e-mobility, specifically e-cargo bikes, have the real potential to transform our cities as Americans. In an attempt to use their car less, John and Cari have been substituting the Globe Haul ST for their innercity errands and light cargo hauls in Santa Fe. Read on below for some context and an in-depth look at this unique e-cargo solution…
Back in 2019, Cari and I decided we were ready to relocate—a smaller town with fewer people that was bikeable and had easy access to recreational trails. Our sights were set on Santa Fe, where her family has roots and where my dream of riding to endless singletrack from my front door would be realized. A city of 80,000 people, with lots of bike infrastructure (for New Mexico, anyway,) meant we could spend less time in our car and more time pedaling around. We bought a house in late 2019 and moved to the Southwestern state just before the pandemic hit.
Since living here, we went from using cars frequently in Los Angeles to being “car-lite,” yet I wanted to be even lighter. While running to the grocery store or our neighborhood co-op was fine on a basket or touring bike, when we had to buy a week’s worth of food, go to the hardware store, or plant nursery, we would hit the limits of what our analog bikes (and legs) could carry. Cari has her Elephant NFE, and I have my Rivendell Bombadil for such outings. While I’m a strong enough rider that an extra thirty pounds worth of groceries/supplies/etc. doesn’t break me, outings like this were challenging for Cari, a much more casual cyclist.
Then this past winter, we linked up with my longtime friends Erik and Sofia Nohlin in the Mojave Desert. Erik and I go way back. Over ten years, if I recall correctly. He’s been working at Specialized just as long, and last year, he took over the Globe Bikes initiative. Globe has gone through various permutations over the years, with its most current being pedal-assist, Class III cargo e-bikes. We chatted about the potential for e-cargo applications in American cities, their implications on the health of Americans, and how when it comes to e-bikes, they are, at least to me, the most practical use case scenario to justify a motor on a bicycle.
Fast forward a few months into 2023, Cari and I found ourselves with a delivery of a Globe Haul ST bike in olive drab (of course), with a slew of Fjallraven accessories tailored toward making this e-assist cargo bike a supplement to our car. As I mentioned, we only use the car–Cari’s 2001 Tacoma she bought new–to haul big loads of wood/mulch/gravel, drop off review bikes to UPS, and do big grocery store runs. We’re happy to pedal our bikes around town for regular, day-to-day needs.
Before we dive further in, let’s outline what the Globe Haul ST is; then, we’ll discuss why we love this bike, its faults, and the spread of misinformation by media over e-bikes’ role in urban transport.
Globe Haul ST $2,800/77 lbs/One Size
While most of you will be familiar with the modus operandi of mini e-cargo bikes like the Haul, let me break it down.
As Globe states:
“With 419 pounds of cargo capacity (rider included) [and] up to 60 miles at a time, this fully customizable electric bike has the speed, power, range, and stability to get you wherever you need to go with whatever you need. With plenty of optional cargo mounting opportunities you can bring the kids, a kayak, and stop on the way home for groceries. Don’t sweat it getting dark on you either. Integrated front and rear lights will have you dialed from dawn patrol to golden hour.”
- 700w rear hub motor delivers enough power to get you and all your gear up steep hills and all the way across town at top speed. The 772wh battery provides up to 60 miles of range at the lower levels of pedal assist.
- 419 lbs carrying capacity, rider included.
- All rear racks have been updated to 132lb (60kg) max weight capacity – even those labeled ‘40kg’. So get Haulin’.
- Unique, single-size frame fits riders from around 4’5” all the way up to 6′ 4″. The telescoping seatpost has over 13 inches of adjustability, and the quill stem can extend almost six inches. It provides a comfortable ride to almost everyone measured in our Retül database.
- 20” diameter wheels help keep weight low to the ground for improved stability. The extra wide 3.5” Carless Whisper tires provide comfort and traction on any terrain and feature a 3-ply casing for superior flat protection.
- A lifetime warranty on the frame and a two-year e-system warranty will keep your bases covered. With the Specialized network of service centers and superior customer service, you’re never on your own.
