To celebrate 25 years of World Cup Racing, we’re asking brands to count down their top five moments from the first quarter century of this amazing sport. This time, SPecialized.
McRoy, Palmer, Vasquez, Hill, Gwin, Bruni. Take any era of downhill and Specialized have been supporting legendary, race-winning riders.
We chatted to Jason Chamberlain, Specialized’s Principal Engineer-Creative, to try and whittle own 25 years of success to the five greatest moments in Specialized’s quarter-century of downhill racing.
Shaun Palmer – Big Bear, 1999
This was Palmer’s only World Cup win, besting then 7-time World Champion Nicolas Vouilloz among others. He was known for living like a rock star, partying, a tour bus and never, ever training. Shaun debuted his famous gold sequin suit for this podium which he later gave to Sam Hill (who wore it exactly 10 years later in Schladming.)
For his bike, Shaun wanted just two things – increasingly slack head tubes and ball bearings. His first meeting with Specialized engineers resulted in a shouting match with Shaun demanding ball bearings pivots “just like his Intense” instead of bushings.