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Haul ST not ready for Prime Time

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Haul ST not ready for Prime Time

Old 04-06-23, 04:16 PM
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merlinextraligh
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Haul ST not ready for Prime Time

I bought a Specialized(Globe) Haul ST this week. After multiple failures, and 3 trips back to the shop, in 3 days of ownership, I returned it. After less than a km with a fully charged battery, it died, leaving me to push 80 pounds of bike up a 13% grade.

it threw error code B032, which is a battery communication error. After 2 days and taking with Specialized it appeared there was too much silicon gel on a connector. Shop cleaned that up and the error code cleared. Next ride, another error code, another return to the shop another bad connection fixed.

These are known defects to Specialized, yet they shipped the bike like this.

The electrical failure were annoying. The next problem with the stem was fatal to the deal( and actually could have been fatal). I lowered the stem as far as it would go before I rode it, which still only puts the handlebars at,about seat height. I tightened the stem firmly, admittedly I didnít use a torque wrench but gave it a good effort ,and tried to move the handle bars while holding the wheel straight. The stem was snug.

after only a km ride, which included a 30 mph descent, the stem had become so loose that the front wheel flops to the side if you pick the bike up, and the stem freely pulls up from the steerer tube.

The shop thinks itís possible that the wedge in the stem doesnít grip correctly fully inserted,yet there is no warning in the manual other than not to exceed the the minimum insertion.

Perhaps thereís a fix to to stem issue, and perhaps I could,have torqued it harder, but if being just slightly undertorqued leads to this king of failure in km, no way I want to ride the bike, and after 3 fails in 3 days, I wasnít going to waste more time trying to straighten it out.
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Old 04-06-23, 04:17 PM
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This was the first Haul my shop had sold, and I think Specialized has shipped fewer than a thousand, and fewer than that sold. In my case it did not pay to be the first kid on my block.
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Old 04-07-23, 07:52 AM
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I also find it interesting that all the reviews on Specialized web site are glowing 5 stars, and rather well written. So far they haven’t seen fit to publish my one star review.
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Old 04-07-23, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I also find it interesting that all the reviews on Specialized web site are glowing 5 stars, and rather well written. So far they haven’t seen fit to publish my one star review.
It probably got "lost". This bike wasn't on my radar, but thanks for the cautionary tale. Surprising too, since Specialized had a hub bike about 10 years ago that seemed great (at the time), but $6K.
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Old 04-08-23, 03:38 PM
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Lowering a quill stem too much is a long known problem. You can run into the butted section at the bottom and it will not tighten correctly. First thing is to barely loosen the bolt enough that it will lower, and slide it down until it hits bottom. Then you lift it up a cm or two to make sure it's not on the ramped part of the tube butting. Then tighten the crap out of the thing, put a long ratchet on it if you have to. That is one of the few bolts on a bike you can go full ham on.
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Old 04-10-23, 03:26 PM
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^ I think it’s highly likely that’s what happened. The head tube, steerer tube on that bike is so long, it was not even on radar screen that the stem would bottom out. It appeared to me that the downward travel of the stem was limited by the horizontal part of the stem, not bottoming in the butted portion of the steerer tube.

that said, if that’s what happened it’s a totally avoidable design defect, and a trap for the unwary. Most notably the manual clearly points out the hazard of under insertion, but makes no mention of any issue with over insertion.

Besides a simple marking on the stem for over insertion and a note in the manual, the problem could be avoided in multiple ways. Don’t spec the bike with a stem long enough to reach the butted portion; butt the top of the stem, so it can’t insert too far, weld a stop in the steerer tube to prevent over insertion. All easy fixes to avoid a potentially catastrophic failure.

After all the electrical problems, I simply was done, and didn’t bother trying to resolve the stem issue.
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Old 04-10-23, 03:30 PM
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I also think the quill stem issue may point to a broader problem with e-bikes, as currently constructed. Over insertion of quill stems just isn’t a thing for the vast majority of bikes because no one uses quill stems/ threaded headsets anymore.

