In Depth 2015 Turbo X Review

James Kohls

Active Member
As of this writing, Specialized still has the 2015 Turbo X models in stock at their warehouse at a significantly reduced price ($2500-2700 depending on your negotiating tactics). Contact your local Specialized dealer and ask them to order you one!


About the Rider

I am 43 years old, 5’11” and weigh a very light 125 pounds (56.7Kg). I have been weekend joyriding with a 1980’s Nishiki Sebring for years. I probably not the average e-bike owner. I didn’t get the bike for health and fitness, I got it for transportation. I’ve wanted to get rid of my car for years. With a steady 9-5, lots of evening activities and a tendency towards getting all my shopping done in one big trip, my bicycle was not conducive with my busy schedule.

Sure, on the weekends, when free time was more readily available, I would hook up my cargo trailer and make runs to the grocery store. But on a weeknight, that would never happen. Meeting my friends out on the town? I didn’t want to show up full of sweat. Same for family gatherings.

The Turbo is my excuse killer. Until I have a year or so with it, I won’t be making any rash decisions about getting rid of my car. But even if I don’t, if I can extend its life and relegate it to purely long freeway trips and oversized cargo trips, my investment will be considered worth it.

Lord Vader, your bicycle is ready
Back in 1996, Chevrolet released an SS version of their Impala automobile. Their advertisements in magazines simply had the tagline, “Lord Vader, your car is ready.” The ad even said “you have just three color choices: black, black or black.” This is the impression I get looking at the Specialized Turbo X for 2015.



The bike, as Specialized calls it, is draped in “Nearly Black” and “Satin Black” finishes. The color evokes a feeling of stealth. If the Navy Seals had a tactical bicycle—this is what I’d picture it to look like. With the exception of the chrome brakes, chain, valve stems and a small part of the suspension fork, it is almost entirely black (or nearly black). In fact, I think it looks far cooler than the 2016 Turbo X, which has a glossy dark black finish. If you think the color black is the coolest color, this bike is going to please you in every way shape and form. You would almost hate to get any chrome or other shiny colored accessories for it. Even glossy black would stand out on this bike.

An Urban Commuter Stealth Fighter
I think what attracts many to bicycles like the Turbo X (gearless hub motor and integrated down-tube) is the feeling of stealth. It doesn’t immediately scream e-bike. The GoSwiss motor is dead silent. If you hear noise back there, it is the tires you are hearing. Nobody is going to pick your bike out of the crowd as an e-bike because of noises.

The biggest dead giveaway is the lighted power button and status LEDs. These do not turn off, although the four status LEDs decrease in number as the battery drains. This is not something that most people will notice (especially during daylight hours).

The second giveaway is the battery cutaway in the down tube. The battery itself is darker then the down tube so it stands out, but at a glance it looks more like a decal. The bike has many other subtle color stripes ranging from darker blacks to light grey. This helps make the battery cutout appear more like a pattern than a component.



The Weight
The bike weights about 50 pounds depending on the frame size yet is extremely well balanced. Nothing like a bike with a battery mounted on a rear cargo rack. The weight is low and distributed nicely between the seat.

You only feel it when you are lifting it straight up or leaning it past about 45 degrees. Standing over the bike and holding it between your legs, you can easily tilt the bike side to side without any effort. It doesn’t feel like you’re going to lose grip of it. You’re not going to get fatigued standing over it and having a long chat with your friends.

That being said—if you need to carry this up stairs, lift it on to a bus bike rack, or walk it up a steep incline—you are going to feel the weight. Also, if you are the type of person who will turn your bike while stationary, by lifting the rear of the seat, you will notice a bit more heft. It is not hard to move, but it takes some getting used to. Finally, if you ride this bike without any pedal assistance, you are also going to notice the weight (as well as some drag from the gearless motor).

The battery on the Turbo X is about 8 pounds of that weight. So you can get this bike down to just above 40 pounds. But the back end with the motor will still have some significant heft to it.



Pedal Assist—What it is like to ride
In his review on electricbikereview.com, Court says “it just zips.” The first time you step on the pedals in Turbo Mode, it feels more responsive than stepping on the gas in my car (granted, my car sucks, but that’s a different review). It is an exhilarating feeling. Anyone who has hesitations about a motor rated at 200 nominal watts can just ignore that statistic. There are 350 watt geared motors that feel far less zippy than this bike.

