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Why no love for the Specialized Turbo S?

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Why no love for the Specialized Turbo S?

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Old 07-29-16, 10:47 AM
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Ray_R
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Why no love for the Specialized Turbo S?

My wife and I have been shopping for pedal assist e-bikes. We're retired and looking to keep moving as long as we can. We live about 500' above, and 3 miles away, from the fun area of downtown. We're in nowhere near good enough condition to ride up that hill......yet. We're looking for e-bikes to travel around town, run errands, do some 20 miles rides, etc. We'll only be riding on roads and paved bike trails. We both have conventional bikes that we use for exercise and short trips now. It's nice that the area we live in has lots of bike lanes on the roads.
We've test ridden quite a few e-bikes. Haibike, Stromer, Focus, Kalkhoff, Pedego, Faraday, and others I can't recall right now. The one that stands out as the best so far has been the Specialized Turbo S. The seamless power delivery, the silent direct drive hub, and their top notch components just make it a joy to ride over the others we've tried.
I've been doing a lot of online research. I see a lot of complaints about the Turbo S price, but not much else specific to that bike. I believe that "you get what you pay for". We're looking for a quality e-bike that will last us the rest of our lives, with proper maintenance of course, including battery replacement at some point down the road I'm sure.
Are we missing something? Are there any kits that could provide the same or better sort of experience we've had with the Turbo S?
My idea of perfect would be a Pinion gear set, 500-750-1000W direct drive rear hub, Gates belt drive, with the battery and controller built into the frame. 30+ mile range. Stealthy like the Turbo, Stromer, and Kalkhoff Integrale. Living in the Portland, OR area gives us lots of options for custom bike builders. But I would imagine my dream bike costing double that of a Turbo S to build. I'm just not willing to pay THAT much for quality. And with that much power at the rear hub, I'd think trying to convert an OEM Pinion/belt drive bike (like the KTM or Co-Motion) would cause issues without some sort of reinforcement of the chain stays and dropouts.
I'd like to hear opinions from the others here. But please be gentle. This is my first post.
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Old 07-29-16, 11:39 AM
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The only thing I don't like about the Specialized Turbo is that the controller starts pulling power 2mph before the speed cutout. The model I rode (base 2014 I believe) had a 25mph limit for pedal assist and would start pulling power at 23mph. I believe all of the 2016 models have a 28mph limit but I've read on EBR that they still start pulling power at 26mph and the motor completely shuts off at 28mph. Something like a Stromer ST1 will happily cruise at 28mph until you drain the battery. They are definitely the most 'normal' looking e-bikes I've seen but the way the controller pulls power annoyed me. If that doesn't bother you the base Turbo (currently $2500 on the Specialized site) is a good value. The Turbo S at $7k doesn't strike me as a great value compared to something like a Stromer ST2 which can be had with a 983wH battery (vs. 691wH on the Turbo S.)

If I were going the DIY route (and I already own a Juiced Bikes Cross Current so I have no plans to) I'd want a 1kWh battery, 1500 watts peak power and 1000 watts continuous direct drive motor with no speed limit.

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Old 07-29-16, 11:50 AM
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The aspect that I've "heard" the most complaints about was the rigid ride, which you can decide on for yourself. My bike which most closely resembles the "S" is a DD "city-type" bike with rigid fork and aluminum frame. Pretty rough ride (FOR ME) even on fairly smooth roads. Also, Dunbar's comments are always spot on, but 26 mph may be adequate for you.
If you like how it rides, you can't go wrong. Also, they had some earlier in the year at a big discount.
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Old 07-29-16, 02:06 PM
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This, to me, is the perfect design. Pinion 9spd crank, belt drive, 1000W DD motor, and the battery integrated into the frame. Looks like they mounted the controller out front..maybe some sort of headlight/controller box.

http://www.ebike-base.com/uploads/tx...ace_one_01.jpg

When I rode the Stromer, it seemed to rattle and bounce a lot. Shifts weren't very crisp and clean. Brakes squeaked. It just didn't seem as well put together as the Specialized. Did I find a lemon for my test ride? I really wanted to like Stromer, but both my wife and I agreed about the quality vs the Turbo S.

