Specialized have radically updated their road electric bike offering, with a six-model Turbo Vado range that includes diamond and step-through frames and moves to the same Brose mid motor as the Turbo Levo mountain bikes.
We had a chance to take a look at these bikes at Specialized HQ this week, but they're still in prototype so we weren't allowed to shoot them in detail. We did get the full low-down on the new bikes from Dominik Geyer, the man at Specialized leading their development.
So what's new? Well, lots. The current incarnation of the Turbo uses a rear hub motor and a battery that's integrated into the down tube of the frame. The big change for 2017 – these bikes won't be available until the Spring – is that the Turbo Vado uses the same Brose mid motor hardware as the off-road bikes, albeit with different motor software (Custom Rx Street tuned) for on-road use.
Why Brose? "We feel that it's the best motor right now", Doninik told us. "The internal belt drive makes it really smooth and quiet, disengages above the speed limit completely and is much more efficient than the hub motor in the previous bike". The battery is recessed into the down tube again, but instead of pulling out vertically it swings out to one side. That change means that it's possible for Specialized to offer a step-through version of the Turbo Vado. It's not a super-low design but it will be more accessible to anyone with limited mobility. Or a long skirt.
The battery is a 500Wh unit that should give the Turbo Vado a very respectable range. There's a 600Wh battery too which will be standard in the 45km/h S-pedelec version of this bike; that won't be available in the UK, of course. The two that will – the Turbo Vado and the Turbo Vado Comp – will retail at £2,300 and £2,700 respectively.
The Turbo Vado will feature a removable display, powered from the battery. The prototype bikes we looked at didn't have the display fitted but there will be two levels, an LCD one and a touch-senstitive TFT. They'll be able to talk to Specialized's Mission Control app and will offer routing and mapping as well as the usual computer functions.
All of the bikes have a new front light using a special aspherical lens; Specialized have worked with a motorbike light manufacturer to develop it. The S-pedelec version of the bike gets a 600-lumen light while the two 25km/h bikes get 300 lumens. The Comp bike gets a RackTime-standard rear rack with an integrated rear light, too. It's mounted on a new DryTech mudguard that Specialized have developed specifically for this project. "We found that water coming from the wheel would work its way up the front mudguard and be released from the front, ending up on the rider", Dominik explained. "We've added two channels at the top of the front mudguard to move the water to the sides so that it falls back down to the ground."
All the UK-spec bikes will ship with a custom-tuned Suntour NCX fork. Why? "It's what the customers say they want." The s-Peledec version is currently slated to use a rigid fork but even with that bike Specialized say they're under pressure to offer a suspension option.
All the bikes use Shimano derailleur drivetrains, with the Turbo Vado getting a 1x10 Deore setup and the Comp a 1x11 XT drivetrain. Wide-range cassettes on both bikes should mean plenty of gear options for hills and flats.
That's all we have for now! When the production bikes land we'll be camping out in the queue for a test ride. Stay tuned.