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Nike drops cycling line

Posted by on April 2nd, 2007 at 7:20 am

[Read this story for a major update]

LiveStrong Ride with Lance Armstrong
Lance visited Nike headquarters in
Beaverton for the Livestrong Ride in ’05.

Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike Inc. will no longer produce develop or sell cycling related gear or clothing.

The company tried to establish a foothold in the cycling industry with its sponsorship of Lance Armstrong and his former teams but according to a source close the company they plan to drop their offerings of cycling gear.

Their Nike Cycling website is still up, and they will continue to sell product through 2007.

All cycling employees have been let go.

More details coming soon…

[NOTE: I scooped myself on this story. I mentioned it during a taping of The Spokemen Podcast this morning, before I had published it here.]

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UPDATE 2: I have published a major update on this story.

UPDATE 1: Also watch this story at BikeBiz UK for more details.


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  • Andre April 2, 2007 at 8:00 am

    They will probably try again, they didn’t give up after failing pretty badly the first time making skateboard stuff.

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  • John Boyd April 2, 2007 at 8:07 am

    Has Nike actually produced any gear or clothing since the early 80′s? I thought they were now only Chinese Labors’ presence in the West.

    Someone tell me something socially redeeming about Nike to balance my strong negative prejudice. PSU’s soccer field, got that one.
    Thanks,
    John

    (he hee “foothold”)

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  • Jonathan Maus April 2, 2007 at 8:09 am

    John,
    “produce” was the wrong word. I’ve edited the post. thanks.

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  • brad April 2, 2007 at 8:28 am

    No amount of good they do here can redeem them from what do elsewhere…just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.

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  • John Boyd April 2, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Sorry Jonathan, I didn’t mean to comment on word choice, I meant to suggest that most people probably assume that Nike makes what they sell with their name on it, when in fact they most often do not. “front” “pimp” or “disseminate”, or “purvey” perhaps. I’m even under the impression that most (by sales) of The Swoosh stuff is wholly developed by companies that the western hemisphere would not recognize.

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis April 2, 2007 at 9:01 am

    I won’t say that Nike has never produced anything, but their very first batch of shoes was produced by a company in Asia with whom they contracted to make to their specifications and then sew on the swoosh. That has always been their business model.

    I am not here to defend Nike. But since John Boyd asked for someone to tell him something socially redeeming about Nike, I can tell him/you that they fund schools for girls in the nations in which their products are made. They also participate in a trade organization that establishes (minimal) labor and environmental standards for their contractors’ factories. Now, in case you’re thinking “Smithers, release the hounds!” please note again the first sentence of the paragraph.

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  • Bill April 2, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Im glad to see that the bike industry/community didnt embrace Nike. I share the same opinions as John Boyd.

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  • Cecil April 2, 2007 at 9:18 am

    As much as I have always avoided buying anything sold by Nike, I have to admit that their women’s cycling shorts were one of the few styles that seemed to actually be made to fit normal women. That much I will miss.

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  • Lynne April 2, 2007 at 9:35 am

    The airbags (airsoles, whatever) are made right here in Beaverton.

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  • Christopher April 2, 2007 at 9:38 am

    I am not going to go to great lengths to defend Nike, but I do believe the anti-Nike sentiment that is so entrenched among many people is largely misguided. Nike’s products are made overseas where the labor is inexpensive and easily exploited, I’ll give you that.

    The reason that I think Nike’s black eye is undeserved is because just about everybody else in the game does the same thing. I know so many people who won’t buy Nike sneakers, but turn around and buy Adidas or Asics or Brooks. Meanwhile, Nike has joined the weak, but better than nothing trade org that AO mentioned above, and adopted a policy of full transparency about the locations and conditions of all the factories they use. *No one else does this.*

    And Nike does give money to a lot of good social programs, they are actively lobbying the OR legislature to enact civil rights laws protecting LGBT folks and legalizing gay marriage or at least civil unions, and they regularly pay their employees to go out and do volunteer work in the community.

