First impressions - Specialized Creo electric road bike

"Specialized Creo, asks the question. Who wants to push their boundaries and go exploring?

As a predominantly road focussed cyclist, nurtured in the purity and nuances of the sport, was contemplating an E bike akin to selling my soul.

Was I about to be challenged on my misconceptions and lack of foresight?

I certainly was!

I thought I would set out a methodical process of comparisons to identify the differences a Creo would offer, however the immediate impact of the Creo put all those thoughts far from my mind as I set about exploring the boundaries of this sleek looking, Gravel inspired wonder.

The Creo, showed its versatility in the homemade trails of Cranham Woods. It was deep winter, fog hanging in the air following long bouts of rain. The conditions were a mixture of compact Cotswold gravel, deep mud carved by many an off-roader, wet leaves turning to mulch and slippery exposed roots. Not the breeding ground for speed or traction, however the Creo with its authentic feel and conventional look was easily up for the challenge.

I ascended the Slad Valley on the road with the E mode on level 1 of 3, enjoying the purr of the motor and Pathfinder Pro tyres. The DT Swiss wheels rolling nicely, feeling comfortable and progressive. In this mode I felt the motor only compensating for the extra weight of the battery and motor. Once raised to level 2 it was immediately obvious on the steeper inclines that assistance was there. Once on the top, I engaged level 3 ‘Turbo’ with the simple press of the top tube display button and headed onto the trails. I settled into the conditions really quickly. The tyres were by no means a natural choice for the terrain, but it made this a great test. I had already lowered the pressure to 25 psi on the Pathfinder Pro’s to give me access to all available grip and when I hit that first muddy section the extra input from the Creo gave me the confidence to push through. There were no “am I aren’t I moments” it was a case of keep pedalling. If I needed more power, it was there. Gear changes are all too frequent in these circumstances, they were swift and smooth, a significant plus from Shimano’s celebrated GRX rear derailleur, so slick, I couldn’t believe it was manual. The range on the 1 X system 11 speed was enough without disrupting my cadence significantly allowing me to take on the varying surface and change instantly for those sudden inclines with confidence. Likewise, the GRX hydraulic disc brakes were sensitive to the touch and totally reliable. Even when I let the bike go on a descent and wanted to enjoy the moment slightly longer than I should, the brakes brought me back in control together with the stability of the Pathfinders. The frame and forks are very stiff but with tyres like this, at the right pressure, who needs suspension!

The Creo is not an E bike where you can put your feet up and let the motor do the work, it is designed to be ridden and work with you. The motor is designed to assist below 15 mph, in reality this means steep inclines and off-road surfaces, where you get the added support and security to keep pedalling. This for me was the most beneficial feature, the Creo was encouraging me to go quicker or raise my cadence, man and machine working in tandem. I was still getting a workout. I was still practising my handling skills, but I wasn’t going into the red. Such a great tool for the joy of the ride. To explore territory usually too demanding or arduous to repeat too often.

With this in mind I sought the wildest of country lanes, the ones that are almost impassable on a road bike in mid-winter. Steep, broken tarmac, gravel and water everywhere with a band of mud or moss through the centre. The Creo made them all an absolute pleasure, encouraging me to find the next and challenge the bikes capabilities further. I could move the bike around, in and out of the saddle like any other bike, the motor situated in the bottom bracket allowed for a low sense of gravity that didn’t interfere in my natural balance. On this note, it was an issue when I went to ‘bunny hop’ a pothole and realised my usual technique wasn’t going to get the Creo as high as I’d planned. There were some comical moments and disadvantages of the extra weight of a motor!!

The balance of the bike is encouraging for any rider. The Creo looks and feels like a conventional bike and adds versatility to get all the benefits from a ride. The three motor settings allow for a managed effort on and off road, maintaining a fluid cadence promoting great training benefits whatever the season. It felt that the bike was telling me to go harder, spin more. The Creo wanted to open up opportunities whether that be terrain, gradient or distance. It was also a great tool for a solid recovery ride. Every component promoting efficient and effective progress, teamwork between man and machine.

The reality is that the Specialized Creo is a dream bike with striking looks. Equipped with excellent componentry. It offers smooth, seamless transmission of power with an encouraging push to go exploring rarely ridden outdoor beauty."

Thanks to Daniel for putting this together. Contact us to book a demo on the Specialized Creo.

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