Considering buying a Turbo Creo - Questions

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
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.
I think Specialized are actually honest about the published figures. Assuming the efficiency of the SL1.1 motor at 0.79, I could come up to their 240 W rated/peak power and 1.8x boost factor. If Specialized wanted to lie, they would have just specified 250 W. No, they were explicit to give 240 W.

With the full power motors, Brose gave a plethora of information on their motors (that are used by Specialized). Hence, peak power figure (520 W for 1.2s, 550 W for 1.3), etc. I simply cannot understand why you insist on the high efficiency of mid-drive motors? Any hard data? Note: Specialized gave the 3.2x figure in the EU Certificate of Compliance for 1.2s motor, and you better don't cheat with the Type Approval in Europe.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I think Specialized are actually honest about the published figures. Assuming the efficiency of the SL1.1 motor at 0.79, I could come up to their 240 W rated/peak power and 1.8x boost factor. If Specialized wanted to lie, they would have just specified 250 W. No, they were explicit to give 240 W.

With the full power motors, Brose gave a plethora of information on their motors (that are used by Specialized). Hence, peak power figure (520 W for 1.2s, 550 W for 1.3), etc. I simply cannot understand why you insist on the high efficiency of mid-drive motors? Any hard data? Note: Specialized gave the 3.2x figure in the EU Certificate of Compliance for 1.2s motor, and you better don't cheat with the Type Approval in Europe.
specialized themselves have stated its more efficient. this would make sense for a newer, lighter, belt-free design. how much more, who knows. my observations on a rear wheel trainer run by a professional suggest it’s over 80%, but there are too many variables to really know.

As well as being lighter and more compact, the Levo SL’s motor is also less powerful. It has quite a lot less torque (35Nm vs 90Nm), and peak power output is under half that of the Levo (240W vs 565W). According to Specialized however, the SL 1.1 motor is drastically more efficient, which means it gobbles less Watts-per-hour in the first place.
 

jlubeck

Member
Region
USA
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.
Agree that the power readings are likely inflated. I have ridden with a Powertap hub and Stages left arm crank on different bikes for years. My power output numbers are generally consistent across devices. I also look at my Garmin normalized power numbers at the end of the rides and after hundreds of rides I have a good feel for the final NP within 10W based on time and perceived effort. The numbers pulled from the Creo are clearly higher, possible by a magnitude of 10%. Not scientific, but I have never generated a 2 hour NP of 190W in December for 10 years and I am on the downhill slope of the ageing performance curve. I always ride with the motor on, but assist off via remote buttons much of the time. However, all of the rides have some degree of motor assist so I can't be certain how much of the error is related to inaccurate measurement during assist only.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I always ride with the motor on, but assist off via remote buttons much of the time. However, all of the rides have some degree of motor assist so I can't be certain how much of the error is related to inaccurate measurement during assist only.

… if assist is off, then the motor is off, but the electronics are on, of course, to be able to change the assist and see your stats and so on. i always ride that way, no assist but electronics on because i do like the stats!
 

PassoGavia

Member
Region
USA
City
Roswell, Georgia
Thanks, all, this is incredibly useful information. The Orbea Gain has no way to detect torque or power - all it can do is tell whether you are pedaling or not. So any pedaling at all, even soft pedaling, invokes 100% of the motor power available (in the level you are set at). So if you are in the factory green level (30%), you get the full 30% of the motor's 250W if you are pedaling at all. With all standard qualifiers for heat and drivetrain losses.

With the Creo providing assist at 1.8x rider input, and Support set at 100%, the effect should be approximately the same. Probably not when soft-pedaling, but at any rider-provided wattage over 100W.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Thanks, all, this is incredibly useful information. The Orbea Gain has no way to detect torque or power - all it can do is tell whether you are pedaling or not. So any pedaling at all, even soft pedaling, invokes 100% of the motor power available (in the level you are set at). So if you are in the factory green level (30%), you get the full 30% of the motor's 250W if you are pedaling at all. With all standard qualifiers for heat and drivetrain losses.

