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Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert Evo: Cyclist Off-Road's best e-gravel bikes

6 Aug 2020

With so much innovation in bikes, it can sometimes feel like cycling is leaving behind its core values. Yet the arrival of e-bikes offers us a chance to reboot, a reminder of the sheer enjoyment of being outdoors and exploring on two wheels. In this series we focus on some of the most prominent e-gravel bikes on the market

Specialized only launched its Turbo Creo SL range late in 2019, but by arriving late it has been able to monitor competitors’ products and aim to improve on them.

The Turbo Creo SL Evo is its ‘adventure-ready’ gravel model, including the Future Shock 2.0 adjustable front suspension system, 700x38mm tubeless tyres (clearance for up to 650b x 47mm), flared handlebars and a dropper seatpost.

Weighing just 13.3kg, it’s among the lightest production e-gravel bikes on the market, yet delivers a mightily impressive 130km range as standard, and up to 195km with the optional range extender.

Just like its Turbo road brethren, the Evo uses Specialized’s in-house developed SL 1.1 motor system, which, says Mark Cote, Specialized’s global head of marketing and innovation, was ‘the single biggest investment we’ve made in product development ever’.

‘Some existing systems are lightweight but don’t have enough power; others have plenty of power and range but are really heavy, so we developed our own with more efficiency, reduced weight and with more range.’

The motor weighs just 1.95kg while providing 240 watts of silent assistance. The company says the motor’s torque curve delivers power in a natural way, in the 90-110rpm range and with no surging.

It has a built-in power meter and creates virtually no drag when not engaged. Power is controlled from the Turbo Connect Unit on the top tube, or via the Mission Control App, which automatically meters battery usage according to the distance you want to ride.

Visually it’s hard to tell it’s an e-bike – it’s barely distinct from Specialized’s top-end Roubaix or Diverge bikes, bar geometry more suited to endurance and off-road riding.

Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert Evo specs 

Model Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert Evo
Motor system Specialized SL 1.1
Groupset Shimano Ultegra and XT Di2
Wheels Roval C38 Disc
Finishing kit Specialized Adventure Gear flared bars, Future Pro stem, 50mm dropper seatpost, Body Geometry Power Sport saddle, Specialized Pathfinder Pro 2Bliss 700x38mm tyres
Weight 13.3kg
Price from £7,499