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We live for big rides and new adventures. Seeing a new place aboard a bike, or even a fresh route in a familiar place, is one of life’s simple joys that keeps us returning to the bike. And one bike lets us enjoy big rides more than just about any other. For our ride in Flanders, the Specialized Turbo Creo is a simple choice.
An e-bike can look beautiful and deliver an enjoyable ride—which the Creo succeeds with on both counts—but invariably one of the most important metrics of an e-bike is battery life. And the Creo delivers here, too. Its battery, integrated into the downtube, delivers up to 80 miles of real world range; this isn’t baby-the-battery-in-eco-mode-on-flats-all-day range.
With its power-sapping cobbled climbs, Flanders presents a crucible for battery life testing. While Flemish cobbles can at times appear smooth, like decorative paving stones carefully placed in a quaint European town center, most of the time they’re anything but. Stone sizes vary. No gap between any two stones is uniform. And the stones don’t sit flush with the road; their edges jut forth from the ground, primed to jostle you off your line. And that’s all before you account for gradients surpassing 20 percent.
But despite these worst-case conditions, for our ride here, complete with visits to iconic climbs like the Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg and Kapelmuur, the Creo is more than up to the task. Relying solely on the built-in battery, we never once have to second-guess our remaining range during our 65-mile ride, even after peppering in stints of unleashing all of the Creo’s 240-watt payload. Have a bigger day in mind? No problem. Plug in a range extender and you’ll be ready to go up to 120 miles.
The cobbles present another opportunity for the Creo to shine. The Future Shock 2.0, designed originally for the Specialized Roubaix, was born on the roads of Flanders and northern France. Luckily, this road-smoothing technology, located at the headtube, has found its way into the Creo, making it perfectly suited to take on the Flemish cobbles.
The suspension can be rapidly adjusted by a dial atop the stem. When the cobbles come around on our ride, we crank it wide open, helping us float over the bumps instead of getting knocked around by them. And when the tarmac returns, we just as easily back off the damping.
The Creo is a perfect tool for any big ride and feels built for everything. And really, that’s because it is.