Specialized Turbo Como SL review. Specialized como e bike

The Specialized Turbo Como SL is an imposing king-sized e-bike for daily cruising duties

TechRadar Verdict

The Specialized Turbo Como SL (or Super Light) doesn’t quite live up to its name; it looks, feels and rides like the substantial two-wheel e-bike that it is. However, it’s a success thanks to its practical design which in our case made it invaluable for a few miles to the shops and back for grocery top-ups. Central to the appeal is its carrying capacity, up to 77lbs/35kg, and the hard plastic basket on the front proves very accommodating, despite an overall bike weight of over 47lbs/21kg. If you’re not bothered by its bulk, the e-bike is a breeze to ride once you’re on the way, with a super smooth integrated motor and belt drive combination making a trip easy. The Specialized Turbo Como SL is less fun if you’ve got to pick your way through obstacles, or manhandle it into tightly packed bike storage zones. It feels quite heavy, especially on the front end. Overall though, this is a great e-bike for leisurely rides where you’re not in a rush, although there’s plenty of get-up-and-go on tap if it’s needed.

Cons

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Two-minute review

The Specialized Turbo Como SL is an e-bike that looks and feels quite special thanks to its striking aluminum frame design. It’s light enough to use without electric assistance, but works to best effect when you’re under power as this is quite a substantial two-wheeler. We loved the smooth belt drive, which beats a chain hands down, although gear changes were less impressive.

The overall quality of the design, build and selection of components on offer here is excellent. Ultimately, this is a very decent everyday cruising type of e-bike, ideally suited to anyone who wants to leave the car at home more often than they do at the moment.

The front-mounted basket is a real boon, and doesn’t move as you turn the handlebars, meaning the weight of your shopping doesn’t shift around either. We found the Specialized Turbo Como SL perfect for quick visits to the shops and back, although its imposing design might not suit everyone. A definite try-before-you-buy electric bike, we think.

Price and release date

The Specialized Turbo Como SL 4.0 costs 4,000 / £3,500 (about AU5,400), and the Turbo Como SL 5.0 is 4,800 / £4,250 (about AU6,500). Models began shipping in 2021.

Design

Specilialized is well known for its colourful and innovative bike designs, like the Specialized Turbo Como SL we tested a while back. The Specialized Turbo Como SL delivers more of the same, and the 4.0 model we tried arrived resplendent in a sort of brushed stainless finish.

A wider range of colors, including a zingy yellow, are available if you plump for the 5.0 edition. Similarly, the slightly more substantial Como SL 5.0 model offers eight gears instead of five, but either way the design is very much sit-up and step-through.

Our loan model was a ‘large’, and it certainly lived up to that. This is a bike that not only looks big; it feels big when you ride it too. It’s bulky, too – although it uses a lot of lightweight components, including an aluminum frame, the overall impression you get even before riding the Turbo Como SL is one of heftiness.

Nevertheless, Specialized has packed in plenty of cool features, such as its own Super Light System 1.1 mid-drive motor, an internal gear hub, belt drive and a pair of sensible foot-friendly pedals. On a practical note, especially for a daily cruiser-style bike such as this, there’s a built-in front basket (which holds up to 15kg/33lb), rear-mounted carrier rack (to which you can fit panniers up to 20kg/44lb), mudguards, lights and a bell, all coming as part of the package.

The riding position is upright and comfy, with the Body Geometry handlebars and saddle combination making things easy on you. Accessing the electric assistance is done by pressing the button on Specialized’s own design on the frame tube, as seen on other models in the portfolio with a supplementary handlebar–mounted computer giving you all the details about your ride.

The design is rounded out by big wheels and Nimbus tires that are fat enough to absorb bumps in the road, but don’t stray into fat bike territory so the bike hints at being easier to manage on a variety of surfaces. Stopping this bulky design is done via TRP hydraulic discs, which do just that very effectively. Meanwhile, propping the bike up when we’d come to a halt was done via a very useful kickstand accessory.

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Performance

We’ve enjoyed the Specialized system before and it’s essentially more of the same with the Specialized Turbo Como SL. Depending on how you ride it, and your requirements, you should get up to 62 miles in Eco mode and, naturally, less in Sport mode. If you’re looking to cover long distances, you’ll need to choose the model with the range extender pack.

Select Turbo mode and the range will drop considerably, although you will get to your destination that much quicker.

