Considering buying a Turbo Creo - Questions

PassoGavia

Member
Region
USA
City
Roswell, Georgia
I currently ride a 2019 Orbea Gain road e-bike, and am thinking of buying a Turbo Creo. I’ve put 9000 miles on the Gain, and I love it except for exactly one thing: the 20 MPH cutoff. There are some group rides where I keep up fine except on long (over one mile) flat sections. I can ride in a pack at 20+ MPH for about a mile but then I gas out and get dropped. The Creo, as a Class 3 bike (I'm in the US), should enable me to hold my position and not get dropped.

So my first/most important question to this group: is it reasonable to believe that with the Creo, I’ll be able to get sufficient motor assist that I can hold speeds of 20-25 mph in a pack?
I’ve got a few other questions, please:
  • With the Gain, if you are pedaling at all, you get full power assist (in each of three levels). There is smoothing, but it doesn’t work like with Specialized bikes where there is a ratio where the more wattage your legs provide, the more that the motor provides. However, it appears I can mimic the Gain’s performance with the Creo by setting Support at or near 100%. Correct?
  • The Creo has a single chainring design (no front derailleur). I assume there is no way to add a double chainring and a front derailleur? It seems that the main downside is spinning out at high speeds.
  • The new top tube controller (Mastermind TCU) – is that worth waiting for a 2022? It might be nice to be able to see data on the small screen, but how much do I really want to be gazing at tiny numbers on the top tube while riding? Are there any other significant benefits?
  • The standard 2020/2021 Creos came with an 11 as the lowest cassette gearing. Can you go to a 10 on these?
Thanks in advance.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
With the Gain, if you are pedaling at all, you get full power assist (in each of three levels). There is smoothing, but it doesn’t work like with Specialized bikes where there is a ratio where the more wattage your legs provide, the more that the motor provides. However, it appears I can mimic the Gain’s performance with the Creo by setting Support at or near 100%. Correct?
If you really need such a behaviour, you would set Assistance (Support) to 100% for Eco, Sport and Turbo mode but Max Motor Power to 33% (Eco), 66% (Sport) and 100% (Turbo). That would give you fixed assistance of 80, 160 and 240 W as you would probably max out each of these modes.

Let owners of U.S. Creo answer other questions.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
@PassoGavia Maybe a more comprehensive readout between your legs would work for some folks. I have the regular TCU and still find it distracting to have to look "down there" to find the button and read the readout. Maybe the colors on the new version make it easier to discern but if the overall unit is the same size, that's a lot of info supposedly provided in a small space. But I am older and find looking away from the road distracting and, actually, find looking at dials/graphics on my car's dashboard also keeps my focus a bit too long these days.

And to make speed control easier, I had the shop add the Creo's remote speed buttons to my handlebar.

I will let others answer the tooth/cog questions but I know folks have changed out chainrings and, I believe, cassettes.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
whether you can ride the creo at 25mph depends on how strong you are and how much battery you’re prepared to use! based on your description - flat ground for a few miles, i’d say yes. it takes me around 200w of my own power to sustain 20mph average on flats, and it sounds like you’re able to do about the same. it takes another 100w to get to 25mph, roughly, so your creo will happily assist you at that level for 2.5 to 3 hours, or 60 to 75 miles. as stefan indicated a way to produce that kind of output precisely would be to set eco to 100/35, and as long as you’re pedaling even moderately, the bike will contribute 35% of its maximum. (105w power draw, around 85w useful energy). if you’re riding for more than 3 hours with riders more than 100w stronger than you… you’ll need the range extender. if you are, those are some FAST guys/gals!!

no reasonable way to add a front derailleur. the Q factor is already wide, only certain cranks can be used, and while i’m sure it’s theoretically possibly with the boost rear axle spacing and a TON of work, it’s not been done and would be a huge mess.

the rear geometry will allow a 10t. you’ll need to change the driver to an XD driver (easy) and of course get a different cassette (many choices.) there’s a few threads here describing this. 10-42 is a very simple change. there are also choices out there for the front ring.

i haven’t ridden a bike with the new top tube controller. i always (literally always) ride with an iphone mini over my stem and the specialized mission control app, so i’m not sure what i’d be gaining. if you’re someone who would forgo either a phone or bike computer, maybe useful?
 

jlubeck

Member
Region
USA
I have used a 3rd party app with my Garmin 1030 on the initial data screen.
The field is easily configurable and I pared it down to the only 2 fields in which I have interest (remaining battery and assist). Basically, this is the only data I would get from the TCU but in a more easily readable and precise format. With remote buttons installed I do not need to remove my hands from the bars or eyes from the cockpit, both of which occurred when I previously changed the assist level. For me, the new TCU would not add much.
 

