Specialized unveils new lightweight belt-drive 28 mph comfort electric bike

Hot on the heels of a new ultra lightweight electric mountain bike unveiling, Specialized isn’t slowing down. Today the company is releasing a new ultra lightweight electric city bike, the Specialized Turbo Como SL. [Editor’s note: the prices originally published in this article were based on an incorrect draft of a press release. Specialized has […]

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Hot on the heels of a new ultra lightweight electric mountain bike unveiling, Specialized isn’t slowing down. Today the company is releasing a new ultra lightweight electric city bike, the Specialized Turbo Como SL.

[Editor’s note: the prices originally published in this article were based on an incorrect draft of a press release. Specialized has since provided the updated pricing information included below.]
As opposed to specialized’s electric mountain bikes like the Turbo Levo and Kenovo, or Specialized’s fitness-oriented electric road bikes like the Turbo Creo, the new Turbo Como SL fits in Specialized’s “Active” category of bikes designed not for racing but instead for getting around town.
That’s exactly what the new Turbo Como SL specializes in. It’s a comfort-oriented urban e-bike with an emphasis on utility for daily activities.
The bike is designed to provide a high-visibility upright seating position that is much more comfortable than a racer’s tuck. And to ensure the bike can handle a daily commute or errands, the frame is designed to accept a variety of utility accessories.
There’s even a frame-mounted front rack system that makes it easier and more comfortable to carry loads up front since they won’t swing with the fork when the bars turn.
The headtube features a steer-stop system so the bars don’t swing around when the basket is loaded down. The frame also incorporates a lift handle at the center of mass, making it easy to lift the bike with one hand when walking up a flight of stairs or onto a train car.

The Turbo Como SL ships with a flatbed rack for the front as well as Specialized’s basket that mounts to the rack, but the company also encourages riders to take advantage of the flat rack by adding their own custom accessories, baskets, and holders as well.
The German-made SuperNova light is mounted below the rack instead of on the bars to ensure it won’t be obscured by large cargo placed on the front rack or in the basket.
The bike’s cables are all integrated inside the handlebars to avoid interfering with the rack and cargo, and all-weather fenders add both protection and utility.
As the company explained:

“The Como Super Light isn’t slowed down by bad weather. We designed this bike for all seasons in all regions. With powerful disc brakes and wide Nimbus tires, you’ll feel stable and well-connected to the road. DRYTECH fenders deflect the dirt and water away from you, while integrated lights illuminate the road ahead. And the most important components—Internal Gear Hub, battery, and cables—stay protected from the elements and running clean.”

The bike itself is powered by Specialized’s proprietary motor design, which is around half the weight of other major mid-drive motors at just 1.95 kg (4.3 lb).
The motor is paired with a Shimano Alfine internally geared hub and a Gates carbon fiber belt, resulting in a quiet and maintenance-free drivetrain that can even be shifted while at a stop. That’s a nice feature to have when loaded down with cargo.
The motor is designed to provide a comfortable amount of assist, but not to overpower the rider. At 240W, it will also be legal just about everywhere in the world. The US version of the e-bike will offer up to Class 3 speeds of 28 mph (45 km/h), while the European version will be limited to a maximum of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) to comply with local regulations. Specialized placed extra emphasis on designing the motor to be as natural feeling as possible, so the rider won’t notice large changes in power when the motor activates, or sudden drops in power when the rider’s pedaling exceeds the motor’s assist speed.
As product lead for Specialized’s Turbo bikes Marco Sonderegger explained to Electrek:

“We could have gone the easy route and buy a Bosch system or a complete system from Shimano or another brand. But then you can’t change anything. And what we do is totally different.”

Marco described how Specialized designs all of its own components so that they can have complete control over the smallest details that effect the rider experience and the feel of the bike. Even down to the physical holders of the battery cells, Specialized customizes everything to create that unique experience.
Details like those custom battery holders help Specialized cram a 320 Wh battery into the downtube while keeping the frame from looking bloated like many e-bikes. With an efficient pedal assist system, Specialized claims that the battery is sufficient for up to 100 km (62 miles) of range. An optional range extender battery can be slipped into a water bottle holder and add another 50 km (31 miles) of range. Using the bike’s Mission Control app, riders can choose which battery gets used first, or let them drain together. The range extender battery plugs right into the bike’s CAN bus, allowing it to communicate intelligently with the bike’s brain in the controller.

Other features that can be accessed via the Mission Control app include over-the-air (OTA) updates and Smart Control, a feature that automatically controls the bike’s assistance level for riders based on the desired trip length or duration.
A rider simply enters a distance or riding time and then the Smart Control function will modify the assistance level in real time to ensure the bike has enough battery power to get there.
The change in assistance level is controlled to such a gradual amount that riders aren’t able to feel the switch between assistance levels.
Smart Control can also be paired with nearly any wireless heart rate monitor to control the assistance level based on the rider’s heart rate, helping maintain a target heart rate or preventing the rider from over-exertion.
The Turbo Como SL 5.0 starts at 45 lb (20.5 kg), which makes it one of the lightest weight full-featured upright city e-bikes. While specialized’s other SL variants like the Turbo Vado SL weigh several pounds less, upright utility e-bikes are generally heavier by nature.

The Specialized Turbo Como SL is available starting today and comes in three frame sizes: Small, Medium and Large. The Turbo Como SL 5.0 starts at $4,800, while the Turbo Como SL 4.0 is priced at $4,000.
We’ve got a Turbo Como SL 5.0 lined up for an Electrek review, so be sure to check back for our complete thoughts on the bike soon.
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