Specialized Turbo Como
The Como is Specialized’s ‘cruiser’ ebike, built on the same electric platform as the Vado and Levo, with frame geometry from the Roll. It is simple to use, friendly to ride and more versatile than you might think.
There is no front suspension to worry about or maintain; instead the long curvy forks and balloon tyres soak up the chatter. The bike is well balanced fore-and-aft so standing on the pedals allows the bike to move freely, handling moderate bumps. Gravel roads (read: rail trails and forest tracks) are no problem, and you can sit relatively upright in comfort, with a well-shaped saddle (aptly named The Cup) cosseting the buttocks and an easy grip position on backswept bars. There are no gimmicks like suspension seat posts, but the bike felt comfortable all the same.
Handling is reassuring, with a raked head angle and long offset. This isn’t a bike with a mind of its own. There are two configurations – the low-entry as tested and a more traditional diamond frame. I’d be tempted just to go with the low-entry (available in pink and blue).
It has three power settings. I rode mostly in 2/3 using 3/3 up steep grades. On the flat if you are willing it will assist up to 32km/h, which is perfectly fine for its intended use. Under most conditions the motor is practically silent, just winding up a bit under full power. There is no throttle, and control through the pedals was perfectly natural-feeling. The pedals themselves are completely flat with a textured sandpaper-like finish, so they are comfortable even in thin-soled shoes.
The battery is 460Wh which is probably good for around 50km under most situations where you mix assist settings. I’d give it around 30-35km of all 3/3 at max speed. The Como 2.0 as tested has no mudguards, racks or lights. Specialized’s website shows the price at $5000 but I have seen these at the friendlier price of $4400.
Test bikes were rented from Gibbston Valley Winery.