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gpburdell

Active Member
Region
USA
The Creo has a single chainring design (no front derailleur). I assume there is no way to add a double chainring and a front derailleur? It seems that the main downside is spinning out at high speeds.

I don't have the Creo, but what speeds are you concerned you'd spin out at?

Per Bikecalc.com you'd be hitting nearly 30mph at a 90 cadence, and 36mph at 110 cadence.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I don't have the Creo, but what speeds are you concerned you'd spin out at?

Per Bikecalc.com you'd be hitting nearly 30mph at a 90 cadence, and 36mph at 110 cadence.

i have a 42 up front and a 10 in back, which is basically the same gearing (4.2:1) as all but the s-works creo (which is 4.6:1) and definitely spin out above 35mph, which jives with bikecalc of course. not a huge problem for me, and i prioritized climbing without the motor or with very little motor over top speed downhill. the opportunities to go 40+mph safely are limited for most people.
 

PassoGavia

Member
Region
USA
City
Roswell, Georgia
JonFox>>>You will be able to both stay in the paceline and pull at 25 mph with the Creo. They'll be asking you to pull! <<<

1641765547310.png


Thank you all for your detailed and helpful replies.

If I get a Creo I'll probably just set it up like my Gain. The Gain comes with three "out of box" levels of 30%, 60% and 100%. I reprogrammed these to 30/40/60 after I'd ridden the bike a couple of months - I found I never used the 100% level and I wanted a tighter spread. But I may try the standard settings and see how they work. Great to know the bike has the flexibility.

TCU decision is an easy one - it seems it's not something I need. I generally ride with prescription long distance sunglasses, and (with, ahem, over-50 eyes) trying to discern small numbers on the top tube is probably not a great idea. Would rather have the information on the computer. And really all I need is assist level and remaining battery, as jlubeck stated.

For the upper gearing, there are hills around here where it's nice to be able to keep pedaling well into the mid 30's to build up speed for the next rise, but it's not a deal killer. And if it becomes an issue I can increase the size of the chainring or reduce the smallest gear on the cassette, or both.
 

Roaming50

Member
Region
USA
I've owned my 2021 Creo SL Expert EVO since December 30 and have put two rides on it (shortly after I got it, it of course dumped snow and plummeted into single digits F) but still I've got about a 100 miles so far across dry road to snow/ice/gravel.

It is flat where I live and any hills are shallow grades for the most part. Riding flat on the road I can push it to 27mph. So far I have not hit the 28mph cut-off and I can only maintain 27 mph on Turbo for a few minutes before the power fades in my legs. I'm 51 and a mountain biker by heart, so I am not a strong roadie. I find in Turbo, 20-25 mph is relatively easy if flat, but for any slight incline I am dropping to more like 18mph, or if it gets steeper (7% grade) the 13-15mph.

It's key to remember that the bike will only boost what you can put into it up to 100% or 250W. If you can't generate 250W (in my rides so far I average closer to 150) then you won't get full power out of the bike.

