To further continue rider safety, Specialized leads the counterfeit battle
Specialized Bicycle Components looks to improve rider safety and eliminate counterfeit products available for consumer purchase. As the Internet shopping realm continues to grow, so does the opportunity for low-cost, counterfeit products. Although the low-cost purchase opportunities may sound like a bargain up front, purchasing a product that isn’t tested to industry standards is not worth the risk.
“Our goal, regardless of the product, is to provide optimal bikes and equipment for riders around the world, with safety being our utmost concern,” said Slate Olson, Specialized CMO.
The team at Specialized began to notice counterfeit products circulating on eBay back in 2008. At this time the company looked to Andrew Love to form a Brand Protection Team and work to eliminate the fake products available to riders. Over the years, the Brand Protection Team has grown to 14 employees, positioned around the world and covering a vast number of languages. In 2015, this team conducted counterfeit seller takedowns on over 85 e-commerce platforms, averaging over 15 million USD of counterfeit products removed. Specialized has established relationships with eBay, Alibaba, Facebook, PayPal, and Visa to stop counterfeit cycling products and cripple the flow of illicit money,
The Brand Protection team at Specialized hopes to lead the bike industry in the fight against counterfeit products. As a reminder to riders around the world, when searching for a new bike, helmet, carbon frame, handlebars, or even cycling gloves, remember to buy directly from certified retailers to ensure you receive the authentic product.
“I’ve witnessed firsthand how real some of the counterfeit products can look, but how terribly they can fail basic safety tests,” said Andrew Love, Brand Protection Expert. “When you shop at your local Specialized retailer, you look people in the eye with integrity and are guaranteed authentic Specialized products.”
Quality testing of a number of counterfeit products has been done to better understand the hazards. The Specialized S-Works Prevail and Evade are leading cycling helmets, used in the Tour de France by multiple professional teams. We’ve seized a number of these counterfeit helmets. To the naked eye, they look the same as the production helmet. But when put to CPSC impact tests, the helmet fails and can be fatal to the person wearing it. A crash that a rider wearing an authentic Specialized helmet would walk away from could become a major head injury. The difference is that bad; counterfeit helmets are simply made with cheap foam and do not have the integrated roll cage which protects the rider’s head.
To further strengthen efforts to protect rider safety, the Brand Protection Team has coordinated with law enforcement and customs organisations throughout the world, leading to arrests in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Specialized will continue to pursue and eliminate counterfeit cycling products and work to keep riders safe.