The Haul ST utilizes a traditional shifting drivetrain: microSHIFT, short cage, 9-speed, Tektro HD-T535, 4-piston calipers, and 203mm rotors. At the surface, it looks similar to any number of 20″ wheeled urban bikes, yet this bike has some clever details.
How It Works and Storage
The Haul ST is a Class III e-cargo bike. Class III e-bikes are equipped with a speedometer (mounted to the computer terminal on the handlebar) and only assist in speed until the bike reaches 28mph. The assist is instantaneous as long as you pedal. If you stop pedaling, the bike stops being propelled by the motor. This is the main distinction between a Class III e-bike and a Class II, which is more akin to an electronic moped with a hand throttle–Class I is strictly pedal assist limited to 20 mph.
The Big Motor propels the Globe and is fully encased in the rear hub…
The Globe ST’s computer terminal lets you select from 1-5 for the assist speed. We keep ours set around 2-3 and mostly take surface streets, not bike paths, for our errands (bike paths here are full of off-leash dogs and elderly people who are hard of hearing, so it’s easier just to take neighborhood surface streets.) In doing so, we can get about a week’s worth of use from a single charge; around 50-60 miles.
Initially, we were rolling the bike indoors at night, but since it’s so heavy (77 lbs), we found it cumbersome. Even just getting it up three stairs was too much for Cari to do alone. We don’t have a garage, only a carport, so we bought a moped-sized, fitted tarp and covered it at night, locking it to a steel column of our carport.
Cargo It Up!
To best utilize a t-nut/cargo rail rack on the front (optional) and rear (built-in) of the bike, Globe makes a variety of cargo accouterments to help you outfit the Haul ST to suit your needs. There are even kiddo hauler attachments if you need to take your kid to school on the Haul ST. We opted for the Globe Front Rack ($100), which bolts to the head tube of the bike, making it independent of steering, and the Globe Front Pannier Racks ($100) to mount the Fjallraven Cool Cave panniers ($59.99) on. Then, I zip-tied a Wald Basket ($37) to the Front Rack and supplemented this with a Blue Lug cargo net ($14.06).
We found this setup to handle 90% of our day-to-day cargo needs. We could put a larger basket on the front, but we’ve found that it makes carrying taller items in the panniers difficult since the front rack is attached to the head tube of the bike, not the fork, so interference can be an issue.
I rode our cooler to Sincere Cycles for Bailey to use at an open-house party. Photo: Bailey Newbrey
Now, Globe makes A LOT of accessories for this thing, and you can go wild with it. The next accessory on my radar is to buy a few of the MIK Adapter Plates ($17.99), which allow for the quick-release of cargo accessories like that very Wald basket, a larger milk crate, or even a bike-carrying accessory.
Cari used the bike to haul big boxes to the USPS and an entire array of sprinkler tools and supplies to her mom’s condo across town and up a large hill…
If our goal was to reduce car usage, this current setup has done that almost entirely. Our last bit of vehicle reliance surrounds large loads that can’t be delivered, like gravel, plywood, etc. I also haven’t figured out a way to haul a bike box on this either, or an additional bike (for repair drop-offs at the bike shop). Yet, in its current state, the Haul ST has proved highly maneuverable and functional in our day-to-day lives.
Setup and Build Kit
The Haul ST can fit riders from 4’5″ to 6’4″ thanks to the telescoping seat post and burly, long quill stem. When we first got the bike (which arrived completely assembled, sans the handlebar) we figured out a handlebar angle that worked for both Cari and myself and a stem extension. Here, we have 5cm exposed on the stem, and we hard-clamped the bottom half of the telescoping seat post at the 6cm extension mark. This allows for the quick-release extension of the seatpost to be set between my saddle height and Cari’s.
This might seem like a pain to do each time, but we have an easy hack to solve this problem: I simply scored the seatpost with a scribe at Cari’s and my preferred height. Then I can quickly set it up on the fly without having to measure for proper leg extension.
