Bike review: Specialized Creo SL Expert Carbon

A gravel e-bike that will let you take on pretty much anything, and put a big grin on your face while you're doing it

Specialized Creo SL Expert Carbon
(Image credit: Future / James Shrubsall)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

A supremely capable bike that is going to make the return to non-motorised transport a bit of a wrench. It boasts natural-feeling power delivery and as much of it as you're likely to need, as well as confidence inspiring off-road manners courtesy of the big tyres and the Future Shock suspension. Smooth shifting in the form of SRAM Etap makes for fuss-free gear selection and allows the rider to concentrate on having a blast, which is what this bike is all about.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Utterly confidence inspiring

  • +

    Useful range

  • +

    Natural feeling assistance

Reasons to avoid
  • -


  • -

    That's a toughie

  • -

    Can I say 'lack of flared bar'?

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

A bike that began its existence in road form, the Creo SL could not have strayed further from that path. This latest iteration is big, it's burly, and it looks ready to take on just about anything this side of a World Cup downhill course.

Front suspension? Check. (It's there in the head tube). Dropper post? Check. Tyres that wouldn't look out of place on a hardtail? Also, check.

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.

With contributions from