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.