Specialized Turbo e-Bike Spools Up Stateside

Specialized Turbo electric bicycle comes to North America

Specialized unveiled the Turbo e-Bike in March 2012 for the European market. It’s good looks made us want it here, but it’s 45km/h (about 28mph) top end speed proved to be it’s speed bump to getting into the US.

Now, finally, it’s coming stateside. Specialized’s PR man Sean Estes told us it wasn’t necessarily the top speed that kept it out of the US, just navigating our country’s regulations to verify compliance and have it considered “a bicycle” took considerable time and effort. Bringing it into the US is only the first step. Meeting federal guidelines doesn’t mean it’s legal for use in every state or municipality…local dealers or Specialized’s sales reps will need to figure that out. We’ve heard from Kreidler’s US rep, Kenny Roberts, that the blanket rule is they’re considered off-road vehicles, leaving it up to local authorities or lawmakers to decide how and where they can be used on city streets, paths or bike lanes. (Kreidler’s e-bike uses a different drivetrain layout but also tops out at about 28mph)

Regardless, we’re pretty stoked to see the e-bike market get a major brand involved here, it can only lead to good things. Hit the link above for the tech rundown.

Comments

Jason - 04/27/13 - 3:39pm

For those that are new to E-bikes this might look great, but from a standpoint of technology it is very lame. Just take a look at what´s already out there and what people ride in Europe and Asia……f.e. Smart, Grace, BMC-Stromer you name em…still I agree nice to see a major brand starting in the US.

Mason - 04/27/13 - 3:56pm

I got a chance to spend a little over an hour one one of these earlier this week. Holy crap, it was a blast. Really cool to see a major manufacturer make a cool looking, high end e-bike that a cyclist would actually want to ride. Definitely worth checking out.

rob - 04/27/13 - 4:02pm

totally saw guys in downtown Denver like a group of four ripping down 15th on these really jealous

CXisfun - 04/27/13 - 5:25pm

Is this thing really going to be €5,499?!

Robo - 04/27/13 - 5:26pm

Got to ride one of these out at Specialized back in December. Man, what a blast it was! I’d definitely consider getting one for the work commute…

WannaBeSTi - 04/27/13 - 5:31pm

It’s only cool if you can do burnouts on it. Pour a little bleach on the ground for nice, smokey burnouts.

Volagista - 04/27/13 - 5:31pm

Will Specialized sue those dealers that will not sell the Turbo because their state or municipality will not allow the Turbo to be street legal ?

Loyd Flanders - 04/27/13 - 6:33pm

How are the fanny pack wearing crack dealers going to afford one of these, they’ll just have to stick with the modified eBay petrol bikes!

dale - 04/27/13 - 8:07pm

What is the point of an ebike, stay fat?

Jefferson - 04/27/13 - 9:09pm

Unfortunately this is not a bicycle and needs to be treated as a vehicle, and not allowed in bike lanes. Ya ya I know but here’s why. If you allow any powered bicycles of any kind no matter what the physical size or dimensions in the bike lanes or to use the term bike when considered in regards to legal issues then you have to allow any “bike” or “ebike” to have the same access to the bike lanes, including those that are really scooters with pedals.

dale - 04/27/13 - 9:59pm

What is a bike lane?

Kyle G - 04/27/13 - 11:08pm

I saw those same guys in Denver. It was a sight for sure.

maxx - 04/27/13 - 11:48pm

E-bikes are actually a good way of encouraging people to commute or ride a bike. Just that they need to come with a few pre-conditions.

- less than 200W
- only pedal assist, no pure electric power drive except at start-off for perhaps 3~5 seconds.
- Speed not to exceed 25km/h on power assist mode. Exceeding that will require raw unassisted pedaling power.

It would lesson the stigma of such bikes, keep them relatively safe and would also encourage people to go out on their bikes for some light exercise. Would be a boon for people with age and would benefit from some form of exercise.

Evan - 04/28/13 - 12:27am

chairlift…

brennan - 04/28/13 - 1:00am

OK so when this was released in Europe I was hesitant (I am a member of the industry). I like turning a pedal over to propel myself…but currently being employed at one of three shops in Colorado that has access to them and having spent time on it I have been somewhat impressed.

While the Ebike market in the United States greatly differs from that in Europe I feel this is quite an improvement for what is available in the United States. It is strictly pedal assist. The rider must be pedaling for the hub based motor to engaged. There is no “throttle” or button to utilize just the motor. Aesthetically it is much more appealing than most Ebikes as well with the battery contained within the downtube.

