Specialized Turbo X Review

Specialized Turbo X Electric Bike Review
Specialized Turbo X
Specialized Turbo X Go Swissdrive Hub Motor
Specialized Turbo X 36 Volt 13 Amp Hour Samsung Battery
Specialized Turbo X Top Tube Handlebar Display
Specialized Turbo X 48 Tooth Chainring
Specialized Turbo X Body Geometry Ergonomic Grips And Bell
Specialized Turbo X Body Geometry Targa Saddle
Specialized Turbo X Double Leg Kickstand
Specialized Turbo X Lcd Display Joystick
Specialized Turbo X Rockshox Paragon 50 Mm Suspension Fork
Specialized Turbo X Sram X7 11 By 32 Tooth
Specialized Turbo X Supernova Headlight
Specialized Turbo X Trigger Sport 700 47c Tires
Specialized Turbo X In Los Angeles Riverbed
Specialized Turbo X Geometry
Specialized Turbo X Electric Bike Review
Specialized Turbo X
Specialized Turbo X Go Swissdrive Hub Motor
Specialized Turbo X 36 Volt 13 Amp Hour Samsung Battery
Specialized Turbo X Top Tube Handlebar Display
Specialized Turbo X 48 Tooth Chainring
Specialized Turbo X Body Geometry Ergonomic Grips And Bell
Specialized Turbo X Body Geometry Targa Saddle
Specialized Turbo X Double Leg Kickstand
Specialized Turbo X Lcd Display Joystick
Specialized Turbo X Rockshox Paragon 50 Mm Suspension Fork
Specialized Turbo X Sram X7 11 By 32 Tooth
Specialized Turbo X Supernova Headlight
Specialized Turbo X Trigger Sport 700 47c Tires
Specialized Turbo X In Los Angeles Riverbed
Specialized Turbo X Geometry

Summary

  • Stealth appearance with integrated battery pack and near-silent motor helps it blend in like a "normal bike"
  • Excellent weight distribution, responsive hydraulic disc brakes, integrated LED lights, rack and fender mounts, nice technology upgrades including regeneration mode and magnetic EnergyBus charging port
  • Suspension fork smooths out the ride at high speed but also includes lockout, kickstand can feel unstable at times, charger is big and heavy, LCD display is not adjustable or removable

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Specialized

Model:

Turbo X

Price:

$4,000

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Battery, Motor and Fork, Lifetime Frame

Availability:

United States, Europe

Model Year:

20152016

Rating:

10

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

49.5 lbs (22.45 kg)

Battery Weight:

8 lbs (3.62 kg)

Frame Material:

Specialized M4 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

16.5 in (41.91 cm)18 in (45.72 cm)19.5 in (49.53 cm)21 in (53.34 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Small 16.5" (420 mm Seat Tube Length, 746 mm Stand-Over Height, 584 Top Tube Length, 1079 mm Wheelbase, 580 mm Handlebar Width), Medium 18" (460 mm Seat Tube Length, 783 mm Stand-Over Height, 602 Top Tube Length, 1097 mm Wheelbase, 580 mm Handlebar Width), Large 19.5" (500 mm Seat Tube Length, 814 mm Stand-Over Height, 615 Top Tube Length, 1111 mm Wheelbase, 580 mm Handlebar Width), Extra Large 21" (540 mm Seat Tube Length, 847 mm Stand-Over Height, 635 Top Tube Length, 1131 mm Wheelbase, 580 mm Handlebar Width)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Satin Black

Frame Fork Details:

RockShox Paragon Suspension with 50 mm Travel and Remote Lockout

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 SRAM X7, 11-32T

Shifter Details:

SRAM X7 SL Triggers on Right

Cranks:

Aluminum Alloy 175 mm, 48 Tooth Front Chainring

Pedals:

Aluminum Alloy Platform

Headset:

Ahead, Cartridge Bearings, Alloy Top Cap, 8 mm Cone Spacer

Stem:

3D Forged Aluminum Alloy, 4-Bolt, 7-Degree Rise

Handlebar:

Specialized Stout XC, Flat Bar, Double Butted 6061 Alloy, 9-Degree Backsweep, 4-Degree Upsweep, 31.8 mm Length

Brake Details:

Formula C1 Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Dual Piston, Formula C1 Levers with Rubber Knubs

Grips:

Specialized Body Geometry XCT, Dual Compound, Lock-On

Saddle:

Body Geometry Targa, Hollow Cr-Mo Rails, Integrated Backlight

Seat Post:

Specialized, Aluminum Alloy, 2-Bolt, 12.5 mm Offset

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy Double-Wall, Pin Joint, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 2.3/2.0/2.0 mm

Tire Brand:

Specialized Trigger Sport, 700 x 47c

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

Blackbelt Puncture Protection

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

4 Amp Charger (Weighs ~4.5 lbs), Optional 1.6 Amp Charger (Weighs ~1.3 lbs), Replacement Battery Pack $800, Reflective Downtube Graphics, Optional Matching Rear Carry Rack and Fenders, Bell Near Left Grip

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, Self Diagnostic System LED Readout When Powered On, Throttle Mode ~12 mph (Hold Up on Joystick, Once Flashing Hold Up Again, Bike Must Be Moving to Activate), EnergyBus Magnetic Charge Port on Battery, Battery Packed by Simplo (Does Apple's Stuff, High Quality), Battery Stops with 4% at Top and Bottom to Avoid Straining Cells

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Go SwissDrive by Ortlinghaus-Gruppe

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub (Odd Number of Magnets for Smoother Ride)
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

200 watts

Motor Peak Output:

750 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

13 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

468 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours (7 Hours with Optional Travel Charger)

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

55 miles (89 km)

Display Type:

Fixed Backlit LCD on Right

Readouts:

Speed, Trip Odometer (Resets When Bike is Charged), Lifetime Odometer, Battery Charge Percentage, Assist Level (Regen, None, Eco, Turbo)

Display Accessories:

Rubberized Backlit Joystick

Drive Mode:

Torque Sensing Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle

Top Speed:

26 mph (42 kph)(Up to ~12 mph in Throttle Mode)

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Written Review

The Turbo X is my favorite model so far in the Specialized Electric Bike lineup because it costs less than the original Turbo, rides super smooth thanks to the RockShox Paragon fork (with lockout) and looks mean in all-black matte finish (including the fork). Since late 2012 when Specialized introduced the first mainstream speed-pedelec to the United States (offering ~28 mph top speeds with rider input vs. just 20 mph) the Turbo has set the bar for what a truly purpose-built ebike can be. The battery is completely integrated into the oversized downtube and even features surface mounted bottle cage bosses! Very few other electric bikes have put this much energy into the details and three years later (today in 2015), it still feels like this bike is leading the pack. Sure, we’ve got the Stromer ST2 with some very cool technology and a coupleof others that look great and go fast but given the dealer reach, reasonable price point and true “cyclist” feel of this bike, it’s an excellent choice for city riding and speedy commuting.

Driving the bike is a 200 watt nominal, 750 watt peak gearless direct drive motor called the “Go SwissDrive” from Ortlinghaus-Gruppe. It’s heavier and wider than most hub motors I see but the black finish blends well with the frame and it doesn’t seem out of place next to the 10 speed cassette and 180 mm disc brake rotor on either side. What it delivers is fluid, powerful and near silent acceleration that reaches ~26 mph and then gracefully eases off. One of the big differences between the standard Turbo and Turbo X here vs. the more expensive Turbo S is a slightly lower top speed (the S can reach ~28 mph). In my experience, both of these slower ebikes are still a very satisfying to ride and a side benefit of the speed limit is increased range. While servicing the rear wheel, you’ll benefit from a quick disconnect point at the left side of the motor and the sturdy thru-axle which is easier to align and tighten down than a skewer. You don’t get quick release here (just on the front wheel) but the Triggersport tires feature “Blackbelt” puncture protection which should help to reduce flats. The wheelset is 700c which is a larger, more efficient size used by most road and city style bikes. The tires are 700x47c sized and that’s much wider than a road bike which are often 700x23c so you get a nice cushion that compliments the suspension and ergonomic grips at higher speeds.