    I’m not saying that Nike is great, or even particularly good. What I am mostly trying to say is that they are typical of just about everything else out there, but somehow they are the poster child for the pitfalls of globalization. I don’t think it makes sense to demonize Nike but turn a blind eye to the business practices of nearly every other producer of clothes, gear, etc that we use on a daily basis. Unless you buy everything secondhand, or purchase goods made only by small ultra expensive independent designers, it is nearly impossible to line your ethics up with your consumer practices. So, in this light, why is Nike the recipient of so much venom?

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  • erikv April 2, 2007 at 10:41 am

    To bad. I hoped Nike would succeed in the cycling wear biz, but I guess it didn’t work out. I actually never saw any Nike cycling apparel for sale, but then I didn’t look very hard. I’m sure they’ll still make cycling shoes, at least.

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  • brettoo April 2, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Can anyone point us to some socially responsible, non-exploitive, made in the USA cycling gear?

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  • sam hill April 2, 2007 at 11:09 am

    “Unless you buy everything secondhand, or purchase goods made only by small ultra expensive independent designers, it is nearly impossible to line your ethics up with your consumer practices.”

    It’s not impossible, this is for sure, unless you are meaning that one has to be perfect. We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to try. Try to not buy it first, then try to make it yourself, then try and buy second hand, then try to buy local, etc. There will always be purchases that are hard to make soundly, but there are many that aren’t.

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  • Emily April 2, 2007 at 11:34 am

    I’d like to hear more from those out there that actually like and use Nike’s cycling gear – ’cause frankly I’ve looked at their offerings and never found anything that was compelling enough (in terms of design and materials) to get me to actually buy it.
    Ok, there was also an instance where they didn’t actually make my size in a particular model of SPD shoe….

    But I also realize that as a car-free individual who uses my bike primarily for transportation – ie. commuting and touring, I don’t ammount to squat in terms of market share – so it kinda made sense Nike was not designing anything I found useful. I don’t race and wouldn’t call myself a performance oriented cyclist, but I could easily imagine their stuff would appeal to this set.

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  • Sam Gratte April 2, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Nike drops cycling because of doping!
    The Landis disaster after Armstrong, Hamilton, … weights a lot!
    Basso could be an other scandal even if DC has “secured” the case!

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  • BillD April 2, 2007 at 11:41 am

    brettoo, #12,

    I have used, and like the quality of, shorts from Aero Tech. You can read about them and their mission statement on their web site:

    http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/about_us.htm

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  • Christopher April 2, 2007 at 11:57 am

    brettoo,
    If you’re talking about “cycling lifestyle” type stuff, then you’ve got some options–Hypnotic designs, some Swobo stuff, Deller, Sheila Moon. You know, messenger knickers and the sort. T-shirts with bikey prints silkscreened on, made on American Apparel shirts. Hats. Stuff like that.

    If you’re talking tech cycling gear, shorts and jerseys and the sort, then no not really. Rapha makes really high quality (and super spendy) gear thats probably made in Britain, though Im not even sure about that. I bought a wool Swobo jersey this winter thinking it was still made in SanFran, but was sorely disappointed to see a Made in the Phillippines tag on it.

    Sam Hill, I agree with what you wrote completely. I do not expect perfection of myself or of others. Its unattainable. I am just suggesting in this particular instance that people are demonizing one manifestation of a system, Nike, rather than the system itself. But you’re right; given that this system is in place, all we can do is make the best possible choices in any circumstance.

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  • Cecil April 2, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Emily asked if anyone had actually tried the NIKE gear – the only NIKE cycling gear I have tried were the women’s shorts – they have (had, now I guess) a decent chamois once broken in (for the first few rides/washes it was like wearing those old-style maxi pads – sorry guys, that’s the only real analogy) but more importantly they have (had) a longer inseam than most women’s shorts, which meant that they didn’t hit and bind right across the middle of my quads like most women’s shorts out there.

