Performance E-road bikes make the hills easier. Is that what we want?
t’s a hot July day in Brussels, Belgium, and WorldTour teams are preparing for stage 1 of the 2019 Tour de France. Auto traffic clogs to a standstill—typical on any day in this city. On the other side of town, I’m preparing for something else: my first ride on Specialized’s Turbo Creo, an e-road bike that looks, feels, and weighs a lot like your typical, non-motorized road bike.
It feels out of place at the Grand Départ of the world’s greatest race. E-bikes? Come on, that’s not high-performance. We aren’t here to commute.
But the convergence of high-performance racing, and mobility, in a city that struggles with incredible auto congestion and happens to be hosting the biggest bike race in the world, is strikingly fitting.
It’s only my third ride on an e-road bike, though I’ve already spent a good amount of time on both commuter e-bikes and e-mountain bikes. I’ve had a ton of fun on each one I’ve tested. But e-road? It seems like a bridge too far. Why would I want to make the hills easier? That’s why I ride road bikes, after all.
I may be a bit curmudgeonly, but I’m no purist. I’m here riding the Creo to discover what makes these bikes worthy of a performance rider’s time. By the end of my ride through the outskirts of Brussels, I realize I’ve had one helluva good time, just as I did when I rode the BMC Alpenchallenge Road One on the climbs of Switzerland a few weeks earlier. But I’m by no means ready to run out and buy an e-road bike made for performance riding.
It leaves me wondering: Who, exactly, is ready to buy one of these?
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