Turbo Mode, I almost might describe, as being too zippy for unimpeded use. Especially for a novice e-bike rider. I feel like this mode is easily saved for hills or strong headwinds. The best analogy I can come up with is anyone who has ever driven one of those big cars back Pre-90’s where the power steering was so loose, you hardly felt like the steering wheel was connected to the wheels. I feel that way in Turbo Mode on the flats. You almost want more resistance to give your legs a stronger connection between effort and result. You will still zip up to the 20-plus MPH range in varying levels of Eco Mode, but for me, the Eco’s feel more connected.

My personal preference is Eco 50. It feels like my old road bike, except when I look at the speedometer, I’m going way faster than I’m used to for the amount of effort I exert. Eco modes are also perfect for busy and shared bike paths where other bikers and pedestrians are around. Because Turbo Mode gives you so much boost, depending on your gear selection, it may catapult you into a crowd if your foot slips.

Regardless, I can’t stress this enough. If you are shying away from this bike because of the motor power rating, you need to take it for a test drive. Motor watts are like megapixels on a digital camera. A big number is meaningless without knowing the quality behind that number and the efficiency in which the drive train applies that power to the road. This is Specialized, after all—a company that egotistically prides itself on fast racing bikes. If you think they’re going to sell a bike called the Turbo with a touted top speed for 26 MPH and put a weak, incapable motor on it, you’re mistaken.

On the road, the bike feels light and nimble. Almost feather light. Any feeling of weight just disappears. I think it has to do with the fact that you are reaching higher speeds faster than on a traditional bike. It is those lower speeds that generally feel less stable and Turbos feel like they skip over that step. Depending on the gear you’re in, grade, and terrain, you can easily achieve 5 MPH per revolution in Turbo Mode.



The Turbo on Flats
On flat paved roads or trails, the Turbo is just as capable as any other e-bike out there. You will be going fast. The speed-to-input energy ratio compared to any other e-bike I’ve tried is going to be negligible.

To maintain that feeling of “assisted” pedaling, anything from Eco 60 to Turbo is going to feel pretty good. Eco 30-50 range has a really good foot-to-drive system force connection. Eco 10-20, as Court described, feels more like a normal heavier road bike. Assistance off feels pretty heavy and it really brings to bear that you are riding a 50-pound bicycle.

If you ever got stranded without power, this bike will be a chore to get home. It won’t be impossible, but you are going to probably stay in the top 3-4 lower gears.



The Turbo on Small Hills (1-5% grade)
The 200 watt motor on this bike is perfectly suited for smaller rolling hills. Even if they are long hills, this motor will do you proud. If they are very gradual, you probably won’t even feel the need to shift gears and the speed reduction will be negligible. You will notice you are on a hill, but you won’t get that burning sensation in your legs telling you to switch gears.

The Turbo on Medium Hills (5-15% grade)
On Medium hills, you will probably be inclined to shift. Maybe not to the lowest gear, but certainly not in the highest. In a lower gear, you can probably maintain a 17-19 MPH speed with little or no effort. If you are willing to sacrifice speed and get into one of the lowest gears, you won’t break a sweat climbing a medium hill. You can even stop and start again without standing on the pedals to get moving again.

Side Note: Not standing on the pedals is something I am still getting used to. You really don’t need to. In fact, I’ve gotten myself into trouble at intersections with this non-e-bike habit—especially in Turbo Mode. Standing on the pedal produces a lot of power. The motor is going to add your power to its power. This will be quite a jolt forward and if you have to stop, your body position probably won’t be ideal for fast braking and re-balancing (you tend to tilt your bike when performing a standing start).

The Turbo on Larger Hills (15% grade+)
I don’t have a lot of large hills in my area. Certainly none of significant length. The few I’ve found are fine in low gears. You certainly feel some resistance in the pedals and your speed will probably be under 10 MPH. You are going to feel that familiar non-e-bike burn in your legs (still less than you’re used to). If you take the approach of just strolling up the hill, you are going to be fine for shorter distances. For people who live in areas with long climbs, you may need to consider motor overheating.

The Turbo X (and base Turbo) are rated at 200 watts nominal and 750 peak. That peak power is nice, but the motor cannot sustain it for long periods of time. Since I don’t have any hills to test it on, I cannot give any feedback as to whether or not the Turbos are good choices for long large hills.