Mostly, this does not bother me and I ride in the 30-60% assist range and maintain about a 17mph average across a 3 hour ride. So far I don't use turbo unless it is a section of busy city streets that I want to clear quick. The last ride I tried Mission Control smart assist. That was interesting. It started with lower assist and then through-out the ride as it determined I was not consuming battery, it gave me more and more assist. Towards the end of the ride it was giving me full turbo even though I did not need it as I had plenty of battery left. That actually was't good as I felt like the bike was trying to kill me with too much power as I was riding on ice at the time! 🤣
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
It's key to remember that the bike will only boost what you can put into it up to 100% or 250W. If you can't generate 250W (in my rides so far I average closer to 150) then you won't get full power out of the bike.
That is not correct. The amplification (boost) factor of the SL1.1 motor is 1.8x. The full motor power is 240 W, so it is enough to input 240/1.8 = 133 1/3 W into the cranks to max the motor out in 100% Turbo mode. I've got exact figures from the BLEvo app. As the motor efficiency is 80%, the battery power draw is 240/0.8 = 300 W and I can demonstrate this figure from BLEvo recorded data (it is exactly 303 W). I can max the motor out with my bad legs.

Consequently, you and motor together input 150 W (yours) and 240 W (motor's) into the chainring, making it 390 W.
 

Roaming50

Member
Region
USA
That is not correct. The amplification (boost) factor of the SL1.1 motor is 1.8x. The full motor power is 240 W, so it is enough to input 240/1.8 = 133 1/3 W into the cranks to max the motor out in 100% Turbo mode. I've got exact figures from the BLEvo app. As the motor efficiency is 80%, the battery power draw is 240/0.8 = 300 W and I can demonstrate this figure from BLEvo recorded data (it is exactly 303 W). I can max the motor out with my bad legs.

Consequently, you and motor together input 150 W (yours) and 240 W (motor's) into the chainring, making it 390 W.

Okay, I was off on the total watts, you are correct that it is 240w, not 250. However on the US site (perhaps this is different from EU bikes), it states:

Like an endless tailwind, the SL 1.1 motor doubles your effort with 240 watts of power for up to 120 miles (80 from internal battery, 40 from optional range extender)

It also tags:

Screen Shot 2022-01-10 at 19.15.49 PM.png


So I take this that it will boost you 100%, so if you put in 240w you will get 240w for a max of 480w. If you only put in 100w, you'll only get 100w back for 200w. Am I missing something?
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Okay, I was off on the total watts, you are correct that it is 240w, not 250. However on the US site (perhaps this is different from EU bikes), it states:



It also tags:

View attachment 111525

So I take this that it will boost you 100%, so if you put in 240w you will get 240w for a max of 480w. If you only put in 100w, you'll only get 100w back for 200w. Am I missing something?

yes, but you’re only missing something because specialized’s explanation of it is a little confusing.

the “2X” you means the output of the motor is twice whatever your output is. so the total is three times, roughly. this has been described in more detail by specialized techs elsewhere and is easily independently verified by watching the wattage indicators in mission control, which can display rider power and motor power side by side. set your assist to 50/100 (50% of 2x times your input, 300w max) and you’ll see that the two numbers - rider and motor power - match over time. set your assist to 100/100 (100% of 2x times your input, 300w max) and you’ll see that it’s roughly twice your input, but of course since it never exceeds 300w it will often be much less than 2x if you’re pedaling hard.

note that i refer to the input wattage of the motor, which maxes out at 300, but the usable power is somewhere between 80 and 85 percent of that.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
this thread


gets into the gory detail, including a link to an explanation of the same subject by specialized at EMTB forums.

this image shows measured power values on my creo compared to assist settings - it’s pretty clear the assist ratio is at least twice what the percentage implies. on a levo it would be more like four times…

8731FF69-34F3-47B4-8072-19FE63196367.jpeg
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
@mschwett has explained that very well. There is still some misconception because of Specialized "2x" which is purely a marketing thing.
  • The Boost Factor of the SL1.1 motor is 1.8x. "It's 1.8x You!" but that wouldn't sell, would it.
  • The efficiency of the SL1.1 motor is 0.79. The electrical motor power as reported by either MC or BLEvo has to be multiplied by 0.79 to get the mechanical motor power.

1641888834579.png

The proof. See the Biker Power of 132 and 134 W. The rider's power than makes the motor maxed out is -- as I said -- 133 1/3 W. (The data come from BLEvo. Can Mission Control produce historical data sets?)

Specialized are very explicit about what the measured Motor Power figure is in their latest Mastermind TCD-w. It reads "Motor Power Electrical" in the Power data page.

