There are few cyclists who don’t have at least a small addiction to speed – whether it’s cruising down a steep hill or whizzing past traffic. If you really have the itch to fly down the road, you may want to check out the Specialized Turbo, an electric-assisted bike that can cruise at speeds of up to 27 mph. This is the first plug-in from the California-based company — the bike has already been rolling around Europe for a year, but US federal laws have deemed the bike too fast to be sold without calling it a motorcycle until now. The solution? A top-speed limiting gear that won’t let you break 27mph.
The Turbo earns its moniker by housing a 250-watt hub-mounted motor that is powered by a 342 watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. One of the few electric bikes that still looks remotely like a normal ride, the Turbo could easily be mistaken for a tricked-out, hefty mountain bike. The motor can operate in four modes, each regulating the amount of speed and power. A red button near the right thumb switches on the turbo mode, allowing the slightest nudge of the pedals to send the rider zooming, and an LCD display helps you keep an eye on your velocity. “Eco” lowers the assist to 30 percent to help increase range. The “regen” setting adds drag to the rear motor to help send power to the battery pack and recovers 5 percent of energy. “Off” gives the opportunity to build muscle mass while hauling the frame around.
Available in red and black, the rig is pretty hefty, weighing in at over 50 lbs. It can be charged easily with a cable that plugs directly into the wall, and it also comes equipped with an equally beefy travel charger that weighs 5 lbs. With no suspension and static tires, the setup is definitely made for the street. Components are fabricated by SRAM and contribute to the high end performance of the Turbo. So if you have $5,900 to drop and a hankering to get the upper hand on cars and the other wheeled warriors on the pavement, check out the Turbo. As for the rest of us, we’ll still be strapping on the spandex while you have already arrived at your destination.