MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN) Thursday March 29 2012 10:47 AM MT—Specialized is entering the e-bike market — at least in Europe — with a sleek high-end model called the Turbo, with a top speed of 45 kph (28 mph).
You won't see it on U.S. roads anytime soon, though. Aside from the fact that the U.S. market for electric bikes is considerably less-developed than Europe's, the company says U.S. regulations bar the import of the bike, which has a suggested retail of 5,499 euros ($7,300).
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission classifies electric bikes with a top speed of 20 mph or less as bicycles. Faster e-bikes are classified as motor vehicles and are subject to a variety of state and federal regulations.
The Turbo's Li-ion battery is integrated with the aluminum downtube and the bike includes features common on high end non-electric bikes, such as a tapered headtube, internal cable routing, Q15 thru axles, Crank Brothers stem, SRAM XO 10-speed drivetrain and Magura MT Carbon disc brakes. A wireless computer on the handlebar is ANT+ compatible so it will match with heart rate monitors.
The company said the Turbo's custom 250-watt Swiss-built motor runs silently and charges fully in two hours. It also features regenerative braking so slowing the bike charges the battery.