Powering the motor and lights… constantly, is a super high quality 36 volt 13 amp hour battery pack. This thing is one of the major highlights on the bike because it integrates so perfectly into the downtube, creating a seamless look. The battery contains Samsung cells which are packed by Simplo (this company does Apple stuff and are recognized as a quality leader in the space). You get fifty individual 18650 cells containing a Lithium-ion chemistry that’s warrantied for two years… or 300 full cycles. I was initially put off by the seemingly low number of cycles but those are “full cycles” and a year contains 365 days, so if you were riding the bike from full to empty every single day, I guess that’s a lot of miles… something like 9,000+ miles based on my battery range tests in Turbo mode. In short, the battery looks great, is well made, uses excellent cells and comes with solid support. If you do need a replacement or decide to get a second battery it will cost $800. Note that each battery pack weighs 8 pounds, so you might consider charging half way if you need increased range. Now here’s a bit of an issue I noticed, the battery charger that comes with the bike is huge and weighs ~4.5 pounds. It’s not exactly backpack friendly and while you could get the optional city kit with fenders and rear rack (or add your own stuff) it would take up a lot of room and I just wasn’t stoked on the whole thing. The upside to the stock charger is that it delivers 4 Amps of energy which will charge the 468 watt hour battery in ~3.5 hours. For an additional $120 you can grab a travel charger which is slower (1.6 Amps) but much slimmer and lighter at ~1.3 pounds. Of course, the battery can be charged off of the frame or on if you choose but I noticed that the lights come on whenever it is being charged (they shut off when it’s full). This is one of my gripes about the Turbo X, the lights are always on! When you charge and when you ride… They are really nice looking, especially the metal Supernova in the front, and I guess it keeps you safer and reduces complexity in the LCD menu system but it does get annoying. I found myself tossing a couple of shirts over the bike while charging because my room is small and the LED’s were distracting me while I typed this review :P

Speaking of the display… Operating this bike is very neat and clever. Once the pack is charged and mounted to the frame, you press the metallic circular button at the top of the battery for a second and four LEDs flash on in sequence. If you see one of them flash multiple times it means that something is wrong in the system and each dot relates to a different component such as the motor, battery, display and lights. At this point, the sleek LCD unit near the right grip lights up and shows your speed, assist setting and one of three other readouts (odometer, trip odometer and battery charge percentage). The trip odometer resets when you plug the bike in or if you hold it to the right for three seconds while in trip odometer mode. The menu is really easy to navigate with the little rubber joystick thing and fairly simple to understand as long as you don’t need to do advanced stuff like disable the backlight or change from miles to kilometers… it’s all in the attached manual and involves clicking down or holding it in one direction or another. Basically you’ve got four drive modes to choose from including Turbo (which is the highest and offers full power and the 26 mph top speed), Eco mode (which is programmable between 10% and 70% output), No Assist and Regen (which turns the motor into a generator to fill the battery slowly). I really enjoyed the Eco mode and experimented with 40% and 50% output to create a slightly lighter, faster feeling “bicycle”. The Turbo is more bike-like than any other electric bike I’ve tried to date and the torque sensing motor is consistent, smooth and rarely surprising. I found myself holding the brakes while pushing down on the pedals at a stop light and unlike some other electric bikes, it didn’t try to go (even though it does not have motor inhibitors in the brake levers). I think the bike has to get going just a bit before the motor will kick in but it’s not 2 mph or anything, it’s just a little bit and it feels natural. There is a basic throttle mode built into the menus as well and you can access this by going up into Turbo mode, holding the joystick up for a few seconds until the icon flashes and then pressing and holding it up to accelerate. Note that the bike does have to be moving slightly for the throttle to kick in.

Okay, so at the end of the day this is a $4,000 electric bike that’s priced on par with other premium offerings with the Bosch or Impulse mid-drive system but it goes faster, operates much quieter and looks more normal and “stealth”. The Turbo X has that beautiful and comfortable suspension which would be a must-have for me if I was commuting 10+ miles daily and with four frame sizes to choose from and the vast network of Specialized dealers across the US it feels like an excellent choice, a true car replacer. In the video review you can see me racing cars and basically keeping up from light to light. It handled the cement riverbed near Los Angeles California very well, managed the deeper water I splashed through never made me feel uncomfortable or generated unwanted attention. It’s just a sweet looking bike. One of the hydraulic disc brakes did squeak a bit but I was using a demo bike and did go through that water. I rarely used the suspension lockout but when I did it made the bike feel tighter and faster. I also didn’t put on the mirror but it looked very nice, high quality like the locking grips and body geometry saddle. This isn’t a “do everything” electric bike but it’s a winning urban bike and would be great for commuting, especially with some fenders and a rear rack with panniers.