However, it appears, that without being as concerned with weight, and trying to hit price points, e-bikes are being built with technology and components that no one would spec on a comparably priced regular bike.
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Old 04-13-23, 04:58 PM
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Just going to add one thought here. How many people buying an electric bike today have any frigginidea of what a quill stem is, how a wedge or expander works, whether their steerer tube is butted, and for that matter, who the heck was Sheldon Browne, God rest his soul
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Old 04-14-23, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Just going to add one thought here. How many people buying an electric bike today have any frigginidea of what a quill stem is, how a wedge or expander works, whether their steerer tube is butted, and for that matter, who the heck was Sheldon Browne, God rest his soul
This isn't about ebikes, its more of a weird production decision that came about thanks to a frame design issue. I have never seen a quill stem used by an ebike manufacturer. Doesn't mean it never happens but I'm extremely surprised Specialized did this on a modern production bicycle. I can see why they did it... a steering tube long enough to go up that head tube certainly does not exist. But solving the problem with a quill stem seems like an afterthought after the frame design was finalized and they needed to do *something* to get the product to market.

I ride cargo bikes daily as both a commuter and a utility hauler. The Haul ST looks like a decent, low-level hauler for people who have urban/home parking issues and can't step up to a full size cargo bike, or haven't made the mental leap to accept a bigger, better performer as a full-on auto replacement. Its a market niche that it makes sense to fill.

But a report like this makes it look like it might be better to wait for next year's model. Other small cargo bikes in the marketplace have been created that don't need this sort of kludge, so Specialized should be able to put on their thinking caps and try again.

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Old 04-15-23, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by m@Robertson
This isn't about ebikes, its more of a weird production decision that came about thanks to a frame design issue. I have never seen a quill stem used by an ebike manufacturer. Doesn't mean it never happens but I'm extremely surprised Specialized did this on a modern production bicycle. I can see why they did it... a steering tube long enough to go up that head tube certainly does not exist. But solving the problem with a quill stem seems like an afterthought after the frame design was finalized and they needed to do *something* to get the product to market.

I ride cargo bikes daily as both a commuter and a utility hauler. The Haul ST looks like a decent, low-level hauler for people who have urban/home parking issues and can't step up to a full size cargo bike, or haven't made the mental leap to accept a bigger, better performer as a full-on auto replacement. Its a market niche that it makes sense to fill.

But a report like this makes it look like it might be better to wait for next year's model. Other small cargo bikes in the marketplace have been created that don't need this sort of kludge, so Specialized should be able to put on their thinking caps and try again.
Oh they are pretty common, not on quality stuff generally but they exist. Lots of really bottom end stuff but also the Trek Verves use a quill stem and while overpriced and under featured they are at least Bosch equipped. I think for them it was a lower cost alternative to using some sort of adjustable QR unit or something like that which some of the cheaper Terns have. Not a great thing but not an uncommon thing.

Having ridden the Haul ST I can say I didn't dislike the bike, I didn't love it but for the price and features it is pretty decent and certainly better than a lot of the similar alternatives. Is it a bike I would recommend, not at all but I think it is a good bike compared to say a R-Wagon or some of the even worse stuff out there. It is a low bar but at least on the Specialized side you have good support on it and they have been doing e-bikes for a long time and they did get their start using hub drives back in 2014-2015 (or whenever it was) so they saw all the issues and hopefully tried their damndest to mitigate what they could beyond the limits of the design.
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Old 04-15-23, 06:03 PM
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What a weird design. My wifeís gazelle has a crazy adjustable stem attached to a Headshok style fork that doesnít seem to move at all, but in spite of both, the steering is just a normal 44mm threaded headset.
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Old 04-17-23, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes

Having ridden the Haul ST I can say I didn't dislike the bike, I didn't love it but for the price and features it is pretty decent and certainly better than a lot of the similar alternatives. Is it a bike I would recommend, not at all but I think it is a good bike compared to say a R-Wagon or some of the even worse stuff out there. It is a low bar but at least on the Specialized side you have good support on it and they have been doing e-bikes for a long time and they did get their start using hub drives back in 2014-2015 (or whenever it was) so they saw all the issues and hopefully tried their damndest to mitigate what they could beyond the limits of the design.

I think of the Haul ST as fairly comparable to a R-Wagon, but a bit better built, and with the support of Specialized Dealers.

For the price, I would have been happy with it had my example not turned out to be buggy.
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Old 04-17-23, 04:32 PM
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Well frankly I hope it succeeds, warts and all. We need more examples in the market of utility bikes - that sell and convince manufacturers to stay in the game. These middle-of-the-road haulers like the Haul ST and perhaps the Surly Skidloader (ignoring its price) address a portion of the market that wants quality but also doesn't want to go so big. Neither are my kind of bike but we need cargo bike options with quality components that are not supersized in the USA.

