I’ve tested a lot of electric bikes at a wide variety of price points, but I’m never more excited than when Specialized launches another new ride. We’ve tried everything from the company’s first electric cargo bike (9/10, WIRED Recommends) to the electric mountain bike (8/10, WIRED Recommends) to a versatile gravel bike that can do it all (8/10, WIRED Recommends).
On paper, Specialized’s bikes might not look all that great. They don’t have throttles, and several models, including the Turbo Tero, have relatively modest 250-W motors to uphold European safety standards. However, it’s very obvious when you’re riding a bike that was designed by a bike company instead of a startup. The geometry is more comfortable, the components are purpose-driven rather than to check items off a list of specs, and the computer and sensors are calibrated incredibly well. Specialized bikes just feel comfortable and natural to ride. Instead of pushing a button to gun your electric motorcycle, you just feel like you have much more powerful legs than you realized. The Tero even conditions you to up your cadence, like a real cyclist.
Even Specialized’s paint jobs are classier. There’s one big downside to buying a Specialized bike, and that is the price. For Black Friday, many of our favorite bikes are on sale. Don’t see anything you like? Check out our Best Electric Bike Deals for Black Friday or our Best Black Friday Deals on Outdoor Gear.
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Specialized Electric Bike Deals
There are a bunch of different versions of this bike; we tested the version with a slightly different frame material (8/10, WIRED Recommends), but all of them are based on the famous Stumpjumper frame. Specialized engineers worked on the placement of the motor to make this bike feel as natural as possible.
Many mountain bike purists scoff and sneer at riding an ebike (they’re also illegal on some trails) but there are plenty of reasons why you might want one, especially one that’s as quiet and unobtrusive as the Turbo Levo. An engine lets riders of varying abilities (me) keep up with partners who are much stronger on the uphills. It’s pretty amazing to experience the fun of downhilling without the intense pain and sadness of climbing.
This is the slightly cheaper version of the Specialized Turbo Vado that made me fall in love with the brand (9/10, WIRED Recommends). Flying to the beach and all over my city on this lightweight ebike took a lot of the loneliness and ache out of that first pandemic summer. Like the version I rode, it has a tiny Specialized 250-W custom motor on a lightweight 36-pound frame. To be honest, if you’re mostly riding around a city, you probably won’t miss the carbon fork or slightly higher lumens of the lights on the 5.0 version.
We tested this bike (8/10, WIRED Recommends) and loved it. This is one of Specialized’s comfy, maneuverable mountain bikes that has been given a motor and tweaked a bit to turn it into an all-around commuter and gravel bike. For example, it has a dropper seat post, which is a standard feature on mountain bikes but is pretty handy for long commutes as well, when you have to lower your seat to put your foot down at a stoplight and raise it up again to continue pedaling.
I love the finely tuned suspension system, how maneuverable and comfortable it is, and that it’s available in a mullet-style configuration for downhilling. (I should mention that someone who is my size can’t make use of a bigger front wheel, because the smallest size frame can’t accommodate it.) It also teaches you how to become a faster, better cyclist—the simple display includes a cadence counter that shows you how much more efficient you’d be if you pedaled between 80-100 rpm, versus a recreational cyclist’s 60 rpm. This is the electric bike if you’re a recreational cyclist with perhaps more serious aspirations, or if you only want one bike and not a commuter, gravel bike, and mountain bike hanging in your garage.
So you want a Specialized bike and to spend under $3,500? This is it. Like most bikes, the Turbo Tero comes in different versions with slightly different specs. This is the entry-level version that doesn’t have quite all the trimmings. It doesn’t come mullet-style, nor does it have the entire commuter package with fenders, a rack, and a kickstand. But honestly, you might not need all those things or want to install them yourself—you probably don’t need fenders if you’re planning on spending most of your time on weekend trails, for example. Go for it and good luck.