The bargains to be had on the Turbos were earlier S or X models. The S model got some really nice upgrades for 2016. We tried the others, and really liked the Turbo S. Of course, we liked the pricing on the others better than the S. But like I mentioned earlier, I'm willing to pay for top quality stuff if the value is there.

I should also mention we're looking for pedal assist only. We don't need no stinkin' throttles!

We have a local Juiced dealer we visited, but he didn't think the Cross Current would be the right bike to make it up our hill.

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Old 07-29-16, 02:15 PM
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Rode the Stromer ($10,000 variety) at the San Diego Expo and was unimpressed too. Wouldn't even consider one.
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Old 07-29-16, 03:24 PM
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Keep in mind that a suspension fork is a no-cost option on the Stromer ST1 Platinum and is available on the ST2 (not sure if free though) and the Turbo X comes with a suspension fork. Something like a Body Float seat post can be added for $250 to just about any bike. I have a Body Float on my Cross Current and it does do wonders to smooth out the ride (and is VERY adjustable). I rode the ST1/ST2 back-to-back with the Cross Current on several occasions when trying to decide which bike to get. The key to a smoother ride is not to over-inflate the balloon tires. The brakes shouldn't squeak if adjusted properly. Funny enough, the early Specialized Turbo brakes squeaked like crazy. That said, at 28mph an aluminum frame really does scream out for some sort of suspension post or rear swing arm at a minimum IMO.

The Cross Current is a great value for a speed pedelec but isn't really to compare to the higher end Stromer or Specialized e-bikes.

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Old 07-30-16, 07:53 AM
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The Specialized seems like a great ride at about $2,500, but I seem to remember seeing them priced at $6,000-$7,000. That's NOT value for your money IMHO. Nothing really wrong with the bikes that I know of other than the comments stated about not quite reaching their claimed speed cutoff limit and retail price.
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Old 07-30-16, 08:41 AM
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The 2016 Turbo S is $7,000. I'd love to find the same power (500w), DD rear hub, quality components, and seamless ride in an alternative for $2,500. But from everything we've test ridden, there's nothing available. Do you folks know of any we're missing and need to test?
We're not too concerned about a 2mph cutoff difference. We're not buying for speed necessarily. We need the more powerful motor to make it up the hill.
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Old 07-30-16, 11:38 AM
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If you don't mind converting your current bikes BionX has a 500w system that is dynamite and has a three year warranty on motor and battery. I rode a 29" MTB up a steep hill and was accelerating all the way. If you don't want to use your bikes, a Trek 4300 or some $500 city bike might make a good platform. You should have a good dealer in Portland; if not become one. Hopefully "350" or Powell will comment on the virtues of BionX. BTW, they have lower power, less expensive systems that may satisfy your needs.
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Old 07-30-16, 12:02 PM
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Yea, a 500 BionX would be right up there with the turbo S, I would say, all you need is a good bike to put it on... http://ridebionx.com/
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Old 07-30-16, 05:54 PM
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I see the OHM Urban 700 is using the BionX 500W system. The bike performance specs seem similar to the Turbo S, except the Turbo S does a better job of integrating the battery into the frame, and looks to have higher quality components. $3k price difference between OHM and Turbo S.
Anyone here own the OHM? Comments on performance, smoothness, noise, build quality?
There are no OHM dealers listed in Portland. Closest one looks to be in Seattle.
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Old 07-31-16, 08:02 AM
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I don't own an Ohm. I've ridden the 500W bionx powered Ohm. Yes, it's right up there with the Turbo S and the Strohmer. I have a 350W bionx on a touring bike. Bionx has been very reliable. Bionx does have the throttle option... I never installed it. If you really want to explore the world of e-bikes in the Portland area, I suggest you make a trip over to the ebikestore on Rosa Parks Way and talk with the owner, Wakefield Gregg. The ebikestore did the installation of my Bionx kit to my touring bike. However, they carry a bunch of different brands of ebikes and it is the entire focus of their business.
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Old 07-31-16, 08:05 AM
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Yep. Already met and spent time with Wakefield. Great guy with some real engineering genius.
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Old 07-31-16, 08:51 AM
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Ray -

My thoughts are simple regarding price. Hub motors are generally cheaper than mid-drives (Bionx is an exception there - very pricey). A quality hub motor, controller and battery (or mid-drive) are about $1,000-$1,200 retail ($7,000-$1,200=$5,800). Is the full-hard bike itself worth $5,800? IMHO it just seems pricey.