The intuitive drive system works with you, and we love the dynamic feel of the assistance, but the gear changing via the Microshift handlebar-mounted levers was less impressive. We’re not sure if it was the sample we had, but getting into top gear was vague and appeared to be slightly random.

Generally, the performance you get from the Specialized Turbo Como SL is solid, and you can rely on the power less if your cycling habits are more health-focused. The overall bulk of the bike does push you towards using the battery more rather than less, though.

When you’ve stopped there’s an integrated lifting handle in the middle of the frame, which is a neat idea, though a less realistic proposition during everyday use. Overall performance from the standard internal battery proved very respectable, living up to the figures above.

However, as mentioned earlier, if you need the bike to go further Specialized does offer a range extender battery pack, which can be managed by the accompanying Mission Control app. The trade-off to that will obviously be more weight. The Mission Control app is also a handy supplement to the standard bike, allowing you to tailor performance to suit your own riding needs and ability.

We also found that the Specialized Turbo Como SL e-bike was very capable in the wet, with a design that sits firmly on the road. Usefully, everything is suitably weather-proof too, from the belt drive and hidden battery/motor through to those big mudguards that do a sterling job of deflecting splashes from puddles.

Recharging the battery is done via a neat plug socket at the bottom of the frame, which is covered by a sprung flap to keep out the elements. The e-bike comes with a 48V charger and custom plug to make the connection, and we found a top-up from half battery power to full took a couple of hours or so.

First reviewed September 2021

Buy it if

You’re after a sedate cruiser The Specialized Turbo Como SL is perfect for relaxed forays to the store and back.

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Specialized Turbo E-Bikes Boast ‘Mission Control,’ Radar, Theft-Thwarting Motor

Specialized rolls out its next-gen Turbo e-bike collection with the Vado, Como, and Tero models.

Not that long ago, e-bikes seemed like a gimmick, a passing fad that functioned like a heavy sit-down motorized scooter. A couple of years of RD and quarantine, and suddenly, e-bikes are … cool? Sexy, even.

That’s certainly the case with Specialized’s new line of turbo-powered e-bikes. Launched and available worldwide beginning Sept. 21, Specialized offers three models: Como, Vado, and Tero. Each Specialized Turbo model boasts power, clever tech, and seamless integration.

“These new Full Power Turbo electric bikes are the smoothest, quietest, most powerful, and most secure ride from Specialized, perfectly suited for everyday commutes, workouts, and adventures,” the brand said in a press release.

Specialized Turbo E-Bikes

The company eyed three types of riders in designing its next-gen models.

The Como is its laid-back, step-through city bike built for cycling and e-cycling newbies or everyday runabouts.

Specialized couches the Vado as “the vehicle for everything from daily commutes to fast workouts to longer-than-planned adventures … designed to boldly take on the ever-changing landscape you’ll encounter as a daily rider, carry whatever you need it to, and keep you riding more often.”

Finally, the Tero is the brand’s all-terrain eMTB. “Tero’s strengths are the fusion of power, confidence, and versatility.

“Developed in concert together toward a single end goal, these attributes result in a strong, efficient, adaptable bike that is a joy to ride everywhere from city streets to backcountry trails,” Specialized said.

Turbo Power and Design

All three bike trims are available in standard (full power with 90-mile range) and SL (lighter, with a 62- to 80-mile range) and come complete with a 2.2 motor (90 Nm of torque) and a 710Wh battery for smooth, quiet operation regardless of speed.

Riders should expect top speeds between 20 mph (typical in class 1 offroaders like the Tero) and 28 mph (usual in class 3 commuters like the Como and Vado). range will result from lower ride assist settings. Specialized claims that the Turbo e-bikes produce up to four times more power than the human output on the highest rider-assist setting.

It also states that the acceleration feels natural thanks to intelligent suspension damping. A custom testing mechanism analyzes bumps to increase comfort and vision.

The brand pairs that precision with an E5 aluminum frame, an integrated downtube battery, internal cable routing, locking dropout, a suspended seat post, higher-volume tires, and an 80mm suspension fork.

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It adds DRYTECH fenders, a LED front and rear light set, a front rack mount with lock, and a 60-pound-capacity rear rack compatible with child bike seats. And the e-bikes are rated to pull a thru-axle trailer.

Ride Intelligence and Smart Controls

Where Specialized’s next-gen e-bikes stand out may very well be in their programming. The MasterMind onboard computer and Mission Control Bluetooth feature comprise the bike’s neural command center.

