By Adam Newman
Specialized never stops innovating, and with the rapid rise of electric-assist bikes and battery technology, they’ve unveiled a bike that only they could build.
Called the Turbo, it’s so powerful that as of right now, there’s no way they can sell it in the United States. With a top speed of about 28 mph it’s fast when it’s moving, and with a recharge time of just two hours, it’s fast standing still.
Unlike most e-bikes, that look like they were assembled in someone’s basement, the Turbo is completely integrated and seamless. The lithium-ion battery slides directly into the aluminum frame and is removable for recharging on the go.
Just like on a motorcycle, the front and rear wheel are secured with thru-axles, a system that ensures they stay in place at high speed and to cope with the extra weight. All the wiring and cables are routed inside the frame or are completely wireless.
The integrated electronic system includes head and taillights, a cycling computer, and regenerative braking that recharges the battery when slowing. Magura MT Carbon hydraulic brakes handle stopping power. A SRAM XO ten-speed groupset and DoubleTap levers drive the pedal-powered portion of your ride.
MSRP is 5,499 Euros ($7,300 at today’s rate) and will go on sale in Europe beginning in May. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s half the price of a car, and if you live in a crowded European city there’s a good chance you don’t need one, and it doesn’t require fill-ups at $7 a gallon.
Specialized told us they can’t bring it to the US because it’s simply too fast for the speed-cap on electric-assist bicycles. They could slow it down, but there’s no plans for that!
What do you think? Is this a practical transportation option or a frivolous engineering exercise?