Design

Specialized announces new Turbo Vado, Como, and Tero e-bikes

We go hands-on with Specialized’s new commuter bikes for every kind of rider.

Evan Rodgers / Input

New rides

Specialized has updated two of its electric bike lines; the do-everything Vado, the accessible and comfortable Como, and is introducing a new Turbo: The Tero.

Evan Rodgers / Input

Setting the standard

Unlike a lot of other e-bike manufacturers that use off-the-shelf parts, Specialized designs its e-bikes from the ground up to feel as close to riding a regular bike as possible. I was able to ride the Turbo Como at a press event in Brooklyn, but before we get to that, let’s talk about the specs.

Turbo Vado

- Specialized’s do-everything bike

- Top assist speed: 28mph

- Battery: 710Wh

- Front suspension plus suspended seatpost

- 11 speed SRAM GX or AUTOMATiQ internally geared hub

- Integrated rear rack with pannier options

Turbo Como

- Made for accessibility and comfort

- Super-low step-through design

- Top assist speed: 28mph

- Battery: 710Wh

- Front suspension plus suspended seatpost

- 11 speed SRAM GX or AUTOMATiQ internally geared hub

- Integrated rear rack with pannier options

Turbo Tero

- A serious mountain bike that you could mount a child seat to. Or, you know, bikepack.

- Top assist speed: 20mph

- Battery: 710Wh

- 110mm Rock Shox Recon RL front fork

- 11 speed SRAM GX gear system

- Optional rack, fenders, and panniers

The bike-feel

Specialized has been making bikes since 1974, and you can see how that history informs the company’s whole design philosophy. As opposed to something like the Super73 where the experience is about riding rather cycling, Specialized optimizes all of its e-bikes to really accentuate the cycling experience.

In Specialized’s world, why would you need a throttle when you have perfectly good legs?

This brings me back to my demo ride on the Turbo Como. The step-through is low, so it’s super easy to hop on the bike. One of the first things you notice is that the handlebars are clean for an e-bike; the integration and cable management here is top notch.

The version of the Turbo Como I was riding had the internally geared hub and belt drive, and this really showed off the most important thing about Specialized’s e-bikes; the pedal assist integration. A lot of e-bikes have crummy pedal assist mechanisms, but at least in my short time with the Como, this is the best I’ve ever tried.

Evan Rodgers / Input

We’d have to review one of these bikes to really know for sure, but here’s what I mean: Taking off from a stop requires exactly as much force as you expect. Transitioning upward between gears as you go faster was almost undetectable on my internally geared hub model. The actual pedal assist action is substantial but reactive thanks to integrated torque detection. It’s good.

Evan Rodgers / Input

It’s smooth as heck

As I’ve written about before, our streets here in New York, NY are bad. Sometimes really bad. Luckily, Specialized really paid attention to rider comfort on these bikes, and it’s something you can really feel while riding the bike.

Evan Rodgers / Input

First, the company has included a beefy front fork that I was able to adjust when I arrived. Next, Specialized uses thick, wide tires to stabilize the ride. Finally, a suspended seat post smooths out any remaining vibration. It really is like riding a Buick.

Evan Rodgers / Input

The brains

The display is small, but that’s what you want. Specialized’s onboard computer will let you go crazy with data, or keep it simple with speed and range readings. There’s full app integration over Bluetooth where, among other things, you can digitally lock your bike after you’ve physically locked it up.

Evan Rodgers / Input

Pricing

Specialized’s bikes are never cheap, and the Turbo series is no exception. The model I was riding, the Como 5.0 IGH, is a top-tier model, and it costs $5,500. For people new to e-bikes, that number might be eye-popping, but it’s actually right in line with other premium e-bikes from competitors like Cannondale. Base models start at $3,250 though, which again is actually very competitive.

Evan Rodgers / Input

Should you buy this?

We would need to review one of these bikes to say definitively, but Specialized’s Turbo series are nice bikes. The question is, what kind of bike do you need, and what kind of rider are you? If you ride every day, then these bikes are definitely worth a test ride.

Update: We initially reported the Tero’s top pedal assist speed as 28mph, it’s actually 20mph. We regret the error.

Evan Rodgers / Input