Specialized Teases New E-Bike Promising to Bring 'More Fun to Local Living'

An interesting marketing exercise tells us much about the future of e-bikes.

Globe Cargo Bike


Some 540 million years ago, the Cambrian explosion filled the seas with what Nature calls "an astonishing diversity of animals." It all happened in what seems like overnight in geological times. On this International Bike Day, it feels like we are going through a Cambrian explosion of e-bike design, with so many new bikes filling different niches in the e-bike ecosystem.

An interesting example is this new Globe e-bike from Specialized. There is not much we can say about the bike itself, given that one image of it is buried under cacti. We have good relations with Specialized, but all they would tell Treehugger about this one is, "We're currently only sharing explicitly what's been shared via our press release."

It notes, "Most everyday car trips are short, joyless, and bad for your wallet and the planet. Globe is an extension of the Specialized brand that will focus on bringing more fun to local living while reducing the number of car, truck, and SUV trips needed for everyday transportation."

Most trips are short


The last time we discussed a new bike from Specialized, Jenisse Curry, their global communications leader, told Treehugger that research showed two-thirds of car trips were less than 10 miles and they are designing these bikes to be car replacements. Many commenters were critical of our coverage, but my very first sentence was, "The most interesting thing about this bike is the marketing."

The same thing can be said about the new Globe. If you are going to sell people bikes that replace cars, then maybe you should learn from the car business that offers different products to different markets.

closeup of Globe


Technically, there isn't much for us to say, other than it appears to have a rear hub drive and a metal chain, so they are probably looking for a lower price point. There are big disc brakes. It's got fat comfy tires that will soften the ride and an old-fashioned two-legged kickstand that I wish I had on my e-bike. It has the racking to carry four of these big plastic panniers and still more stuff on the rack behind.

One thing everyone seems to be learning in this explosion of bike design is that just as cars not only move people but also groceries and stuff, then if e-bikes are going to replace cars, they have to move stuff too. If you are going to go shopping for cacti, you need a way to carry them.

This is why Rad Power Bikes has such a hit on their hands with the RadWagon that Treehugger's Katherine Martinko rides and why companies like Tern are doing so well; read Sami Grover's description of their new Quick Haul. I also loved the Surly Big Easy, which showed me how electric cargo bikes can eat cars.

When you have a motor and a battery, you can design these heavier cargo carriers with smaller wheels, resulting in what I have called the future of e-bikes: solid, practical, and well-built car replacements.

As with cars, style matters to many people. The Globe has a kind of retro, utilitarian but more conventional look. Specialized clearly has some bicycle designer version of Harley J. Earl trying to give its bikes style as well as function.

I know regular readers who ride will object to this as they did with the Specialized Como. But we are talking about a whole new market here—the majority of Americans who have never used a bike for anything but recreation and may not have owned one since they were a kid. They won't know their newton meters or the nuances about mid-drives versus rear hubs.

Short trips are where the emissions are

Micromobility Industries

Specialized says, "Globe bikes are built to move you, your family, and your things." It appears to be built to get more people out of cars and onto bikes for all those short trips where cars put out the most emissions.

It's not available for order until the end of the year for delivery in early 2023. But if the point of this teaser campaign was to get everyone's attention, they have succeeded.

View Article Sources
  1. "Introducing Globe." Specialized, 10 May 2022. Press release.