Creo 2 hits the dirt as "most capable drop-bar ebike ever made"
Specialized has announced a powerful update to its 4-year-old Creo gravel ebike, which has been "designed to provide a confident and nimble ride on smooth pavement, broken roads, and even rough gravel."
"We started with our super light FACT 11r carbon, then gave the all-new Creo 2 geometry that’s ideal for dreamy days on the road, rough days in the gravel, and everything in between," said Specialized in a press statement. "Add in the increased power, torque, and unbeaten range-to-weight of the SL 1.2 system, mounts for racks, fenders, and a third bottle cage, and the Creo 2 is not just the most capable drop-bar ebike ever made – it’s the lightest in its class."
Powering the gravel ebike is Specialized's new 320-W SL 1.2 mid-drive motor, which is reported to be the quietest ebike system in the world. It's rated for 50 Nm (36.8 lb.ft) of torque, offers pedal-assist over three levels up to 28 mph in the US (or 25 km/h in Europe), and rocks a torque sensor that responds to power at the pedal for a more responsive ride. Motor characteristics can be tweaked using the new Specialized app.
"Since batteries are the heaviest part of any e-bike, the leading efficiency of the SL 1.2 system means you can run a smaller, lighter battery with the same or greater range compared to less efficient systems," explained the company. "It’s called range-to-weight ratio, and nothing comes close to the SL 1.2 system.
"We achieved the SL 1.2 system’s class-leading efficiency by optimizing its RPMs in normal riding scenarios. Electric motors are most efficient when they spin fast, between 4,000 and 5,000 RPMs. The SL 1.2 system’s internal reducer gears keep the motor running at those optimal RPMs while the rider spins a comfortable cadence of around 90 RPMs."
The Creo 2 comes with a 320-Wh downtube battery, plus an optional 120-Wh range extender can be added in for a per-charge range of up to 120 miles (193 km) at the lowest assist level.
Specialized introduced its Future Shock squish in 2016, which sits between the stem and head tube. When the front wheel encounters bumpy terrain, it moves up towards the riders hands to preserve "your forward momentum without slowing you down." The latest flavor riding with the new gravel ebikes offers 20-mm of travel, is claimed to reduce impacts by more than 53%, and combines with high-volume tires for a "smooth and compliant" ride.
The "category smashing beast capable of making previously impossible rides possible" is available in three model variants, and each can be accessorized with bags, racks, bottles and fenders to support extended trips. The rider/cargo weight limit is 275 lb (125 kg).
The S-Works version weighs in at just 28.5 lb (12.96 kg) and features a Roval Terra carbon drop handlebar, a Reverb XPLR AXS dropper seatpost, a SRAM XXI AXS 12-speed gearset, and SRAM Red eTap AXS hydraulic brakes. It ships with Roval Terra rims with Tracer Pro 700x47c tires, though there's enough clearance between frame and fork to accommodate up to a 29 x 2.2-inch tire. This one is priced at US$14,000.
The Expert comes in at $9,000 and sports a Specialized drop handlebar, Trans-X dropper post and a SRAM Rival/GX AXS drivetrain. The Comp model rolls with a SRAM Apex/X1 AXS combo, DT Swiss wheels, weighs 31.9 lb (14.47 kg), and is priced at $6,500.