(Cycling Weekly UK)

Playboy bunny models for Specialized e-bike is demeaning to women. (Cycling Weekly UK)

Do you really need to bend the norms to sell e-bikes, Specialized? Hardly worth the slander and the reputation of all your brand athletes, don’t you think?

Specialized has apologised after being accused of sexism in its marketing of a limited edition “Playboy” version of its Turbo e-bike, saying that it does not condone the objectification of women and will continue to support women’s cycling.

The bike in question was a collaboration between Specialized and Playboy, and was launched at the Berlin Bike Show last week with models dressed in Playboy bunny outfits in attendance, drawing considerable criticism on social media.

In a statement, Specialized CMO Slate Olson said that the company apologised for its marketing of the bike and will continue to support women’s cycling.

“We apologize for a recent marketing activation which we participated in at the Berlin Bike Show with the Limited Edition Turbo. Specialized stands strong with female riders and we do not support the objectification of women in any way, in any region. In the future we will continue only to build on the great work we have done to promote women and men in cycling.”

The American company has been at the centre of a social media storm over the last few days, as both female and male cyclists took to Twitter to highlight the alleged sexism.

Others called out Specialized on trying to target the women’s market while launching a bike with Playboy bunnies, especially as the launch was taking place just a day before Lizzie Armitstead took a fine victory in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda while riding a Specialized Amira.

Not the first and won’t be last, Colnago was equally guilty of a suggestive photo last year.

Read more at Cycling Weekly