MINNEAPOLIS, MN (BRAIN)—Specialized cemented its commitment to the transportation category this week by launching its Globe brand, a line of five lifestyle driven bicycles.
The company invited media from urban-centric publications like Urban Velo and Momentum, as well as the Bike Hugger blog, to see the new bikes and introduced it in Minneapolis, a city steeped in urban bike culture.
Specialized first launched Globe models in the early 1990s with a lukewarm response in the U.S. Last year, in the midst of growing consumer demand for utility-style bikes, Specialized re-launched the line with four models.
This time around, the company is making a greater effort to give Globe its own identity, built around a simple look with no branding except for a Globe head badge.
In addition to carrying over two models from 2009—the Vienna commuter and the Carmel comfort bike—the new Globe includes the Roll steel frame fixed gear bike; the Live with integrated front basket and fenders and options including a mixte frame and carbon belt drive system; and the Haul with integrated front rack and rear wood deck capable of transporting up to 100 pounds.
“The line now is strong enough to be a stand alone brand,” said Nic Sims, who handles global marketing for Specialized. "I think it is nice for the average bike buyer entering the store who doesn't want the full team bike image. They are
after a bike that has a cool image and practical use, we hope that as their interest in the sport develops they will look at other bikes."
To head up Globe, Specialized hired Robin Sansom—who worked at Kona for 10 years and developed that brand’s Ute cargo bike—last October. Around the same time, Garrett Chow, a brand identity specialist who’s worked for brands like Nike and K2 Snowboards, and helped create the Mash SF project, came on board. Globe also has a dedicated engineer and part-time designer devoted to the brand, as well as a liaison in Switzerland.
A Globe Web site goes live later this month. Specialized also plans to take a new marketing approach with the brand, moving away from print advertisements, instead incorporating nontraditional avenues such as stationing the bikes in the boutique hotels.
Globe will also sell aftermarket accessories including saddles, grips, pedals and fenders, and potentially helmets, bags and saddles in the future.
For more details on the Globe brand, including how Specialized is working with dealers to draw in new consumers, read the July 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News magazine.
Photo: Erik's Bike Shop in Minneapolis displays a potential set-up for dealers to showcase the Globe brand.