It was a blast to ride and I believe can serve a great purpose in our society (within the United States) despite the steep price tag. And yes I realize BMCdid purchase Stromer and is less expensive, but seeing a major manufacturer, like the big red S, produce this is nice.

***I am currently employed at a shop that is a Specialized dealer( as well as C’dale, Salsa, IF, and Electra), BUT pride myself in not having consumed the red koolaid! They produce some nice stiff, but a lot of offer brands do as well!

Big Cow - 04/28/13 - 8:24am

Trek had an ebike in 1999. Didnt boost the market then either

Jeb - 04/28/13 - 4:22pm

Phucking Specialized, this thing is a direct copy of the Stromer. What do you want to bet the (deleted) in Morgan Hill are already looking for a way to sue BMC-Stromer.

Betty Beige - 04/28/13 - 6:43pm

Fat Nerds Will be looking Cool Now!

Mindless - 04/29/13 - 12:17am

@Volagista: SPecialized will sue their grandmother if that lands them an extra buck.

Bas Simons - 04/29/13 - 2:00am

if this is what it takes to get the US riding their bikes more and get out of their cars, I’m all for it

any word on how specialized will be servicing / warranting these turbo’s? also, pretty tricky to let dealers handle legislation per state instead of figuring out that as a company

Robo - 04/29/13 - 11:26am

I think the idea is that the local Specialized rep would be the one actually contacting the state (which “should” be a fairly easy process) to see if the product is legal for sale there. It’s really not that big of an issue.

patrik - 04/29/13 - 12:16pm

@Jason: “For those that are new to E-bikes this might look great…”

You added some other nonsense after writing this opening sentence, but you hit the nail on the head in terms of what customers have been yearning for: An e-bike that doesn’t look like an e-bike.

Specialized: Finally building the Apple of e-bikes.

vectorbug - 04/29/13 - 1:20pm

This would be great for my wife who wants to avoid driving to work but not end up sweaty, or another friend who also wants to ride to work but had foot surgery.

Androo - 04/29/13 - 6:00pm

@Jeb eh, this is just like the BMC Stromer in the same way that the Specialized Tarmac is like a Trek 2-series.

Same basic idea, same basic architecture, just costs more and weighs less.

Every market fills itself out in the same way. You can’t expect them to be crazy novel just for the sake of it, if a proven design works well.

Ed - 05/02/13 - 11:54am

I am fairly confident most of the people that have posted comments related to fat people probably drive a vehicle regularly that consumes copious amounts of of Fossil fuels. Unless you live within 5 to 10 miles of your work location and on some very level ground, very few of you would pedal to work everyday. In addition most would not want to sit near you if you did. I agree you don’t want to have people speeding at 50MPH down bike paths, but there should be some regulations and education to control this. There are always going to be rule breakers, just like the people that drive their car after drinking. This market has actually driven a lot of local innovation. There is a web forum called http://endless-sphere.com/forums/ that includes many of these people and has been dealing with battery management issues long before Boeing had their problem with the Dreamliner using the same type of cells. I am currently building my own e-bike here in Colorado and plan on using it to drive 20 miles one way to work everyday 40miles roundtrip. This is a lot of gas I will not be burning. The argument will be then you are getting your power from dirty coal plants but this can and will be offset by wind subsidies and/or solar power which is aplenty in Colorado. Lastly, relating to the weight, I have actually dropped 10 lbs in the last couple of months in preparation for riding everyday to work; one to make the overall load lighter to increase mileage and efficiency and two to make it easy on me so I can pedal and get some exercise while having a great time.
You may all want to give it a try before shooting it down, and you might actually learn something along the way! I can think of many worst things than this that are legal and I am not going to start naming them.

Ed

Biker - 05/03/13 - 8:15pm

Was thinking about getting one for commuting (15 mile one way), but after reading this review I don’t know now.
And, this reviewer could only reach 25 mph, not 28 mph.

“On this ride my bike used 51% of its battery on the 10 mile circuit. Out of the 30 riders, three ran out of juice before reaching the end, and had to pedal the rest of the way. This is real world ebike range being shoved in your face. You will be lucky to get 20 miles out of a small battery pack like this, if you want to run in the “turbo” mode.
If you really milk it, you could maybe get a 30-mile range using a very moderate electric assist and pedaling a lot.”

http://www.electricbike.com/specialized_turbo/

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.