MasterMind Computer and Mission Control App

MasterMind dually integrates with the bike’s local systems and the Mission Control smartphone app. The MasterMind operating system is the conduit for Cloud-based software updates, range-optimization tools, ride history, essential hardware and diagnostic stats, advanced tuning intel, and antitheft control. Users can even adjust the degree of ride assistance, all through a handlebar-mounted display and the app.

The app’s OTA software updates deliver improvements and new features on a rolling basis. “As we learn and continue to develop from a software standpoint, the bike gets better over time,” said brand leader Ian Kenny.

Antitheft Turbo System Lock

A Turbo System Lock and the Mission Control app make up the Turbo line’s antitheft feature set. The on-bike System Lock technology ties the bike’s tangible aspects to its intangible capabilities.

By tapping into System Lock via the Mission Control app, riders can place their bikes in a virtual Faraday cage, and they can do so from just about anywhere. The e-bike owner’s Mission Control account allows them to remote disable and re-enable the bike motor and computer, plus activate and deactivate the motion-detecting alarm.

Garmin Rear-Facing Radar

Garmin’s rad new rear-facing radar detection holds down the security fort and integrates with the handlebar display. Garmin indicated that the detector, which is primarily designed for automotive traffic but can detect other moving objects, picks up on moving objects from a distance up to 460 feet (140 m).

And, of course, what would Garmin be without a readout? The Radar routes visual, audio, and haptic notifications to the MasterMind computer. A glance down at the display can give the rider info about approaching vehicles’ proximities and speed.

Pricing, Availability

As of Sept. 21, the Como, Vado, and Tero e-bikes are available in a number of finishes through Specialized and its many partner dealers worldwide. vary by model and range from 3,250 MSRP to 5,500 MSRP. Put some power in your ride over at Specialized.com.

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The Specialized Turbo Como SL proves practical bikes don’t have to be boring

Specialized has announced the Turbo Como SL (super light), a new version of its practical Como ebike that promises to be as fun as it is useful. The Turbo Como SL adopts the same lightweight design ethos that the company has used to great success with its Turbo Vado SL electric hybrid and Turbo Creo SL e-road bikes. It’s a direct attack on the same market segment targeted by Canyon with its practical yet stylish Precede:ON.

Full-length mudguards, front and rear racks and integrated lights are all standard kit. Specialized

At the heart of the frame is Specialized’s own SL 1.1 lightweight motor and a smaller than usual 320Wh battery that’s concealed in the frame’s down tube. The 240w motor is claimed to provide 62 miles (100km) of assistance in its least powerful eco mode, according to Specialized, and a typical battery charge will take just over two and a half hours. For those looking to travel further or a lot faster, a neat bottle-shaped range extending battery pack is sold separately, which extends the Como SL’s battery range up to a claimed 93 miles (150km). Because the Como is designed to be ridden with assistance its rider doesn’t have to be positioned in a way that maximises efficiency. Instead, this is a bike designed to offer a ride full of confidence and comfort. The low-entry frame maximises standover clearance and encourages a low saddle height, while a tall handlebar with plenty of sweep provides an upright position. Specialized has chosen to equip the Como SL with durable 650b wheels and its own Nimbus Sport high-volume 2.3in tyres, to once again prioritise comfort.

The SL 1.1 motor is controlled by the same top tube interface as seen on the Turbo Vado SL, which neatly integrates power and battery information. Riders will be able to gain a wealth of extra features and ride information as well as customisation options via Specialized’s Misson Control app, too. Specialized is also keen to demonstrate that the Como SL is an easy bike to own. Both of the models sold will use an internal hub gear, reducing maintenance and increasing durability over a derailleur setup. Hub gears are also simple to use and can switch ratios without the need to rotate the crank, making them ideal for stop/start traffic. The range-topping SL 5.0 requires even less maintenance thanks to the use of a belt drive. Both are also specced with front and rear racks, mudguards and integrated lights. The front porteur rack and basket are rated to carry up to 15kg (33lb) and include a top net to secure loads. The pannier compatible rear rack is rated to take 20kg of load (44lb) and forms an integral part of the bike’s full coverage mudguard. Integrated LED lights are included front and rear, while reflective highlights on the frame and tyres will also help with nighttime visibility. A kickstand is fitted standard, too.

The frame is sold in three sizes; small, medium and large, to cover riders from 4ft 11in/150cm to 6ft 3in/190cm in height.

