E-bikes have taken off in recent years and there are a lot of very good reasons for that. On mountain bikes, an electric motor opens up a whole new world of adventure, with riders able to go further and faster than ever. For commuters, an e-bike makes the whole business of getting to and from work childâ€™s play, removing forever the feeling of having already put in a full shift before 9 am.
Specialized, those California-based bike gurus, have now turned their electric-charged attention to the world of road bikes and produced the Turbo Creo SL. An e-bike that combines their race-winning heritage with the latest technology, itâ€™s a mighty cocktail of low weight, power, range and connectivity that looks set to turn the world on its head.
One criticism of e-bikes in the past has been that they can weigh quite a bit more than their non-motorised brethren. Specialized are experts in designing lightweight bikes though â€“ in fact, just last week we brought you news of their ridiculously light Epic hardtail mountain bike. When creating a lightweight electric road bike they didnâ€™t have to look far for inspiration, basing the Creo on the Tarmac, their all-conquering all-surface road bike that has been flying off the shelves since it was first launched.
The Tarmac-inspired FACT 11r carbon frame and the bump-taming Future Shock 2.0 are at the heart of an e-bike that feels light and lively. At just over 13kg the Creo SL is so light youâ€™re likely to forget itâ€™s got a motor hidden away.
But when you need it, for that boost up the hill or just to help you on those last tough miles at the end of a long ride, the SL 1.1 motor is right there. The motor is half the weight of other crank-based motors but is still capable of up to 240 watts peak and sustained power, roughly doubling your output. Itâ€™s not found on any other e-bike â€“ itâ€™s a Specialized motor for a Specialized bike.
The SL 1.1 has three modes â€“ Eco, Sport and Turbo â€“ and the pedal assist is designed with road ridersâ€™ cadence in mind. That is, between 70 and 100rpm. This bike isnâ€™t for pootling; itâ€™s for road riders who love to go fast. The 320Wh lithium-ion battery is housed within the downtube and takes just 2Â½ hours to fully recharge when empty of juice. Once full the battery offers up to 80 miles (130km) of range â€“ plenty for most rides.
Control at your fingertips
The snappily titled Mission Control App adds another level to the riding experience of the Creo SL. It runs on Android and iOS, keeping track of your output as well as that of the motor. Thereâ€™s a built-in power meter that works with any ANT+ head unit and the Mission Control App will even recognise when you set off on a ride and automatically start tracking you.
In keeping with many other Specialized road bikes, there are no gender-specific frame geometries on the Creo SL, with sizes from XS right up to XXL available. Itâ€™s been designed to be the bike to take you anywhere you want to go, with space for up to 42mm tyres on 700c rims. If youâ€™re feeling even more adventurous you can even fit 47mm tyres on a 650b wheel, and the 20mm of suspension provided by the Future Shock 2.0 gives you all the give you need.
The Creo SL comes in four different models, each with their own eye-poppingly gorgeous paint job. These really are beautiful bikes, and we think in 20 years time people will talk about them as being the e-bike that changed the future of road riding. It might sound a little over the top but it feels like Specialized have created a whole new experience with the Creo SL. In fact, the name comes from the Latin for â€˜createâ€™. Maybe they knew all along they were onto something special here.