2020 Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp Carbon EVO Review


Technical Specs & Ratings



Turbo Creo SL Comp Carbon EVO


Class 3





Hydraulic Disc



331.2 Wh

331.2 Wh

31.6 lbs / 14.35 kgs



Frame Details

Specialized FACT 11r Carbon Fiber


Rigid Carbon Fiber, Boost 110 mm Hub Spacing, 12 mm Thru-Axle with Quick Release

DT SWISS R470 db, Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 622x20, 24 Hole, Tubeless Ready | Spokes: Stainless Steel, 15 Gauge, Black with Nipples

Pathfinder Pro, 700x38c (38x622), 50 to 80 PSI, 3.5 to 5.5 BAR, 2 BLISS Ready, GRIPTON Compound, Endurant Resilient Core


Threadless, Cartridge Bearings, Tapered 1-1/ 8" to 1-1/ 2"

Specialized Future Shock 2.0 with Smooth Boot Hydraulic Damping (Compression Rebound Dial), 6° Rise, 70 mm to 100 mm Length, 31.8 mm Clamp Diameter

Specialized Adventure Gear Hover Drop Bars, 103 mm Drop, 70 mm Reach, 12º Flare

Specialized Roubaix S-Wrap (Suede Finish Paired with EVA Vibration Damping Foam), Shimano Rubber Hoods

X-Fusion Manic Dropper Seat Post, 50 mm Travel


Body Geometry Power Sport, Hollow Cr-Mo Rails

Specialized Dirt

Hydraulic Disc

Shimano GRX 810 Hydraulic Disc with 160 mm Dual-Layer ICE-Tech Rotors, Shimano GRX Dual-Piston Calipers, Shimano GRX 810 Four-Finger Hooded Levers with Adjustable Reach

Ebike Systems

Class 3


Specialized SL 1.1 (MAHLE GmbH German Manufacturer)


Turbo Connect Unit (TCU), Rubberized LED Console on Top Tube (Blue and Green LEDs), Buttons: Power, S Button (Hold S for No Assist)

Mission Control App (Bluetooth, iOS and Android, Can Turn Off LEDs), ANT+ Wireless (For Heart Rate Monitors)

331.2 Wh

331.2 Wh

Panasonic, LG, or Samsung, 5,000 mAh 2,170 Cells 48 Volt, Lithium-ion, 6.9 Amp Hrs, 3.96 lbs


More Details

Road, Trail

Canada, Europe, United States

2 Year Comprehensive, Lifetime Frame and Fork

3.96 lbs (1.79 kg)

4.29 lbs (1.94 kg)

16.33 in (41.47 cm)17.61 in (44.72 cm)18.79 in (47.72 cm)19.78 in (50.24 cm)20.76 in (52.73 cm)21.94 in (55.72 cm)

Large 502.5mm Measurements: 20" Seat Tube Length, 21.5" Reach, 29.75" Stand Over, 33.25" Minimum Saddle Height, 20.75" Width, 68.25" Length

Sage Green with Black Accents, Navy with White and Carbon

Boost 148mm Hub Spacing, 12mm Thru-Axle with Quick Release

Two Bottle Cage Mounts, Rear Rack Mounts, Fender Mounts

Long Rubberized Chain Stay Slap Guard, Optional Range Extender Battery Pack ($450, 46.8 Volts, 3.35 Amp Hours, 160 Watt Hours, 2.3lbs 1.04kg) Range Extender Cable ($45) SLY Charging Split Cable ($65), Replacement Charger ($200), Optional Replacement Battery ($700), Optional TCD LCD Display ($90, Battery Percentage, Pedal Cadence, Speed, Distance, Trip Time, Odometer, Calories, Pedal Watts, Time)

Downtube-Integrated Battery Pack (Removable with Tools), 1.9lb 54.6 Volt 3.0 Amp Charger, 181mm Q-Factor, KMC X11ET Chain with Missing Link, Maximum Motor RPM Support 120, IP67 Rated Against Water and Dust (Main Battery, Range Extender Battery, SL 1.1 Motor, TCU Display)

Mission Control App (Bluetooth, iOS and Android, Can Turn Off LEDs), ANT+ Wireless (For Heart Rate Monitors)

Battery Charge Level (10 Bars Total, 5 Bars for Range Extender Battery), Assist Level (0-3)

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Rear Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence, and Pedal Torque over 1,000 Times per Second, Offers 180% Peak Multiplication Force of Rider Input)

28 mph (45 kph)

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This in-depth review was sponsored by Specialized Bicycle Components. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of Specialized products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below and the Specialized electric bike forums.


  • The new Specialized SL (Super Light) motor system is very impressive… not only is it compact and lightweight at just 4.3lbs, it actually provides good power, can operate above 120 RPM so you can pedal fast in low gears without losing support, and it functions as a Class 3 motor supporting top speeds of 28mph very capably
  • The main battery can be removed with help from your local shop, so the bike could be ridden non-electric, and you can travel with it on airplanes… running off of the Range Extender battery pack only (which is ~160 watt hours and legal for carryon luggage for most commercial flights)
  • The Comp Carbon and Comp Carbon EVO both come in multiple colors and six frame sizes, the main differences for the EVO gravel grinder setup are flared handlebars, wider treaded tires, and a seat post dropper… which crates a weight difference of roughly 1.9lbs (31.6lbs for the Comp Carbon EVO vs. 29.7 for the Comp Carbon)


