Video: Specialized Turbo, the 'world's fastest' electric bike

By BikeRadar | Wednesday, March 28, 2012 4.00pm

Specialized launched a new bike today – but it won't be available in the US, and perhaps the UK too, because it's too fast! 

Three years in development, the €5,499 Turbo, which is Specialized's first production electric bike, has been designed specifically to be "the fastest and best e-bike ever". However, its top assisted speed of 45km/h (28mph) is 13km/h faster than is allowed under US federal law and 20km/h more than is permitted in the EU*, including Britain.

In a letter to press and dealers, product manager Marc Faude admitted: "Due to regulatory requirements, there are many markets, including the USA, where the Turbo is simply too fast to be legal." 

Key features of the new bike include a 250 watt rear hub motor, a 342Wh lithium-ion battery that's integrated into the down tube and is said to recharge in just two hours, and carbon fibre Magura MT series disc brakes with a regenerative charging feature. “You can get an hour on full speed,” Ben Delaney, Specialized’s global marketing manager told BikeRadar via email. “The engineering team has done several 40km rides at top speed on mostly flat terrain.”

There's also a wireless handlebar unit that shows power level and battery status, lets you operate the bike's integrated LED lights, and also includes normal bike computer features like speed, time and distance. Check out our image gallery and the spec at the bottom of the page for more details.

Pricing is set at €5,499 and the bike is due to go on sale in limited numbers in May, with further shipments due to arrive throughout the autumn. Specialized tell us availability will be limited to "just Europe for now". The first 50 Turbos will be sent to select dealers in April for use as demo bikes

In his letter, Faude said: "The Specialized Turbo is a powered performance urban bike, with an integrated electric motor and battery that offers a top assisted speed of 45km/h. Whatever you do, don’t call it a pedelec – this is a new category of urban bike that looks, feels and rides unlike any other.

"The most important feature of the new Turbo is its speed – everything about its design, and every engineering decision made during the three years of development, was centred on making this bike the fastest and best e-bike ever. We're confident that we’ve succeeded. Once you ride one, we think you’ll agree."

The specialized turbo's alloy frame certainly looks sleek (as e-bikes go): the specialized turbo's alloy frame certainly looks sleek (as e-bikes go)

You can see the Turbo in action in the video below:

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And here's an explanation of the concept behind it:

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Specialized Turbo specification

  • Frame: Specialized Turbo alloy, integrated down tube battery, internal cable routing, tapered head tube, X12 through-axle rear dropouts, full mudguard/rack mounts
  • Fork: Specialized Turbo custom alloy, tapered steerer, Q15 dropouts, mudguard eyelets and lowrider mounts
  • Headset: 1-1/8in Campagnolo-style upper cartridge bearing, 1-1/2in lower integrated
  • Stem: CrankBrothers Cobalt, alloy, custom polished anodised black
  • Handlebar: Specialized flat top riser bar, alloy, 680mm wide, 31.8mm, polished black finish
  • Grips: Specialized BG XCT lock-on, integrated right-hand side remote
  • Front brake: Magura MT Carbon hydraulic disc, one-piece forged caliper, 180mm Storm rotor
  • Rear brake: Magura MT Carbon hydraulic disc, one-piece forged caliper, 180mm Storm rotor, integrated switch to activate regenerative braking
  • Brake levers: Magura MT Carbon
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM X0, 10-speed, long cage
  • Shift lever: SRAM DoubleTap flat bar trigger, 10-speed (right side only)
  • Cassette: SRAM PG 1030, 10-speed, 11-36t, black finish
  • Chain: KMC X10 NP, black
  • Crankset: FSA Gossamer Turbo BB30, alloy, 1x10, 4mm carbon guard
  • Chainring: FSA 48t alloy, 110mm BCD, five-arm
  • Bottom bracket: FSA 386 Mega Evo outer-style, includes BB tool
  • Pedals: Specialized platform
  • Rims: Jalco DD32, 622x26c, double-wall alloy disc, non-eyelet, 36-hole
  • Front hub: Formula SP9177, alloy bolt-on disc, 15mm through-axle, 36-hole
  • Spokes: DT Champion stainless steel, 2mm (front); DT Alpine, stainless steel, 2.34/2mm (rear)
  • Front tyre: Specialized Electrak, 700x45c, wire bead, Armadillo protection, 60tpi
  • Front tyre: Specialized Electrak, 700x45c, wire bead, Armadillo protection, 60tpi
  • Inner tubes: Kenda PV 32, presta valves
  • Saddle: Specialized Body Geometry Targa Pro, 155mm, carbon rails
  • Seatpost: Specialized Turbo, carbon, 30,9mm, 400mm
  • Seat clamp: JD, anodised black
  • Motor: Specialized Turbo Direct Drive rear hub motor, 250 watt, waterproof connector
  • User Interface: Illuminated display, wireless remote thumb control, integrated grip mount
  • Battery: Specialized Turbo Integrated down tube battery, self-locking key release, on-board or outside bike charge capable, LED power indicators, start-up diagnostic feature, magnetic connectors, 432Wh capacity
  • Charger: Specialized Turbo quick-charge, magnetic connectors, top-view LED indicator, custom fanless design for total silence, two hours for full charge

* Under a 2004 European Directive, electric bikes are allowed a maximum assisted speed of 25km/h (15.6mph). However, some European nations have got around this by introducing a 'superbike' class of e-bike that slots in between bicycles and mopeds. For example, Germany’s ‘leichtmofa’ class includes electric bikes capable of assistance up to 45km/h (28mph) and with up to 500 watt motors. A licence and insurance is required but not a helmet and the bikes are not allowed on bike paths. 

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