Lightweight and Easy to Use, Specialized’s New Turbo Como SL 5.0 eBike Is a Revelation By James Lynch

Ebikes are wonderful commuting tools, but if you don’t have safe street parking, lugging your bike up a few flights of stairs can keep you from riding it and send you back to your car. Specialized has a solution to this problem with the new Turbo Como SL 5.0. By using Specialized’s Super Light system borrowed from top of the line e-road bikes, the class-3 Turbo Como SL 5.0 promises killer power, convenience and comfort. 

While the bike is built like a cruiser, with an upright position and lengthy wheelbase that will have you feeling confident on the road, it does so without being built like a tank. Even with the battery and motor, the bike comes in just shy of 50 pounds. While carrying this up six flights of stairs might not be your idea of a good time, it’s light enough, at about 47 pounds depending on frame size, that most riders will be able to get it up their front steps, over curbs and up onto train platforms. 

Even after shedding those pounds, the Turbo Como SL is robust. It comes with a removable frame-mounted front basket that is capable of carrying up to 33 pounds of picnic-ready payload. The bike also comes equipped with front and rear fenders to keep you dry during a messy ride, and that rear fender has a built-in rack capable of carrying panniers loaded with up to 44 additional pounds of cargo.

Integrated racks and fenders are just the start of convenience features though. The bike also has a kickstand, as well as an integrated tail light and 235-lumen headlight. Because the lights are powered by the bike’s main battery, you only need to remember to charge one thing to stay safe no matter where, or when, your ride takes you. 

The bike is designed to require little maintenance, and to keep the occasional grime of bike riding away from you. It has eight gears integrated into the rear hub, and can even change gears when stopped, so that if you forget to shift down coming into a red light you won’t have to pedal hard to get started again—just shift while you wait for the light to change. The drivetrain also foregoes the standard chain in favor of a Gates belt drive that doesn’t need lubrication and will last for years. And Specialized even took the extra step of adding a chain guard to keep your pant leg from even touching the belt—which is already far cleaner than a standard chain. It’s a no mess, no fuss ride for folks who just want to pedal, not tinker. 

There’s a lot to talk about in this ebike, and we haven’t even gotten to the “e” part. The Turbo Como SL 5.0 uses the Specialized SL 1.1 custom lightweight motor—designed in-house—attached to a 320Wh downtube battery. The bike stays sleek-looking by integrating the battery, which is slightly smaller than usual for Specialized to save weight, into the downtube; those not in the know might not even realize you’re riding an ebike. The motor provides enough assistance to double the power you put in the bike and give you a claimed range of up to 62 miles on the lowest assist level, eco mode. You can even add an extra external battery, extending the range to a claimed 93 miles on eco mode, though the standard battery range should be enough for most commutes and errands. 

The bike also has a slew of additional features that make it a breeze to use, including disc brakes, a built-in lift handle on the frame, and an easy to read 10-bar battery level indicator on the toptube, where you can also select how much assist you want. You can choose from three modes: eco to extend your battery life, sport and turbo mode, which can assist you to a top speed of 28 mph. Even more impressively, you can pair the bike to the Specialized Mission Control phone app to fine tune your assist levels, record your rides and share them with friends. 

At $4,800, the Turbo Como SL 5.0, tops the price range for Specialized commuter ebikes. Because of that, it won’t be for everyone, but those looking to replace a car could find a perfect solution in this lightweight class-3 ebike with plenty of cargo capacity. 

We’re excited to see the Turbo Como SL 5.0 on the street, and love the trend toward lighter e-bikes, as they make incorporating assisted rides into your life, without sacrificing carrying capacity, even easier. 

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