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Specialized’s First E-Road Bike Looks Like a Speed Machine

It looks good enough to convince us that the category deserves our attention.

E-bikes are gaining in popularity. They’re a common sight in cities, and not just under the heels of delivery riders zipping up and down bike lanes — commuters are adopting them as an alternative to public transportation. And while getting around town without breaking a sweat is perhaps the most obvious application for e-bikes, they’re making headway elsewhere, too. E-mountain bikes are a (somewhat controversial) thing. Road bikes aren’t immune to e-ification either: Specialized’s new Turbo Creo SL, the company’s first e-road bike, is the exemplar of that trend.

The Turbo Creo SL, which is being promoted by current Tour de France leader Julian Alaphilippe, challenges the conceptions of why e-bikes exist — if they’re for daily transportation, or even just for fun, why would you attach a motor to a road bike, which is built for physical fitness? Specialized’s answer is simple: go faster, go farther. To make it happen, the company built a new road-specific motor, the SL 1.1. For an e-bike motor, it’s remarkably small and lightweight (4.3 pounds), doubling rider output and speed assisting up to 28 miles per hour.

The battery is as sleek as they come, housed entirely in the bike’s downtube and providing an 80-mile range. Specialized also built a range extender that mounts in a water bottle cage and provides an extra 40 miles of juice (it’s included in the top-end, $13,500 S-Works model; the SL Expert and SL Expert Evo models clock in at $9,000).

The entire build weighs 26.8 pounds, which is remarkable given that e-bikes so often wheel across the 50-pound line. The three-bike line drops this fall… but will roadies adopt it? Getting a workout isn’t the only reason to ride a bike; plus, the prospect of extending the max distance of a ride and exploring new routes has us thinking yes.

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