Pros:

  • Mounting points for a bottle cage, lock or other accessory built directly into the top of the in-frame battery pack
  • Excellent weight distribution! While the bike is somewhat heavy given the large battery and motor, the mass is kept low to the ground and balanced front to rear
  • Sturdy, beautifully integrated LED lights by Supernova, the battery is designed to maintain enough capacity to run them at all times and even if it empties completely, the motor generates enough power through cogging to keep them going
  • RockShox Paragon air suspension fork significantly smooths out the ride without adding too much weight, remote lockout lets you reduce bobbing on smooth sections
  • Well positioned mounting points for adding fenders at the front and rear as well as a four-point carry rack, great for commuting
  • Ergonomic grips and active saddle by Body Geometry from Specialized help to reduce hand and butt fatigue over long distances and higher speeds
  • All-black frame, components and accessories make this a beautiful ride and it truly blends in… less pronounced as an “electric” bike than many others
  • Includes a side mirror for safer street and city riding, this is a requirement for speed pedelecs in Europe (along with the rubber brake nubs and lights)
  • Quick disconnect motor cable and thru-axle makes service easier, the quick release front wheel makes transporting more convenient

Cons:

  • LCD display panel is built into the right brake lever and cannot be swiveled front to back for improved view or reduced glare
  • Center mounted kickstand makes changing the front tire easy and keeps the bike straight but feels tippy side to side, overall less stable than some other stands
  • The included battery charger is very fast but also large and heavy which makes it much more difficult to take along in your pack to charge at work etc. however, there is a small light weight travel charger available for ~$120
  • When charging the battery pack on the bike the headlight and taillight come on and seem to stay lit which can be annoying if you don’t want the extra light
  • No way to turn off the headlight and tail light while the bike is turned on (I think the Turbo S let’s you toggle them by pressing the joystick in), sometimes it’s nice to cruise without blinding friends or try to blend in more in my opinion so this would be a nice feature
  • It would be nice if in addition to the regen mode (which requires you to click down two or three times using the joystick) the Turbo X and standard Turbo offered regenerative braking so you could capture electricity and save the brake pads more seamlessly by pulling the brake levers
  • It seems like anyone could press the power button on the battery pack and tamper with the display, you don’t need the key or any kind of special fob or password to activate the bike… still, the motor won’t start without the bike rolling a little bit so if it’s chained up maybe that’s not a huge deal (aside from lights being on)

Resources:

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Comments (35) YouTube Comments

Jesse Diller
4 years ago

I’ve had my Turbo X for about 2 months now and have a little over 300 commuting miles on it. What an insane piece of engineering. The bike is an absolute joy to ride and I look forward to getting on it every morning and evening on the way to and from work. Pretty spoiling to be able to arrive at work without being covered in sweat. A truly beautiful machine and one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Looks are great – performance is phenomenal. Bikes like this have the potential to positively change transportation in urban environments.

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Wonderful to read your post Jesse! I feel the same way about ebikes in general and the Turbo X is one of my favorites… are you enjoying the suspension or feel that the rigid frames would be fine? This is something I get asked a lot. Also, what’s your average riding speed and maybe the top assisted speed you achieve regularly?

  Reply
Jesse Diller
4 years ago

Good questions. I was initially totally set on needing front suspension (thus the X model). There are a few rougher road sections on my commute, and I felt that if I was going to be riding at faster speeds the suspension would be critical. The bike has a nice front fork lock-out lever on the bar so it’s simple to engage and disengage depending on upcoming road sections. When the fork is unlocked I lose some speed – so at this point I typically leave it locked out unless the road is really bad. After riding it for a bit here – If I was making the purchase again I don’t know if the front suspension would be as critical to me. Overall nice to have. I typically cruise flats at around 20-24 mph. Can clearly push more (have ridden at 28) but my top priority is arriving safely so I typically just take it easy.

