First 1000 km on my Turbo S – a review from Stockholm, Sweden

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This is a review of my experiences with, and adjustments made, on my Turbo S that was bought in late June 2016. After having laid down +10000 km on my previous e-bike, a de-regulated Scott esub sport 10, I started to notice squeaks and wear on gears and moving parts on the bike this spring. Realizing that, although battery and motor was fresh and unaffected by the two years of usage, my investment was probably going to experience a sharp drop in second-hand value once the next generation ebikes would appear on the market. Thus the bike went on market and was sold within 24 hrs for 80% of the purchase value to my great surprise. Apparently there is a huge demand building up for decent ebikes here in Stockholm. I must say that I was generally happy with my Scott bike with the classic Bosch mid drive system although that happiness was only fulfilled when I installed a de-regulator I found at https://www.e-bikeshop.co.uk/. After I got away with the 25 km/h power-cut the riding experience was incredibly smooth and enjoyable even if my average speed may not have changed much. The drawback was that I now had taste for that smooth speed. After having made a thorough search on the Swedish and then European market I realized that the Stromer ST2 and Turbo S where the two bikes that stood way above the rest. Stromer ST2 fell away for two reasons; price and wheel size despite the very attractive battery. I just think 26 inch wheels are too small. The Turbo S has a very impressive battery as well, 700 cc wheels, Shimano XT brakes and gears but slightly fewer gadgets. Good enough for me.

Going from a mid-drive to an old school hub motor initially felt like a downgrade. I am not going to repeat all pro’s and con’s, but to my own surprise I must say I am very impressed with the Swiss Go hub motor as it is so quiet and strong. The uneven weight distribution and the tendency of rubber band acceleration that hub motors have barely noticeable. Although I did read reviews on the poor gearing ratios on Turbo bikes I believe that on the Turbo S this is not an issue with the 11 available gears. I can easily find the appropriate gear giving me enough power at a natural cadence.

Frame is stiff. My god it is stiff. With the pothole rich environment we have on the Stockholm bike paths and city roads this can be painful at the speeds of the Turbo S. After investing some time into saddle adjustments and suspension solutions I decided to listen to people that truly have experience with potholes and long journeys. People like Sheldon Brown and the likes travel the world on genuine leather saddles for the comfort. Hard to believe given the minute thickness of the leather, no padding etc, but very true. A Brooks B17 saddle was definitely an improvement from the stock saddle and have taken just a few km to break in. The only adjustment I made to the saddle was to lace the sides to keep its shape. And it looks so nice. I believe the comfort of the Turbo would be much better with a suspension fork but that option does not work with the very tight configuration of the bike. Going forward I am considering to look for improved grips that could take some of the shocks from the front wheel. Perhaps some people in the community have experience with other ways to take out shocks. Adjusting tire pressure a tiny bit also helps.
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I am missing one of the gadgets found on the Stromer ST2 – a usb port to charge the phone. On one of my early trips I travelled 90 km from Stockholm to Uppsala and back the next day to test performance. To find my way I found that a) I needed to have google maps readily available on my phone a good part of the way b) I needed power after a few hours. I found a very good phone mount at Quad Lock, but not being able to charge my phone was more of a challenge. My solution was to glue two neodymium magnets on the top of the frame and two on the back side of a powerbank. They click together and stays steady even in rough conditions.

Performance. I am very impressed by both power, speed and endurance. There is not much more to say than that. I commute 15 km one way to work every day (30 km daily) with two high bridges to pass and it is done fast and efficiently with plenty of spare power getting home even if I Turbo along both ways. I like the few and easy adjustments you can make to the performance of the bike. It remains to be seen how much less distance I get from the battery on colder days, but given that I have more than 50% left after a work day I think there should be no risk of running low on a work commute. Although the display is very small and I can’t read properly what it says it is easy and intuitive enough to control. However, there are a few things in the mission control app that needs fixes. Things like the odometer does not read total distance of the bike and the map can’t plot a route to follow. And you can’t turn off the lights. The latter is acceptable as it is basically a moped in the eyes of the authorities. But that the lights are on when charging is just stupid. I am hoping to see an evolvement of the app to be able to shut down those charging lights. The regenerative capabilities are completely useless. Any regen capabilities need to come when braking and specialized could have invested some thought on how this could be added to the system without having special brake handles. I like the XT setup, but why not add a sensor that initiates regen when brakes are in use?