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  • Garlynn April 2, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Brettoo-

    How about Portland Cyclewear, made right here in P-town?

    http://www.portlandcyclewear.com/woolcyclingjersey.html

    I just ordered my second jersey from them (after shrinking the first one in the wash… d’oh!! luckily, it now fits my g/f, who loves it)

    cheers,
    ~Garlynn

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  • Lynne April 2, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Emily asked if anyone had actually tried the NIKE gear …

    My Cycle Oregon jersey from last year is a Nike jersey. One of the better-fitting jerseys I have – no elastic around the bottom – they get it! I’ve also got a couple of ACG Oregon Series shirts that I wear cycling (waffle fleece; love it!) and an ACG jacket where the sleeves zip off and it breathes, and all that. It was my main cycling jacket for several years; I still wear it.

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  • Mark P April 2, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    I am reluctant to buy Nike wear but I do have a pair of full finger cycling gloves that I like very much. On the flip side, I tried a pair of Nike’s carbon fiber sole cycleing shoes and they didn’t work for me, I had to go back to the Sidis.

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  • Brad April 2, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Now that “Lance-a-Palooza” is over, Nike no longer has any use for the sport. This doesn’t surprise me as the writing has been on the wall for some time. I know some of the folks that worked in Nike Cycling and I’m sorry that they get jobbed like this. On the other hand, Trek wins as they were never really treated as a real partner by the Swoosh. Now they are free to work with those that have an honest passion for the sport.

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  • Disco D April 2, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Well, aside from all the corporate responsibility stuff I never bought any nike cycling gear because it seemed really really expensive. I remember looking at some bib shorts for like $200…I’m sorry but for that kind of money you might as well bump up into Assos.

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  • Bill April 2, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Garlynn,
    unfortunately your post about Portland Cyclewear is incorrect. I completely understand how youd get the impression they were made in Portland though, I had the same idea. However, I went to purchase some products from them only to find out its made in China. damn!

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  • [...] The Bike Portland blog – situated in the same State as Nike’s HQ – reported that all cycle-specific employees were to be dropped but some will be retained. [...]

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  • Curt Dewees April 3, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Yes, Nike is a vast, uncaring, multinational corporate behemoth, but, as an Oregonian, I have some mixed feelings.

    There is a part of me that is somewhat prou–because Nike is *our* large, multinational corporate behemoth … founded just one generation ago by legendary U of O track coach Bill Bowerman, who started making running shoes by molding pieces of urethane in a home waffle iron, and by Phil Knight, former U of O track runner, who would then travel around to track meets and sell Bill Bowerman’s “waffle” shoes out of the trunk of his car. It’s quite an Oregon success story!

    Also, when entertainer Michael Moore traveled all over the U.S., filming the documentary “Downsize This” and attempted to interview top corporate exutives about their decisions to move U.S. jobs overseas, Nike’s Phil Knight was the ONLY top executive who agreed to appear on camera and actually have a conversation with Michael. I thought that took a lot of courage.

    Knight even made a commitment on camera to give $10,000 to a nonprofit jobs-related charity in Michael Moore’s hometown of Flint, Mich. Sure, that’s chump change to Knight, but, still, it’s something no other CEO did.

    Yes, Phil Knight and Nike are still evil, but I’m somewhat proud that our Phil Knight had more courage and honesty than all of the other evil corporate executives (who were not willing to appear on camera and speak their side) combined.

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  • [...] The Blogosphere (not a real word) has been abuzz today with reports that Nike is cutting its entire cycling operation at the end of this year. Initial doomsday reports gave way to a more factual story that Nike and Trek won’t be working together anymore and the future of the brand is “uncertain.” What is certain is that employees at Nike Cycling are updating their resumes on company time and looking for jobs online. A Nike PR guy said that Nike will continue making cycling products through 2008. [...]

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  • Neil Weber April 4, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Nike cycling products have been very hard to find for the last 4 years or so. Bike Gallery used to carry their shoes, but that ended. The downtown Nike store rarely carried cycling gear. I actually thought that Nike Cycling went away when ACG did.

    I have one pair of Nike cycling shorts. They are OK, but not worth their high cost.

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  • Jeremy February 28, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I am a big fan of their t-speed triathlon shoes, and I also picked up a pair of their bib shorts at the employee store for 20 bucks.

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