If hill climbing is needed, then mid-drive gives you a huge plus, but I understand if you are set on a hub motor. You say you have ridden several different/quality E-bikes, so I have to assume your choice in this regard is already made up for your personal reasons.

With that said, have you tried the Raleigh Misceo iE at about $3,200 retail (probably more like $2,700-OTD). I know it's not what you have outlined. It's a mid-drive with Shimano STePS system. has an Alfine 8spd "electric" IGH that shifts back into the gear of your choice when you stop automatically. The frame is a full-hard aluminum with carbon fork and light for an E-bike. Chain driven with tensioner (for the life of me I can't understand why they didn't put a belt drive on this bike?). Traditional bike look with non-stealth battery on the bottom bar within the triangle. Even if it's not your ideal "style", I'd give it a ride and serious feature inspection for the type of riding you discribed you will be doing.

Just my 2-cents YMMV.
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Old 07-31-16, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ray_R View Post
My wife and I have been shopping for pedal assist e-bikes. We're retired and looking to keep moving as long as we can. We live about 500' above, and 3 miles away, from the fun area of downtown. We're in nowhere near good enough condition to ride up that hill......yet. We're looking for e-bikes to travel around town, run errands, do some 20 miles rides, etc. We'll only be riding on roads and paved bike trails. We both have conventional bikes that we use for exercise and short trips now. It's nice that the area we live in has lots of bike lanes on the roads.
We've test ridden quite a few e-bikes. Haibike, Stromer, Focus, Kalkhoff, Pedego, Faraday, and others I can't recall right now. The one that stands out as the best so far has been the Specialized Turbo S. The seamless power delivery, the silent direct drive hub, and their top notch components just make it a joy to ride over the others we've tried.
I've been doing a lot of online research. I see a lot of complaints about the Turbo S price, but not much else specific to that bike. I believe that "you get what you pay for". We're looking for a quality e-bike that will last us the rest of our lives, with proper maintenance of course, including battery replacement at some point down the road I'm sure.
Are we missing something? Are there any kits that could provide the same or better sort of experience we've had with the Turbo S?
My idea of perfect would be a Pinion gear set, 500-750-1000W direct drive rear hub, Gates belt drive, with the battery and controller built into the frame. 30+ mile range. Stealthy like the Turbo, Stromer, and Kalkhoff Integrale. Living in the Portland, OR area gives us lots of options for custom bike builders. But I would imagine my dream bike costing double that of a Turbo S to build. I'm just not willing to pay THAT much for quality. And with that much power at the rear hub, I'd think trying to convert an OEM Pinion/belt drive bike (like the KTM or Co-Motion) would cause issues without some sort of reinforcement of the chain stays and dropouts.
I'd like to hear opinions from the others here. But please be gentle. This is my first post.

Here is a video of a BBSHD in action:

Specialized just isn't a good value compared to this kit. The kit if you get all the bells and whistles, charger, and go with the "Killer Whale" battery that is 48v 17.5ah (840wh) is about $1380 after shipping and taxes.
Here is the BBSHD Kit, $1380 if you pick all the bells and whistles + battery/charger: Bafang BBSHD 1000 Mid Drive Kit - IN STOCK!
Here is the bike I installed a BBSHD onto for my brother. $700: Specialized Rockhopper 29 - Cary, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex - The Bicycle Chain

I installed this kit on my brother's new Specialized bike and it rocks. Easy installation too. If you end up planning on installing this then all the tools you need are in a $40 and $15 tool kit on Amazon. So $55 in tools total unless you already have what is needed.
1.) $40: https://www.amazon.com/BIKEHAND-Bike...cycle+bikehand
2.) $15: https://www.amazon.com/BIKEHAND-Bicy...bikehand+crank
extra
3.) $8: 200piece 8inch Zip ties: https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters...ip+ties+8+inch

I bought my mom the BBS02 (750w) kit and it's great too. Her kit was $988 after shipping and taxes which included a 48v 11ah battery.

