Specialized Globe Haul ST Review: This Cargo Ebike Is An All-Around Winner
Posted On July 31, 2023
The first thing anyone familiar with ebikes will remark upon seeing the Globe Haul ST is its looks. Specialized has some of the most beautiful paint colors, but the Globe Haul ST is a sleek matte black. It looks like a step-through VanMoof, the bikes made by the pioneering ebike manufacturer that recently declared bankruptcy after booming during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I’ve found the idea of a smart ebike to be overrated. During a brief test of a VanMoof, I had to keep tinkering with the app to keep it from beeping and chuckling at me when I or any of my family walked past it in our garage. VanMoof’s initial success, however, pointed to the fact that a lot of people were really attracted to a bike that didn’t look overtly technical. If, in VanMoof’s absence, you are still yearning for a minimalist, Euro-inspired daily driver, I recommend the Globe Haul ST without reservations.
This is Specialized’s first e-cargo bike, and it’s pretty awesome. I’ve been using it for a month to bike my family and all our gear around Portland, Oregon. Because it’s a family bike, everyone has to weigh in—it’s the bike that my husband, 6-year-old son, and 8-year-old daughter opt to ride. It’s as if VanMoof and our own Tern GSD (8/10, WIRED Recommends) had a baby. I that wasn’t enough, it’s more affordable too.
The Globe Haul ST has an aluminum step-through frame, with an adjustable seat post that can accommodate riders from from 4’5″ to 6’4″ tall. It’s quick and easy to adjust. I’ve pulled it out of the garage multiple times after my 5’10” husband has been riding it, and I’ve been able to lower the seat quickly to my own 5’2″ height to take my kid to the pool.
It has a custom Globe 700-watt rear hub motor with an external 772-WH removable battery that’s rated IPX7—no warnings about riding in the rain here. The motor is pretty powerful. Due to the bike’s configuration with the big battery bolted onto the down tube instead of under the rack, it doesn’t feel off-balance when I’m powering up some steep hills, obnoxiously singing along to Taylor Swift just to demonstrate to people on acoustic bikes how hard I’m not working.
The range is enormous. The stated range is 60 miles. The odometer currently says that I’ve put 40 miles on it by just riding my kids and myself around our neighborhood, and the battery is more than half full. It’s been a month and I’m going to have to take it on a 15- to 20-mile ride to get it below the 30 percent level that Specialized asked me to have the battery at when I return it.
One of the worst-slash-best parts about Specialized’s electric bikes is that they’re designed for people who like to bike. They’re not just tiny e-motorcycles. Just like how the Turbo Tero X (8/10, WIRED Recommends) tries to teach you how to be a better cyclist, the Globe Haul ST wants you to put in the bare minimum of effort. I’m lazy, it’s hot, and I’m carting kids and stuff around in the full sun on 95-degree days—even though I have five levels of assistance and nine gears to choose from, right now I want to pedal as little as possible. Even on the lowest gear jacked to the highest level of assistance, I still only get about 10 mph unless I use the throttle.
The interface is very easy and intuitive to use. It’s a basic LED display with a left-hand throttle and a weirdly fun-to-push gray button on the right to turn on the very big and bright front and rear lights. The front light has multiple modes that go up to 1,500 lumens, and I would suggest not accidentally shining it on our friends if you want to keep them. It has maneuverable, compact 20-inch multi-terrain tires that felt fine when I decided to cut through gravel roads. The Tektro hydraulic disc brakes are fine.
Great accessories make the riding experience so much more useful and fun. I’ve always thought that Tern had the best proprietary accessories, but Globe has a bewildering array with a number of stylish partners. For example, the proprietary open panniers have adapters for the front and rear, and the adapter works with the Specialized/Fjallraven Cave Pack ($130).
I tried it with the rear passenger kit complete with back handlebar, foot pegs, and wheel protectors, along with a front rack and the two front side panniers. I don’t particularly like front panniers (you have to be careful about turning quickly or you’ll scrape them on the ground) but they made the bike immeasurably more useful.