Dave Morin, a tech executive and venture capitalist, posted his time for a recent mountain bike ride to the social networking app Strava and thought little about it. Until, that is, he bumped into a friend, Colin Brumelle, a former Twitter engineering manager and amateur racer who’d seen the Strava posting. “You’re cheating!” cried Mr. Brumelle.
Mr. Morin had beaten Mr. Brumelle’s time up the slopes of nearby Mt. Tamalpais. But to anyone on Strava, it was obvious how Mr. Morin had done it. His bike, as noted in Strava, was a Turbo Levo, a new, $7,500 offering from California-based Specialized. It is equipped with a computerized, electronic motor, which offers a subtle assist with each pedal stroke.