I thought this new bike from Specialized looked horrible when I first saw it. Awful. I watched the video, then went and ate breakfast, and when I came back I thought it looked okay. Tolerable, at least.
My prediction is that after months of aggressive marketing, a few World Cup wins, countless videos and photo specials, and product reviews from lame websites, by the end of September I'll think it's the coolest looking bike ever.
We call that marketing strategy "The Five Ten Effect." As in, "Wow, Five Ten Impact's are the worst looking shoe ever. They look like orthopedic shoes my grandpa would wear."
"No wait, Sam Hill runs them? That's the coolest thing ever."
"Yeah, but the new ones look terrible. What's with that cheap pleather upper? I think they cut that material out of a used '78 Chevy bench seat."
"Wait, Blenkinsop and Brook run them? I need them."
"Yeah, but the new Impacts look awful. They're thin, and flexy looking, they're nothing like the original. I bet they suck. They ruined it."
"Wait, Strobel runs them? Thin and flexy soles must be way better. I can't even believe I'm still running the bulky old ones, I need these."
Here's a hint Specialized: the last time you had an FSR bike that looked exactly like this with a winning American rider on it, you painted a flag all over the bike and then your American rider won a bunch of races and everyone loved it. Do that again.
I also like the part where Sam Benedict says "We've been dedicated to downhill racing for almost two decades."
Just ask Curtis Keene how "dedicated to downhill racing" Specialized was back in '07 when his choice of race bike was between these three gems: