before. This type of reaction is normally reserved for companies like Amazon, Intel, Monsanto, or Walmart.
As soon as Spesh responds we’ll run it and until then remind you what Roubaix is. It’s the most beautiful race in the world or a random bike like this one I spotted on Capitol Hill last year.
The good guy in this story is ASI who last night told BRAIN that they own the Roubaix trademark, licensed it to Specialized, and did not permit its use in Canada, and will allow Cafe Roubaix to use it. This maybe why Spesh still hasn’t responded because of legal wrangling over the matter and despite an even angrier mob that’s shaking pitchforks at them.
Like many trademark owners, ASI does not register its trademarks in every country and never tried to register the mark in Canada. ASI only recently learned of Specialized’s registration of the Roubaix trademark in Canada and ASI’s position is that Specialized’s registration of the mark in Canada was inappropriate under the terms of their license agreement. ASI has used the mark in Canada for well over 10 years, giving it first-use trademark rights in Canada.
The Calgary Herald also updated their story with this quote from Richter, the owner of Cafe Roubaix
We have received over 3500 emails, hundreds of phone calls and messages, how many #s and @s? Tweets? Do numbers go that high?” he wrote. “Our little studio is just barely 900 sqft and cycling fans, cyclists, Velomintus, industry leaders & big shots, pro riders, and icons have all made their voice heard. Thank you.
Meanwhile, I found a couple more Fujis in our archives, including this from PDX, and posted the original Roubaix artwork to Instagram.