Globe Live – Integrated Basket Cargo Bike
The Globe Live is another recently introduced bike from Specialized who has relaunched the Globe brand into it’s own line of city bikes. While the Roll is on one end of the spectrum of utility and fashion, the Live is on the other with large volume tires, full fenders and an integrated basket. Pictured is the $550 entry level version with a one-speed coaster brake hub and aside from dropout changes model to model, the same basket-bike geometry aluminum frame and fork as the rest of the line. It’s all about the basket, and geometry lessons taken from the French.
The porteur style of bike was defined by French newspaper couriers carrying a large load on a front basket, with someone along the way determining that by dramatically decreasing the trail measurement of the frame/fork that the front loaded bike would handle that much better. This thinking has come full circle in the American bike market, having never left given places, and we find ourselves with a handful of higher end offerings taking geometry seriously when loading up the front of a bicycle. The Globe Live brings it to the local bike shop level, and does a surprisingly good job at it. While at first glance I was expecting just another bike with a pretty basket, once I actually rode the bike around a bit I could tell that some real thought went into the design beyond making a rack with custom mounts.
Ride loaded. Appropriately enough after a lunch time beer nothing was stopping me from finding someone to sit in the basket, not even the design engineer imploring me that the rack was designed and tested for 50lbs., max. “Not my bike,” came my reply and marketing guy Nic Sims hopped in for a lap. The bike went where I wanted to point it without the wrestling I was honestly expecting with some 150+lbs on the front. I’ve put a number of miles on front loaded bikes, and this was one of the better steering setups I’ve experienced with a load of that size. We even rode over a stump to really make sure the rack and fork could take it, and things just kept on rolling.
The basket is fairly large and has a finished wood bottom, with plenty of places to attach a bungee or other tie-down strap. I’d personally prefer if the fence on the basket was removable or not there all together to form a flatbed rack, but this is a minor quibble on an otherwise well designed rack with sturdy mounts built to fit the Live fork. The pictured spring is there to aid in loading the bike, as it holds the front wheel straight while perched on the kickstand or leaned against a wall. Not perfect, and obviously removable if you don’t like the handling. As for the frame and fork, they are aluminum for the usual reasons of strength, weight and custom tube profiles. I’ll admit that the Live models were unusually lightweight for being a fully equipped basket bike, and aluminum frames when not trying to be the lightest in the world have proven durable with lots of 90′s mountain bikes still in service.
The Globe finishing touches in terms of spec are worth mentioning, such as the full coverage alloy fenders and internal cable routing on the upscale $990 Live 2 and $1550 Live 3 models, which bear at least some mention for their 8-speed internal hubs, with hydraulic disc brakes and a belt drive on the top-end Live 3. The frames are also available in a mixte double-toptube step-through model that makes it that much easier to get on and off and fits the style of this particular bike well. Basket bikes are back.