New from London, Ontario, Canada - Specialized CREO SL Comp Carbon XXL

John.JCAT

New Member
I am 75 years old this year and am retired. In my past cycling career over 35 years, I have been very active in the local cycling clubs as a Touring Director, riding typically between 6,000 and 12,000 Kilometres per year, riding in summer and winter, going on cycling vacations and commuting to work by bike. My summer bike is a Cervelo R3 DuraAce. A few years ago in late May I trashed my ankle in a fall (not cycling) and had to have it reconstructed, losing the entire season with 2 months non weight bearing and then 2 months re-hab. After putting on more weight and getting out of shape and getting older, I have not been able to keep up with the 10 or so Retirees I used to ride with, so I was riding on my own all the time. This spring I bought this eBike and now I can ride with the group!

However, my experience in the group with my eBike was quite different than I expected. I was expecting to still work hard on the hills (there are not many long hills in Southwestern Ontario) and be fine on the flats on our 75-110 K rides. Not so with this group! My Canadian version of eBike only assists me up to 32 KPH. Over that it cuts out entirely. Turns out that the group I ride with goes 34 to 38 KPH if there is no headwind and more than that with a tailwind, so some of the time on our rides, I am riding with no assistance. I don't mind that because it forces me to get into better shape.

So as usual we ride out heading into the wind so we have a tailwind coming home. If the wind is strong enough, I ride at the front for long periods at close to 32 KPH and tow the group into the wind. They sometimes complain, but are generally appreciative. I try not to over tax them so they won't "punish me" too badly on the tailwind sections. On the way home, I am at the back, struggling to keep a draft and maintain the typically well over 32 KPH pace. For the first time in my cycling career, I am looking forward to hills, because if the hill is long enough, the pace slows below 32 KPH and I can recover on the hill. (I am 6'4" and over 215 pounds, so up-hills have never been my forte.)

Here's the positives about having the eBike: I don't worry early in the rides about working too hard early and then "bonking" late in the rides. If I run out of steam on the way home, I just go off the back and ride home using the eBike assistance. Also, during the rides if I fall off the back because the pace is too fast, I can still maintain the 32 KPH pace on my own while the group goes only a few KPH faster than me. I don't fall too far behind the pack and often catch up when they encounter a longer hill or a stop sign or traffic light. I can always catch up when they stop for a coffee break. As a result, I am being "forced" to get into better shape without requiring the group to slow down for me, and I make a positive contribution to the group when I "tow" them into the wind or up a longer hill.

Some have suggested that I get on the internet and find a way to increase the maximum speed of assistance up to the 40 KPH limit that you US people are allowed. I am tempted, but at the moment I think that an increased assistance speed would result in me being in worse physical shape. As a get older I might change my mind on that. So I'll stick with the 32 KPH. I am really enjoying being able to ride with the group, and the bike is working very nicely, both on assistance and without.

I have one issue with the CREO SL Comp in the conditions that I described above, and that is the gearing. At the speeds we do - between 25 KPH and 42 KPH on the flats, I find the small cogs too far apart for comfort. The gearing is 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36, 42. I am almost always riding in the 11, 13, 15 range, and when I am at my physical limit looking for a better gear, I find the almost 19% difference between the 11 and 13 and the close to 14% difference between the 13 and 15 too big. I end up either in a gear that is too big, or the next one that is too small. There is a reason why the road bike gearing is in single cog increments for the smaller cogs!

So after 4,000 KMs of riding this year, I decided to fix the situation. I had thought that it would be a simple matter of finding a cassette that had more like road bike gearing. I never use the 42 in our neighborhood on the road, and I don't use this bike as a "gravel bike". So I looked for better gearing. Turns out that the smallest cogs gearing that the Shimano RX812 GX, Shadow Plus, 11-speed rear derailleur will handle is 11-40, which still leaves me with 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 on the small cogs. So I looked to change both the cassette and derailleur. I found the Ultegra 11 Speed CS-R8000 cassette that has 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, ... up to only 32 and the Ultegra RX (Shadow RD+) Series RD-RX800-GS derailleur to go with it. However, because the original gearing is "mountain bike" gearing, the spacing on the freehub is different that the "road bike" R8000 needs, so to avoid having to replace the whole rear wheel, I had to have the large cassette cogs machined so they would fit. I now have gearing that works much better for my riding conditions, but had to spend an additional more than $300 CDN to make the change.

I bought the "road bike" version of the CREO SL Comp rather than the "gravel bike", but it turns out that it really does not go all the way to a "road bike". It would have been nice if I knew that up front, or if Specialized had put "road bike" components on the back wheel of the "road bike" version of the CREO rather than mountain bike components. Spending an additional 3% to get my road bike gearing isn't show stopping on an already expensive bike - it's just annoying on an otherwise remarkable eBike!

I heartily recommend this bike.
 

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john peck

Well-Known Member
The bike i´m on has been unlocked from kph to mph, simple. Given that Canada, like the US, is more distance challenged
than say the small, flat Netherlands, perhaps you should try to get the speed limits raised?