Specialized relaunch Globe urban brand

Fixies, commuters and porteurs for 2010

California-based Specialized Bicycle Components has relaunched its Globe brand with a more refined and aggressive effort aimed at discerning urban cyclists, based on mix of San Francisco and Dutch culture.

BikeRadar visited the Morgan Hill headquarters recently to chat with Globe's designer Robin Sansom, who just returned from Eurobike.

Trite as the emerging "discerning urban cyclists' phrase may sound, the designers at Specialized have the street cred as fashionistas and cyclists of all stripes, as evident by director Robert Egger's leadership since 1988. Sansom came to Specialized from Kona Bicycles, another company with an eye for flair and function.

According to Sansom, Specialized introduced its Globe line in the early 1990s, grabbing headlines and television coverage on shows like 'Oprah', but not really taking off with dealers or the buying public. Specialized founder and CEO Mike Sinyard feels now is the time to relaunch the brand, and has invested heavily to make sure the Morgan Hill company satiates the demand.

Roll

Made with Reynolds 520 chromoly steel -- the choice of several fixed-gear riders and manufacturers -- the US$610 Globe Roll 1 takes a few aesthetic influences from Japanese keirin racing, from the hard plastic -- and impossibly narrow -- saddle to the minimalist dropouts and fork rake.

A unique feature (and one sure to please some and tick off others) is the one-piece stem and handlebar. The stark and svelte tubing works for this crowd, and makes for a straight and tight ride through traffic.

We'll feature the US$830 Roll 2 at Interbike next week. Both models are currently available at Specialized dealers.

Sizes: S, M, L, XL.

Live

The US$990 Live 2 is a sleek aluminium-framed hauling bike, designed for a stout 50lb load-friendly front basket and a slightly higher handlebar position for commandeering a supermarket mad grab. Drivetrain is based on the Shimano Nexus 8-speed internal rear hub.

According to Sansom, he and his team decided on a custom fork with crown and blade mounts to distribute the load evenly. A handy toggle spring keeps the load from flopping the front of the bike side to side, and a two-legged kickstand props the bike nicely when fully loaded.

Steel fenders and a chainguard keep the rider debris-free during rainy rides, and keeps the overall aesthetic buttoned up. Braze-ons allow for water bottles and a rear rack.

All Live models, including one with a carbon belt drive and a mixte for the ladies, will be available in October.

Sizes: S, M, L, XL.

Haul

The US$660 Haul 1 is a formidable cousin to the Live family, but with a more relaxed and taller head tube and integrated rear rack.

In a style more reminiscent of the French builders in the 1940s and '50, Specialized has designed a modular frame that includes a load-bearing rear rack. The 100-pound carrying capacity is impressive, and the upper rack has wings for attaching panniers, with hooks engineered into the forged dropouts to secure the load.

LED front and rear lights have been designed as part of the standard package.

Haul options include a mixte step-through and a Shimano Alfine 8-speed model for US$1,100. All models will be available in October.

Sizes: S, M, L, XL.

BikeRadar will bring you more coverage of the entire Globe line at Interbike during the week of September 21 - 25.

Follow BikeRadar's Twitter postings at twitter.com/bikeradar.

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