From the Paint Booths of Death Spray Custom and Garrett Chow Aug 26, 2013


From Beautiful Bicycle: Stanridge Speed x Death Spray Custom Highstreet Track


From Recent Roll: Garrett Chow and His FEA Specialized Venge

Social media has done a great deal for the cycling industry. One of which being a platform for people who are movers and shakers, who might have not had a readily-accessible forum before. The two parties involved with this post in particular have created some stellar work in their day and if anyone has the right to have their opinions heard, it’s them. I saw this on Garrett Chow’s Instagram and had to post it up:

“From the paint-booths of @deathspray and @garrett_chow:

Hey Cycling-Industry! With the trade-show season upon us, it’s our guess that a great many in your employ are feeling the annual, dread pall of humiliation and embarrassment with your ‘little problem’: Shit Colors and Graphics, and weak product-offering. That twinge of, “oh fuck, I donno know — just make everything black, red, or white”. And, the tiresome, nagging itch of, “put three stripes on it, and call it a day”, needn’t be suffered nor endured any longer. These ‘strategies’ never hide the fact that your bikes are inane, open-tooling, off-the-shelf death-traps, anyway. And, no amount of voice-conferences, consultants, or Power-Point presentations will ever change this, either.

Adding insult to injury, the small company two booths over, who invested 1/23rd the cost of your ‘clever’ marketing-budget on their talented, appreciated and fairly-compensated designer (and not a color-blind engineer moon-lighting as your ‘de-facto design team’–the one with an iMac and a dog-eared back-issue of IdN Magazine on his desk), is literally KILLING your 2014 line-plan with one hand tied behind its back. Your self-congratulatory back-slapping echoing throughout the exhibit-hall–like so many floundering, dying fish gasping their last breaths–belies the fact that the death of our beautiful industry is precisely where your pedestrian products are taking us.

So, here’s your escape plan for model year 2015: Please, put down the golf magazine just long enough to write an email to: [email protected] and, [email protected] IT’S REALLY, /REALLY/ THAT EASY! We are here for you –and with love, D & GC”

As someone who also works freelance and constantly finds himself frustrated with the lack of creativity in cycling, I can commend these two…

  • Baler71

    Game Changers!

  • John

    Ok but doesn’t Chow work for (or did work for) Specialized?

    • He did and while he was there, he designed some of the best work that company has seen IMO.

      • Ham Sandwich

        im curious as to what he designed exactly. link me to something perhaps?

        • The Boonen-edition frames, the S-Works road shoes (he’s wearing) and multiple other special edition S-Works frames (used in the Tour, etc) those are just off the top of my head.

          • Ham Sandwich


          • Devin Jones

            He designed the 2013 and 2014 Langster Pros too I believe…which we’re speced and designed much better than previous offerings

      • John

        Completely agree! Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, I remember seeing a story either here or on BikeRumor a while back on some of his Specialized art shows.


  • btdubs

    I and many others in the industry can attest to the lame offerings, even just in terms of paint jobs. It’s either, “Red, white and/or black”, fluorescent yellow (“Ooh! Aahh! Bright!”) or just a variation on racing stripes or big logos…

    This is 2013, almost 2014. We all want to see cool shit. And while many a very smart product manager has said… “Paint jobs sell bikes”, the best bikes sell themselves.

  • Garrett

    To be clear, this rant is /not/ an indictment on Big-Business, nor employers–past, present, or future. Rather, it was simply penned as a rallying-cry and a charge-to-action in the hopes that the industry at large remember the worth in good design. As btdubs mentions, a great-looking bike won’t make a poorly-engineered bike ride better; it will however, bolster sales and add value to already solid products.

    While I can’t take any credit for the incredible S-Works road shoe–my friend, Rob Cook (formally of Adidas) has that honor. In my time at Specialized, I was responsible for the Performance Road category –in-line bikes like, Tarmac, Venge, Crux, and Shiv; as well as Road Components and Roval Wheels. As John says, a large focus of my energy was the riders’/team bikes –Boonen Venge and Roubaix; Contador Tarmac; Cancellara Shiv TT; Cavendish Venge; Stybar Crux… These latter bikes providing the platform to hopefully exercise some real creativity; and many of the things simply not possible on high-volume bikes –complex paint-masking, and decals; paints and finishes.

    Enjoy the day! -gc

  • Ion Feldman

    Mocking prospective employers seems ballsy, but there’s no denying the talent of these two. Everything they touch is ‘cool’, everything else in the industry is ‘meh’.

  • PNT

    really happy to read this words – somebody have to name the situation and Garrett is the person who has the right to say it!

  • rfj1862

    That’s a fuck-load of un-necessary hyphens.

  • Wade Stevens

    But I like my bikes murdered out …
    Garrett’s own FEM S-Works is pure sex. Best paint job ever. Well, that new MASH is pretty hot too ….

  • grayson

    That twinge of, “oh fuck, I donno know — just make everything black, red, or white” >>

  • James

    I’m a little confused. Why is the author lamenting the design-related failures & shortcomings of the major players of the cycling industry? Why bother?

    These failures and shortcomings of the major players will allow custom builders & independent operators to continue to attract additional customers (and market share) who value such integral aspects.

    The author and other “new artisans” should not lament such failures nor pander to collaborate with the major players in the cycling industry but should partner with indy/owner-occupied cycling related business that are made in the USA.

    Embrace the businesses that are celebrated on this site on a daily basis!

  • Sean Talkington

    Very Cool!