Riding the new Specialized Turbo Creo SL

The new Specialized Turbo Creo SL is a different kind of e-bike. Dave Arthur had the opportunity to give it a workout at the UK launch event, and here he answers some of the questions posed by this intriguing bike.

Read his thoughts below, and check out his First Ride video at bottom of page.

words and pictures: Dave Arthur

First Ride

So what's the Creo like to ride? I got a couple of hours to ride the new bike, so I dashed down into the Surrey Hills and did a loop including Box Hill. The ride was brief and not enough distance to really get into the nuances of the new bike, but I came away from my short time with the new Creo SL with some observations.

Of all the developments, and there have been many in the hundred odd years since the road bike was invented, perhaps the most paradigm shifting is the e-bike. The Turbo Creo SL, with a full-carbon frame, Future Shock 2.0, disc brakes and an all-new motor and battery providing up to 195km range is easily the most exciting and interesting bike I've ridden in many years. It's also a bike that raises many questions...

above: a reassuringly familiar cockpit, complete with FutureShock 2.0 damping

It feels like a normal road bike

If you're expecting an e-road bike to feel startlingly different to a regular road bike, you'll be disappointed. If you've ridden a Diverge or Roubaix, the new Creo SL will feel familiar. The handling, geometry and ride feel makes you feel right at home. Even the look of the bike is reassuringly familiar.

You can ride without assistance

This was my most eye-opening experience from the first ride: it pedalled well even with the motor switched off. Granted it's no featherweight, but it's certainly not heavy, and that combined with the very low, almost imperceptible resistance from the motor, meant I was able to pedal along flat roads with the motor off.

below: where the magic happens - the motor and battery are sleekly integrated

Range anxiety

The claimed 130km range of the internal battery is very impressive, boosted further by the optional Range Extender battery giving you nearly 200km of range. Obviously the terrain you're riding will have a big impact on the actual range and which modes you make most use of. The low weight and smooth pedalling feel with the motor switched off helps to reduce range anxiety. That you can ride without the motor means you can further conserve the battery life, switching it off on flat roads, and should you run the battery flat on a big route miles from home, you're not going to be faced with trying to pedal a behemoth of a bike - if you've ever tried to pedal an e-mtb with a flat battery you'll know it's not a very pleasant experience at all!

More on the Turbo Creo SL:

Smooth power delivery

Specialized says the 240 watt motor doubles your power output. It's dizzyingly exciting in turbo mode, the motor really helps to thrust you along the road making you feel like a cycling god. The delivery of power is very smooth, there's no on/off feeling when the motor kicks in. On the lower modes this is even more pronounced, the middle setting is like riding with a decent tailwind.

Seamless above 25kph

All e-bikes restrict assistance up to 25kph, and it's how Specialized has designed the motor to ensure this barrier is virtually undetectable that makes the Creo SL such an impressive debut. On rolling Surrey Hills it's easy to go well above 25kph. When that happens on the Creo SL, you hear the motor stop working but that really is your biggest indication that the assistance has halted. Your momentum does not suddenly fall off a cliff. Instead, you can ride through the limit and above to normal road bike speeds on rolling terrain with no issues at all.

It's quiet

Only in the turbo mode can you really hear the whir of the motor. In the lower assistance modes, it's almost unnoticeable. The noise doesn't ruin the peacefulness of a road bike ride, and you can easily hold a conversation over the sound of the motor.

above: top tube controls for setting assistance level

Intuitive and easy to use

I didn't have much time with the bike, but apart from setting my saddle height, installing my pedals and pressing the on button on the top tube control module, it was easy to get going. The top tube control makes it a cinch to operate. On and off and three levels of assistance, with clear and bright LEDs, with a gauge to indicate battery level, there's no scope for confusion.


The smartphone app provides lots of exciting opportunity to really geek out with tuning the bike to suit your riding, and the smart feature that lets you input the distance of your route and the bike works out how much battery and power to provide to ensure you don't run flat.

So who's it for?

This is perhaps the biggest question facing e-bikes at the moment. The Turbo Creo SL is for anyone that wants to ride further. Wants to ride faster. For increasing your experience of cycling. Breaking down barriers, extending your adventure. It's about having fun. This is not a traditional road bike for traditional cycling, this is a new way of enjoying cycling. And I don't think that is a bad thing at all.

As authorised Specialized dealers we have access to their full range of e-bikes for road and mountain, and our bike fitting expertise will ensure that your new bike is the perfect fit.

If you'd like to know more about the Turbo Creo SL visit us in-store or drop us an email.

Turbo Creo SL First Ride Video