With the Creo providing assist at 1.8x rider input, and Support set at 100%, the effect should be approximately the same. Probably not when soft-pedaling, but at any rider-provided wattage over 100W.

right, support at 100% and peak at 30% would be basically the same as your "green." rounding off, as long as you put out 35 watts, the motor will put out 70. a 100% support and 60% peak setting, as long as you put out 70 watts, the motor will put out 140, and at 100/100, as long as you put out 120 the motor will put out 240. this is the beauty of the way specialized has done it with "support" and "peak" as independently controllable variables. i think i noted that you can actually change these on your phone in 5% increments as you're riding, with immediate feedback.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
this is the beauty of the way specialized has done it with "support" and "peak" as independently controllable variables. i think i noted that you can actually change these on your phone in 5% increments as you're riding, with immediate feedback.
It is even 1% increment in BLEvo :)
I think Passo will appreciate the Support less than 100% in time. Why make a Creo a binary e-bike?
 

Allan47.7339

Well-Known Member
I think the answer to the original question is he would be very happy with the assistance and ride quality of the Creo above 20mph if he can hold with a fast group at 20+ for a mile with no assistance on his current e-bike.
 

PassoGavia

Member
Region
USA
City
Roswell, Georgia
I think Passo will appreciate the Support less than 100% in time. Why make a Creo a binary e-bike?
As with all things electronic and software adjustable, I'm sure I'll fiddle with it. With the Orbea, at the highest power level, it can feel a bit grabby as the motor tries to go full power when you just start pedaling. On one hand, that does help move away from a stop, but I'm sure it also is a greater drain on the battery. Having Support at less than 100% would help smooth out starts and lower speed spinning.

I think the answer to the original question is he would be very happy with the assistance and ride quality of the Creo above 20mph if he can hold with a fast group at 20+ for a mile with no assistance on his current e-bike.
Thanks. Now all I need to do is 1) find an available bike and 2) scrounge up the money. I'm guessing there won't be discounts on any 2021 models that might remain given both demand and supply chain issues.
 

Allan47.7339

Well-Known Member
As with all things electronic and software adjustable, I'm sure I'll fiddle with it. With the Orbea, at the highest power level, it can feel a bit grabby as the motor tries to go full power when you just start pedaling. On one hand, that does help move away from a stop, but I'm sure it also is a greater drain on the battery. Having Support at less than 100% would help smooth out starts and lower speed spinning.
The Specialized SL system as used on the Creo or Vado SL doesn't "grab" as you start up or ride. It's one of the things some people complain about on Vado SL test rides because they expect the bike to take off. Someone test riding a Creo doesn't expect that kind of acceleration. I tend to think of the power settings as the front derailleur with triple chain rings.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
The Specialized SL system as used on the Creo or Vado SL doesn't "grab" as you start up or ride. It's one of the things some people complain about on Vado SL test rides because they expect the bike to take off. Someone test riding a Creo doesn't expect that kind of acceleration. I tend to think of the power settings as the front derailleur with triple chain rings.
My converted front wheel motor e-bike has a more definite "grab" although, still not an extreme response. You still need to pedal or you get no assist but when you first pedal, you do feel the motor traction.
 

JonFox

Member
@PassoGavia Go get that bike - you won't be sorry. It is just plain fun to ride. Hills can be easy or a sufferfest - you get to choose. Also, I recommend the extended battery so that you don't have range anxiety on longer/steeper rides. Be sure to get the remote buttons to control the power levels - they are awesome and you keep your hands on the handlebars at all times.
 

jlubeck

Member
Region
USA
@PassoGavia Go get that bike - you won't be sorry. It is just plain fun to ride. Hills can be easy or a sufferfest - you get to choose. Also, I recommend the extended battery so that you don't have range anxiety on longer/steeper rides. Be sure to get the remote buttons to control the power levels - they are awesome and you keep your hands on the handlebars at all times.
@PassoGavia based on your riding in the OP, I don’t think you would require a range extender to keep pace with the peloton. The remote buttons are completely different. Almost like reaching down with your thumb and index finger to find another gear. I have my TCU set to stealth mode. I no longer reach down to the top tube and have no glaring visible reminder of the assist level so I can delude myself into thinking it’s my legs hauling my ass up that hill! Of course the hum of the motor at higher assist levels provides a gentle reminder it’s not all me.
 

jodi2

Well-Known Member
I normally don't like too much likes ;-) but I put one in your OP as your "starting point" with Orbea Gain is very interesting for me. I'm surprised that these are common in the US; I thought they sell them only in Europe.
The Gain was the first light/assist ebike I tried in 2018 (Germany, 25kmh limit) and it was totally disappointing for me. I had the impression that the motor almost isn't even capable to equal the extra weight. I tried just by accident an Orbea Terra "organic" gravel bike and was overwhelmed. Even in the hilly area around the dealer and with my 20kg overweight it was really fast and a joy to ride, that I ordered one.