Juan Agudelo
3 years ago

Hey Court I love the e bike movement we are heading on. I have had my turbo x for over a year now and it’s awesome to say the least. You are an expert so I wanted to ask you if you think it would make a significant difference if I bought a faster specialized hub motor (specialed turbo S motor) and installed it into my turbo x? I just would like that extra torque up hills on my long commute to work everyday and to maintain 28 mph easily instead of getting a real work out to stay at 24-25mph. I know that this will drain turbo x battery faster but I feel like it’s always above 50% because I have charged at work and at home.

I have called specialize and they believe it is possible but it comes with a price. So again, will it make a significant difference in speed or does $1300 for 4-5 extra miles per hour and some torque not really make a difference for the price.? Thanks

Al
4 years ago

Just bought this bike last Saturday. Been commuting to work on it and it’s been an absolute joy. I easily hit 20mph+ on the flats and I can maintain 18mph on hills. My commute is fairly short (9 miles), but I get to work and I still have 75% battery left. When I get home I have usually about 54% left.

With the travel charger (I’m soon going to buy), I don’t think a bigger battery is necessary. I noticed the specialized website has two battery versions you can buy that have many more cells. Mine cost $3k, but doesn’t have the suspension. The specialized salesmen told me it was the 2016 model, but I’m skeptic (seems the price is low almost to good to be true). Under my bike it says 2015, but the sales guy later said specialized makes builds their bike a year ahead. What do you think?

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Hi Al, thanks for sharing your experience with the Turbo! Maybe you have the standard Turbo if there’s no suspension fork… what color is it? I heard that the capacity of the battery cells increased for 2016 so maybe the number of cells is the same but the battery technology has improved and that’s how you get more range and also why it costs more. What are the volt and amp hours listed on your pack, they might be printed on the casing? Also, do you mind sharing the frame size you got along with height and weight to help put the range you’re getting into perspective for people?

  Reply
Al
4 years ago

I’m on vacation right now but I’ll look at the battery when I get back and I’ll report. The bike is a medium size frame and I’m 5 ft 8inches and about 155lbs. The color of the bike is like a darker silver. The tires are slick and the head light is on the lower part of the front of the bike and not on the handle bars like the one your review is about on this page.

Cub
4 years ago

Bought a 2015 Turbo X three weeks ago when Specialized put the 2015s on sale and have ridden over 300 miles – haven’t missed a day. What a blast!!! I’ve been riding for over 30 years and done my share cross country rides. Climbing a hill just became effortless! Agree with Jesse and everyone else – this is a beautiful piece of engineering and takes the bike to the next level. Does anyone know how long Specialized intends to make the Turbo with the Go Swiss hub motor? I see the2016 Levo moved to a crank motor and would want to invest in the newest version of battery and hub motor before they get out of production. I attached a rear rack and new seat, but otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing. BTW – EBR has been a huge asset. You do a great job and the in depth look at the e bike market is excellent. I’ve been looking at this technology for years and Specialized definitely hit the mark. Thanks

  Reply
Court
4 years ago

Thanks Cub! Glad to hear this website helped you out, I do my best to present good images and video with some personal insights in the reviews. I love the Turbo models and appreciate the Go SwissDrive for sure… it has many advantages over mid-drive for urban riding and I haven’t heard or seen any deviations from this design or technology to date so I wouldn’t expect to see a mid-drive motor on a Turbo. Same thing with Stromer, they chose a gearless hub for how quiet and smooth it is (along with regen) whereas the mid drive system is good for torque and efficiency when climbing off-road :)

  Reply
Kathryn look
3 years ago

I love this bike also. I have the Turbo X 2016 model. I ride 25-30 miles a day. Everything that has been said is true. It’s comfortable, stable, ergonomic, fast. However, I am on my third battery since i purchased it in May. I have close to 1,000 miles on it. The vendor knows nothing about the bike. They have to call specialized and that sucks if you have a problem on the weekend because no one is available to answer questions. I’m so disappointed.

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Ouch, which shop did you get it from? I’m assuming it’s a Specialized dealer since most of their bikes are sold exclusively that way… I thought each dealer was supposed to be trained to help but even then, if they don’t have spare parts in stock I can see how it would be frustrating to wait for fixes. Especially when you want to get out and ride for fun on weekends! Thanks for the update Kathryn and sorry to hear about the delays and lack of support. I really home (and believe) that in the coming years ebikes will become more common and accepted so you don’t have to suffer as an early adopter.

