What’s In A (Bike Company) Name?

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The Stories Behind Some of the Bike Industry’s Most Well-Known Monikers

Our super-sleuth, investigative reporter, Tim Newcomb has been digging around to find exactly what's in that company name. Some are obvious, but some are more than obscure!


For the most part, you can forget about focus groups and market research when it came time for some of the bike industry’s most well-known companies to settle on a name. Instead, you’ll find plenty of acronym figuring, location loving, pun hunting and, in some cases, quick thinking gave your favorite companies the name you splash across your bike. And your body. 

Salsa Cycles

Ross Shafer didn’t want to name his bike company after himself, so he named it after his lunch. A typical lunch for the hot pepper nut was a jar of Pace Picante sauce dumped into cottage cheese with a bag of chips. Shafer says he wanted a name that offered “something hot” and “something spicy.” He came up with Salsa. 

Cannondale 

Peter Meyers needed to order a phone line for a new bike company in Connecticut in 1971 so he went to the nearby Cannondale Metro North train station to use a pay phone. When asked how the new phone line should be listed, Meyers froze a little and responded with Cannondale, borrowing the name of the station. The name stuck and Cannondale has lived on for decades. 

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