Specialized Turbo Tero Step-Through 3.0 Review (Demo Ride)

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
First impression
'I am an off-road e-bike' -- the new Tero seems to be telling you -- 'I love to be ridden among the miracles of Mother Nature. I will gladly help you leave the urban jungle for the forest but don't condemn me for spending my whole life on the pavement!' is the clear message Tero's trying to tell you when you ride it for the first time.

Make no mistake. The exciting new e-bike from Specialized is the right choice for leisure and adventurous cyclists who love riding off sealed roads, at best among the woods. It will let you ride the pavement without pain but if you are looking for a commuter e-bike, Tero is not what you are looking for. If you spend more than half of your riding time among wild nature, Tero is the e-bike for you. Otherwise, consider the new Vado, that could be taken into the woods, too, but is more an urban creature.

If the Tero has been prepared for the ride, just press the On/Off button on the new MasterMind TCD display, and you are ready for your trip! (The button location is a new thing for a Specialized e-bike).

Frame Types

1634452251336.png

Specialized Turbo Tero 5.0 size M (High-Step, non-equipped).

It has been confirmed by a Specialized salesman Tero and Gen 2 Vado share the same frame. High-Step Tero is a tall e-bike. With my 780 mm or 30.7" "stand-over height", I could not safely straddle the size M High-Step top tube of Tero 5.0. While the Step-Through frames offer very low stand-over height, so mounting and dismounting the ST is a breeze disregarding of how long legs you have. (I would need size S to be able to mount Tero 5.0!)

1634481880147.png

The matters are not simple because the model version matrix is complicated, and regional availability really varies.

Model Specific Considerations
Here are the main differences between specific Tero model versions:
1634455199911.png

From entry level e-MTB for US$3250 to the high spec US$5000 one. As always, the 4.0 appears the best compromise.

Riding Posture, Bike Handling
As for an e-MTB, riding Tero is surprisingly comfortable! In a typical "Trail" e-MTB, you actually lean deep on the handlebars, with your arms spread dramatically apart (MTB handlebars are very wide for better cornering control). The riding posture on the Tero is far more relaxed. Yes, you need to spread your arms with the 750 mm wide bars (sizes M through XL) but you get used to it very quickly. Tero rewards you with a very precise turn control.

To give you comparison of the riding posture: Vado SL requires far more sporty (leaned) riding position than Tero. On the other hand, the Tero geometry places your torso far towards the handlebars! (You actually need to look down to consult the display!) It is intentional: on steep climbs, you need your body's centre of gravity to be extended forward; Tero makes that happen without the need to ride in an uncomfortable position.

1634456805783.png

The shifter placement in Tero is not the most fortunate. The handlebar grips are very wide, and shifting often requires moving your hand to reach the shifter.

1634456911341.png

The brake levers felt to be pleasantly long, easy to reach, and reliable. (The levers here are not really MTB-style; MTB specific brake levers are short and designed for one finger braking. Still, the long levers are easier to master for the rest of us).

Riding Pavement
A classic Trail Mountain Bike is designed for riding off-road only. Proper off-road tyres just roar when you're riding paved roads. (MTBers transport their bikes to the beginning of the trail with cars). Specialized have done a lot to "citizy" the Tero. I actually liked the stock Specialized Ground Control T5 tyres! Yes, they do hum on the pavement but it never makes you irritated.

My demo ride involved 48% of pavement, 37% of dirt, and 15% of gravel roads. I felt OK on the whole trip. (On contrary, I was suffering when riding sealed roads on my Giant Trance E+: the tyre noise was unbearable there).

1634458214590.png

Tero ST 3.0 in urban environment. Notice the stock Specialized platform pedals: I rode them in Adidas FreeRider Pro shoes and was very happy with the pedal traction!

Very important remark about urban riding with Tero
Tero is the Class 1 (20 mph) for the United States, 32 km/h for Canada, and 25 km/h for Europe (and elsewhere). The 2.0E (the least powerful of the new Specialized motors) was as powerful as I was staying at 25 km/h for the whole time I was riding paved roads! Don't worry: Tero 3.0 will take you to 20 mph/32 kph in the city easily. Especially, MTB gearing makes the e-bike accelerate very fast, especially if you have started in lower gears. However, the situation might be very different in hilly areas: consider the 4.0 or 5.0 for the hills!

Off-road Riding with Tero
The thing just shines there! I could ride, for instance:
  • Hardpack
  • Forest paths
  • Gravel
  • Road "paved" with loosely broken pieces of bricks partly immersed in mud: It was a good rocky path simulation
  • Cross-county through the forest - no trail
  • Over tree branches and twigs
  • Some mud
  • Sand.
Tero has never failed me! The most impressive part was sandy roads, through which Tero cut as if the knife cut through butter: no slightest sign of tyre skidding!