It’s important to note that the extra thickness of the Carless Whisper tires (great name!) to avoid flats from thorns/glass/debris means that dialing in the tire pressure is essential for achieving the best ride quality. Too much air and you bounce around like you’re riding a basketball; too little and you can bottom out on curbs. It’s preferential, but I erred on less air than more.
One of the things we found interesting about the bike is that we never, ever shift gears on it. We keep the derailleur in the tallest gear for our around-town errands. Even when Cari hauls a load from the plant nursery up to her mom’s condo, 600′ above town, she still keeps the same gearing.
Which leads us to the question: why aren’t these pedal-assist e-cargo bikes singlespeed? It would greatly simplify things…
The Big Green Elephant in the Room
I’ve been sharing stories of us using the bike on my Instagram, which has prompted lots of people to comment on both the color of the bike—olive drab—and the fact that there have been reported issues with the Globe ST models. The color is a limited run, in stock, and available on August 15th (next Tuesday) from Globe. If you know me and my aesthetic tendencies, then you know this bike hits my heart in all the right ways!
Regarding the “issues,” yes, we had to take this bike to a local Specialized dealer to get some electrical issues handled. It took two weeks for the shop to fix the hardware malfunction (the assembly facility loaded the terminal connections with dielectric grease, which caused error codes and intermittent battery failure.) The repair was handled promptly (for a small mountain town’s shop queue) and cost us nothing. Things happen. Much like in automobiles, the first generation of equipment often has issues. Yet, Specialized rolled out an official “Technical Bulletin” notice to dealers, and even in my anecdotal correspondence with other Globe Haul ST owners, the consensus is it was a mild inconvenience but was handled quickly.
This brings about a crucial point in the discussion of e-cargo and e-assist bikes in general: they are electronic and can suffer ailments occasionally. This is why it’s crucial to buy from a brand long established in the bike industry, not a no-name, cheap bike from online resellers. Specialized ain’t going anywhere, nor is Globe (we hope not!), so having a dealer network that can work on your bike and firmware updates rolling out is important for the longevity of the bike. Most bike shops hate working on no-name e-bikes. When it’s a specific dealer, they have no choice. :-)
Cari’s Review Within the Review
Cari’s editorial debut on The Radavist (she designs all of our merch and our graphics)!
A few days ago, John and I had just finished a big grocery run, me on the Globe and him on his Riv, and he commented that he “really has to work” to keep up with me around town. I tried to hold down the glee creeping around the corners of my mouth and just said casually, yeah, I know how that feels (literally, EVERY bike ride we’ve ever done together feels this way for me.) And no, I can’t promise you a Globe will spark this particular form of satisfaction, but there are plenty of other opportunities to feel the feels:
Exhibit A: first trip out and I wanted to ride ALL the streets while running errands. There’s zero repercussion for just straight-up WANDERING anywhere and everywhere. Even with a full load of groceries, I wondered what was up that street? Unless I’m in a real hurry, riding the Globe opens up a lot more time for play. Riding up streets for no reason other than to see what is on the other side: that kid again feeling.
Exhibit B: Windy AF? No problem. I try to do most errands on my basket bike, and I’m a somewhat fair-weather cyclist. Let’s be honest, I’m a fair-weather person when it comes to almost any sport. So I’ve found the Globe to be indispensable when the following excuses not to ride my bike are true:
- It’s too GD windy. Life at 7000′ has its drawbacks!
- Whatever I need to get is too big or too heavy for my basket bike (see Exhibit C.)
- Errand place is farther than I’m in the mood for.
- I just feel like a turd.
- I want to go somewhere and not be all sweaty when I get there.
And talk about being in a better mood after running errands on a bike vs. sitting in a stupid car! It’s not news to any cycling folk, but the mood enhancement after a simple jaunt to Ace Hardware is next level.
Exhibit C: The fun of figuring out how to fit weird shit on the bike. Even though I’m an admitted fair-weather sportsperson, it doesn’t mean I don’t love the odd challenge. How to get 25ft of irrigation tubing and all the tools and accouterments needed to install drip irrigation at my mom’s casita? No problem. Taking eleventy billion packages to USPS? Piece of cake. Three boxes of Joe’s O’s plus two bags of fully loaded grocery sacks? I got this.
