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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

a masterpiece on wheels

Posted by Josie | July 21st, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

globebikesPortlanders are totally obsessed with bikes. We drool over the creative features of other bikes while dreaming of our next one.  We triple lock our bike sheds and hope we remember to lock the front door. It is no surprise that Portland recently spawned a new bike brand called “Globe” that will please everyone from the PDX fixie riders to the high-heel wearing businesswoman in Holland.

Looking through the Globe site I felt like Santa read my mind and came early this year.  The bikes have chainguards to keep the grease off my pants, fenders for the rain, built in lights that are impossible to forget at home and a kickstand to keep it upright in front of the burrito stand. Some even have a rack that I can use to pile on my fruit from the farmers market along with the vintage lamp I picked up at the yard sale on my way home. Each bike is more than just a pretty colored frame… the grips,  saddle, rims & fenders make the bike look like a piece of contemporary art.

I’m now officially obsessed with this particular bike. Oh yes, it will be mine.

9 Responses to “a masterpiece on wheels”

  • July 24, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Brian Anthony says

    Hi there,
    Not to be critical because I love your brand, know many employees, where lots of your clothes and read your blog, but…
    Globe’s owned by Specialized isn’t it? Kind of big corporate powerhouse taking advantage (to their credit and wisely) of the custom commuter craze. Agreed, the bikes are beautiful, but why not feature the great framebuilders you have in Portland instead? I know there’s a MAJOR price difference (Ira Ryan’s building my new cross bike and it hurts big time) but if we could get more people to buy locally made bikes instead of mass produced soulless imports, we’d be better off. With much love and respect,
    Brian

  • July 26, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Brian says

    …and I clearly cannot spell. I meant “wear” not “where”.

  • July 27, 2009 at 11:23 am | Josie says

    Hey Brian,

    The product direction for Globe bikes came from a local Portland resident. You are right though,it is owned by Specialized.

    Thanks for making your point, I would never argue against any of the many good reasons to buy local. Ira’s bikes are gorgeous, there’s no doubt about that. One important factor that I am considering right now, as someone currently in the market for a new bike, is the time factor. What’s the typical turn-around time for the average hand-made bike? I respect your point and think it’s a good one, but for the other instant-gratification folks out there like me, these are pretty amazing.

    Have you read any of our “this is my bike” blog posts? If you’re up for it, I’d like to invite you to be our first guest blogger and write about your new Ira Ryan bike when you get it. Interested??

  • July 27, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Brian says

    I didn’t know that about the product direction, but it makes perfect sense. You make a great point too, Many of the builders have a pretty serious wait list unfortunately. But I couldn’t be more happy about that at the same time, it means they’re busy, and there is room for their craft.

    I haven’t read “this is my bike” in a while, I’ll definitely check it out and would be honored to contribute. Please email me directly the details of what you’d be looking for. Thanks, and no matter what you end up riding, I’m glad you’re doing so.

  • July 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm | Jurgs says

    Loving bikes, I thought I would jump into this conversation. Brian- I’ve just moved to Portland OR and knew there was a great collection of custom frame builders here but didn’t know about Ira. Coming from the east coast I knew about Chris King’s Cielo and Vanilla but wow, gorgeous stuff, for sure from Ira.

    I agree that supporting a local frame builder is a sound decision for the local economy and there’s a certain quality to frames custom built by hand that just can’t be replicated, it’s a bike for the soul as much as exercise, training or racing.

    The local influence of the Globe bikes is a plus, the design fits the form and function. Not something you see often from the 1st and 2nd tier bike companies- I’m actually happy to see Globe/Specialized producing an intelligent line of commuter bikes. I’m a bit of a environmental econ geek so bear with me… When you see one of the big four bike companies take this seriously it’s a good sign for things to come. These companies generally don’t take great risks so it’s clear they are seeing some signs in the market that it’s ripe time for covering this territory. The advantage of the bigger manufacturer is their economy of scale. They can bring a solid bike to market at an affordable price and hopefully forecast well enough to meet demand. From a utilitarian perspective, the ability to reach a large group of consumers is attractive for anyone who wishes our world would be a more bike friendly place. Change takes time, creativity, tolerance and lots of impressions. With Specialized’s massive distribution they can bring this lifestyle to the masses at an affordable price and potentially have the greatest effect on the amount of trips taken by car, emissions, and hopefully change the public’s perception and acceptance of bikes. With any luck these bikes will bring more eyes to the world of commuting and who knows, they could be the seed needed to grow one’s interest enough to make the jump to a sweet custom rig.

    Enjoy the ride-
    Jurg

  • July 28, 2009 at 8:28 am | Brian says

    Again, good thoughts and I don’t disagree. In fact, I started my own little company a few years ago centered around exactly this concept. I bring BikeShare programs to individual companies as a way to get people to try out commuters as an alternate form of transportation. The bikes I use are inexpensive, very functional, elegant and yes, made over seas. I completely appreciate the economies of scale with regards to its ability to allow us to reach a wider audience. Specialized, Trek and Giant, if we consider them the Big 3, have been launching these programs and growing their assortments for the last five years or so. (Check out Bicycling Magazine’s BIKETOWN, awesome program that partnered up with them). But what I’m trying to encourage is for our local builders to start taking to task the more casual, price conscious consumer by building production frames on a larger scale. It’s always going to be cheaper from China, but we can’t help that right now.
    Here’s an example. Sasha White used to only build custom bikes until he experimented with his sub-brand Speedvagen cross team bikes. It’s still built by amazingly talented individuals such as himself and Mike Desalvo (I think), but it’s done on more of a production line, reaches a wider audience and is more affordable. Shift that entire model down about 15 notches in performance and use and we might be on to something.
    In a perfect world, I’d love to see a builder, fresh out of frame building school that could come about with a moderately priced commuter using well sourced components and materials with the same attention to style and detail that Globe has.
    We need both scenarios to happen simultaneously, which is why I think we’re all speaking the same language here. We need the big players to reach the masses, but we also need the effort and the dedication by IBDs to sell and tell the story behind local bikes. It would be a challenging business model for any frame builder, but I have to believe there’s a way to get it done. And what better place than Portland right? Where there’s shops willing to break ranks from the heavy influence of the huge brands, are educated enough to be able to carry a local bike at retail and there’s a genuine consumer willing to pay an extra premium for the local soul? They’re rose colored lenses, but I’m stubborn about taking them off.

  • August 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Nau: The Thought Kitchen says

    [...] Zappos and Amazon Unite pictures and sound Nau is going global paint chips and climate control a masterpiece on wheels lessons from an optimist- Grant For [...]

  • August 11, 2009 at 10:45 am | Brad says

    interesting discourse.. Also, if you like the Globes, you should check out the Republic Bikes – just as simple (likely not as solid frames) but much more customizable – they seem to have an infinite number of potential schemes.. and look to be a lot cheaper than the Globes (which dont have to be so expensive, quite honestly, considering the sparse, at best, components. later!

  • August 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm | Peter says

    Globe never made it as a Specialized sub-brand so they are trying to take the Specialized logo off and want to sell to non-Specialized dealers. I do believe Globe has been around for at least 10 years.

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