Specialized launched a new sub-brand called Globe dedicated to building high-quality electric utility bikes that are specifically designed to replace car commutes. Globe will be “an extension of the Specialized brand that focuses on bringing more fun to local life and reducing the number of car, truck and SUV trips required for daily transportation,” the company says.
Electric bicycles are unique among two-wheelers thanks to their real ability to replace car trips for the vast majority of owners, especially those trips of less than five miles. Electric cargo and utility bikes, in particular, excel at reducing car use thanks to their rugged design and payload capacity. Specialized, the third-largest bike maker in the US based on market share, says it wants to accelerate e-bike adoption, and the Globe will be the company’s vehicle to make it happen.
“We live in the last generation capable of making a difference in the fight against climate change,” said Saul Leiken, Globe’s global category leader. the edge in an email. “Electricity has revolutionized the way we get around, and in order to offer the bicycle as the best eco-friendly solution for daily commutes, Specialized is expanding our traditional notions of how and why we ride.”
Details are still a bit sketchy, but Specialized says that in addition to making and delivering Globe-branded e-bikes, the sub-brand will also be how the company communicates with its e-bike customers, whether through your marketing or customer service interactions.
Globe electric bikes will be some of the “highest performance bikes Specialized has ever brought to market to serve everyday riders and the performance for utility they need,” Leiken said. “Cargo and child transport are two of the many uses for Globe, as we’re taking the ‘everything by bike’ concept quite literally. Globe is not pigeonholed into any particular cycling experience.”
Globe will also emphasize a “commitment to the lifetime value and affordability of the products we create,” the company says. More interestingly, the new unit will serve as the face of Specialized’s partnership with local independent bike shops “not currently benefiting from the growth of exclusive direct-to-consumer brands,” the company says.
In many ways, the electric bike revolution is being led by direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies, such as Rad Power Bikes, VanMoof, and Super73, thanks to their ability to focus exclusively on making and selling battery-powered bikes. Legacy bike manufacturers such as Giant, Specialized, and Trek emphasize their partnerships with local bike shops as a way to highlight the differences between their DTC rivals. Through its new Globe division, Specialized appears poised to make that difference even more to customers and other stakeholders.
The inclusion of “value and affordability” in Globe’s credo is interesting, especially considering Specialized’s pricing. Specialized makes fantastic electric bikes with top of the line components and as such they can be really expensive. That’s certainly the case with the new Turbo bikes, which range from $3,250 to $5,500. Rad Power Bikes, by comparison, typically sells their bikes for $2,000 or less.
Leiken said that Specialized’s Turbo e-bikes will live alongside Globe-brand bikes. “Globe is separate from Turbo and Turbo isn’t going anywhere,” he said. “Specialized continues to invest in both e-bike experiences.”
Specialized will begin taking orders for its new electric bikes in late 2022, with the intention of beginning customer deliveries in early 2023. Globe electric bikes will be exclusive to the US at launch.