  Reply
Al
3 years ago

One thing I wanted to add that Court might want to add to either the pros or cons is that the travel charger seems to only charge the battery when it’s off the bike. I went biking to my parents house a few weeks ago and I tried to charge my battery with the travel charger. The travel charger did not work or even charge the battery. I had the dealer get me a new travel charger thinking that it might have been faulty. I tried to charge the battery again while it was in the bike and it was the same no-go. I tried to charge the battery off the bike and it worked. I did not see this explained anywhere. Hope this helps.

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Court
3 years ago

Hmm… I didn’t realize this Al, thanks for chiming in. My experience charging was mostly with the larger charger which can charge on or off correct?

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Al
3 years ago

Yes the larger charger can change off and on the bike. I was mentioning the travel charger. I had one swapped out thinking there was a default in it when I was trying to charge the battery while it’s on the bike. The second travel charger did the same thing so I tried it off the bike, and it worked. Maybe my bike is faulty?

It could be that the amperage is low enough that if the battery is on the bike and you’re using the travel charger, then it’s to much.

Melany Edge
3 years ago

I am considering this bike. I noticed I can’t see how much torque or Newton Meters is listed for this bike? I already have a Felt Sport E 95 which is a great bike, but I am thinking of changing to a bike with a little more versatility that can be ridden on trails and road. Would this bike have more power than the Bosch Gen 2?

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Court
3 years ago

In my experience, no. You get higher top speed, quieter operation and less wear on the chain and sprockets but it’s not delivering higher torque than the Bosch Centerdrive.

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Nick S
3 years ago

Hi Court and fellow readers,

I’m strongly considering the Specialized Turbo or Turbo X for my 8 mile commute and weekend recreation in very hilly Seattle, WA. In addition to several steep hills along my route, I’m close to 200lb, 6’1″. Do you think these bikes offer the power to get me up hills here without a huge amount of strain?

I just came from a test ride of a 2016 Turbo X which I loved (my only other experience with electric bikes was years ago on an old NiMH Giant LaFree / Lite), but unfortunately the bike shop is in a completely flat area so couldn’t test hill climbing at all.

The 2017 Turbo (unchanged from last year, I believe?) is available for order at $2500, and wasn’t in stock for a test ride. The 2017 Turbo X (also a carryover from last year, I believe) that I took for a test ride is priced at $4000.

I’m wondering if the differences between the two models are worth a 60% difference in price? The 2017 Turbo specs list a “Custom Specialized G45c X12” motor, whereas the 2017 Turbo X lists “Turbo S Specialized Motor, 250 Watt, X12 axle”. I also see the the battery capacity is 468 vs 562 Wh.

The Turbo X also offers the suspension seat post, front suspension fork, and moves to Shimano Deore vs SRAM X7. I don’t see many other differences between the bikes (other than the niftier black/cyan Turbo X color scheme).

I do wonder if I would really regret the lack of suspension going with the Turbo. The roads are in bad shape here in Seattle, and ruts, potholes, and ruts are everywhere.

Lastly, there seem to be deals to be had online for 2015 Turbo X’s, that place them close in price to the 2017 Turbos. Any risk with getting a potentially 2 year old, floor model battery pack?

I’m also considering waiting for spring next year to see what new models may introduce (and lower the prices on the current models).

Thanks so much for your insight. EBR has been a tremendous resource, and I’ve watched enough of the YouTube videos that I almost feel I’ve met you!

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Court
3 years ago

Hi Nick! In my experience, nearly every electric assist bike with a decent drivetrain is going to significantly improve the climbing experience. Yes, you’re heavier than me, and taller… but you’re going to be doubling the consistent power output vs. just using your legs. If you switch down to lower gears and pedal along, I think you’ll have a great experience.

