MBA's Ultimate e-Mountain Bike Guide - Specialized Turbo Levo
• Drive system: Specialized/Brose
• Riding style: Trail
The big news coming out of Morgan Hill this year is that its flagship e-mountain bike has had a complete refresh.
Pretty much every aspect of the Levo has been redesigned for 2019, with Specialized claiming that the new model is the lightest and best-handling e-mountain bike on the market, at more than 2kg lighter than the original Levo.
Frame: The 2019 Turbo Levo uses an entirely new frame design, modelled on the revised Stumpjumper frame that debuted earlier this year with its distinctive sidearm design that improves stiffness and performance over bumps.
This, combined with additional mid-stroke support and a new custom tune specifically for the Levo from Specialized’s in-house team, means that riders should have more control on the trail. The metric linkage also includes a flip chip to adjust bottom bracket height and head angle.
Specialized has also redesigned the frame so that the motor mounts to it directly, rather than using a motor mount bridge as per the previous model. This saves 400g over the previous frame design, says the Californian company.
Wheels: Interestingly, Specialized have eschewed the 27.5 plus wheel size, instead going for 29-inch wheels with beefy
2.6-inch rubber. There's no doubt this will make the Levo handle more deftly on the trail, but the new bike will still accept a 27.5 wheel with a tyre size up to 3.0 inches if you prefer a larger tyre size.
Motor: The new Levo uses an entirely new magnesium-bodied motor, the Specialized 2.1, which is 400g lighter and 15% smaller than the previous motor. Specialized reckons the new motor amplifies input by up to 410%, with 560 watts of pedal assist and 90Nm of torque. The new motor cannot be retrofitted into the previous Levo.
Savvy observers might point out remarkable similarities to the Brose S Mag motor unveiled at Eurobike earlier this year: Specialized says that it is superior to the S Mag motors available to other brands, as Specialized developed the software that runs the motor independently of Brose.
“Think of it this way: the motor is like the legs of an e-mountain bike, but how those legs work is a function of your brain,” says Specialized. “We’ve built a better, smarter brain.”
Battery: Yep, you guessed it: there’s an all-new battery as well. The biggest news is that the S-Works and Expert Levos will come equipped with a 700Wh battery - providing
a 40% increase in range on the previous 500Wh battery.
The new battery is a completely different design to the first-generation battery, sliding in and out of the (smaller) downtube from the motor area. Therefore, it can’t be retrofitted into the previous Levo.
Turbo Connect Unit: In the first generation Levo, the battery housed the the battery and mode indicators, as well as the Bluetooth transmitter to link the bike with a smartphone. It was a little tricky to use on the fly as it required riders to look and/or reach down to the side of the downtube – just one reason why 2018 models featured a handlebar remote as well.
The new Levo features a much more user-friendly solution: a new, top-tube mounted unit called the Turbo Connect Unit. Specialized have also released a new handlebar display unit that will connect to the TCU: the display unit will also work with older Levos.
Mission Control: Specialized’s e-MTB smartphone app allows you to check on the health of a bike’s motor and battery, as well as conduct a wide range of tuning on the three motor modes. It also includes a function called Smart Control, which allows the rider to set a distance or ride time, and the Levo will automatically regulate power so the battery doesn’t run out.
It has been redesigned to make it more intuitive, which can only be a good thing. Specialized have also added two new modes: Stealth, which turns off all indicator lights on the TCU or battery, and Shuttle mode, which provides more power for less pedal force (for when the rider is furiously pedalling up a firetrail to do one more run).
Model availability: A variety of models of the new Levo are available to buy in Australia, starting at $7,000 for the alloy-framed Levo FSR. The other models all feature carbon frames and varying levels of componentry, with the range topping out at $15,000 for the S-Works model.
• Specialized Turbo Levo FSR: $7,000
• Specialized Turbo Levo
FSR Comp Carbon : $9,500
• Specialized Turbo Levo
FSR Expert Carbon : $11,500
• S-Works Turbo Levo: $15,000