I am very fond of the rack. I use a Vaude Bayreuth III pannier for my work stuff with the ingenious Vaude QMR clip-on hook system which stays on the bike whatever you do. Given the length of the Turbo frame and the size of the wheels there is plenty of room for fitting an office sized pannier on the rack. I have found on previous bikes that I often had problems with space between my feet and an office bag shaped pannier.

I have read a few comments on the fenders and that you get wet feet. I always wear gaiters when it rains and had no problem so far that I got more wet from the Turbo than from other bikes. Yes, with speed you do generate some extra wind splash, but I have just solved that by going a tad bit slower.

The tires seem perfect for the summer part of the year. I will get studded tires when it freezes up which is the normal situation for us here in the far north. Good grip, easy roll.

I do want to attach a trailer. Thanks to James Kohls I now know I can get a 12mm thru axle from Roberts Axle Project for a Yoke trailer type. This will be my project in the spring before taking off on a 2 week long hike down south of Sweden.

A question to the forum in the end:

Extending the life of my battery on long journeys: Marissa Muller (http://www.marissamuller.com/#landing-index) managed to attach a solar panel to the Turbo which extended battery life. I am wondering, similar to wanderlyte on this forum, if battery life can be extended by having a larger battery in the trailer that would charge the Turbo battery on the fly much like a powerpack to my cell phone. I am not an electrician and know near to nothing how this magic is performed. But the charger output is 48V 3amp which is a current that should be feasible to maintain with a regulator from a battery pack on the trailer. Three things are needed I guess; battery with +48V output, regulator that works similar to the charger - no more than 48V and 3 amp output, and a Rosenberger RoPD connector cable. Is there anyone that have knowledge if this is feasible and can be done? I would like to extend my travel length to 160 km/day and that would require an extra bike battery or a solution like this.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
I do want to attach a trailer. Thanks to James Kohls I now know I can get a 12mm thru axle from Roberts Axle Project for a Yoke trailer type. This will be my project in the spring before taking off on a 2 week long hike down south of Sweden.
I don't know if there are any difference between the Turbo S and my 2015 Turbo X. You should pull out the axle before ordering. Mine measured right about 160mm with a 1.0 thread pitch. I actually emailed them and they were very helpful in confirming the axle that I needed. info@robertaxleproject.com

Great review. I'm jealous of your S =), but my finances just can't touch a bike at that price point yet. 1000km! Woohoo! I'm riding up a storm and working my way up to 1,000 miles! (just passed 500 last week).
 

bazzapage

Active Member
Hi @Jan Hermanson nice to hear your story. I am interested in how you installed you Abus lock. I have the same model. The LBS and I struggled for some while to get it mounted and in the end had to strap it on with cable ties which looks a bit messy. Any tips or was yours easy to mount?
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Hi @Jan Hermanson nice to hear your story. I am interested in how you installed you Abus lock. I have the same model. The LBS and I struggled for some while to get it mounted and in the end had to strap it on with cable ties which looks a bit messy. Any tips or was yours easy to mount?View attachment 10475
bazzapage, I noticed that the frame distance on the Turbo was wider than on my old Scott bike where I previously had the lock mounted. (I think the end part of the frame is similar on both X ans S). So what I had to do was to first remove the plastic covering on the lock and measure how much I had to widen the attachement holes on the lock. After some drilling and grinding I was able to extend these holes such that it was possible to get the screws in place. It took a while as the metal was hard (its supposed to be!) and it was awkward to reach with the drill. But it is possible.
 
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eagamer80

Active Member
Hello guys,
happy to hear that there are a few guys from Stockholm, so we suffer the same things here). Jan, if you want some advice regarding grips I can recommend you to check out the brand Ergon. They are really well made. I purchased myself these. last July and they're a great improvement from the stock ones. I am jealous of both of you that you have an S (considering that I do 44km every day in total). A bike that goes that fast does it need to be registered? (I may buy an S in a few years and I was just wondering).
How about the winter? (winter is coming :)), have you checked up some winter tyres? I bought for an older bike the SCHWALBE WINTER - 622-30 (28") and they were great. The thinnest winter tyres I could find for 28". I will try to see if they fit properly to my FLR.
 