Regarding your other questions, yes I think the 2017 models are changing significantly but I cannot say for sure. Many companies are introducing mid-drive systems for their bikes and Specialized might go this route too… which I feel mixed about because the 2015 and 2016 gearless hubs are fantastic! I feel that they offer some of the smoothest, quietest and most fluid performance. They don’t disrupt shifting and in some cases offer regeneration. I’d feel comfortable getting an older Turbo but note that the battery cells do slowly degrade over time and are expensive to replace. My personal favorite model is the Turbo X because of the suspension. Riding faster and further (with e-assist) means you can end up with more body impact. I love the suspension, often get suspension seat posts and sometimes even swap tires for larger ones running at lower PSI. Hope this helps!

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Nick S
3 years ago

Thanks for your reply, Court! That’s very helpful. I guess I was mostly afraid that I’d start to ride a 50lb bike up one of our long, steep hills here and have the motor (and my legs) just peter out. 18-21% grades are pretty common for many of our blocks here, and some of the hills just keep going,… and going,.. I think I’m going to search around for another local bike store carrying the Turbo, one where I can take a test ride on some real hills.

Good also to know how important you consider suspension; I tested the Turbo X with the lockout engaged, since I was testing on a paved surface, but that would be another reason to take another test ride.

I also saw the announcement for Specialized’s Turbo Vado bikes linked to from the forums here, and wonder how this significant redesign will also affect future availability of the current battery pack (say, past 2017). I actually rebuilt the Giant Lite’s NiMH battery pack before selling it some years ago, and that was fairly easy; undo some screws to separate the two halves of the battery shell, de-solder several wires and remove temperature probes, then replace with a new 24V 10Ah cell pack from BatterySpace.com, and re-solder connections. It took maybe 35 minutes, going slowly and methodically.

I suspect the packs from Specialized are not designed to be easy to access and rebuild, and that’s a serious concern if Specialized is ceasing production of the Turbo, Turbo X, and Turbo S and moving to a different form factor. Without a functional battery, this (and any other electric bike) would become a very heavy, uninspiring bike to ride around town!

Carl
3 years ago

Nick: Did you end up with a Turbo X? I just saw your original post and thought I would inquire. The Turbo X is probably my favorite e-bike based on research and features and I am considering buying one myself. I spend half of the year in the mountains of Western North Carolina and was looking for an eBike last spring. I had the opportunity to ride quite a few different models and to check them out on some hills. I tried Stromer, Raleigh, Specialized and several iZip models. I will tell you that I went in that day with every intention of taking home the Turbo X, but that’s not what happened.

I am 53 and Weigh about 195, and recently recovered from fractures in both of my feet. I wanted an eBike to get back out on the road for exercise, without killing myself on the hills. The TurboX was the smoothest, quietest and best looking bike I tested. I really wanted to buy it, but when I got on the iZip Dash, I instantly felt the torque difference which made the hills much more manageable for me. In addition the Dash was on Sale for $1,800, which made it any easy decision for me. I still like the TurboX and I am considering one to keep in my Florida home which is mostly flat riding. The Turbo X is pretty stealth and most wouldn’t guess it’s an electric bike on first glance, so I think it would be better for the bike trails. It’s nice to have so many options and such a great resource here EBR! Good luck with your decision.

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Court
3 years ago

Great feedback Carl, thanks for sharing your thoughts and the details about your test ride. Glad you’re enjoying the IZIP E3 Dash and maybe you’ll find a great deal on the Turbo X too now that we’re transitioning into 2017 and it’s the Fall ;)

Nick S
3 years ago

Hi Carl, I haven’t pulled the trigger (throttle?) yet. I’ve been doing a lot of research on different models, and hoping to score a good deal on a bike during the off-season. Before I purchase, I’d like to compare back-to-back, on hill-climbing, the Turbo X with a mid-drive system like Bosch or Brose. Happily, I’ve found an e-bike shop in Seattle, called Electric Lady Bicycles, that’s located in terrain similar what I’ll be commuting on. That should allow me to get a real world idea of what the performance will be like for me.

I’ll readily admit that I’m vain enough that I’d sacrifice some performance and pay a little more to avoid the protruding, obvious battery pack on the downtube that the iZip Dash and many other electric bikes have (including the Bosch mid-drive units). I really love the stealth, super integrated look that the Turbo X, Stromer, and some other bikes offer. That said, I completely understand your rationale in selecting the iZip, and really appreciate the feedback, it gives me food for thought!

