Nov 122012
My Mary Poppins Bike: Review of the Specialized Globe Daily 2

The Specialized Globe Daily 2 is my bike-about-town ride when we first moved to Seattle in 2012. Stepthrough design and upright riding posture make it a delight!

The Specialized Globe Daily 2 is my bike-about-town ride these days. Step-through design and upright riding posture make it a delight!

My bike commuting started on a big-box “Iron Maiden” pseudo-mountain bike, replaced with a similar one when was stolen. These bikes probably weighed a good 45 pounds apiece before adding racks and gear.

Then I met Sweet Hubs, who got me onto a Specialized Dolce–a lightweight road-biking dream at around 18 pounds before I added racks/gear–and I commuted on that for the past 5 years.

This set me up with some high expectations for a commuter bike. First and foremost, it has to pass the staircase test: I have to be able to carry the bike up a flight of stairs with all the gear on it. Granted, this situation doesn’t occur too often but I want to be ready for it when it does (and it does).

I loved the nimble navigating I could do on that road bike. My adjustments to shopping habits to acquire a bike-friendly wardrobe didn’t do away with my desire for a step-through model, though. While I’ve gotten pretty good at the discreet dismount I wouldn’t mind a slightly more graceful maneuver.

The chance to ride an upright bike a couple of years ago piqued my interest in making a switch for commuting. And years of crouching over the handlebars of a road bike coupled with tons of computer time left me with a burning sensation across my shoulders. With Sweet Hubs’ help we tweaked my handlebars up and up with a couple of extenders that helped–but did not eliminate–the feeling. Since computers aren’t leaving my life any time soon, a change to my bike routine seemed like a good idea.

Another chance to ride a couple of more upright commuters–the Breezer Uptown Infinity and the Trek FX–reinforced the desire to have one of my very own, although I had distinct concerns about getting one that didn’t have the number of gears I was used to having at my disposal. I test-rode a PUBLIC Bike but it was really heavy (they’re all steel).

Then we moved to Seattle, I made the rounds of a few local bike shops, and there it stood: the aluminum-frame Specialized Globe Daily 2, looking classic in a brushed-silver finish.

What the heck–why not take it for a little road test?

My initial reaction to the very different “mustache” handlebar set-up was that I was steering a wheelbarrow, but then I realized I was grinning. I pedaled the bike up a little steep hill (abundantly available in Seattle for test rides), using the lowest gear, and decided this could be the one.

I got the bike in the medium size (I’m 5’6-1/2″) and still grin every day I ride it. There is something about stepping on (instead of hoisting my leg in the air) and pedaling away in that very upright posture that absolutely makes me feel like a kid again.

At the same time I can see everything around me without craning my neck uncomfortably to peer out from under my helmet. I feel very heads-up and I’m able to make good eye contact with drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists. Sweet Hubs has commented on how comfortable I look when I ride.

Handlebar configuration: I adapted quickly to the “wheelbarrow” sensation. That isn’t a bad comparison, actually. Unlike a road bike that allows me to lean into the corners, this configuration requires that I steer around corners. That keeps me very upright in the saddle, hence the Mary Poppins reference in the title.

Weight: It passes the weight test; while it’s heavier than my road bike, it’s much lighter than other models I’d looked at.

Gearing: I had concerns that an 8-speed wouldn’t go low enough for the steep Seattle hills, based on my experience with the Breezer in Spokane.

First you have to know that even with the road bike I confront hills that make me get off and walk, so it’s not you, Seattle–it’s me.

While I’ve definitely felt the work as I pedaled up hills on this bike, I’ve hit only one so far that made me walk a couple of blocks and that’s about par for the course for outings here so far on my road bike. I’m considering the possibility of making some changes that would give me a lower low-end gearing than the Shimano Acera group gives me, but I can live with it as-is.

The gears shift smoothly and an indicator tells you at a glance what gear you’re in.

Tires: The tires are 700x28c, slightly wider than the skinny road tires I’ve been riding on. I definitely notice an improvement in comfort on rough streets with their greater width. With this size I’ll also be able to get studded tires, which weren’t an option with my skinnies and which will help with icy conditions when those arrive.

Fenders: The integrated steel fenders add to the classic appearance, with bevels for a look they call a zeppelin finish. They’re extra-long to help block the spray but I think I’ll add a Buddy Flap front and back anyway, Seattle weather being just a trifle moist.

Chainguard: While it doesn’t come with the type of chainguard that extends back over the chain toward the back cog, there is a circular disk over the outside of the chain ring that helps protect your pant leg from chain grease.

Rack: My one ding, but it’s a big one. I appreciate having a rack included as standard equipment (a no-brainer on a commuter design, but you’d be surprised at how many no-brains no-rack “commuter” designs I’ve seen).

The too-small rack that came standard with the Specialized Globe Daily 2 is shown in the middle. The replacement rack I had to purchase to get enough carrying surface is on the right; the toaster at the left gives you a sense of scale, but is not recommended for carrying things on your bike.

