Tweaking

Marko

Active Member
I wonder why Specialized hasn't allowed tweaking the bike settings or updating the firmware. There is a diagnostic tool that attaches to the battery by which you can change some settings like max speed and acceleration rate, run diagnosis software and do fw updates. However, this tool is only available for dealers and the things you can do with it are quite limited. Also any fw updates are on a specialized server open only to dealers. I would like to have something similar to what ST2 has with its Omni. It wouldn't even need to be so fancy as the ST2, but something like a smartphone app with a BT connection to bike sw.
There would also need to be some way of directly communicating with the Turbo development team so that any bugs could be reported and then fixes installed by the users. Currently, for any problems, Specialized (general) helpdesk answer usually is to go to "your turbo dealer", but the problem here
at least is that currently there are none, and quite likely also in future there will be none this being such a niche business. I think this kind of dealer centric customer service approach is beginning to be a thing of the past. I mean you dont take your phone to a dealer for an OS update/setting up, either.
 
D

Deleted member 803

Guest
You are spot on in your assumptions. Having dealt with e-bike vendors in the US and in Europe there are very few of them who feel comfortable venturing outside of the traditional channels of distribution. Software is so new for most of these companies that they probably don't have a senior management that understands software support deliverables (and I am sure not one of them knows how to conduct an alpha/beta debug test program. Stromer is one of the few companies that gets it. If e-bikes have any legitimacy for short range commuting, vendors will need to establish totally different channels of distribution and provide more contemporary levels of online and downloadable support. My hope is that e-bikes gain traction and that bike vendors hire talent outside of the bike industry who can help them rethink their go to market strategy and support.
 

Marko

Active Member
A couple of thoughts on Turbo retail loosely related to support. At the time when I was still on the lookout for my Turbo, I contacted a Specialized dealer who initially was willing to sell me a bike (they even advertised it on their web page). After a short while he contacted me and said sorry, cant sell you one. He had been told (apparently by Specialized) that in order to be a Turbo dealer you need to carry a minimum of three bikes and attend a training arranged by Specialized. I suspect that this training is not in Finland. For the dealer this was no-brainer; being in a small town never was he going to take on such a business risk of having to stock those bikes. In the end, I got my bike from a dealer who had taken this risk but quite soon gave it up after realising there was never going to be business in it. My bike was a little used but reasonably priced showroom bike. However, for me this can be problematic as I will have no real support in case there will be issues. Although mostly parts are standard, such as brakes, gear, crankset, and thus serviceable by any sweatshop.

I see a couple of reasons why bikes like the Turbo will have difficult time in the European market (not counting Germany or Switzerland). First is the legislation. Most European countries have a max speed limit of 25 km/h (~15 mph) where the assist must turn off. Apparently there are some legislative changes coming to the max power limit; I heard a rumour that the max power limit of 250 W would probably change to 1000 W. Even if the power limit changes I am pretty sure that the speed limit will remain. In my view, the current speed limit is reasonable if you ride in the city where there is a lot of other (bicycle) traffic. However, outside the city area on the road 15 mph, for me at least, is the limit where I would hope the assist to start, not end.

In any case, I think this will mean that selling Turbos under the current legislation you would need either to sell them in the "illegal 28 mph mode", which I am sure vendors don't feel comfortable doing, and leave the owner to worry about any legal consequences or castrate them to 15 mph limit for the bike to be compliant with the law as such. I have heard some dealers selling s-pedelecs requiring the customer to sign a paper where he acknowledges that he must not ride the bike in traffic. Although surely providing some mental relief to the seller, this kind of paper is probably meaningless because ultimately the responsibility on how he uses the bike lies on the buyer. I am pretty sure I could go purchase a Hayabusa and no one would ask for a drivers license. So, then for the customer the question will be: will I want to pay 5000€ for a bike that will assist me to 15 mph. Or, alternatively, if I want to comply with law I will need to get the bike inspected and registered as a moped, which is probably not that difficult as a Certificate of Conformity is given to you on purchase. But being a moped, a traffic insurance (~100-200€/yr) is obligatory and you need to wear appropriate protection (moped helmet). I am not sure though how police would react if you ride an ebike registered as a moped and wear a bike helmet. Also, a traffic insurance covers only the liability of damages to others. If you want protection from theft or coverage on collision damages to the bike you need an additional insurance. Home contents insurance will not cover motorised equipment with a speed of over 9 mph, like ebikes. Last time I checked from my insurance company they offered no suitable product for e-bikes. And even if they did the price would probably be such that I would choose to carry the risk myself.
 
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