Let’s talk about e-bikes. Specifically, the Specialized Turbo. The Turbo is designed with a comfortable upright riding position and a frame with a sporty geometry constructed around a built-in battery and a 468 Wh electric motor for a rear hub. About that power, this is a pedal-assist bicycle meaning it cannot simply move forward on its own; there is no throttle to twist or accelerator lever. The Direct Drive rear hub uses a torque sensor to measure the power from the pedals and then it multiplies that based on the chosen setting. Capable of a top speed of 28 mph, the Turbo lives up to it’s name as a capable commuter or far-ranging recreational escape vehicle.
“It’s not the speed that takes you by surprise, it’s how well electric power is integrated into the human cycling experience.” – Gizmodo
“With a set of panniers for carrying groceries and other essentials — or a rack for our surfboards — we could easily imagine the Specialized Turbo replacing car trips around town.” – Men’s Journal
“Until your Porsche supercar shows up, the Specialized Turbo is the awesomest hybrid you can put in your garage.” – Road & Track
“If for no other reason, this bike would deserve an award because of the attention Specialized paid to how power is applied when the e-assist kicks in. Mainly, it doesn’t ‘kick’ in. It comes on gently and ramps up smoothly, better than any e-bike I’ve ridden.” – Bicycling Magazine
While we certainly appreciate the comments of the test editors above, we have two members on staff who bought the Turbo for commuting and recreational riding. Stefan is in his 40’s and lives 26 miles east of the shop while DJ is 19 years old and lives 14 miles south of the city. Matt Karre, our General Manager, sat down with both to talk about electric bikes.
What is the main reason reason you bought a Specialized Turbo?
Stefan: Simple. To make my commute easier.
DJ: Well, my commute to work is longer since I moved to Oregon City. I just didn’t want to waste a lot of energy before I get to work.
How long is your commute? How often do you ride your bike to work?
DJ: My commute from Oregon City is about 14 miles. I ride my Turbo fairly often to work but not as much when it’s really cold. I frown upon cold weather. Overall, it helps me tremendously by reducing a 1 hour commute down to about 35 minutes.
Stefan: My commute is 52 miles roundtrip. I try to ride in 2-3 times per week. With the Turbo, I don’t worry about the strong headwind and climb home anymore.
What’s your favorite part about the Turbo?
Stefan: My commute is “short enough” that I can ride in the turbo mode all the way to work. It is very easy to pedal and I have a 21-22 mph average speed. On the way home, with all the climbing and east headwind, I do have to ride 4-5 miles in a lower power mode to save the battery but it’s still fun to ride. The bike is great!
DJ: My favorite part about the Turbo is its comfy ride. Rides like a dream. I like how it looks, it moves fast, “easy” 28 mph on the flats.
Is the bike easy to use? Was there much you had to learn?
DJ: It is simple to use. It took me about a week to figure out the best applications for the various power modes but once I got the hang of it I was flying around. Charging it is no problem, just 2 hours of charging and it is ready to go.
Stefan: The Turbo is very easy to use. Turn on the battery, sit down, pedal and enjoy! As long as you are in turbo mode (the fastest mode), you don’t feel the total weight of the bike. If you ride in eco mode you can get more of a workout.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about an e-bike?
DJ: I suggest an e-bike to customers of all ages. It is amazing for commuting, especially on those days that you don’t really want to ride.
Stefan: I think the Turbo, or any e-bike, is for anyone who wants to enjoy a fun bicycle ride. It is perfect for those who have a hill on their commute or just want to enjoy passing other cyclists (ha ha). I am enjoying my Turbo and hope that more and more people will try it and see how much fun it is.
DJ, at 19 years old, you are the youngest person I know to own an e-bike. What do you think about that? Do you get comments from friends or other people your age?
DJ: Yes, I am 19 years old and don’t know of someone around my age with an e-bike. I feel it’s good exercise even with the assistance of the motor. Also, I think e-bikes might be the future of commuting for more and more people. My friends love my bike; they think it’s super cool. I rode from Oregon City to Salem (47 miles) in about 2 hours to visit a friend. I let a couple of my friends take it for a ride and when they get back their hair is blown back from going so fast. I think that’s funny but it’s cool to see them have so much fun on a bicycle.
Specialized Turbo – $2500
- Sleek and sturdy alloy frame with Performance Geometry designed for high-speed riding
- Oversized alloy fork is strong and responsive—even at 28 mph
- Specialized Electrak Armadillo tires for performance and durability no matter the speed
- Body Geometry Turbo saddle keeps your comfortable for the fastest rides
- Direct Drive rear hub motor provides efficient power no matter the terrain
- Wireless interface unit with illuminated display to show key ride data
- Finest quality Li-Ion battery pulls maximum power with super fast charging times