I’ve happily carried a Po Campo Logan Tote on the rack on my road bike for a couple of years now, but the teeny-tiny platform on the rack that comes standard with the Daily 2 is just not enough surface either side to side or end to end. The bag kept rotating off to the side to the point where I gave up and buckled it onto the side of the rack; the beauty of the Po Campo design includes its flexibility.

Maybe the rack designers only had panniers in mind but that’s a pretty shortsighted view of the world (and one very much oriented toward “cyclists,” who make up only part of the market of “people who ride bikes to get somewhere”). And with the short length of the rack, I’d venture a guess some panniers would end up in the heel-strike zone, although that’s only a guess.

Kickstand: Okay, one more little ding–a kickstand doesn’t come standard so you’ll have to have one added. It’s a relatively low-cost item so that’s not too big a deal.

Bottom line: I got mine on sale for $479.99 plus kickstand, cost of a replacement rack, and tax–all in for well under $600. MSRP online is $690, which includes a front basket that didn’t come with mine (I’ll be adding one–looks very handy!). Compare that to the cost of other commuter-oriented bikes, add the joyful feeling I get riding it, and I’ll be on this one for a long time.

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Reader Comments

  1. Nice set-up! I ended up gifting the bike to Second Daughter and I do miss it. Next bike on my list to acquire is either a good touring/gravel bike or an upright model–possibly an e-bike set up for some cargo hauling.

  2. I bought a Daily 02 step-through on impulse. I found an inexpensive, no-name, porteur rack that fit perfectly in front. I discovered that the two forward-facing bosses on the down tubes are for mounting a European ring lock, so I did that. As for the rear rack, I zip-tied a medium Wald basket on top and hung a no-name, stiff-sided saddle bag on the left side, which serves as a “trunk” for tools, rain gear, etc. With a Brooks sprung saddle, the Daily 02 is my favorite around-town bike.

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  4. After test-riding a bunch of other bikes, I ended up buying my Trek Cocoa last year because every time I test-rode it, I would start going, “Whee!” as I zoomed down the street. I was a little worried about only having three gears, but so far the only time it’s really been a problem is when I go on long rides and start to get tired.

    The girls at work call me Miss Gulch sometimes, but they haven’t seen my wicker basket yet.

  5. Thanks very much for that – it’s very helpful.

    What initially threw me was that I measured her setup of her existing bike. However, when I later saw her riding it, I saw that her saddle was far too high – she was barely reaching the pedals at the bottom of the pedal stroke, and that was when she was on tip-toes! I must have had to lower her saddle by 3 inches or even more! After that, the measurements confirmed a small, and I also ran them past the bike shop who agreed.

    So, a small is on order, and we’re all eagerly awaiting its arrival!

  6. I’m 5′ 6-1/2″ and I got a Medium after riding a Small. Much of my length is in my legs.
    Seatpost exposed: 60mm
    Saddle height relative to centerline of the handlebars at the clamp: Also 60mm
    My husband, who used to work in a bike shop and has been through a fit class (Trek), said he thinks she’d be a small but it’s very individual to inseam length.
    Good luck–getting it to fit is important so she’ll be happy!

  7. It’s a great looking bike. My mum is just about to buy one, and wondering about sizing. Would you mind telling me how much seatpost is exposed on your bike, and what’s the saddle height like, relative to the handlebars?

    My mum is just under 5′ 4″ and the catalogue seems to indicate a Medium, but I think a Small would be a better fit (and the same size as her current bike). With the Medium I think her saddle would be down almost all the way, but I’m not sure if that’s typical on this style of bike.

  8. Just pulled the rear wheel on this bike for minor truing. As I put the wheel into the truing stand I realized that the cone nuts on the axle were binding. This means that unless the cone nuts had “turned” after the purchase date, the build mechanics didn’t check the axle for proper adjustment. Another similar incident some months earlier was with the pedal bearings. They too were binding. I suspect that these items were not checked for proper adjustment. When I worked as a bike mechanic, both these items were verified for proper operation during a build before the bike was put on the showroom floor. Maladjusted axle bearings can contribute to premature wear. This $479.99 commuter deserved just as much due diligence as my $3,800 race bike.

  9. Bike commuting is all about smiling, isn’t it? In 40 years of commuting, I’ve had a 5-speed with a bent wheel, a 3-speed, more than a couple of 10-speeds, a hybrid, a mountain bike, and finally broke down and bought my beloved Surly LHT. Can’t step through, but its toughness, weight-bearing ability, and terrific ride make up for it. Also: had it fitted so that the drop handlebars are higher than usual, so I don’t have that leaned-over feel, but still get the more aerodynamic position. Well worth it to get a pro bike fitting.

  10. I loved your review and am happy that you found the Globe such a comfy and fun bike. I lusted after the Globe Daily 3 for ages, but a disappointing test ride put me off the brand. Enjoy many smiley commutes!

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