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Getting All the Details Right on a Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL

What does an average day look like for our pro bike mechanics? It's full of little tasks and repairs, all cumulating in a fully refurbished Certified Pre-Owned bike like this Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL that's ready for thousands of joyful miles.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Features

We inspect and service every bike that comes through our doors, but not every bike is in need of some big glamorous repair. In fact, most bikes are pretty boring. We replace worn parts and make sure everything is safe and functioning properly so the next owner is just as happy with their bike as the original owner.

This pre-owned Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo E-bike is a great example. In the grand scheme of things, it was in pretty good shape. There was no major damage or faults. But there were plenty of niggling little issues — the type of things you see on used bikes that many sellers might ignore. The attention and care our mechanics give every bike is why I love having these guys work on the pre-owned bikes I buy for myself:

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The Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL Fix List

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The S-Works Turbo Creo SL is one of Specialized’s top-of-the-line E-road bikes. The “SL” stands for “super light” and the S-Works Creo SL is one of the lightest E-bikes on the market. It uses a lightweight motor and battery, and most examples weigh between 27-29 pounds.

Of course, if you’re going to spend several thousand dollars on a used E-Bike, you’d want it to be in tip-top condition. Beyond cleaning and inspecting the frame and components, adjusting the drivetrain and brakes, truing the wheels, and replacing worn components, this particular S-Works Creo SL needed a few more small issues addressed: 

  • A firmware update
  • Stripped bottle cage bolts
  • Tubed rear (vs. tubeless front) 
  • (Technically) Incompatible chain

Firmware update

Specialized E-bike Turbo Creo SL firmware updateThis Turbo Creo SL was operating on outdated firmware. E-bike motor manufacturers periodically release firmware or software updates to keep their products up to date and functioning properly.

Most brands require owners to take their bikes to a dealer for updates, and as a result, most owners end up ignoring them. In most cases, this doesn’t result in any major issues, and an E-bike could go its whole life without an update and be just fine. We have the ability to service and update E-bike systems from all major manufacturers, so we perform all recommended firmware and software updates. 

Stripped bottle cage bolts

Stripped bottle cage bolt replacementWe literally have multiple drawers all full of replacement bolts. 

Stripped bolts are actually one of the most common problems we find on used bikes. Though some bolts might be “softer” than others, the culprit is often a low-quality hex wrench with poor tolerances which strips out a bolt head.

This Turbo Creo SL had stripped heads on all four bottle cage bolts. In some cases, stripped bolts will require special extraction methods, but one of our junior techs was able to get these out fairly easily with a Park Tool THH-1 hex wrench which has an integrated “Strip-Gripper” hex end that is very useful for removing damaged bolts. 

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Speaking of quality hex wrenches, the Park Tool THH-1 is about as good as it gets. A set is pretty expensive, but if you’re wrenching on bikes as much as we are, they’re invaluable. Every mechanic here has a set on their bench. 

Tubed rear wheel

Tube in tubeless tireThe sealant all over this tube indicates the previous owner flatted and inserted a tube to get home. We decided to replace the punctured tire to ensure the tubeless set-up would be reliable. 

The Turbo Creo SL showed up with a rear flat due to a leak where the valve attaches to the innertube. We have no set standard for whether bikes are shipped with tubes or a tubeless set-up (it will generally be noted in the product listing), and it’s up to our service writers to make the call.

Most mountain and gravel bikes will be sold with a tubeless set-up. For road bikes, it will depend on the particular bike. In the case of the Turbo Creo SL, it already had tubeless-ready wheels and tires, and the front was already set up tubeless. So our service writer made the call to have the rear set up tubeless as well and to have the sealant fully refreshed. 

An incompatible chain

12-speed Eagle chain on 11-speed drivetrainLooks cool, but this chain isn't by the book. 

Our service writer actually called a bunch of us over to check out the chain on this Turbo Creo SL. The bike had an 11-speed Shimano Dura-Ace / XTR Di2 drivetrain, but the previous owner had chosen to install a SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 12-speed chain. Presumably, this was done for aesthetics, since the oil-slick finish on the chain matches the color-shift paint on the S-Works frame.

12-speed chains are officially incompatible with 11-speed drivetrains, but we were impressed to see that the drivetrain actually shifted somewhat well. When SRAM Eagle was first released 7 years ago, some riders did try the Eagle chain with older 11-speed SRAM 1x drivetrains with some success. But this might be the first time we’ve seen someone try an Eagle chain on an 11-speed Shimano drivetrain. Even though it technically works, and the $100 Eagle chain showed very little wear, we like to do things properly, and sourced an 11-speed Shimano chain to replace it.

Our service writer examined every chainring and cassette tooth with a flashlight, just to make sure the 12-speed chain didn’t cause any damage or excessive wear. Then when the new 11-speed Shimano chain was installed, the shifting was noticeably crisper and faster. This S-Works Turbo Creo SL was ready to go!   

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