eagamer, thanks for the advice on the Ergon grips. I do not fancy the bar ends but saw there are ones without.
Wrt the swedish speedelec requirements - I insure it as a klass II moped after having had some discussions with the insurance company. I will soon start looking for winter tyres. Main aim is to maximize number of studs :). Jag hade nog kunnat svara på svenska här förstås. vad gäller lagrummet för Turbo S verkar det oklart. Den har regbevis för att klassas som typ II moped men enligt transportstyrelsen gäller då max 25 km/h vilket rimmar illa med Turbo S. Mitt försäkringsbolag hade inga synpunkter så länge regbeviset var korrekt.
 
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Senseiwai

Member
I tried couple of time riding in winter condition. I run with these is more then enough studs you don't want more studs when that otherwise it slows you down, drain more juice and you need to put more effort on peddling. The other problem is the wind cools you don't a lot when you cruising 35-38km/h especially your hands and your face. Combination of wearing to much cloths and have too many studs and you get sweaty and cold wind cools you down is not pleasent.

We have bicycle room at work so we can store our bikes inside, so I have always water bottle with me so I can rinse off with water on the drive train and the gears when I arrive keep it as clean as possible and let it dry, especially salt on winter roads you know.
 

eagamer80

Active Member
I tried couple of time riding in winter condition. I run with these is more then enough studs you don't want more studs when that otherwise it slows you down, drain more juice and you need to put more effort on peddling. The other problem is the wind cools you don't a lot when you cruising 35-38km/h especially your hands and your face. Combination of wearing to much cloths and have too many studs and you get sweaty and cold wind cools you down is not pleasent.

We have bicycle room at work so we can store our bikes inside, so I have always water bottle with me so I can rinse off with water on the drive train and the gears when I arrive keep it as clean as possible and let it dry, especially salt on winter roads you know.
Yes, I have the thinnest version of the same tyres. Mine are the 30-622. I think for the turbo yours (35-622) will look/fit better, and have a slightly better grip on a difficult road, especially with ice.
 

Senseiwai

Member
I think fatty is the best way to go for ridning on all winter condition. In slushy, wet or icy condition is ok with 30-622 och 35-622 it is when it comes to fresh snow lose surface is when you feel unsafe in higher speed. Or may you can test much wider treads like this. Wider tire like fatty will keep the bike on the surface and not sink in on fresh loose snow.
 
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2000 km update. Not much to say - bike performs without any problems. Only adjustments made have been to tighten the brake handles. My average speed has gone up considerably since 80% of the Stockholm bicyclists have now stopped commuting due to colder, wetter (and soon icier) weather. My new studded tires will come on this weekend (a bit early but I am on business trips in NA until late November so I thought it may be a lot colder when I get back). Not much difference on battery degradation due to colder weather so far. But I keep the bike indoors both at home and at work so it needs to be much colder before I see any obvious difference.
 

eagamer80

Active Member
2000 km update. Not much to say - bike performs without any problems. Only adjustments made have been to tighten the brake handles. My average speed has gone up considerably since 80% of the Stockholm bicyclists have now stopped commuting due to colder, wetter (and soon icier) weather. My new studded tires will come on this weekend (a bit early but I am on business trips in NA until late November so I thought it may be a lot colder when I get back). Not much difference on battery degradation due to colder weather so far. But I keep the bike indoors both at home and at work so it needs to be much colder before I see any obvious difference.
Good to know. I am taking the bus now as I broke the spoke and I am waiting to be fixed. I hate taking the public transport. Crowded, full people, slow and with many delays. I prefer to be outside at -20c than being on a bus. As soon as I grab my bike I will not step on that again. In these 2000km you never had any spoke broken? I am starting to think that something might have gotten stuck in them on my road, but it was strange as it was on a very low speed when it happened. I guess bad luck.
 
Good to know. I am taking the bus now as I broke the spoke and I am waiting to be fixed. I hate taking the public transport. Crowded, full people, slow and with many delays. I prefer to be outside at -20c than being on a bus. As soon as I grab my bike I will not step on that again. In these 2000km you never had any spoke broken? I am starting to think that something might have gotten stuck in them on my road, but it was strange as it was on a very low speed when it happened. I guess bad luck.
No broken spokes. Since reading about yours and others problems I have checked all of them, but I get the perfect singing noice back from all spokes.
 