Throttle Mode
I’m not entirely sure why Specialized added their throttle feature to the bike. It really isn’t usable except for short, under 50 foot, little jaunts. As Court said in his review, it is could be nice for going through puddles, but the stuttering feeling you get once it his 11 MPH is not sustainable. The bike itself isn’t jerking forward and back, but the motor will kick in—stop—kick in—stop. It reminds me of that kid sitting behind you in the air plane kicking your seat. It doesn’t hurt your forward momentum, but it is very annoying.

If you are looking for an e-bike with a throttle, this is not the bike for you. This bike is for people who want to always pedal.

The Brakes
Arguable, the worst part about the 2015 Turbo X and similar models are the brakes. The Formula C1 brakes are the biggest corner cut for cost and are probably going to make you want to replace them. Don’t get me wrong. They will bring this heavy bike and its passenger to a screeching halt. But they are highly prone to squeaking. So loud, I don’t even use my bell, I just hit the brakes and pedestrians jump out of the way…100 feet up the road.

There are many guides on quieting squeaky brakes, but as a 2015 base/Turbo X rider, you just need to come to terms that your brakes are not the best in terms of noise. The best solution that many have found is to simply replace the sintered (metallic) brake pads with organic pads.

My front brake doesn’t squeal (yet), but my rear brake is very loud. So I’ve replaced the rears with Kool Stop organic brake pads (about $20US on Amazon). This leaves a sintered pad in the front, which is better for wet braking.



The Suspension Fork
The RockShox 50mm suspension for is a joy for anyone, like me, who has been riding rigid bike frames for years. While the amount of travel is small, compared to most mountain bikes, this fork is perfect for curb jumping. On the left-hand fork is a pressure guide to help you adjust it for weight. It uses a standard Shrader valve. The remote lockout works well and has a push-button release.



Accessories
The bike comes with a number of minor accessories. The bell is okay, but sounds duller than I prefer. Not like the classic “ring-ring” sound. It does ring, but it fades pretty quickly. Maybe I have it tightened down too hard.

The mirror comes with left-hand and right-hand mounting arms and is surprisingly durable. The angle of the arms have a bit to be desired. The way I have it mounted in my photo lets me see my arm in the right-half and cars in the left. You could swap the arms and mount it below the handlebars, but you would have to bend it (the arm is a pretty sturdy piece of metal, so nothing you can bend by hand, unless you’re pretty strong). I would have preferred if Specialized made the mirror with a convex (outward bow) surface. The angle of view is not very wide and you are going to see cars well behind you or cars near you.

The lights are nice and bright. The headlight has decent coverage and good adjustability. The metal housing makes it feel very durable. The rear light, only being three LEDs is much brighter than I had anticipated. The fact that they do not turn off does not bother me. I always welcome more visibility day or night. If they bother you while charging, then you can always charge the battery off the bike.

The grips are fairly comfortable, but not my favorite. I will probably replace them. The single screw locks them nice and tight and I haven’t had any problems with them twisting on me. They were very easy to remove to slide accessories on and off.

The pedals have a decent amount of grip and should be fine for most people.

The bosses on the bike for mounting hardware (racks, water bottle cages, etc) are good quality and standard size. Because of the frame configuration, the disc brakes in the rear don’t protrude much, so you don’t necessarily need a disc brake compatible rear rack. I still got one (Ibera IB-RA5) because I like the clearance for strapping stuff around the rack frame.

Further Reading:
- 500 Mile Update
- Additional Thoughts...for people who've never ridden an e-bike.
- Upgrades
- Turbo-X Winter Ride
 
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Senseiwai

Member
Hi

Replaced my brakepads recently it was worn out and I had also squeaking backbrakes too. I replaced with this https://www.swissstop.ch/brakepads/discbrakes/disc28/exotherm/ very powerfull brakes then stock ones and less squeaking. I think it is the disk it self is the problem, no matter that pads I use it will squeak. I tried grind it with sandpaper both disc and the pads still little squeak noise. With Swiss Stop pads is the best I can do.
 

holden99

New Member
Great job James! I'd love to hear about your experience with battery range and other reflections in the future. Thanks for the great review.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
@Senseiwai: My brakes in the rear still have a slight squeak, but it is quieter than the freewheel clicking noise. They are still pretty new, so as they get bedded, I believe they will get quieter still.

