2014-specialized-turbo-electric-bike-review
 
(we have included this thorough review from electricbike.com)

Summary:

  • One of the fastest, quietest and sturdiest road-style electric bikes around, extremely refined
  • Solid 15mm thru-axles, tapered head tube and alloy frame for efficient power transfer and high speed riding
  • Beautifully integrated battery pack, computer display system and LED lighting kit
  • Not the most forgiving ebike (no suspension), easier to tamper with system if battery is left on frame

Stats:

  • Range: 30 to 40 miles (48.3 to 64.4 kilometers) depending on rider, terrain, weather and pedal assist level
  • Top Speed: ~28 miles/hour (~45 km/hour)
  • Gearing: Sram XO long cage derailleur, 10 speed rear cassette (48/36 low gear)
  • Weight: ~50 lbs (22.7 kg) including battery which weighs ~8 lbs (3.6kg) overall weight varies slightly by frame size
  • Battery: 36 volt 14 amp hour (504 watt hour) Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO) chemistry, higher C-rating for quick charge/discharge rates, LED power level indicator on pack
  • Charge Time: ~3 hours for a full charge from empty, 1.5 hours for 80%
  • Ride Time: 1 to 2 hours varying by pedal assist level, rider, terrain and weather
  • Charge Cycles: ~1,000 with a one year warranty
  • Motor: 250 watt direct drive gearless rear hub motor with peak output of ~700 watts
  • Other: warranty (lifetime frame, 2 year battery and motor), available in two colors (red / black), available in four frame sizes (sm, md, lg, xl), backlit LCD computer unit and joystick (shows assist level, battery status, light on/off, speed, time and distance), joystick interface doubles as a throttle up to ~11 mph, magnetic EnergyBus battery plug socket and cap holder on downtube, 15mm thru-axle, SRX30 double-wall alloy rims, Electrak 60TPI wire bead 700x45c tires with Armadillo protection and presta valves, Crank Brothers Cobalt stem, flat top riser handlebar 680mm wide, Body Geometry XCT ergonomic grips with lock-on, bell on left handle bar, Formula R1 hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors, SRAM X0 10 speed cassette with long cage derailleur, SRAM SL-700 trigger shifter on right handle bar, Specialized platform pedals with removable grub pins 9/16″, Body Geometry saddle with 3 integrated LED lights, Supernova E3 LED headlight, rear view mirror mounted to left side handle bar, double legged kickstand, aluminum bash guard on front ring

Video Review:

Written Review:

Specialized took its time to craft and refine the first Turbo and in 2014 introduced the Turbo S which has a larger battery pack, smaller more integrated display / input system and a new color… black. It’s a stiffer electric bike that foregoes suspension in favor of power transfer and speed. The motor is silent but powerful and the battery pack is so well disguised in the downtube that it almost disappears. It even has water bottle cage mounting points built right into the pack! While I prefer the support of full suspension and knobby tires (especially at 28+ mile per hour) the addition of a Thudbuster, Body Float or Suntour NCX SP12 make for an excellent ride here. The Turbo feels solid and its Electrak tires offer more give than a traditional narrow 700c road tire would.

The motor on the Specialized Turbo offers 250 watts nominal with ~700 peak for excellent acceleration and climbing. It’s gearless, relying on large magnets inside to generate force, and this makes it very quiet and durable. There aren’t any gears inside rubbing to create noise or wear out over time. It’s also very responsive, relying on torque and speed sensing pedal assist. The motor is mounted to the rear drop outs in a direct drive configuration with a sturdy 15mm thru-axle. This keeps the wheel straight at higher speeds which is great because I had no problem reaching 30 miles per hour when riding. The original Turbo was one of the first electric bicycles to top 20 miles per hour in pedal assist mode and continues to focus on speed and performance here. The motor itself is made by Go SwissDrive and retails for ~$1,100 on its own (still having to be laced into a wheel) so considering quality components, battery and display in use here it’s a solid deal.