Taipan

Member
Hej !

Nice to read a report from Stockholm ;-)

I haven't made the jump yet to an ebike but I have my target already: the Skeppshult ElCykel 8 as it's the only available with the full Shimano Steps + Alfine IGH 8 + Electronic Di2 gearshifters.
http://www.cykelkraft.se/skeppshult-cykel-herr-2016

I love the idea of instant gear switch and auto-mode.
Reviews are hard to find yet but actually the best one is from here (thus my finding this website/forum) for a Raleigh version in the US.
https://electricbikereview.com/raleigh/misceo-ie/
Skip to 9min30sec for gearshift demo and 13min30sec for riding demo

Sure it's heavy, like any old-good Skeppshult, but not that heavy (25kg) compared to other mid-engines. And with an electrical engine, does it really matter anymore ?
Plus it seems to reach 40km/h easy once un-limited, more than enough for me.
Waiting for Black Friday (Nov 25) as I heard there might be some nice discount here and there.

Regarding winter tires, I think you want the Schwalbe "Marathon Winter" (240 spikes in 4 rows), not the simple "Winter" (120 spikes in 2 rows).
Price difference on Cykelkraft.se or Cykelgear.se isn't huge anyway, like 420 SEK vs 300 SEK, in 28".
And the day you crash in a turn, those 120 SEK savings (ok, make it 240 for a pair) will come back to laugh at you and you'd be lucky if you sustained bike or personal damage under that amount :-D

Now for summer tires, I'd get some neat Schwalbe Marathon Almotion or Kojak in maximum width available
http://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/tour-reviews

And maybe apply the 15% tire drop rule for optimal pressure for speed/handling/comfort mix \°/
https://janheine.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/tire-pressure-take-home/

Cheers,

T.
 

ROJA

Active Member
You should make your own decision, but given the fact that things can and do go wrong, it's really nice to have a brand like Specialized where it's easy to go to a local Specialized shop to get warranty repairs and service. If you like to fix it yourself, this might not be an issue for you.
 

Taipan

Member
You should make your own decision, but given the fact that things can and do go wrong, it's really nice to have a brand like Specialized where it's easy to go to a local Specialized shop to get warranty repairs and service. If you like to fix it yourself, this might not be an issue for you.
(Note: I realize my post is about a Skeppshult bike, not a Specialized as for this section, but I don't know how to move it)

Hej Roja,

You are absolutely right, one thing I forgot to mention is: here in Sweden the brand Skeppshult is one of the last two "major" historical & manufactured locally (the other being Nishiki despite its japanese sounding), they've made regular bikes for like a century and it's common to find Skeppshult bikes built in the 50's or 60's still operating as day one.
Let's say they are the Mercedes or Volvo of bikes here: heavy but indestructible, and any bike shop will be most familiar with the brand as employees grew up with it.

Now back to today's Skeppshult version of the Shimano Steps: I test-rode one with the Di2 this week and although it's a marvel of technology, what a disappointment !
Because European Laws inforce a max speed of 25 km/h (16 mph), the bike feels totally dumb: you start in 2nd gear (default Steps setup), you accelerate frankly and the gears switch to 3rd and 4th "Wow, amazing !" and then when you switch 5-gear -> Buuuuurppppp, you reached 25 km/h, the engine becomes absent and you feel like "WTF, I'm in the mud ?!?).

So TLDR: with a 25 km/h limit, you will only use the lower 5 gears out of the 8 Alfine IGH, the upper 6-7-8 are useless in E-mode as they need beyond 25 km/h to justify.
And the whole "Auto-Shift" is a complete joke as a result: this bike doesn't need to shift 99% of the time, you could stay in Gear 4 in the 0 to 25 km/h range.

Then I found out that the engineers at Skepphult selected a road-style fork with maximum 35c width for the Alfine-8 Di2 version, the bike coming with 32c Schwalbe stock: forget about switching to wider tires.
If you want wider tires, you need to scale-down to the manual Nexus-7 version whose frame (based on the old-timer lady Nova bike) can accept 42c.

So overall, the Skeppshult Steps + Di2 current implementation is a big joke.

As the French say with their colorful language "This is giving jam to pigs".

T.