Specialized has been making bikes since 1974, and you can see how that history informs the company’s whole design philosophy. As opposed to something like the Super73 where the experience is about riding rather cycling, Specialized optimizes all of its e-bikes to really accentuate the cycling experience.
The version of the Turbo Como I was riding had the internally geared hub and belt drive, and this really showed off the most important thing about Specialized’s e-bikes; the pedal assist integration. A lot of e-bikes have crummy pedal assist mechanisms, but at least in my short time with the Como, this is the best I’ve ever tried.
We’d have to review one of these bikes to really know for sure, but here’s what I mean: Taking off from a stop requires exactly as much force as you expect. Transitioning upward between gears as you go faster was almost undetectable on my internally geared hub model. The actual pedal assist action is substantial but reactive thanks to integrated torque detection. It’s good.
The display is small, but that’s what you want. Specialized’s onboard computer will let you go crazy with data, or keep it simple with speed and range readings. There’s full app integration over Bluetooth where, among other things, you can digitally lock your bike after you’ve physically locked it up.
Specialized’s bikes are never cheap, and the Turbo series is no exception. The model I was riding, the Como 5.0 IGH, is a top-tier model, and it costs $5,500. For people new to e-bikes, that number might be eye-popping, but it’s actually right in line with other premium e-bikes from competitors like Cannondale. Base models start at $3,250 though, which again is actually very competitive.
We would need to review one of these bikes to say definitively, but Specialized’s Turbo series are nice bikes. The question is, what kind of bike do you need, and what kind of rider are you? If you ride every day, then these bikes are definitely worth a test ride.
Update: We initially reported the Tero’s top pedal assist speed as 28mph, it’s actually 20mph. We regret the error.