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2021 Specialized Turbo Como SL: Premium Electric Bike

Read our Specialized Turbo Como SL review to learn all the features, benefits, and some minuses, and why we think Specialized Turbo Como SL is a good buy.

The demand for electrical bikes has skyrocketed in the last few years. People have always loved riding bicycles. They give you a taste of freedom and ebikes only heighten those feelings. Now you can ride carelessly, without breaking a sweat, for miles and miles.

Specialized Turbo Como SL will help you in urban and off-road adventures. We are absolutely sure it will become your new BFF. Let us explain what makes this ebike so special.

Specialized Electric Bikes

Turbo Como SL electric bike is the newest addition to the already impressive Specialized family.

For those of you who want to know more about the Specialized company, let’s just say that they have been around since 1974, employ more than 1000 people and focus on manufacturing lightweight electric bikes that can rival traditional bikes.

Specialized employees
Image: Specialized

Previous Specialized models include visually and technically more sporty and off-road models like Specialized Turbo Vado, Turbo Creo, Turbo Levo, and Turbo Kenevo.

Now, Specialized company has introduced two Turbo Como SL versions, where SL stands for super light – Specialized Turbo Como SL 4.0 Electric bike priced at $ 4,000 and Specialized Turbo Como SL 5.0 Electric Bike priced at $ 4,800.

With this new addition to the family, Specialized wants to bring electric bikes to casual urban riders who have other needs than just going riding – carrying groceries for one.

The main difference between the two models, besides the price tag, is that the 5.0 model is equipped with a Shimano Alfine 8-speed internally geared drivetrain, while the 4.0 model comes with a Shimano Nexus 5-speed internally geared drivetrain. Also, with the more expensive model, upgrades like Turbo Connect Display (TCD) come as standard, while you will have to pay for them with the more basic, cheaper model.

In this review, we will focus on the Specialized Turbo Como SL 5.0 model.

Turbo Como SL features we love at first glance

It was love at first sight. After just looking at it, and not knowing anything about its features, Specialized Turbo Como seemed just right. It is a sleek cruiser electric bike, but it also has thick, sturdy tires that can take you off-road without worries. It is super versatile which is a plus in any field.

We simply love the shape of the frame because it allows you to sit upright, and have everything under control. The step-through frame is easily approachable which is a must for an urban commuter. Commute and grocery runs can be done effortlessly.

The frame is also lightweight which is highly desirable for a practical urban electric bike. If you want to take it inside, you can carry it upstairs, which is hard to do with other electric bikes. A genius designer put a handle right in the middle of the frame that makes carrying it much easier.

Another thing that immediately catches the eye is how everything is integrated into the frame. You can’t see the cables, battery, or the motor, which makes you second-guess when you see it passing by – is this an electric bike or not? Going stealthy does sound appealing.

Also, Specialized Turbo Como SL comes with an integrated basket, integrated lights, fenders, and a rear rack. This is every urban commuter’s dream come true.

All this is evident from the first look at the bike. The less obvious features we’ll explain in the Specifications section. So, read on.


Brand: Specialized

Model: Turbo Como SL 5.0

Body position: upright, relaxed

Suggested use: commuting and cruising

Electric bike class: Class 3 Mode – 28 mph with pedal assist (pedelec)

Assistance: Eco, Sport, Turbo

Riding mode: torque sensed pedal assistance

Warranty: Lifetime for the frame and 2 years for electronics and other parts

Weight: 47.2 lbs (21.4 kg)

Battery: Lithium-ion, 331 wh down tube battery (removable with tools)

Battery weight: 3.96 lbs (1.79 kg)

Range Extender: removable, adds up to 93 miles of range

Specialized Turbo Como SL rear view
Image: Specialized

Charge time: 2.5 hours

Frame type: mid-step

Frame material: lightweight E5 aluminum with reflective stickers

Frame size: 3 options (14.96 in (37.99 cm), 15.35 in (38.98 cm) and 16.54 in (42.01 cm)

Frame colors: brassy yellow, brushed silver, smoke

Dimensions: Large Measurements: 16.54″ Seat Tube Length, 17″ Reach, 25″ Virtual Top Tube, 23″ Stand Over, 30.5″ Minimum Saddle Height, 42″ Maximum Saddle Height, 28″ Width, 76.5″ Length, 47.5″ Wheelbase

Motor: Specialized SL 1.1 240 watts motor (quiet, lightweight, mid-mounted geared motor)

Motor weight: 4.3 lbs

Min range – Max range: 35 miles (56 km) – 75 miles (121 km)