Other thoughts/observations to consider:
On my first outing with panniers, I had two off the back rack, and I quickly learned it was too awkward for my non-touring adept self – my feet would occasionally hit the panniers getting on and off the bike and walking next to the bike was difficult, so we switched the panniers to the front rack, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.
I’ve never ridden a motorcycle (okay, besides that one time in Ohio where I definitely didn’t know what I was doing and did a really slow-mo crash into a ditch,) and have only been on a scooter once or twice, so I’m not well versed in the maneuvering of said two wheeled HEAVIER vehicles. This thing is definitely much heavier than my basket bike, and you can’t just whip it around to put it on the bike rack. Getting the kickstand down also takes a little muscle. I’m 5’7”/130lbs with some decent pipes, and sometimes I still struggle a little bit to get it down, but either my skills are improving or the kickstand has loosened up a bit (prob the latter) because I have noticed it seems a bit easier.
While riding with the wind blowing through your hair is the damn dream, I do find the wind noise in my ears to be slightly disconcerting. I’m the kind of rider that wants to know where the cars are AT ALL TIMES so I can hopefully avoid being squished by one, and in some situations, I find it harder to know if a car is approaching due to the aforementioned dreamy wind sound. My fix for this will probably be one of those super cool side mirrors. Also, the automatic on front and rear lights are killer – I run those on my basket bike day or night, hoping it keeps me more visible.
I’m just one step away from a neon vest y’all…
Observations, Interactions, and Etcetera
Shifting back to John’s writing.
I ride a lot of different bikes over the course of a calendar year. Both my own projects and review bikes on loan from various companies, but none have garnered more interactions than the Globe Haul ST. Santa Fe’s population is strange. It tends to be primarily retirees, with young people sprinkled in and a lot of machismo in the form of large pickup trucks and muscle cars driving erratically. (This is an oversimplification based on my interactions, not a complete demographic poll.) The collision of these groups is entertaining.
Let me tell you. Put a 6’2″ white dude on this bike, and you will get some heckling from the aforementioned macho bros. I have gotten called any number of names from this crowd, had shit thrown at me from passing pickup trucks, and had drivers act aggressively toward me while riding it (like brake checking me on neighborhood streets, or passing unsafely.) Meanwhile, Cari hasn’t had any such interactions. Bear in mind, I never get this aggressive treatment while on my bright yellow Rivendell or mountain bikes. Yet there is something about an e-bike like the Haul ST that really brings it out in certain people.
I should also note that I love vintage 4×4 Toyotas and have owned many over the years. My current car camping rig is an Australian Land Cruiser (that has been MIA all summer, as it is undergoing a lot of bodywork in a shop), further exemplifying that humans, and their identities, are not one-dimensional. TL;DR: I drive a truck that many would consider “redneck,” but I drive it very safely and only on long-distance road trips, generally speaking. I guess I wonder if these drivers would brake-check me like this if I were driving in my Land Cruiser?
Then there are the inquisitive retirees, asking about it constantly. “Is it safe? How fast does it go? How expensive is it?” So many people’s interests are piqued by this bike, whereas my regular bikes never gain such inqueries. Yet, there have been several cases of angry, mostly older white folk with out-of-state plates who like to tell me that I’m going to get myself killed or that I need to slow down ( I always observe the speed limits.)
I didn’t understand where this animosity came from until I read a piece by the New York Times that was so full of automobile-leaning propaganda that I couldn’t finish reading it. The premise is e-bikes (mostly Class II bikes/electronic scooters) are dangerous for teens, cause deaths, and are a plight in modern cities. What the author, Matt Richtel, omits from his piece is that these kids are being killed… by CARS! Cars are ruining American cities, not e-bikes, ya dolt!