Anyways, I think this is a much better option than the specialized or most any other ebike unless you want a tiny fold-able one for the trunk. The kit includes a cadence type pedal assist, you can install a torque sensor that would add more quality to the pedal assist. The thumb throttle that comes free can be left off if you want.

Oh and if you look on Lunacycle's website on the same page you could purchase the BBSHD kit you'll see links to youtube that show you how to install all the components for the BBSHD kit so you can follow along for super easy installation. There were no hiccups when installing the kit onto that bike I linked.

Wish you luck!

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Old 08-01-16, 12:46 PM
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I've had 5 different ebikes over 14 years and have built my own. I ride in mountains and currently have a Prodeco Outlaw that I won in a raffle and an Optibike 1100 that I paid $12K for--both good bikes. If you appreciate quality and can afford it get the $7K bike--I find you get what you pay for. But my $2,500 Prodeco works fine for everything but over a 2,500 ft mountain--it can do it but not with aplomb. Suspension is good for the speeds reached on an ebike = potholes at 28 mph ain't cute! At least a good suspension seat post. You might be happy with anything from the Bfang Kit to the $7K Turbo S but I'd get what turns you on!! Take a look at https://optibike.com/pioneer-allroad/ Optibike started the high quality ebike thing long ago. Or go for the gold and get a used Optibike 1100R like I have & love. I do prefer a mid drive. Where are you located?

The Bfang kit looks good if you want a project but lots of wonderful ebikes out there! It wasn't like this when I started. At any rate be SURE to tell us what you get and how it goes...

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Old 08-01-16, 03:01 PM
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We live in Oregon City. At the top of "the hill". The same hill I wrote of in the original post.
Right now I'm torn between the Turbo S, Optibike, Kalkhoff Integrale, Focus Aventura, and a custom build using a local bike builder (Rohloff hub, E-Rad 1000w mid-drive motor, belt drive). I'm on the tall side, so I find a stock frame usually doesn't fit me well. Maybe the solution is to let my wife get whatever stock bike she wants, and I'll get the custom build. I really don't think I need suspension, other than maybe a BodyFloat seat post. I'm not going to ride off-road much.
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Old 08-01-16, 07:44 PM
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Ray - Many riders are finding out that E-bikes can support larger gear change percentages (~30%) than are normally used on pedal bikes (~16%). SRAM has done some research in this regard and many of the builders are moving that direction. I've heard of E-bike riders with Rohloff hubs doing double and triple shifts.

Nimbuzz - Maybe you can comment on this with your Optibike experience?

I've found that I only needed 2 or 3 gears to complete just about all my riding on normal ground. This is the reason I'm using a Sturmey-Archer 3spd IGH with my in-progress build (~33%). It won't be a killer off-road eMTB, but mainly bike trails and light off-road trail riding. The plan is to use 2nd gear as first and 3rd as 2nd, reserving 1st only for a ganny-gear low hill climber.

In my case, part of this relates to the BaFang mid-drive having 1-5 levels (or even 1-9 depending on setup). The different levels of assist act like an additional gear, increasing your speed incrementally.

Just another thing to think about and not sure if it is unique to BBS## mid-drive motor levels or all E-bike assist level changes...
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Old 08-01-16, 11:12 PM
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We still want to use pedal power as much as possible, and only use the motor for larger uphill battles. The Rohloff is ideal for that. Plus they have a solid reputation for being strong and reliable. Too many gears? Maybe.
The Optibike SIMBB 29R looks really interesting. And their website shows a summer special offering 20% off. That puts it right in line with the Turbo S price. But the Optibike has even better power and components, at least in my opinion. Stealthy looking too. The SIMBB seems to be a pretty remarkable feat of engineering. I know it goes against my "no throttle, only pedal assist" qualifications. But I'm willing to give it a try.
My wife and I may need to make a road trip to Boulder, CO in the very near future!