  • No compromises here, I love that the frame has provisions for bottle cages on the downtube and seat tube, and that there are mounting points for fenders and a rear rack
  • Incredibly stealthy design… this thing genuinely looks like an analog bicycle because the motor casing is so compact and the battery is completely internalized, there are no big LCD displays to distract or cause glare, and the LED readouts on the TCU interface can be disabled using the Mission Control app
  • Excellent weight distribution, it’s all kept low and centered on the frame and the bike balanced well when lifting from the center (as I weighed it)
  • The Creo SL Comp Carbon EVO (gravel grinder trail model) comes in two awesome frame colors… I was testing the satin green with black splatter accents, but they also sell a gloss navy with white that has carbon accents (you can see the carbon layers). Note that the carbon can look uneven and reflect up, it’s a more organic style and some people have made comments about it on the Specialized website saying they wish the whole thing was Navy
  • Motor activation is fairly smooth and fluid (both powering up and cutting out), it’s a zippy noticeable feeling that beats all of the other lightweight road bike models I’ve tested including 250 watt hub motors and the Fazua mid-drive, it’s akin to a Bosch Gen 4 Speed, just a lot smaller and lighter
  • There’s no reduction gearing or drag here, when riding completely unassisted or pedaling beyond the supported 28mph (45km/h) top speed, it feels really smooth and natural vs. having a big “wall” cutout feeling
  • Tight tolerance on the battery pack alignment and locking system, you don’t hear it rattling around at higher speeds, even off-road on the gravel we traversed, same thing goes for the Range Extender battery pack, which includes a thick rubber band to surround the battery and secure it to a Z-Cage
  • Wider Boost hub spacing provides a sturdier spoke bracing angle for strength and stability at high speeds, both axles are thicker 12mm with threaded quick release for easy trail maintenance and fixes
  • Extra-long rubber slap guard protects the carbon frame from chain strikes when riding on bumpy terrain, it’s a clean lightweight design that’s effective
  • Narrow-wide tooth pattern on the lightweight aluminum alloy chainring reduces drops and provides a tighter connection, so you and the motor achieve maximum power transfer when pedaling
  • The Shimano GX derailleur is tucked close to the frame and offers a one-way clutch that reduces chain bounce at higher speeds and on off-road gravel sections, click it up to engage or click it down to perform drivetrain maintenance or remove the rear wheel more easily
  • X-Fusion Manic dropper post provides seamless transitioning from road to gravel and bumpy sections where you want some extra clearance to absorb terrain changes with your legs, they chose a shorter 50mm travel design and 27.2mm diameter to save weight
  • Vast network of dealers makes it easier to see, touch, and get fitted on the bike, excellent two year comprehensive warranty with lifetime frame and wheelset… Specialized is now securely positioned as one of the most innovative and committed ebike makers in North America, I reviewed their first entry way back in 2012 and they’ve only gotten better while pushing the boundaries of speed pedelecs while other companies shied away based on European standards. Thanks for your bravery and commitment Specialized!
  • It’s awesome that Specialized has allowed you to choose which battery is drawn down first, or to drain them both in tandem, using the Mission Control app… this way you won’t be cycling one battery constantly, wearing through its cycles faster


  • Be sure that you purchase a left-entry Specialized Z-Cage bottle holder if you buy the Range Extender battery because the cable comes out of the left side of the battery and the security notch will then be aligned with the front… we had a right-entry Z-Cage and the battery didn’t seat quite right as a result
  • The Y charging cable (to fill the main battery and an optional Range Extender battery costs extra, and the little cable going from the Range Extender to the bike costs extra
  • Unlike the Turbo Levo models, the Creos do not include a remote button pad with the S, +, -, and Walk Mode… so you have to take your hands off the handlebar to switch modes, and I don’t think there’s a walk mode here
  • The TCU LED console is pretty decent, but it doesn’t show your current speed, max speed, trip distance, range, or any other interesting stats. So, it’s nice that Specialized has a smartphone app offering more feedback, but it would be useful to somehow charge your phone off of the main ebike battery, a USB charging port or wireless charging mount would be awesome to see in the future
  • There’s no shift sensing built into the Specialized motor controllers, and this can lead to increased chain and sprocket wear if you don’t back off a bit on your pedaling while shifting… though it wasn’t a big issue for me during the test rides, the lower powered motor and multi-sensing controller means you shouldn’t cause as much drivetrain damage from poor shifts and it’s easy enough to back off a bit as you shift and actually have the motor system respond and ease back as well… just like you’d do on an analog non-electric bicycle
  • The primary battery pack is not designed to be removed, you’ll need to remove the motor and bottom bracket with help from your shop. This means you can’t easily charge the main battery separately from the frame or store it separately to reduce heat damage… you have to store the entire bike in a cool dry environment
  • The charge port on the bike frame is very low, so you have to bend way over, and it’s positioned in the path of the left crank arm which could snag and pop the plug out… ideally it would be on the drivetrain side of the bike vs. the brake side because the proper way to lay a bike down (that doesn’t have a kickstand) is to do so on the non-driveside
  • No provisions for a kickstand, this is a minor gripe considering the use case of these lightweight performance road style ebikes… at least they included bottle cage bosses, and rack and fender mounts
  • Minor consideration here, I’ve seen Specialized launch really custom hardware before and then change it up within a year or two, dropping support for replacement parts. Their IP67 rated motor, battery, and display all seem solid, I just hope they stock up on replacement bits so people who make the big purchase can keep their bikes on the road as their technology advances forward… they’re just a lot more custom and less modular than Bosch, for example, which supports their battery designs for 10+ years
  • Take extra care when unplugging the range extender cable from the bike, because there’s a twist lock feature that might be engaged and you could crack the plastic if you don’t check for it
  • Minor consideration here, the older Turbo electric bike products from Specialized used a magnetic Rosenberger plug that would easily disconnect if you tripped over the cable, but the new cables are more plastic friction-stick that could pull the bike over. And, be careful with the pedals and cranks once the bike is plugged in, because the charging port is very close to the left crank arm

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