@holden99: Thanks, my range has been pretty much on par with what others have been mentioning. I tried to make my review less about what others have already said here. I really recommend anyone looking to buy this bike read all the existing posts. That's what I did before buying and there were no big surprises to speak of.

As far as the future, I will more than likely post some follow up summaries of how my months go. But thus far things have been pretty much uneventful (besides the fact, riding a Turbo X is absolutely amazing). No big problems yet. I will say, it has been really easy to choose riding my bike over driving my car. I'm still trying to assess if that is the novelty of a relatively new bike (less than 2 months) or if it is truly becoming my preference for transport. My biggest challenge right now is getting my wardrobe in check for bad weather (rain and eventually cold/snow/ice). At present I am just bringing a towel and extra t-shirt with me when it rains. But as it gets colder here in Minnesota, that won't be a viable option. Staying warm and dry will be a higher priority to keep biking preferable over driving.
 

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Regarding range...In the last week, I have done 3 rides. The first was 30 miles, the second 41 miles, and the third 35 miles. In each case, I have mixed riding at ECO70 or full Turbo when riding by myself with "economy" riding at ECO40 when riding with my daughter on her unassisted bike. For instance, today, I was at 54% left and had a 10 mile ride home. I popped the bike into full Turbo, averaged 21.2 mph over the 10 miles, and had about 18% left when I got home. I had ridden the first 25 miles at ECO50 and figured I would have a total of 45-50 mile range had I continued at that level.

As I near 1000 miles total, I have found that I am getting good at estimating distance remaining based on battery levels reported at the handlebar on my Turbo (same 468Wh battery and 200W motor as your 2015 Turbo X). For me, at full charge, ECO40 = 50+ miles total, ECO50 (my favorite) is 45+ miles, ECO70 is around 35 miles, and full TURBO is 25+ miles.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
@Douglas Ruby: The longest trips I've taken are about 25 miles round trip. Typically in ECO50 with Turbo on medium hills. I tend to cruise at 17-19MPH, very rarely over 22MPH. I've never arrived home with less than 50% battery. So that matches up pretty well with your 45-50 range in Eco 50. I really need to start logging my rides to get a better feel for range. Wind, from what i've noticed plays a bigger role in range than weight. Windy days I notice my battery drain faster. But when I hook up my trailer with an additional 50+ pounds, i really don't notice any significant difference. I'm guessing my choice to ride at a lower speed than the bike is designed for helps a lot with that too.

With some possible rare exceptions, pretty much everywhere I need to go is within 30 miles round trip. Perks of living in a big city. Even with the smaller Turbo battery, range anxiety isn't an issue for me. Hence why I haven't really been big on monitoring it thus far.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
Coming up on 500 miles; today I had my first flat. Big hard piece of metal wire, about 6 inches long, skewered the rear tire. Thankfully, I always carry a flat repair kit with me (attached to down-tube in water bottle holder in top photo).



I was a bit worried that an electric bike might make noticing flats more difficult with the motor giving so much assistance. But it was blatantly obvious as the big 47c tires make a very loud flapping noise. I was glad I had prior experience removing the rear axle, so i knew what to expect. I really recommend everyone try it at least once instead of learning during your first flat. Especially if you've never owned a bike with a thru axle before.

Here is a little trick some may not know about their SRAM X7 Rear Derailleur for loosening the chain.


Once the rear axle was removed from the non-drive-side, I laid the bike down on the non-drive-side to remove the rear wheel. If you can find a place with grass, this would be idea to keep from scraping up parts on your bike. The wheel had some heft to it, but it didn't really hinder the process.

I will say the trigger sport tires are fairly easy to remove and replace without tire levers. I had them, but really didn't need them. Overall, saving time using CO2 to fill the tire (vs a mini pump), it only took me about 10 minutes to change the tube with my spare. I'm really happy with how my Park Tool IB-2 performed. It is super small, but never felt like I was lacking leverage.

500 Mile Update

I've really been happy with how my Turbo X has performed. It is just a really fun bicycle. I think my favorite part about it is that it really feels like a bicycle...not some bike/moped hybrid. I don't miss having a throttle at all. The bike does just fine providing the power I need when I need it.