1634459348810.png

I'm telling you: Tero is the proper off-road thing.

Carrying Tero Over Obstacles, Walking the E-Bike
Because of my bad luck, I entered a forest area where it was impossible to ride. It was very easy to walk Tero 3.0, even without the Walk Mode. I activated the Walk Mode (depressing the + button and keeping it) only once: It was a steep uphill segment of deep sand. Walk Mode worked as a dream there!

Tero 3.0 is surprisingly lightweight as for a full-power e-bike (I attribute it to the smaller 530 Wh battery). It is easy to carry Tero in both hands. I have, however, found the bike front-heavy (because of very heavy Suntour fork).

Motor Noise
Oh. These of you accustomed to silent motors in older Vados and Comos might be (to some extent) badly surprised with the new Specialized drive units: these are not silent. The matter is quite interesting: The motor noise manifests itself only at very low e-bike speeds. Ride very slowly to negotiate your line in difficult terrain: the motor gets so loud you start believing it has broken! Increase the speed: the motor quietens to the level you actually cannot hear it! (I cannot explain that very phenomenon). Riding at normal speeds makes the motor far quieter than the SL one, not even mentioning Yamaha motors which are very loud! (No experience with Bosch or Shimano, sorry).

Electronics
The best of the best. I have tried Mission Control with the Tero. A no-brainer: Pairing with the smartphone was very easy: once you see a Pairing Code on the Mastermind, depress the F1 button on the remote and confirm pairing on your phone. Mission Control offered several new options. For instance, you can Lock your Tero now (anti-theft measure).

1634460596265.png

The new remote includes the + and - buttons as well as the F1 (operated with your index finger) and F2 (operated with your thumb).

Actions:
  • Depress + and - simultaneously to display the Settings page on the Mastermind. Use +, -, F1 and F2 as indicated on the Mastermind display
  • Depress and keep the - button to reset the Daily Trip meter
  • Depress and keep the + button to activate the Walk Mode
Everything intuitive and simple. Bear in mind, I could master the MasterMind (pun intended) without asking anyone! (I only could not guess how to reset the Daily Trip meter).

1634485345368.png

The Settings Page: You do not need to visit Regulatory (legal stuff & copyrights there). Altitude is to calibrate the barometric altimeter.

1634460966716.png

Data Page 1 of the MasterMind TCD. The colour theme depends on the Travel Mode (Assist Level) selected: OFF, ECO, SPORT, TURBO, SMART. I have used Smart Control of Mission Control, so the colour theme became pink. The bar at the bottom is for Cadence. If you pedal too slowly, the bar will become red (or orange or brown). Pedal faster, and the slider will move to the right, to become green above 70 rpm; your current Cadence value will be displayed in the diamond.

1634461500323.png

Data Pages 2 through 5. I have found the Page 3 (Range/battery considerations) and Page 5 (tuning and statistics) the most interesting. New MasterMind TCD e-bikes allow Infinite Tuning from the handlebar remote. As I rode in Smart Control, automatically selected Infinite Tune for that trip segment was 70/70%.

Note: As for now, BLEvo cannot use the features of MasterMind system (explicit message was displayed in BLEvo).

Who Is Tero Targeted At?

1634461959601.png

Specialized Turbo Levo Expert. An overkill for most of us. 'Too much of e-bike'.

Specialized address Turbo Tero to people who love spending their spare time for Nature riding, with occasional city rides. It is the "e-MTB for the rest of us".

Tero 3.0, 4.0 or 5.0?
Given the price point and the fact Tero 3.0 is available as a Step Through, I could say it was an interesting proposition. However, make no mistake: The Suntour fork is by no means good. It is heavy and its vibration damping capability is not shockingly good (as to say it). Tero 4.0 appears the Best Buy but the e-bike is not available for all regions. For these of you who have money to burn: take the 5.0 and never look back.

Would I buy a Tero?
If I were to buy a Tero, that would only be my third e-bike, after the full power Speed Vado, and fitness Vado SL. As I ride off-road far less frequently than 50% (I estimate it to 10%), I would choose a Vado as my next e-bike (in the perspective of next few years). You see, I used to own a full suspension e-MTB to realize I didn't need it. The point is: e-MTBs love off-road; off-road doesn't love me, though :D
If I were to buy a Tero, that would be the 5.0 size S.

And don't be tempted to go for the EQ version. It is not an e-bike to be ridden Equipped. e-MTBs hate to be equipped: the less stuff on an e-MTB, the better. For instance, fenders love to be in conflict with pebbles, twigs or mud.