To be fair: It was an expensive carbon Orbea Terra and with carbon wheels and the Orbea Gain was the cheapest one and it may be possible that something was wrong with this one (maybe in the settings, what Icouldn't check without app). Also the hills were really steep there, maybe a little bit too much for the small hub motor and my 100kg.
But I tried the Gain again before fetching my Orbea Terra, this time another model and accompanied by another employee. The result was the same, I found it totally disappointing and the motor almost useless, even at full support.

I went home with my Terra and rode it for about a year with a lot of fun. Then we moved into the mountains and my rides became really really short... I started to use my 45km/h speed pedelec, but with it's weight it was really awful for sportive rides and offroad. Six months later I saw by accident a carbon Creo in LBS in the next village. I chuckled about the price, then tried it. I had never ridden something like this before! Even the Fazua road bikes I tried before did not have such a perfect "harmony" between rider and motor, such a perfect balance of not noticeable support, weight, agility. Only price and noise still scared me. Two months later I was able to get a Creo Comp Carbon with 16%/1000€ discount, which is still expensive, but made the decision much easier for me...

Today after 17 months with my Creo I think maybe something was wrong during both of my short rides with the two Orbea Gain. Hub motors are worse in the mountains, but not from the first meter, normally it takes some height meters before they lose power and middle motor wins so clearly. Also the model is so popular here in Europe, I can't imagine so many people buying such a disappointing models like I tried.
But I’m still fully convinced that the Creo is far better than the Orbea Gain. Especially uphill, but also with high speed on the road I’m sure you will really like it. Or did you try it already?

The noise can be a little bit annoying. It’s noisier than one would expect for such a small and light motor and such an expensive bike. But you get used to it. But together with other riders they will notice it, at least uphill at lower speeds. At 35-40km/h and it’s wind speeds I guess you don’t hear it much (as my motor is limited to 25km/h I can’t judge it). So if you want to hide your motor support or win the TDF, forget it. If you have relaxed and open-minded tour partners, no problem. Here in Germany there are still a lot of ebike haters, especially in the road bike/race bar scene…

What you describe I’m pretty sure you can stay in your group at higher speeds even with low support (so for many miles…). Even with level1 (around 25-35% of the SL’s 240W) and with my 20kg overweight I’m able to stay equal with guys two classes more fit and less fat. If I switch to level2 (50-60%, 120-140W) I pass them all. Even if this is only uphill/up to 25km/h, I don’t think there’s much difference compared to higher speeds. In both cases partners are several watts stronger than me, so one should need about the same amount of watts to stay with stronger ones.
You seem fitter and less gap to your group, so I guess you can get along with 15-20% to ride with them, so you could set level 1 to this percentage and level2 maybe to 40%, so you can get endless rides. Riding alone one tends to overestimate the needed motor support (and so tned to use too much of it). But riding with others you realize how much difference only 50W make...
 

jodi2

Well-Known Member
I forgot to add or to make it clearer: The Creo/SL support is not only more "harmonic" then the Gain/X.35 motor (especially fpr experienced cyclists). It's like all middle motors also much better and reliable and constant uphill/in the mountains, where a small hub motors will reduce power much earlier (even if maybe not that early/immediately like the two units I tried). On the other hand you get the motor noise compared to usually silent hub motors...
 

PassoGavia

Member
Region
USA
City
Roswell, Georgia
Thanks, jodi2, for your detailed and thoughtful response.

My guess is that there was some issue with the Gain you tested. I've written about my experience with the Gain after thousands of miles, and I've been consistently impressed with its smoothness, and its overall ability to help me ride at the same level I did before heart surgery.

