Over the years, Specialized has made some pretty important bikes. The American firm introduced the first major production mountain bike in 1981 with the Stumpjumper, and its Rockhopper hardtail remains one of my favorite, versatile cross country riders.
But across the bike world, the times they are a changin’. And excellent, very specific bikes just don’t quite cut it for many consumers these days. So Specialized is doing all it can to keep up with growing demand for versatile bikes that don’t cost the Earth.
It’s with that mission in mind that Specialized is now focussing its attention on direct-to-consumer electric bike brands like VanMoof and Rad Power Bikes, which have been carving out their shares of the market. In response to the growing pressure from these upstarts, Specialized has resurrected a ‘90s marque to name its most exciting new bike in years.
The American firm has today announced plans to launch the Globe line of electric bikes and accessories “to move you, your family, and your things.”
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Specialized had a Globe-branded line of urban bikes in the early ‘90s. But those no-frills hybrid bikes of the 90s and early 2000s are a far-cry from what it’s peddling with this new line.
According to the firm, the standalone Globe brand “will focus on bringing more fun to local living while reducing the number of car, truck, and SUV trips needed for everyday transportation.”
This mission statement, paired with the teaser image you see at the top of the page, makes it safe to assume that the new range will comprise versatile commuter bikes and cargo machines that are perfect for zipping about a busy city. Or for carrying an ample supply of cacti around, your choice.
And the announcement marks an exciting pivot for the brand. Instead of focussing on single use, high performance bikes like the Roubaix road racer or the Demo downhill monster, Specialized will start offering multifaceted e-bikes that can undertake a range of daily duties.
In an interview with The Verge, Saul Leiken, global category leader for Globe, said that “in order to offer the bicycle as the ultimate climate-friendly solution for everyday trips” the firm had to expand on its “traditional notions of how and why we ride.”
As such, the upcoming Globe will be built with a variety of uses in mind. Leiken also told The Verge that “cargo and kid-carrying are two of many uses” for the new bikes. And the images shared by Specialized show a pretty laden up e-bike with a host of cacti-carrying accessories.
Truly, the firm is targeting your daily driver with the new Globe bikes. And, I for one, am very excited to see this project unfold.
What’s more, the firm is also altering the way it speaks with bike buyers, which is again in response to the business models utilized by firms like VanMoof. As well as selling e-bikes, Globe will also become the main channel for Specialized’s communication with its electric bike buyers.
But what would it take for you to switch out your daily driver for an electric bike such as this to get to work, drop the kids at school or pick up groceries? And is this even a lifestyle you would ever consider?