The longest trip I've taken so far is about 33 miles. In Eco 50 with 42% remaining on my return. 99% of the place I ride are within a 10 mile radius. Anything longer is usually a trip for pleasure. My worst range so far was during a very windy day. 20-30MPH gusts put me in Turbo mode the entire way. It was windy enough that when it hit me as a cross wind, I was actually leaning about 10 degrees to the side while I rode. A 10 mile bike trip ate up almost 50% of my battery. I passed a number of other bicyclists who were barely moving forward.

I did my own tune-up today—checking for loose bolts/screws/spokes, etc. Overall, things are still pretty tight. A few tweaks on some of the rear spokes is really all I needed.

Since I got my bike, my car has sat mostly idle. This bodes well for my eventual plans to not replace my car when it finally dies. I haven't had to put gas in my car since I bought the bike (and it has been several months now—still 1/3 of a tank left). With a cargo trailer, I can easily grab 3 full size grocery bags of food an bring it home with me. While it is over-priced—I would like to get a Burley Travoy some day for over-sized items.

The trailer is rated for 70 pounds, but I've used it to take home two 50lb bags of rock salt for my water softener. The Turbo X pulled it like a champ. I hardly knew it was there. Even up hills.

The Turbo X already has plenty of battle scars. I store my bike inside and have banged the pedals on my concrete steps more times that I care to admit.



I also used the kick stand on somewhat uneven ground and watched how quickly and hard a 50 pound bike can fall.



No matter. Battle scars build character.

Overall I am very happy with my purchase. The price of admission was steep, but it is paying off well. I have no regrets with the route I've taken and I am even more confident in sustaining a bike-only future for my transportation.

Accessories

Here are a list of some of the accessories I've gotten for my bike:

- Cateye Rapid X2 Front Light
- Cateye Rapid X3 Rear Light
- Ibera PakRak IB-RA5 Touring Plus Bicycle Carrier
- Topeak Modula II Bottle Cage Mount
- Flat Repair Kit:
--- Specialized KEG Storage Vessel
--- Park Tool IB-2 multi-tool
--- Park Tool GP-2 Pre-Glued patches
--- Genuine Innovations CO2 Kit
--- Generic tire levers and glue patch kit
- 12x135 1.0mm Thread Pitch RobertAxleProject Threaded Hitch Mount (ONE005)
--- Stock Axle says 12x142, but if you replace your axle you need a 1.0mm thread pitch axle with a length of ~160mm. You can see my video here on replacing the axle.
- Allen Sports ACT200 Cargo Trailer
- Phone Mount
- Kool Stop Organic Brake Pads
- Two Wheel Gear convertable pannier/backpack

 
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Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
James, this is awesome. You are a hardy soul! Glad to see you are getting so much utility from your bike. Let me know if I can answer any questions along the way.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
@Douglas Ruby thanks! It is great to have someone like you on the forums here. You are probably the most experienced cyclist when it comes to the technical side of cycling I've seen here.
 

reoutput

Member
A tip on the brakes if they continue to squeal is to bevel the leading edge of the pads. I have already gone through the stock formula pads which were loud and replaced the rear with jagwire alloy semi-metallic pads which are awesome! I have not done the bevel tip to the pads though because the new pads are quiet.

Another tip to keep the brakes quiet is when you replace the pads, do 10 or so hard braking without stopping to get the pads "seasoned". I regrettably didn't do this when the bike was new and had loud brakes for the first 1500 miles. I did do this on the new pads so that may have helped as well.
 

ROJA

Active Member
Can the newer (bigger) battery from a 2016 be used in a 2015? If so, and if a 2015 can be purchased for $1000 less than a 2016, it seems like the 2015 is a better bet (you would save more than enough to buy the 2016 battery if you ended up needing it and you'd get the lights, etc.). Only downside is the 200W vs. 250W motor, right? And 26 vs. 28 mph top speed? If I want to cruise at 25+, it seems like I really want/need the 250W motor, right?

Any idea how to find out which shops have which bikes short of calling? I've emailed a few and it's hard to get info. "We have a Large," they say (but they won't even specify what year or model- S, X, base).
 