Update: What was I thinking? My wife reminded me that what we really want is a seamless pedal assist. We don't want a throttle-only control. She's right. I just got excited by the Optibike's clean looks, 600w motor, Rohloff hub, and belt drive. But, in the end, that's not the package we want if it's lacking the true pedal assist torque sensor system.

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Old 08-02-16, 12:19 PM
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Yeah, The specialzed is a nice bike. Originally it was $7000, which inspired me to build my own specialized turbo by putting a Q100 hub motor on a specialized Langster (entry level race bike frame). About $500 for the kit and $600 for the donor bike (which was laying around my garage).

someone here did post that they got the $4000 version (Turbo X?) half price at the end of the season last year. Certainly if you can get last year's model for $2000, that is a bargain.

I haven't kept up with the model variations, but they have a $7000, $4000, and $2000 version
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/turbo/66185
Not sure what the difference is between all 3.

Yes, I have gotten addicted to a thudbuster st on an electric bike
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Old 08-02-16, 12:45 PM
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You should read the EBR review:
https://electricbikereview.com/specialized/turbo-x/

The Turbo X is my favorite model so far in the Specialized Electric Bike lineup because it costs less than the original Turbo, rides super smooth thanks to the RockShox Paragon fork (with lockout) and looks mean in all-black matte finish (including the fork). Since late 2012 when Specialized introduced the first mainstream speed-pedelec to the United States (offering ~28 mph top speeds with rider input vs. just 20 mph) the Turbo has set the bar for what a truly purpose-built ebike can be. The battery is completely integrated into the oversized downtube and even features surface mounted bottle cage bosses! Very few other electric bikes have put this much energy into the details and three years later (today in 2015), it still feels like this bike is leading the pack. Sure, weve got the Stromer ST2 with some very cool technology and a couple of others that look great and go fast but given the dealer reach, reasonable price point and true cyclist feel of this bike, its an excellent choice for city riding and speedy commuting...

and
...The Turbo X had previously had its top speed pegged at about 26 MPH, however, the 2016 Turbo X is said to be able to reach 28 MPH, equaling the stated top speeds of the IZIP E3 Dash, Stromer ST1 and Stromer ST2.
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Old 08-02-16, 01:26 PM
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Yeah..... we keep coming back to the Turbo S. We tested the Turbo X, and found the S to have better components for shifting and braking. Plus the added power (500w vs 250w) and larger capacity battery (691Wh vs 562Wh) of the S were nice too. I'm a big guy, and appreciate the extra oomph up a hill and that they come in a XL size frame.
I also appreciate the value provided by the various conversion kits available. But at the end of the day, when you install them on a bike, it ends up looking like a bike with a kit installed. I don't mean any offense or disrespect to those who have them. I'm sure they're fine machines. It's just that I'd prefer to have a bike that was designed and built from the start to be an e-bike. I believe they'll handle and ride just a little better if they were designed to be that way.
Right now my wife is trying out a Focus Aventura on a 3-day rental. If it doesn't jazz her by the end of the week, we're going Turbo S!

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Old 08-03-16, 08:41 AM
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Still no love here at the $7K price point... Since price appears not to be a concern, check out the very nice offerings by Focus and maybe even Bulls if they make non-eMTB models. Those Kalkhoff's sure are nice too!
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Old 08-03-16, 10:20 AM
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Ray_R
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Have you tried the 2016 model Turbo S? If not, I'd suggest you give it a go and then decide if the value is there or not.
I've tried the Raleigh, Focus, and Kalkhoff bikes. In my opinion, they just aren't as seamless, powerful, stealthy, and well built as the Turbo S.
I'd really like to try that Optibike SIMBB 29R. But the only way to do that is a long trip to Boulder, CO.
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Old 08-03-16, 01:08 PM
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Ray_R
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We have a winner! The wife says she wants the Turbo S.
Now I have to chose between a Turbo S and the Optibike SIMBB 29R for me.
Has anyone ridden a SIMBB bike and can comment on the pedal assist and how it works? I watched the ebike review, and he seems to spend all his time in throttle mode and doesn't really comment on the pedal assist. Jim at Optibike says they don't use torque sensors.
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