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.
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.