1634463151875.png

Demo Ride Map.
 
Last edited:

David Berry

Well-Known Member
Region
Australia
City
Ipswich, QLD
Tero 3.0, 4.0 or 5.0?
Given the price point and the fact Tero 3.0 is available as a Step Through, I could say it was an interesting proposition. However, make no mistake: The Suntour fork is by no means good. It is heavy and its vibration damping capability is not shockingly good (as to say it). Tero 4.0 appears the Best Buy but the e-bike is not available for all regions.
For Australia:
  • Tero 3 : regular or step-through : AU$5,900
  • Tero 4 : regular : AU$7,100
  • Tero 5 : regular : AU$8,500
Stefan, thanks for your outstanding report!
 

rochrunner

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Rochester Hills
Great review, @Stefan Mikes! You should consider "turning pro" as a reviewer, although you might be a bit too biased. ;) If I were a bit younger and without some chronic issues I'd definitely consider this bike since there are plenty of places around her to ride it. As it is, I'll stick with my plan for a Vado SL that will still be good for an occasional off-road ride. Too bad that the Vado SL won't have the new TCD etc. since I'm always interested in having the latest tech gadgets!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
If equipped does not work
I mean it is not rational to use an equipped e-bike off-road, especially for the forest and singletrack. The equipped version of Tero exists (not available everywhere). I certainly agree Vado is good for long distance touring (I do the same).

For Australia:
I have updated the availability matrix with Australia and Japan!


Too bad that the Vado SL won't have the new TCD etc. since I'm always interested in having the latest tech gadgets!
1634482035125.png

The Mastermind TCU is not as that attractive as the Mastermind TCD. (Of course, both would look better if the protective film were removed). The MM TCU is too small to make a good display!
 
Last edited:

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
Based on your review, as mentioned in another thread, if a Tero 5 had been available when i was shopping, it would have been my first choice. However, as it is today, the odds of finding one would have been unlikely, and I presume that trend may continue.

Thanks for putting the time into posting such a thorough review.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Based on your review, as mentioned in another thread, if a Tero 5 had been available when i was shopping, it would have been my first choice. However, as it is today, the odds of finding one would have been unlikely, and I presume that trend may continue.

Thanks for putting the time into posting such a thorough review.
Randall, as far I as can understand it, your Fathom E+ is an equal HT e-MTB? Is there anything really better in Tero?
It looks Specialized has found the "missing factor" in their line of e-bikes, and they could fill the niche.
 

TrevorB

Active Member
For Australia:
  • Tero 3 : regular or step-through : AU$5,900
  • Tero 4 : regular : AU$7,100
  • Tero 5 : regular : AU$8,500
Stefan, thanks for your outstanding report!
Typical Specialized pricing, $8500 is lot for well spec HT. Similar spec FS by other suppliers can be had for same price with 500 or 625wh batt.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
500 or 625wh batt.
But not the 710 Wh?
I agree Spec e-bikes are not cheap. In return you get excellent support and rock-solid warranty.

Also... Let us talk about some Bosch E-Bikes. How many of them with Smart System can you buy right now? (MasterMind and the new motors are the Specialized answer before any Bosch Smart System e-bikes ever emerged!) Yes, I think I could find a good Giant or Shimano EP8 hardtail e-MTB or even an FS for that price.
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
Randall, as far I as can understand it, your Fathom E+ is an equal HT e-MTB? Is there anything really better in Tero?
It looks Specialized has found the "missing factor" in their line of e-bikes, and they could fill the niche.
At the time I was shopping, I was focused on Specialized and was going to buy a Vado. Got stiffed by them and started looking at others and ended up on the Fathom. Very happy with it overall, but I am thinking of a FS bike now, probably a Trance. But getting ebikes here is even harder than it was a year and a half ago. No hurry mind you, but I'm waiting to see what Giant does for 2022 with their motor and battery updates. The Reign's updates look promising, but that wouldn't suit me.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
At the time I was shopping, I was focused on Specialized and was going to buy a Vado. Got stiffed by them and started looking at others and ended up on the Fathom. Very happy with it overall, but I am thinking of a FS bike now, probably a Trance. But getting ebikes here is even harder than it was a year and a half ago. No hurry mind you, but I'm waiting to see what Giant does for 2022 with their motor and battery updates. The Reign's updates look promising, but that wouldn't suit me.
Really take your time, Randall!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Some More Specialized E-Bikes...

1634497920355.png

Not sure what model it is. According to the Web, it could be a 2021 Turbo Levo Comp (Brassy Yellow).