Wally
3 years ago

Hi court I was wondering since you rode the Turbo x 2015 and the trek XM 700 which bike did you like better I can buy the turbo x for roughly 2500 however the XM 700 2016 is 3500 do you think the extra money is worth it they both have outstanding reviews?

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Court
3 years ago

Hi Wally! This is a really difficult question to answer because yes… both are awesome ebikes. I prefer the Turbo X because the battery is integrated vs. the external Bosch but I actually love the mid-drive motor on the XM 700 and would choose it if I weighed more and was planning to climb a lot of hills. It’s going to be louder, wear the chain and sprockets a bit more and possibly ride less comfortably because the suspension is shorter travel but the bike does weigh about 3 lbs less. I just launched the new compare tool and here are the two bikes side by side with as much info as I could gather. Hope this helps!

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Bob A
3 years ago

Hi Court. I am interested in purchasing the Turbo X from my local dealer at a discount. My concerns are that there are no brake motor inhibitors on this bike. Is this a safety issue and why would Specialized build a bike without them? It seems that most of the bikes you review have them. In addition, the fact that you cannot turn on/off the lights is also odd being the company has a very good eye for detail on their bikes. The travel charger not being able to charge on the bike is also odd. Perhaps it was intended to be done off the bike only while being on the road and about?? Despite my Cons, I would still consider purchasing this bike over many others I have reviewed. Keep up the GREAT work Court! You are the best!

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Court
3 years ago

Hi Bob! The Turbo X is my favorite road model from Specialized so far and if you have access to a discount… sounds like it could be a great bike. I’ll try to address your concerns. Since the motor uses a torque sensor you don’t really need inhibitors as much, I believe it may actually have one on the right lever to engage regenerative braking but I can’t say for sure, it seems like some had that and maybe others did not. Not being able to turn off the headlight really bothers me and that’s the one major gripe and true “miss” in my opinion, but at least it has a light ;) and the concern about on-bike charging seems odd to me, I thought you could charge on or off the bike? It will just go slower with the portable charger than the fancier fast one that’s included. Hope this helps!

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Austin
3 years ago

Great write up. I’m not so sure I’d recommend Specialized to anyone after my experience with them after buying my Specialized Turbo X. Check the story out here. It gives you pause when you learn that such a major company can be so terrible to customers. Austin

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Court
3 years ago

Thanks for sharing your experience Austin, I’m sorry you had to suffer through the waits and non-response to figure out that the rack system wouldn’t work for the Turbo X… I hope your story helps other people who might be considering the bike and I hope Specialized handles things differently (both with information availability and support) for people like you in the future :(

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Will
3 years ago

Hey there everyone. Wow, this is crazy love this site. Ok, I would really appreciate any advice that I can get. Im one of those people who will research for months prior to making a purchase so that if I must spend a good deal of money, I will do it one time. I live in Los Angeles, have a 20 mile round trip commute which I currently do by a mixture of light rail and a Trek Soho (sold my car). Im trying to decide if I should buy a 2015 Turbo for $2500. A large reputable dealer in Culver City has them on sale. I fully understand the mechanics and electrical theories behind the bike, but I’d like to know if you think that this bike can actually be my sole mode of transportation. Should I get the good deal or wait, save, and get something from Specialized or Stromer in the 5000$ range? Oh, so the commute is about 20 miles 5 days per week, and maybe 50 miles on Saturday and Sunday each. I test rode a Turbo 4 weeks ago and loved it but I couldnt ride for long so I cant say for sure how it really will be. I’m 5’9″, 155, in pretty good shape, and want to maintain at least 20mph without sweating. My commute through metro LA, through downtown, and into an industrial area. Pretty flat I would say.

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Court
3 years ago

Hi Will, the most reliable drivetrain for commuting (with the ability to replace batteries in the future) seems to be Bosch. The Turbo X is going to be replaced by the Vado later this year and I don’t know enough about it (except that it will use the Brose motor and a custom battery pack) to say whether you should wait. I personally would consider a speed pedelec from Bulls with Bosch or one of the new Riese & Müller bikes given your aim towards reliability and quality. The Turbo X is an awesome bike and if you want a deal… then yeah, that’s great. But if you want something that has a higher likelihood of lasting and being fixable with replaceable batteries then Bosch is the best. I hope this helps!

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