The battery pack on the Turbo S uses energy dense Lithium-ion cells that will last for 1,000+ charge cycles if cared for. While the original Turbo offered 36 volts of power and only 9 amp hours of capacity the 2014 model offers 14 amp hours for increased range. This also adds some weight to the bike but it’s all kept low and center with the downtube battery design. This thing is beautiful (hardly noticeable on the black design) and doesn’t rattle when riding. On the side there’s an LED scale that can be activated for a quick power reading (kind of like on a Mac laptop). The on/off button for the entire bike is right at the top of the pack and also looks like a computer switch. I love that the battery pack includes bosses for mounting a water bottle cage (something I wish other ebikes did) but I wish there was some way to disable the bike when not in use (like with a key or something) because as-is anybody can turn the bike on and mess with the display.

The display has undergone improvements for 2014 as well and now resides on the right portion of the handlebars instead of the center. Before there was a break out panel with rubberized + and – buttons but now it’s all combined with the display and actually built into the right brake lever. The design is sleek, adding to the “stealth” factor of the bike and since it’s made of aluminum alloy to match the brake levers it feels really solid. The downside here is that it’s not removable and if you adjust the angle of the display you also end up adjusting the angle of the brake lever. Given the simplicity of the modes on this bike (ranging from regen to zero to eco and turbo) it’s not something you need to stare at very often when riding. Instead of rubberized buttons the new input system uses a transparent rubberized joystick. Up and down let you change assist levels and if you hold up it doubles as a throttle which propels the bike up to ~11 miles per hour even from rest. The display and joystick light up for easy night use and activate the headlight and tail light when pressed in. By pushing left or right you can see distance and battery readouts. Again, it’s just so simple and easy to reach without looking down and it works very well with the trigger shifters (also on the right grip).

While the latest iteration of the Turbo isn’t perfect I don’t mind the little issues. This thing is solid, fast and fun to ride. I feel like I must be fooling everyone when I pass by at high speed because it’s just so quiet and the battery is so well hidden. The bottle cage is perfect and there’s tons of room between the top tube, seat tube and downtube for mounting this thing on car racks and stuff. As much as I complain about bumpy roads and the jerkiness of electric bikes at high speed it’s almost worth the extra abrasion here because the speed and power transfer are so satisfying. It’s an electric road bike… and on smooth roads it’s fantastic. The acceleration and torque of the rear hub motor is nice vs. mid-drive systems that sort of change depending on the gear you’re in and the addition of braze ons for adding fenders and racks make this a versatile ride. One big downside to the motor design here is that the rear wheel doesn’t freewheel and spins less efficiently when the bike is off due to cogging (the magnets inside repel the stater and slow it down, see video review). This enables regeneration but could ruin a ride if you run out of juice prematurely. Thankfully, the larger 14ah pack helps a lot here by extending the range.

  • One of the quietest, smoothest and fastest electric bikes I’ve tested (based on the motor, stiff frame and tires)
  • New LCD display panel with joystick is easy to adjust when riding, doesn’t stand out visually and appears to be very rugged
  • Integrated LED tail lights stay out of the way, Supernova E3 headlight is bright and sturdy
  • New Lithium-ion battery pack is five amp hours larger than the old version for extended range
  • There are bottle cage mounts built right into the battery pack so you don’t have to skip on water
  • This bike is super stealth because the battery is so well integrated, motor is super quiet and display is so small
  • Battery pack can be charged on or of the bike for convenient fill-ups at the office, charger is fast and silent
  • Electrak tires are a bit larger than standard road tires for more air and cushion when riding
  • Plenty of braze ons (front and rear) for adding fenders or racks so you can stay dry or carry more gear
  • Regenerative braking with right brake lever and regen mode for coasting down hills (even works in zero mode)
  • Solid two year warranty for the motor and battery system, lifetime frame warranty