1641889241257.png

Mastermind TCD-w can even display the Boost Factor (Power Ratio), only that's referring to the Electrical Motor Power, and the maximum boost related to the battery power draw is 2.2x. However, the Electrical/Rider power ratio is not what the rider gets in the chainring (it is the mechanical power).

There is a widely agreed rule of the Euro e-bike industry that e-bike shall not assist the human with more than four times the rider's input. I may agree the "electrical boost" of the latest Levo is greater than four times but I am sure it is 4x mechanically. My Specialized 1.2s motor in the Speed Vado has the type approved boost factor of 3.2x, and the 1.3 motor is 3.8x. (For instance, the boost factor of Yamaha PW-X2 is 3.6x).
 
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Roaming50

Member
Region
USA
yes, but you’re only missing something because specialized’s explanation of it is a little confusing.

the “2X” you means the output of the motor is twice whatever your output is. so the total is three times, roughly. this has been described in more detail by specialized techs elsewhere and is easily independently verified by watching the wattage indicators in mission control, which can display rider power and motor power side by side. set your assist to 50/100 (50% of 2x times your input, 300w max) and you’ll see that the two numbers - rider and motor power - match over time. set your assist to 100/100 (100% of 2x times your input, 300w max) and you’ll see that it’s roughly twice your input, but of course since it never exceeds 300w it will often be much less than 2x if you’re pedaling hard.

note that i refer to the input wattage of the motor, which maxes out at 300, but the usable power is somewhere between 80 and 85 percent of that.
Okay, this was helpful. So if I put in 100w when in Turbo (100%) the motor will give me an additional 200w for a total of 300w. If I put in 150w, the motor will give be an additional 240w (as that is the max and is less than the theoretical 300w of doubling my power).

You quote 300 as the max power of the motor but with efficiency of 80-85%. So when Specialized quotes 240w that is really that 80% of 300w available?
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Okay, this was helpful. So if I put in 100w when in Turbo (100%) the motor will give me an additional 200w for a total of 300w. If I put in 150w, the motor will give be an additional 240w (as that is the max and is less than the theoretical 300w of doubling my power).

You quote 300 as the max power of the motor but with efficiency of 80-85%. So when Specialized quotes 240w that is really that 80% of 300w available?
yes, that’s right. the 300w power draw is very easily seen and verified (it’s usually more like 302, 303) and electric motors like this are around 80-85% efficiency. my guess is that the 240 is a little conservative.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
yes, that’s right. the 300w power draw is very easily seen and verified (it’s usually more like 302, 303) and electric motors like this are around 80-85% efficiency. my guess is that the 240 is a little conservative.
Why to assume it is conservative? 79% of efficiency is a realistic figure.
Compare it to the 1.2s motor. The rated peak mechanical power is 520 W, and the max electrical power is 685 W there. The efficiency is 520/685 = 0.759, of the same order (or worse) as SL1.1.

If you could measure battery and motor temperature (as I can do it with BLEvo) you would notice how warm both the battery and motor become. It is because of heat release due to limited electro-mechanical efficiency.
 
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mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Why to assume it is conservative? 79% of efficiency is a realistic figure.
Compare it to the 1.2s motor. The rated peak mechanical power is 520 W, and the max electrical power is 685 W there. The efficiency is 520/685 = 0.759, of the same order (or worse) as SL1.1.

If you could measure battery and motor temperature (as I can do it with BLEvo) you would notice how warm both the battery and motor become. It is because of heat release due to limited electro-mechanical efficiency.
a few reasons, just my suspicions mostly:

a) manufacturers are notorious for rating something and such and having the actual result be higher - especially when there’s a regulatory limit like the 250w “nominal”. rated peak power is not the same as actual.
b) i’ve had my creo on a very accurately calibrated rear wheel trainer and the power results were about 5-10% high when the motor was on, depending on how much loss you think the drivetrain has!
c) my observed speeds when climbing always seemed a little high compared to battery usage (could also be that the rider power measurement is off, but most say it’s off in the other direction)
d) i think specialized did a good job with the these lightweight motors to squeeze the most of out them, and other motors show measured efficiencies of up to 83%

none of the above is definitive in any way, just my observations and suspicions.