Specialized Turbo Como SL 2021 model range and pricing

Specialized Turbo Como SL 5.0

The range topping Turbo Como SL 5.0 features a belt-driven Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub gear transmission. Specialized

  • Frame: Aluminium with SL 1.1 240w motor and 320Wh down tube battery
  • Gears: Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub gear with Gates belt drive
  • Features: Front and rear rack, full-length mudguards and integrated lights
  • Brakes: TRP Flow hydraulic disc brakes
  • Wheels and tyres: 650b wheels with Specialized 650b x 2.3in Nimbus 2 tyres
  • Handlebar: Specialized comfort integrated alloy
  • Price: £4,250 (international pricing TBC)
  • Weight: 48.5lbs/22kg

Specialized Turbo Como SL 4.0

The Turbo Como SL 4.0 is largely similar to the flagship model but features a less expensive chain-driven drivetrain and lower spec brakes. Specialized

  • Frame: Aluminium with SL 1.1 240w motor and 320Wh down tube battery
  • Gears: Shimano Nexus 5-speed hub gear
  • Features: Front and rear rack, full-length mudguards and integrated lights
  • Brakes: Tektro RKD123 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Wheels and tyres: 650b wheels with Specialized 650b x 2.3in Nimbus 2 tyres
  • Handlebar: Specialized comfort integrated alloy
  • Price: £3,500 (international pricing TBC)
  • Weight: 47.5lbs/21.5kg
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These New Specialized E-Bikes May Turn You Into a Believer

The renowned brand just launched three full-power options poised to change the game.

Are you an e-bike skeptic? As a long-time urban rider who is all in on the joy of human-powered pedals, I feel ya. But for more than a decade now, Specialized has been innovating in the electric space, building its own increasingly streamlined platforms from the ground up, dramatically rethinking road, gravel and mountain bikes to make them more accessible than ever.

And the brand’s latest news might be the widest-ranging yet: three active e-bikes — an overhauled Turbo Vado and Turbo Como plus the new Turbo Tero — that are smarter, quieter and more powerful than ever before.

I got a chance to test-ride the cruiser-like Como in Brooklyn last month, and while its step-through frame is not my go-to style, I came away hella impressed. It’s easy to mount (ideal for beginning riders), the controls are quite intuitive, and when you feel the need for speed, Class 3 pedal assistance kicks in seamlessly — seriously, Specialized has mastered electric power delivery — making any rider feel like a super-fast superhero.

The commuter-friendly Vado, meanwhile, has been a staple of Specialized’s e-bike offerings for at least four years; the latest generation boasts redesigned geometry for a quick, comfortable ride.

And the Tero might be the most versatile and intriguing of the bunch — a mountain bike-like beast that can easily go off-road or serve as an aggro urban bike with no fear of potholes.

While each bike has its own personality, the line boasts a number of unifying upgrades that elevate it above the rash of e-bikes launched in the past few years. Here’s what stands out.

These New E-Bikes Deliver Smooth Power

Each bike boasts Specialized’s own 2.2 motor and MasterMind Turbo Control Display, enabling you to toggle between three speed modes — plus a walk-assist mode — topping out at 20 mph for the Tero and 28 mph for the Vado and Como. There are three versions of each bike — 3.0 to 5.0, priced from 3,250 to 5,500 — with derailleur drivetrains on lower-end options and maintenance-free belt drives paired with internal gear hubs at the higher levels. A little pedal-assist comes in handy when you are zipping around town, especially with up to 60 pounds of cargo on the integrated rear rack.

The New Specialized Bikes Offer Theft Protection

An all-new Turbo System Lock lets riders disable the bike’s motor and activate a motion sensor alarm through Specialized’s Mission Control app. No one can revive the motor except you, crushing crooks’ dreams and increasing peace of mind.

These E-Bikes Pack High-Tech Safety Features

All the bikes have integrated lighting, while higher-end models boast a truly next-level feature. Thanks to a rear-facing Garmin Radar sensor, you can receive visual, audible and haptic alerts of relative distance and speed when cars are coming behind you. That might be a bit much for seasoned riders, but having the equivalent of eyes in the back of your head is a potential boon for less-experienced riders navigating often-chaotic urban traffic.

Speaking of safety, Specialized is also launching a new low-pro Mode helmet (complete with adjustable fit, discreet ventilation and MIPS) plus an aerodynamic new pannier called Tailwind. Just a couple extra carrots in the brand’s quest to get more and more people riding — electrically or otherwise.

The Vado and Tero are available today, while the Como is up for pre-order and will be available later this fall.

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