Bicycles are not loved in America. Cyclists are viewed as annoyances by other drivers. We’re villainized in TV shows, mocked in movies, and run down by impatient motorists. Every day when I leave my home to go on a MTB ride, I have to calmly center myself because I know by riding across town to the trails, I will have a negative interaction with a speeding, law-breaking motorist. Most of the time, it’s a by-product of them being distracted or speeding, not overtly-aggressive behavior like what I experience on the Globe. It’s just part of life. Take a deep breath and just get to the trail, John.
As I write this, I don’t want to frame an “us versus them” argument any more than they already exist on the internet. Studies show that e-bike use, particularly e-cargo bike use, results in fewer car trips, increased health of their operators (because you still have to pedal these bikes), and more use overall by their owners. Here’s a recent study that’s important to read. Yet we’re fighting agencies like AAA, who are responsible for the helmet stigma in America (shifting blame from motorists to cyclists,) lobbying for more lanes of roadways while fighting against three-foot laws, as well as pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. AAA has even lobbied to widen American streets to accommodate these monstrously-large pickup trucks!
I can’t speak to the entire picture, and I can’t change your mind with this review on the future of mobility in cities. I was an architect with an urban planning minor in my previous life and have long admired the European model, particularly in Denmark and the Netherlands, but those examples are far from our reality in America. Nor can I ever see America going in this direction. Yet, with the proliferation of Class I through Class III e-bikes being used for errands and cargo hauling, I have seen more and more people–even here in Santa Fe–out and about on bicycles and electronic mopeds, which to me, is a good thing.
Guys like Matt Richtel from the NY Times are the problem. These journalists use fear to instill disdain for e-bikes and other urban mobilization solutions. Don’t fall for it. Try one yourself. It doesn’t even have to be this Globe! Just try an e-cargo bike and see for yourself how fun, practical, and life-changing they can be.
TL;DR and the TakeAway
Apologies for the long-winded rant above. Let’s get back to the brass tacks. Over the past few months, our lives have been transformed by our cargo e-bike. Cari and I use it more frequently than our car and rely only on our car for in-town trips related to large, infrequent cargo hauls. Our first cargo e-bike is the Globe Haul ST, sent to us by Globe’s designer Erik Nohlin, to test out. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Haul ST, even though its electrical service took it away from us for two weeks, and have found it a permanent solution for reducing our car reliance regarding errands.
While Cari pedals around on errands, I’ll sometimes catch a skitch off her saddle rails…
The possibilities for cargo accouterment are endless, and I’ll continue to tweak it over time, trying out solutions for carrying things like bike boxes or a MTB to drop off at a bike shop for repairs. For now, loading up USPS boxes, plants, potting soil, and groceries has us stoked and fighting over who uses it!
- Fast (28 mph)
- Maneuverable due to its small size
- Excuse-free riding; no matter how tired you are, it’s easy to pedal the Haul ST to the grocery store.
- Fits a wide range of riders
- 1-5 speed control lets you dial in the amount of “effort” you want while riding.
- Expandable cargo solutions through bolt-on accessories
- Daytime running (solid, not blinking) lights are safe and provide more than enough beam for night rides.
- Great battery life *40-60 miles depending on speed.
- Hauls plenty of cargo with ease
- Olive drab paint looks great!
- Extensive dealer network support (lifetime warranty on the frame and a two-year e-system warranty)
- The battery is removable, easy to access, and replaceable.
- Carless Whisper tires are bombproof; we ride it through goat head thorns and glass all the time.
- More pricey than other models out there. Yet, the cost of car repairs is on the rise, so it might be justified in the long run.
- Bolt-on accessories add to this cost.
- Heavy, hard to roll up stairs or into doorways.
- The seatpost needs to be greased to keep it sliding smoothly. Ours got jammed up and marred by constantly raising and lowering it.
- Specialized has killed the Globe line before, so there is uncertainty if there will be long-term (10+ years) support in the form of replacement batteries or firmware issues.
I’d like to thank Erik from Globe for setting us up with this bike for review. We’ll continue to use it daily, and I’ll be pushing its use into other aspects of life (e-cargo bike camping, anyone?) so expect to see our Globe Haul ST in future articles here at The Radavist. Got questions/concerns/other tidbits to add? Drop them in the comments!