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
Can the newer (bigger) battery from a 2016 be used in a 2015? If so, and if a 2015 can be purchased for $1000 less than a 2016, it seems like the 2015 is a better bet (you would save more than enough to buy the 2016 battery if you ended up needing it and you'd get the lights, etc.). Only downside is the 200W vs. 250W motor, right? And 26 vs. 28 mph top speed? If I want to cruise at 25+, it seems like I really want/need the 250W motor, right?
Answer to the battery question is Yes. The replacement battery (691Wh Turbo SC) costs $1000, so there you are.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
Any idea how to find out which shops have which bikes short of calling? I've emailed a few and it's hard to get info. "We have a Large," they say (but they won't even specify what year or model- S, X, base).
Best is to call or visit and ask them to check Specialized's warehouse inventory. It takes about a week for a dealer to get a bike from Specialized's warehouse if the bikes are in their west or east coast locations. This is a nationally available inventory to all Specialized dealers, so if you're dead set on just emailing, then try ones that aren't local, then visit your nearest shop to order. Dealers should be able to see how many bikes are left for each size/model as well.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
Additional Thoughts...for people who've never ridden an e-bike.
Specialized really made a bike lover's bike. These bikes are for people who just love pedaling along on a bicycle, but hate hills, hate strong headwinds and slow high-exertion starts. The Specialized Turbo slogan should be: "Just the fun parts of cycling."

It is difficult to explain to people what it is like to live with a Turbo. You can tell people aren't getting it by the look in their face when you say, "I took fun 30 mile ride on my bike the other day, got home and went straight out and mowed the lawn." The response is something like, "you went straight to mowing the lawn, or you took a rest and then mowed the lawn." "Straight to the lawn," is my response—and it's true! This is where the moped comparisons start flooding in. The assumption becomes, riding a Turbo is "easy."

While it is certainly easier...I think easy is the wrong word to use when describing what it is like. Easy, to me, is a moped or an e-bike with a throttle and only using the throttle. The correct word is fun!

Easy implies no work is being done. If you "take it easy," the presumption is you are not doing any work. I've never heard anyone say, "I'm going to take it easy today," then go do an activity that elevated their heart rate as much as a Turbo can. Pedaling a Turbo is work. The key difference is, the work is fun and rewarding. Exertion is fun and rewarding when there is a payoff. The Turbo constantly reminds you of that payoff.

Take, for example, the first photo in my original post in this review. It was taken at the Science Museum of Minnesota (Street View) on top of a 6-level parking garage. Below you can see the Minnesota river. Here is what it looks like from the river level (Street View). The route I took to get down there was less than 4 blocks, but it was a pretty steep hill. This was the type of hill I would have walked my non-ebike up.

After taking my ride down by the river, I came back to the big hill. I flipped it into Turbo mode and just rode right up it. I never had to stand. I never had to stop. I wasn't even remotely out of breath doing so. It was so much fun, I rode back down and did it again. Sure it was more work than riding on the flats, but it was fun work. The payoff between my effort and accomplishment was awe inspiring.

Given that's about as steep of a hill as I'll ever find in my area, barriers of where I could ride just melted away. I no longer had to choose my route based on elevation. On my non-ebike. I definitely would have had second thoughts about whether or not I wanted to come back up that hill...or rode a longer distance to find a flatter route.

So, my friends wonder, if cycling up a hill is fun, then cycling on the flats must be "easy!" Again, I have to tell them no. It is still work. The great thing tho, is, you get to decide how much work it is. The reward for effort on flats is speed. If you don't care about speed, then you don't have to do much work. If you want to go fast, you can work as hard as you want—just as hard as on a regular bicycle. The big difference being, when you are putting in the same effort as a non-electric bike into an electric bike, you are going significantly faster.

In fact, I think one could argue on flats it is just as much work as a regular bicycle. The difference is the speed reward is greater. So I guess Specialized's tagline "You, only faster" is pretty accurate. Just like with a regular bike, in lower gears you will reach a point where you cannot pedal fast enough to increase your speed. So you shift, leading to more resistance, requiring more work. Gearing works exactly the same. You shift to achieve more resistance, to achieve more speed.

The work required to keep a Turbo at 10MPH on flats, to me, is like riding a non-electric bike in a low gear at 5MPH. Riding a turbo at 26MPH is like riding a non-electric bike in a higher gear at roughly 13MPH. The biggest downside to shifting your effort-to-speed ratio up higher is once you do hit those higher speeds, wind resistance becomes a significantly greater factor in achieving more speed. I think most Turbo riders would agree, maintaining a speed of 20MPH is pretty effortless. After 20, wind starts to play more and more of a factor pretty quickly.

