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Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert

Specialized Turbo Creo SL Review

Price:

£7,499.00 - £10,999.00

Finance from:

£156.23/month (0% APR)

Average Customer Rating:
  • Lightweight and well-balanced
  • Very smooth power delivery
  • Impressive range from the small battery pack
  • Top end models only released so far
  • Battery extender only supplied on S-Works
  • No alloy frame option yet

Discipline:

Electric road and gravel

Usage:

A boost for your natural pedalling power

Weight:

12.2Kg (27lbs)*


With its smooth and quiet delivery, the Turbo SL motor gives you just the right amount of power for an authentic ride experience.

Updated: 16th July 2019

Overview

In our Specialized Turbo Creo SL review we take a look at the most exciting electric road bike launched this year. This is the most refined power assisted road bike that we've seen to date. It's sure to shake up the e-road bike market in much the same way as the Turbo Levo did for eMTBs. Our initial impressions left us in no doubt that this bike offered the most authentic road bike feel for those that want a boost to their natural pedalling power.

There are two flavours to this e bike; the Creo SL is an endurance/sportive style bike while the Creo SL Evo is a gravel bike. The range will eventually include alloy framed models but it is the high end S-Works and Expert carbon framed bikes that have been released first.

* S-Works Turbo Creo SL - weight provided by manufacturer

Specialized Turbo Creo SL Evo Expert

Frame

Fully integrated drive unit

The first thing that you notice with the Turbo Creo SL is that it doesn't really look like an e bike. This is especially impressive when you consider that there is a crank drive motor bolted onto the frame around the bottom bracket area. The lines of the Creo are so smooth that the bike looks organic and that's reflected in the way the bike rides. The Creo is a lightweight e bike and the balance is well centred, so the handling feels natural, nimble and confidence inspiring.

The S-Works and Expert Turbo Creo models share the same FACT 11r carbon frame. Combined with the lightweight Turbo SL motor means S-Works model weighs just 12.2kg, which is exceptional for an ebike. All the Turbo Creo SL's, including the Evo models share the same open road frame geometry. This offers you a similar ride feel to the Roubaix or Diverge, so you can eat up the miles comfortably and efficiently.

The Turbo Creo SL is so well balanced that you won't feel like you're riding an e bike when you dive into the corners.

The brand-new Turbo SL crank drive motor is exclusive to Specialized and has been designed to give you just the right amount of power for an authentic ride feel. The power delivery is smooth and there is no drag at all from the motor when you turn off the power. As with all road legal e bikes you only get a pedal assist up to 15.5mph. One of the most impressive things about the Turbo SL motor is the transition from pedal assist to no assist. When you ride a Creo it's almost impossible to tell when the motor cuts out and you are relying solely on your own leg power. Sadly the same thing can't be said for most other road e bikes. Another advantage of the Turbo SL drive unit is that it works most efficiently over a wide range of cadences, so you don't need to change your pedalling style to get the most out of the Creo.

As the bike is so lightweight and the motor so efficient you don't need such a big power pack with the Turbo Creo SL. The fully integrated 320Wh battery is enough to give you a range of up to 80 miles! With the bottle cage mounted range extender plugged in your range increases to 120 miles. All the power modes are easily accessed through the top tube mounted power button and a subtle Led display gives you the remaining battery capacity.

With ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity you can sync with all your favourite cycling devices. The Mission Control smart phone app allows you to customise how the drive unit behaves. Each of the three power modes can be tuned almost infinitely for both peak and sustained power delivery. The Smart Control feature ensures that you can make the most out of the available power. Just tell it how far or how long you want to ride, and the app will ensure you have the battery power to get you there and back again. You can record your ride, sync with your favourite social apps and there is even an integrated power meter for those that like to really dive into the data.

Specialized have tuned the power characteristics of the Turbo SL motor so well that while you can easily feel the motor when you accelerate from a standing start it is very hard to tell that it has cut out when you exceed the 15.5mph speed limit.

Specialized Turbo Creo SL S-Works Dura Ace & XTR Di2 drivetrain

Groupset

One-by drivetrains

It's the mix of high-end road and mountain bike drivetrain components that allows the Creo to offer such a wide gear range without the need for a double front chainring.

The Creo SL fully embraces the move to one-by drivetrains. The extra wide range 11-42t cassette gives you all the high and low end gears you need and the gear ratios are easily close enough when you have a boost from the motor to help you along. The Shimano Ultegra and Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets are combined with an XT or XTR mountain bike derailleur to accommodate the wide range cassette. Shifting is precise and flawless as you would expect with Di2.

All the bikes get the Future Shock damper that has been so successful on the Roubaix and Diverge. This helps to give the bike a smooth ride feel but handling is sharp and you don't feel like you are disconnected from the road. The Evo models get the gravel bike treatment with flare bars and a dropper post for improved control on rough terrain.

Specialized Turbo Creo SL S Works Roval CLX 50 carbon wheels

Wheels

Road or gravel

The Creo SL bike all roll on 700c road bike wheels with plenty of tyre clearance. The Evo bikes get extra wide 38mm gravel tyres while the regular Creos get 28c road tyres. Both the Expert and S-Works bikes in the initial release get Roval carbon disc wheels. These are very high-quality wheels that Pro riders would be proud of.

If adventuring off the beaten track is your thing then you can fit even wider 42mm tyres. Interestingly the Creo is even compatible with 650b wheels and very wide 47mm tyres. Ideal for those very rough tracks.

High-end carbon fibre wheels don't come cheap, but the Roval CLX 50 wheels are some of the best
Cycling Weekly

Specialized Turbo Creo SL

Best for

Just the right amount of power for an authentic ride

Specialized changed the nature of electric mountain biking when they introduced the Turbo Levo. The other brands soon found out that they had a lot of catching up to do and I suspect that they will feel the same way with the Turbo Creo SL. No other electric road bike comes as close to offering the right balance between power and weight in such a well-mannered package as the Specialized Turbo Creo SL.

With its smooth and quiet delivery, the Turbo SL motor gives you just the right amount of power for an authentic ride experience. Combined with the lightweight chassis and well-mannered handling characteristics the Turbo Creo SL takes road e bikes to the next level.

Specialized Turbo Creo SL Headtube detail Specialized Turbo Creo SL Future shock 2.0
Specialized Turbo Creo SL Turbo Connect Unit Specialized Turbo Creo SL XTR Di2 rear derailleur adn wide range cassette
Specialized Turbo Creo SL EVO dropper seat post Specialized Turbo Creo SL handlebars

Specialized Turbo Creo SL range models

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