I live in a hilly place (USA - northern Georgia), and the Gain makes a huge difference in the both the rolling and steep hills near where I live. As expected, the faster I spin, the better the bike works on hills, but both Orbea and Specialized advise this in their documentation - the sweet spot is generally going to be above 80RPM on the pedals. The Orbea and Specialized motors are almost identical in spec - about 240-250W and not great torque (38-40 NM).

There seems to be this "common knowledge" that bottom bracket motors have more torque and power than hub motors, but I don't think there is any inherent advantage. The spec is the spec. Bottom bracket motors do have an advantage of a narrower input RPM/output RPM ratio which probably helps reduce compromises. Both Orbea and Specialized have reduction gears to enable the lower torque of these small motors to provide useful assistance. The specs are essentially the same.

I will note that on extended and very steep hills the Gain does use a lot of battery power, and on any incline above 8 or 10% the motor is still useful, but it's affected by my inability to keep a high cadence with my existing gearing. But for 3-6% steady climbs, the Orbea is great - smooth and providing significant assistance. FWIW I'm 75kg, adult male, 178 cm in height.

I agree I use a lot more battery power on solo rides. Makes sense for multiple reasons, most notably drafting behind your friends. Not only significant on flats, but on 'fast rollers' where the momentum of the pack reduces the necessary power (human and e-bike) required to get over the next one.

Needless to say, if I buy a Creo I'll write a detailed comparison between the two.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
There seems to be this "common knowledge" that bottom bracket motors have more torque and power than hub motors, but I don't think there is any inherent advantage. The spec is the spec.
The "common knowledge" is mid-drive motors co-work with your pedalling through the drivetrain while hub-drives only push you forward. That makes mid-drives better uphill.
 

jodi2

Well-Known Member
I don't know much about torque differences of hub and middle motors and I don't give much on the torque values manufacturers provide. But I know the differences between middle and hub motors (apart from the Gain) because of riding several different models of each type for a longer period.
And one obvious difference is, that a middle motor benefits from the gears of the bicycle and a hub motor does not. So a middle motor almost always runs in it's efficient rpm area (if you don't cycle uphill at 30rpm in the highest gear) while a hub motor often doesn't. If it's optimized for higher speeds, it will be inefficient at 8km uphill, if optimized for slow speeds, it will be inefficient at 40km/h.
As you are a light rider and you seem to ride mostly on roads with soft inclines, the Gain hub motor might affect you less. I've got 25kg more and I'm riding a lot offroad/gravel and MTB often with 20% or more incline and small hub motors are terrible there and start losing power already after 200 feet of uphill.

I'm not against hub motors in general, they are great if you run them at the right rpm or if they're big enough. Apart from the Creo I've got a Swiss Stromer with hub motor for my rides to work and I don't know anything faster. If the surface is good and weight/agility doesn't matter. Offroad and without motor or even with low motor support the Stromer is terrible. Between Gain (if it would be unrestricted until 28mph) and Creo I wouldn’t expect much difference (if the hub motor runs in it’s efficient rpm are) at higher speeds as motor size/weight/power are similar.
Uphill is also ok with the Stromer, as the motor power is so big, that even fatties like me are able to keep higher speeds uphill. 10% incline for a quite while and 5% until the battery is empty.
We have a rule of thumb in the swiss Stromer forum: If roads+incline+motor+your legs allow you to ride often/mostly over 30km/h, buy a Stromer. If you normally can only ride at 20km/h or below, buy an ebike with a middle motor.
Therefore I don't know any (popular) eMTB model with hub motor.

Another disadvantage of rear hub motors is the weight balancing of the bike and that's it's more sensitive to "bumbs" in the rear wheel when riding on rough surfaces or offroad. So I’ve never done real offroad/MTB trips with 20% or more incline with the Stromer as the heavy rear wheel is not suited for this. But even if you don't go offroad and the Gain's motor is quite small&light and bike weight overall is similar to the Creo, you will feel a difference here and bikes with SL drive will feel better and more "harmonic" and agile.
Also "support characteristic"/smoothness is one of the best or the best on the market and more harmonic and the supported cadence “area” is much wider than with other ebike drives.

In short, I'm convinced that you will like the SL drive and “bike balance” and "smoothness" even more. If you accept the noise… I'm just repeating that, so when you ride it you will think "Oh, I expected it much worse due to jodi's descriptions, it's not that bad..." ;-)
 
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