I just saw Frey is now getting into the game as well. Looks like its their step-thru where they just put long stays on the back and a long rack. A full suspension cargo bike. That should be a barrel of monkeys for someone trying to ride it around with 100 lbs of groceries.
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Old 04-17-23, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by m@Robertson
Well frankly I hope it succeeds, warts and all. We need more examples in the market of utility bikes - that sell and convince manufacturers to stay in the game. These middle-of-the-road haulers like the Haul ST and perhaps the Surly Skidloader (ignoring its price) address a portion of the market that wants quality but also doesn't want to go so big. Neither are my kind of bike but we need cargo bike options with quality components that are not supersized in the USA.

I just saw Frey is now getting into the game as well. Looks like its their step-thru where they just put long stays on the back and a long rack. A full suspension cargo bike. That should be a barrel of monkeys for someone trying to ride it around with 100 lbs of groceries.
specialized seems to be making some major gaffes lately with first-gen ebikes of various kinds. just look at all the bad reports about the IGH/enviolo vados, whereas the traditional drivetrain vados and related bikes are really solid. odd that something as seemingly simple as the globe would have the electronic gremlins mentioned here.
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Old 04-17-23, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I think of the Haul ST as fairly comparable to a R-Wagon, but a bit better built, and with the support of Specialized Dealers.

For the price, I would have been happy with it had my example not turned out to be buggy.
Yeah that was a bummer. On rare occasions it happens and is never good but luckily they do stand by their products quite well and have for a long time.
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Old 04-18-23, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by m@Robertson
I just saw Frey is now getting into the game as well. Looks like its their step-thru where they just put long stays on the back and a long rack. A full suspension cargo bike. That should be a barrel of monkeys for someone trying to ride it around with 100 lbs of groceries.
Designated for cargo carrying capacity, it's not ideal for cargo bikes to be full suspended.
Weight difference between loaded & unloaded can be too drastic for suspension system to accommodate.
If suspension gets too harsh or soft, it may very well become hazardous handling at speed, with cargo load, simply not safe.
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Old 04-20-23, 04:50 PM
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I've had mine for a month now, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Yeah, I had the "over lubed" connector issue, but as soon as I took it to my dealer (I bought it online) the shop manager knew exactly what the problem was. I had it back the next day and the issue hasn't recurred since. Any new model is bond to have teething problems and in the scope of things this is incredibly small. The simple fact that I HAVE a dealer nearby is a big deal to me. (not to mention the TWO YEAR WARRANTY)

I've been busy modifying the **** out of mine. A little crazy but hey, it's so easy - and worthwhile to do. I use it every day for round trips under 10 miles instead of my 7 passenger German SUV. That's reserved now for ski trips, hauling people and boxes, as well as towing my travel trailer. I also own four BMW motorcycles ranging from a 900 lb. touring bike to a 1979 classic Airhead.

If I had to nit pick it these are the only negative items I've come up with so far:

1. I wish the display screen was a little bit larger, BUT it easy to read in bright sunlight.

2. I also wish it had haptic feel or a beep to let you know the display button you pushed was activated. They're kind of numb and very hard to push.

3. As other's have mentioned it's not well suited to climbing steep hills, but it DOES level out moderate hills with a heavy load really well.

4. At high speed you REALLY need to pay attention to the road surface. 20" wheels and big pot holes do not get along well.

Items I really like:

1. The overall build quality is sublime. Aircraft quality welds. This frame could probably carry 1000 lbs. easily, it's THAT stout. Who knew made in Cambodia would connote quality like this?

2. The brakes are absolutely incredible. They better be if you're going to carry a lot of weight.

3. The seamless response from pedal to power modes. It's smooth and effortless, no lag or sudden grab. No doubt due to the sophisticated torque sensor.

4. When the time comes I can upgrade the software over the air!

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Old 04-24-23, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by cat0020
... it's not ideal for cargo bikes to be full suspended ...
I said as much and more with some examples in another forum. I got a posted response from Frey that my comments were being considered by the relevant department. I followed up with more and we'll see what happens. For their sake I hope they take the issue seriously. Clearly someone who wants to make a cargo bike and chooses a FS platform for it is not a regular cargo bike rider.