In summary, when i try to explain to someone who has never ridden Turbo, or any other e-bike before, what it is like; my answer is: A Turbo will take away all the hard parts of cycling and leave you with just the fun parts. You put as much or as little work into the ride as you like, but you will go much farther and much faster than your old bike for that exact same amount of effort. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy...go test ride one! Better yet, try to find a dealer who will let you take a 10+ mile ride.
 

ROJA

Active Member
What a great description! Super helpful- thanks for writing that up. I've done some short test rides, but it's hard to really get the feel for a bike during just a short spin.
 

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
James,

Your words are pure prose! I cannot believe that at age 65 I have ridden 1200+ miles since I purchased my Turbo. You are exactly correct, that you don't work less hard, but instead, enjoy the work more. I am so motivated by the fun factor of enjoying nature and the beautiful area I live in while riding my e-bike.

I have found the following two "ride profiles" motivate me:
  1. I can ride much further, and at a pace that works with my 36 yr/old daughter who plays ice hockey 3-5 times per week. She likes to go on 30-50 mile rides and my Turbo allows me to do that. At ECO40, the pace is just right for her (with me leading at least 50% of the time). We average 14-17 mph and climb a fair number of rolling hills. I would NOT be able to do this on my unassisted bike.
  2. At full Turbo or ECO70, I can ride by myself at a near 20 mph average with stretches at 25 mph and enjoy the speed at about the same level of effort as the long slower rides with my daughter. It is particularly for this kind of ride that I would like the 691Wh battery. A 30+ mile ride at "full boogey tilt" would be really great.
Also, for me, as a former heart attack patient, there are a few additional benefits.
  1. I have always found it pretty easy to take my body to the 90% level and hold it there while riding a bike. This is particularly good for a heart patient. Aerobic exercise that does NOT put me over the edge has a fairly quick recovery. However, if I push too hard (lifting, straining, riding at the wrong cadence and beating the pedals), then I "bonk" and it is NOT good. It can take several days to recover.
  2. I ride with a Garmin Edge 1000 with heart rate, cadence, GPS, and speed monitoring. I pay a lot of attention to the heart rate monitoring. Since I take beta blockers, my heart rate is pretty low. It is rare that it hits 100 bpm when doing other kinds of exercise (shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, etc.). But when bicycling, I can work my heart rate up to the 100-110 range (peak at about 125-130) on the monitor and hold it there for hours. As long as I average around 100 or slightly less for the ride, my recovery is fairly quick.
  3. The e-bike, in particular, gives me a "bail-out" mode, where I can just hit the Turbo button (climbing a hill or when over tired) if I feel myself too close to the edge of over-exertion. A regular bike invites me to keep pushing and hurt myself.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
@Douglas Ruby: Yes, the eco modes could be described as changing the effort to reward ratio closer and closer to a non-electric bike. So reducing your eco % to 40 with your daughter could be thought of as the difference between your cycling effort-to-speed ratio vs her's.

Reading experiences like your's really makes me look forward to the day when these bikes are in easy financial reach of the mass public. It is going to be a game changer. Whether it is for transportation like me, or health, or whatever. E-bikes break down barriers.
 

ROJA

Active Member
What a great thread- so helpful! Does anyone have thoughts on the built-in lights in the 2015 (versus none in 2016)? I think I'd be fine to just use good DiNotte aftermarket lights instead, although I do like the idea of not having to separately charge them.

Also, is the included suspension seat post (Post Moderne) any good? I hear lots of praise for Body Float around here...
 

James Kohls

Active Member
The build-in lights are nice and bright. Court, in his review, is right that a long jacket or shirt may block the rear light. I love having built-in lights that are always on. It gives me more confidence on my primarily road riding. In darker hours or bad weather I always use flashing lights to supplement the built in lights—both on front and rear. I like the combination steady-on and flashing. The bike will also work like a dynamo and turn the lights on even when the battery isn't in the bike. Not having to recharge them is a definite plus.

I don't have a Body Float, but I'd like to get one eventually. That's a lot of money for a seat post. Having a specialized variant of the thudbuster is certainly a welcome addition to the 2016.