Toronto Glober – Globe Haul 1 Review

Several months back I received a Globe bicycle on loan. Cyclists around the world have been testing and blogging about these bikes. Here’s the Canadian “Globers” site: http://globerevolution.ca/theglobers/

I still have the bicycle for a few more months and plan to give it a good winter test now that we’re really experiencing frozen winds, slushy streets and salty roads.

The review below was also posted here:

Looking "SMART" in Kensington Market on my Globe Haul 1

Looking "SMART" in Kensington Market with my Globe Haul 1

I’ve been riding on the streets of Toronto on my Globe Haul 1 for several months now. I’ve gone on shopping expeditions to St. Lawrence Market and made quick trips around my neighbourhood. My Globe has delivered me safely home in the early hours of the morning and has always been ready for me when I get the need to ride late at night.

A bicycle is a bicycle. Simple, I know. Two wheels, handlebars, pedals, a frame and a seat. Of course, there’s more to a bicycle than just the sum of its parts. There’s the intent of the designers. There’s the materials used. And there’s the potential within to take you to new places.

The Globe Haul 1 aims to take you places where you’re going to want to take items home with you. It is designed to take you there when the streets are wet. It is ready to go when the sun has set. And it wants to you feel comfortable all along the way.

First, let’s look at how the Globe Haul 1 let’s you do just that; haul.

The Globe Haul 1 RackIntegrated into the frame, a large rear rack supports up to 90 lbs. In order to add a bit more functionality to the Elm wood deck, I added a fruit crate. With just a few bungee cords I’m able to carry groceries and other items easily. Adding weight to the rear of the bicycle is barely noticeable except on steeper hills. Cornering isn’t affected so long as you secure your load.

Rails are placed below the rack deck to allow for panniers. An integrated pannier hook also helps when mounting bags. Unfortunately, the rails were too wide for my Mountain Equipment Co-op panniers’ mounting clips. Replacement clips are available and other makes may have larger clips to work with these rails.

The Haul 1 comes equipped with an 8-speed Shimano rear derailleur and double front crank chainrings to give you enough gearing options for when your trips take you up hill or down.

For Toronto’s salty winters and sandy springs I’d prefer an internal hub gear setup to help against wear. The Haul 2 model does comes with this, but for those looking at the attractive price of the Haul 1, a little maintenance and elbow grease should keep you rolling year round.

The Globe Haul 1 also comes standard with full metal front and rear fenders. Installing fenders under the integrated rear rack could be a big pain if you are unexperienced and impatient. Quite frankly, I’m both, so I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about that. The metal fenders are also curved around the edges to keep even more water from spraying you. I’ve gone out after a few rainfalls and have never had to worry about the dreaded “skunk stripe” and other dirty marks from road water.

Another very appealing aspect of the Globe Haul 1 is the integrated front and rear lights:

Integrated Rear Light

Integrated Front Light

The rear light has three settings; constant, flashing and dazzling. The dazzling setting is somewhat similar to the back and forth sway of the front light on the Knight Rider KIT car. The LED lights are powered by two AAA batteries and the tucked away light should be safe from damage should the bicycle fall. The flash of the rear light is bright and is hard to miss. It is also larger than many other lights on the market, and since it’s mounted permanently to the frame there’s no need to worry about bulk. However, you may want to bring a spare red light with you if you plan on carrying a large load. My fruit crate often covers the light if I secure it further back on the rack.

The front light has two settings; constant and flashing and is a powerful white light. It too is integrated, this time into the stem and it seems as though it will stay put over time. My only issue with the light is that it points too high. I can often see my light flickering above store awnings, which means it isn’t shining on the road ahead of me. The light may not be powerful to illuminate a dark path, but it is bright enough to be noticed for safety. EDIT: Since writing this I learned that there’s a little screw hiding behind the light casing. Remove the light, loosen the screw and reposition the light, so simple, of course I missed it!

Swept Back HandlebarsComfort is a priority for many of the Globe bikes and the Haul is no exception. I find the swept-back handlebars to be easy to handle and comfortable to grip. While you’re not going to be flicking this bicycle around, I found the steering to still be quite nimble for maneuvering around the potholes on Toronto’s ever-crumbling roads.

The frame geometry provides an upright riding position. I found that keeping my head up wasn’t a problem on this bicycle and it actually allows me to take in a bit more of what is going on around me.

For day-to-day riding I find the Globe Haul to be an excellent bike. The integrated rack and lights as well as full fenders mean that this bicycle is ready to go right away with no add-ons (aside from a few bungee cords) needed.

Globe Haul 1

Happy New Year 2010

New Year's Day - Mt. Washington, BCWelcome to 2010!

2009 was a pretty exciting year for me. It all started when I purchased a bicycle to help me run errands and get around Toronto. I’d given up my car in late 2008 and figured I didn’t need to rely on transit to get around town.

On a whim I started biking to work. 25 km each way into the outer reaches of the GTA and back.

I quickly went from a wheezing, struggling pedal-er to a complete bike nut in  a matter of just a few rides. I was hooked.

I soon joined BikingToronto as their first blogger.  2010 holds a new opportunity for all cyclists in the city of Toronto. BikingToronto has just undergone a major face-lift, one designed to allow you to contribute to discussions, create your own groups and better connect with people in town who share your passion for city cycling.

Well, what are you waiting for? Sign up now and let’s connect.

Happy riding in the New Year!