Specialized, one of the leading manufacturers of high-end bicycles and e-bikes, has launched its first-ever value segment of e-bikes under the Globe line. The company’s launch model is an electric cargo bike known as the Globe Haul ST.
While Specialized calls it a cargo bike, the shorter wheel-base that keeps it in “normal bike” proportions helps put it into a class we often refer to as utility e-bikes. These are e-bikes with extra cargo capacity for hauling extra cargo or passengers, but without the extra bulk and length often associated with oversized electric cargo bikes.
The Globe Haul ST is priced at US $2,700, which might seem to be a bit higher than most budget-oriented e-bikes yet is positively low-cost for a premium brand like Specialized.
The company is pitching the Globe Haul ST as an affordable car-replacing electric bike that can handle many of the daily tasks that many people accomplish with a much larger vehicle.
As the company explained:
The Globe Haul ST represents a new category of e-bike for Specialized, one that fills the gap between a commuter e-bike and a car. The Globe line is designed with increased load capacity and a versatile accessory mounting system allowing riders to travel comfortably around the suburbs and exurbs as well as the off-the-beaten paths of their outdoor adventures.
Compared to many of Specialized’s electric bicycles that lean more toward European-style e-bike designs, the Globe Haul ST is rather Americanized.
That means a powerful 700W hub motor, a massive 772 Wh battery touting 60 miles (96 km) of range, large tires in a 20×3.5″ size, and a massive weight capacity of up to 419 lb. (190 kg).
Oh yeah, and the Class 3 top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h).
That being said, it’s missing one major piece of kit loved by the majority of North American riders: a throttle option. When we first got a look at teaser pics, I called out a thin wire tracing its way up to the right handlebar end. As it didn’t terminate in the brakes and thus couldn’t have been a common brake sensor, I suggested that it may be a giveaway for a throttle. Unfortunately I was a bit too optimistic, as it turns out it’s the switch for the ultra-bright 1,500 lumen headlight.
However, one of the many accessories option includes a plug-in throttle, so it sounds like the company is prepared to offer that option to those that prefer the ability to put their legs on autopilot for a period.
In true Specialized fashion, the bike is outfitted with some very nice parts compared to today’s mid-level e-bikes. Microshift’s 9-speed transmission makes an appearance, as do hydraulic disc brakes on massive 203 mm brake rotors, and there’s even a torque sensor for ultra-smooth and responsive pedal assist.
There’s a telescoping seat post that drops down ultra low for riders as short as 4’5″ (135 cm) or as tall as 6’4″ (193 cm). The rear rack is dual level to create enough space for panniers to clip on while potentially leaving the top bars unencumbered for extra cargo loading.
That rack seems to be a central part of several accessory options, as the company explained:
To further separate itself from the pack, the bike comes with a versatile mounting system and ecosystem of specifically-engineered accessories that allow riders to personalize with the storage and seating configuration best suited to their needs. The Globe Haul ST launches with an accessory line that includes front and rear pannier adaptors, a rear passenger seat, handlebars, and foot pegs, an MIK-ready front rack, rear wheel cover, and plug-in throttle. A rack customization kit also provides various hardware to bolt on just about anything to the front.
Even less critical parts like the included brass bell appear to be nicer quality than the typical accessories slapped on a lot of direct-to-consumer e-bikes.
Priced at US $2,700, the Specialized Globe Haul ST is available in dark and light colorways of Satin Obsidian and Gloss White Mountains. The bike is currently only available in the US, but Specialized representatives have told Electrek that there are still plans to expand international distribution “in the future.”
I’m pretty darn impressed with the Globe Haul ST, and I’m glad to see a throttle option, even if it’s an up-charge. I can already tell you that the lack of a throttle would have considerably cut into the bike’s potential sales in the US. It’s not that all e-bikes have to come with a throttle – I love pedal assist as well. But there are so many US e-bike riders that simply won’t look at an e-bike that doesn’t at least give them the option of throttling when they’re tired.
I think it’s hard to talk about these step-through utility bikes without mentioning the RadRunner, especially since they borrow heavily from the setup popularized by Rad Power Bikes a few years ago. Even the nicest $2,500 RadRunner 3 Plus is still a bit more affordable than the Globe Haul ST, though I doubt Rad can compete with the quality of a brand like Specialized.
I’m loving the loadout here. And I’m loving the fact that you’re basically getting Specialized quality and attention to detail at a more direct-to-consumer price. In fact, the packaging and owners manual alone speak volumes about this e-bike and the company behind it. Most direct-to-consumer e-bikes expect you to say thanks for including a couple Ikea-quality hex wrenches produced out of a steel-butter alloy. But the Globe Haul ST comes with a full tool kit including a freakin’ torque wrench to make sure you not only assemble the bike properly but also torque all the bolts to spec. Mmmm, I love that.
Though for those that don’t want the hassle of self-assembly, Specialized also offers an option to have the bike shipped to their local dealer for professional assembly.
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