1634498656228.png

S-Works Turbo Levo SL (US$14500). A connoisseur's dream! Fox Float 36 Kashima Factory suspension fork!
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
Really take your time, Randall!
I will, but Spesh have set a couple of standards in my mind. Battery capacity at 700+ and the ability to lock out the motor electronically. Those were not and are still not available in any bike I am interested in today. The Tero wouldn't be enough of a difference to my Fathom to switch at this point.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Randall, I'm curious. What would you think of the Levo SL when it is released with the Mastermind TCU?
A lightweight FS e-MTB but with limited power and battery? Just asking.
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
My legs remind me every day that I've kept the surgeons away much longer than expected. I don't think the terrain i like to ride would fit well with that bike. Of course i could be wrong.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Typical Specialized pricing, $8500 is lot for well spec HT. Similar spec FS by other suppliers can be had for same price with 500 or 625wh batt.
My legs remind me every day that I've kept the surgeons away much longer than expected. I don't think the terrain i like to ride would fit well with that bike. Of course i could be wrong.
I was thinking of what @TrevorB said... Turbo Levo, a FS e-MTB, 500 Wh
United States (USD5,500)
Canada (CAD 7,319)
Australia (AUD 9,000)
Of course it is not the latest & greatest but sound and proven, with the excellent Specialized electronics.

Still, I think a Giant Trance E+ might be indeed competitive there.

Now, it is funny to think a predecessor to Tero, older Turbo Levo Hardtail Comp is still available, Poland only, superior specs to Tero, price same as for Tero 3.0. I smell a bargain there.
 
Last edited:

Nubnub

Active Member
Very nice review Stefan. I'm still considering a 5.0 and need to make time to get to the nearby Specialized Experience Center to check them out. I also noted the specs call for increased standover height on the Tero vs the Vado- due to the bigger wheels? Hopefully I can still fit a medium as I think the small will be too cramped. OTOH if the specs are correct, the large and medium have the same standover height? How's that happen? Could work out well for me if the Large fits.

One other thing I will check is the potential motor noise. I liked that the Vado was very quiet compared to the SL motors - pllus more power! While not a deal breaker- it would be disappointing if the Tero 5.0 motor noise > than the Vado I tested.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Very nice review Stefan. I'm still considering a 5.0 and need to make time to get to the nearby Specialized Experience Center to check them out. I also noted the specs call for increased standover height on the Tero vs the Vado- due to the bigger wheels? Hopefully I can still fit a medium as I think the small will be too cramped. OTOH if the specs are correct, the large and medium have the same standover height? How's that happen? Could work out well for me if the Large fits.

One other thing I will check is the potential motor noise. I liked that the Vado was very quiet compared to the SL motors - pllus more power! While not a deal breaker- it would be disappointing if the Tero 5.0 motor noise > than the Vado I tested.
Nubnub:
I rode to the Specialized Warsaw again today (a nice excuse for a fast Sport/Turbo ride with Vado 5.0, isn't it). I specifically checked Tero 5.0 size M. It is a very tall e-bike! The stand-over figures in the geometry charts must be true! Yes, wider tyres might be the reason. Don't you think the 110 mm travel fork is another factor there? Anyway, with my own 78 cm "standover height" there was no chance for me to mount the size M Tero (the value is 81.1 cm if I can remember correctly). If I were to buy a Tero, size S would be OK for me.

Now, I would be able to mount Vado 5.0 size M (77.1 cm). Still, I would prefer the ST version.

Have you tried a 2022 Vado? It has the same motor as Tero! Again, I heard very loud motor noise at low RPM to disappear at higher speed. Additionally, the day was windy. You need to rely on your own senses with respect to the motor noise.

Interesting information: Specialized has discontinued Turbo Levo Hardtail in favour of the new Tero. I still could buy the Levo HT if I could mount an XXL frame... (that was the last Levo HT and it was in the store...)

NOW! The price of the 604 Wh battery for "older" Vado/Como has gone up to some US$1,300... From US$900 in early 2020.
 
Last edited:
Region
USA
City
Oakdale
Some More Specialized E-Bikes...

View attachment 103780
Not sure what model it is. According to the Web, it could be a 2021 Turbo Levo Comp (Brassy Yellow).

View attachment 103781
S-Works Turbo Levo SL (US$14500). A connoisseur's dream! Fox Float 36 Kashima Factory suspension fork!
I wish I could buy the 2020 Vado 3.0 ST in Storm Gray that is behind the Vado SL 5.0. That looks like it would be the perfect bike for my girlfriend. And a 2019 Vado 3.0 ST would be even better (better components and stronger motor)! 👍