Display: Turbo Connect Unit (TCU) and Turbo Connect Display (TCD) Removable 2.125″ Grayscale LCD

Gearing details: Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub gear with Gates belt drive

Brake system: TRP Flow hydraulic disc brakes

Tires: Specialized Nimbus 2 tires 27.5 x 2.3 in

Wheel size: 27.5 in (69.85cm)

Lights: front and back lights are integrated and always on

Top speed: 28 mph (45 kph)


  • Super light. Specialized achieved this by using a custom lightweight motor, a light battery, and a light aluminum frame. You can pick up your ebike and carry it up and down the stairs without a problem.
  • Everything is integrated. Firstly, the battery, motor, internal gear hub, and cables are fully integrated into the frame. This way they are hidden from sight, safe, and protected from outside elements. There is no grease, and no dirt, which means less maintenance. Second, the basket, front and rear lights, and fenders are also integrated which will discourage potential thieves. Thirdly, the bike looks stealthy, almost not electric.
  • Pedal-assist. There are 3 different modes of pedal assistance. You can also turn it completely off. This is great for days when you want to pedal more and get some exercise like with a traditional bike.
  • Smart ebike. Smart features are a big plus for Turbo Como SL. Specialized bikes have a smartphone app called Mission Control app that you can link to your bike. You can track all kinds of data – bike routes, battery range, optimizing consumption, service needs, recording rides, sharing with friends, etc.
  • Renowned brand. Specialized is a long-lasting company with a great reputation. You can count on quality, professional service, and parts being available. With your ebike, you will get a manual, and care and use instructions. Let’s not forget the best part – Specialized offers a great lifetime warranty for the frame.
  • Rider-friendly frame. Firstly, the frame is great because it is lightweight. Secondly, the frame has a handle in the middle that you can use to pick it up easily. Thirdly, the low step is highly convenient for urban rides. It makes the bike more approachable than other sporty models.
  • Thick, sturdy, grippy tires. You can feel confident these tires will survive many urban rides and off-road ones. Thanks to thicker tires ebike feels super steady.
  • Customization. When buying, you have plenty of options to choose from their website. With a few clicks, choose between 3 colors, 3 frame sizes, additional components, and accessories, and specialized technicians will build your dream ebike for you.
  • 3 Frame sizes. Riders of all heights will have no problem finding the right fit.
  • Range extender. This is an added battery the size of the water bottle and looks like one too. It adds an impressive 160 wh and is surely a must-buy. It can be easily removed for charging and storage.
  • Lights. Lights are fully integrated and powered by an internal battery. They are ultra-bright and always on (when the ebike is on).
  • Free Shipping. Specialized offers free shipping on orders over $75. This is great news for not only when you buy your ebike, but also after, if you want to buy the additional range extender, for example.


  • Price. Turbo Como SL is more expensive than most electric bikes. You have to research other ebikes you are considering and weigh in on the pros and cons. Specialized does include a lot of features into the price eliminating the need for extra shopping.
  • Pedal-assistance. With this type of bike, you are still expected to ride it and use some of your force. Therefore we can’t recommend it to older people or people with disabilities. If you are not familiar with the pedelec type of ebikes, we suggest reading our article Three-Class Electric Bike System Explained.
  • Battery is integrated. This means it is non-removable (unless you’re a skilled technician). So, when you want to charge the battery, you have to park your entire ebike close to the power outlet. You can’t take out the battery just for charging. Also, it means that you have to be more cautious when it comes to the storage of your ebike. You can’t leave it outside when it’s too hot or cold. Another thing to consider is buying a suitable bike rack that can take the weight.
  • Battery has modest capacity. Without the Range extender, you are looking at 2 hours of biking. Specialized kind of forces you to go with the Range extender.
  • No suspension. While cruising in the city, you may not even notice this. But if you decide to go somewhere bumpier, you could feel the difference.
  • Rear rack is pannier-only. The rear rack is not suited for other loads (like child seat for example).

Final Verdict

The new Turbo Como SL electric bike from Specialized is a piece of luxury indeed. No wonder iJustine decided to give it a go. We admit, she made us take a second look at its features and benefits. And we expect it will be a Specialized bestseller.

The overwhelming pros should win over those few pesky cons. Turbo Como SL is one of the lightest electric bikes, offers smooth assistance and many additional features that will satisfy modern-day riders looking for versatility and low maintenance.

Tell us about your experiences riding the Turbo Como SL in the comments below. We hope you enjoy it.