Originally Posted by Captain Ron
I've had mine for a month now, and I couldn't be more pleased.
I was at Sea Otter last week and Specialized had the Haul ST out in force. Not only did they have a bunch of the things at their booth (which was more like a whole section of booths) and their demo ride area, but they distributed quite a few of them to other vendors for customization or whatever, and you saw the bike at many other booths. I also saw quite a few riding around the vendor area, with a variety of those pricey hardshell panniers in front or in back (but never both, interestingly).

I was surprised at how small the bike is. I mean, I knew it was small but seeing it was something of a pleasant surprise. It is clearly a bike meant to be used in an urban environment where parking and transport perhaps up and into an apartment is an issue. Also the flat cargo platform/rack in back was quite low. It all looks very much like a good small-form-factor design. I would have copped a demo ride but I rode my own Bullitt into the venue from town and I was not about to leave it alone.

Also there were more-than-rumours flying that Specialized is going to be releasing a full sized cargo bike soon. Should be interesting to see. Based on what I saw and heard, I think Specialized is going into the utility bike platform for reals.
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Old 04-24-23, 02:21 PM
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That's very disappointing for such an expensive bike from such an experienced bike manufacturer!
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Old 05-30-23, 09:25 PM
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Specialized is hiding negative reviews

Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I also find it interesting that all the reviews on Specialized web site are glowing 5 stars, and rather well written. So far they havenít seen fit to publish my one star review.
I recently purchased a Specialized Haul ST and was very disappointed with the quality. I experienced several errors and the battery performance was poor. I posted a 1-star review on the Specialized website, but it never showed up. I contacted Specialized support and complained about the fact that they were hiding my review. The support person said that this is the marketing department and he has no access to the reviews. He also admitted that they reject some of the reviews. I said that this is dishonest. He said, "I can understand."

I am very disappointed with Specialized's customer service and their decision to hide negative reviews. I am returning the bike and I will never buy a bike from them again.

If you have had a similar experience with Specialized, please share your story in the comments below.

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Old 05-30-23, 11:46 PM
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100% diametrically opposed to my personal experience with Specialized.

Sublime quality all the way - from welds to brakes. My battery performance has been far, far better than what I expected.

An absolutely excellent product, especially considering it's a new release. Way beyond ALL of the Chinese crap that currently dominates the market.

To me it was worth every nickle, even better knowing that my local Specialized dealer will stand behind it with parts and service. Good luck with that with any other internet e-cargo bike purchase. Others will leave you stranded and naked when the tide goes out a year from now.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

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Old 05-31-23, 04:47 AM
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Captain Ron, you may be real, and your reviews genuine. However they would carry more weight if 1) your BF account didn’t open for the purpose of posting about this bike, 2) your only 2 posts were not glowing reviews, and 3) we didn’t have 2 documented cases of Specialized burying negative reviews of the bike.
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Old 05-31-23, 04:49 AM
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Again to be fair, I don’t think it’s a bad bike for the price point. I think I suffered the pain of an early adopter and that at least when I bought mine, Specialized did not have its act sorted for this bike on the quality control level, the dealer level, or their customer service people.

I might even buy one again after they have some time to sort things out.

Their marketing tactics however give me a bit more pause.
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Old 05-31-23, 09:53 AM
  #24  
2old
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Captain Ron, you may be real, and your reviews genuine. However they would carry more weight if 1) your BF account didnít open for the purpose of posting about this bike, 2) your only 2 posts were not glowing reviews, and 3) we didnít have 2 documented cases of Specialized burying negative reviews of the bike.
​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Good point(s) and always a potential problem with "new reviewers". Fortunately BF is pretty good at ferreting out these "unbiased" diatribes.
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Old 05-31-23, 10:40 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Captain Ron, you may be real, and your reviews genuine. However they would carry more weight if 1) your BF account didnít open for the purpose of posting about this bike, 2) your only 2 posts were not glowing reviews, and 3) we didnít have 2 documented cases of Specialized burying negative reviews of the bike.
Yep, I understand 100%. Just relaying my experience as a pleased customer. It's the first bike I've bought in a long time and my first ebike. I also own a Colnago road bike, ancient Cannondale mountain bike and even more ancient Bianchi - that's now considered a "gravel" bike!
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