Turbo Levo Carbon - First Look
We always hear that there’s a big future in ebikes. While many segments of the bike market lay relatively dormant, electrically assisted bikes stand as a clear growth area that none of the big manufacturers are willing to ignore.
Specialized was one of the first big players to launch into the e-MTB market and their Levo stands as one of the most ‘normal’ looking ebikes (many electric bikes, especially the off-road variety feature aesthetics that only the creator could love).
After quite a few years on the market, Specialized has expanded their Levo lineup with a range of carbon models. The top three Levo’s will feature a carbon frame while the base model will remain aluminium. Their range topping S-Works model sells for $13,000 and comes with a full carbon frame that’s said to trim 650g from the alloy equivalent (around 23.9kg for the complete bike). It also features carbon rims, SRAM XX1 running gear and an Ohlins fork.
Next in line is the Turbo Levo FSR Expert Carbon at $10,500. The rear end is alloy on this model, so the weight savings aren’t as pronounced and the mix of GX, X1 and X01 running gear also saves a few dollars. The fork still comes from Ohlins however and the rims are still carbon.
At $8,500 the Levo FSR Comp Carbon has the same frame as the Expert but runs SRAM GX throughout with a RockShox Revelation fork. The Turbo Levo FSR Comp stands as the entry level Levo at $6,000; the spec is roughly the same as the Comp Carbon but it runs an all-alloy frame.
Regardless of the model, all Turbo Levo bikes feature 135mm of FSR controlled rear wheel travel and a 150mm fork. They also run 2.8-inch wide 27.5 plus tyres with nice wide rims to match.
While most of the song and dance surrounds the new carbon frame (which is not only lighter but a good deal stiffer too), some of the most important changes are found in the motor itself. Both alloy and carbon Levo’s now feature the new 1.3 series motor. It is said to be more powerful and efficient than its predecessor, although it’s still limited to 250w maximum output to meet EU standards, as the Levo is classed as a bicycle by Australian law (not a moped or motorbike). These refinements also lead to reduced heat generation; an important consideration with the move to carbon, as the frame no longer serves as an efficient heat-sink.
As with its predecessor, the Levo retains its uncluttered and minimalist appearance—for the most part it looks like a regular MTB. The battery is integrated into the down tube and the motor is concealed fairly well too. Unlike most ebikes, you won't find a big LCD screen strapped to the bars. The only giveaway to the electronic gadgetry is in the small switch located on the left-side of the bars, and even this functions via a bluetooth connection, so there's no wires attached.
The switch allows you to swap between the three power assist modes; there's 'Eco' which adds a 25% boost to your pedalling input, 'Trail' which adds 50% to whatever power you apply and 'Turbo' which doubles your power output—put in 250 watts through pedalling and you'll get 500 watts out of the Levo. Rather than offering a display to show the settings, you can simply feel the difference between the three modes. You'll find a battery charge indicator on the side of the down tube and that's about it.
So in its raw and basic form, the Levo retains the simplicity of a regular MTB without the distractions of your typical ebike. If you want more interaction and control, you can gain it via the Mission Control smart phone app. With this you can monitor and customise the power output or employ a range of smart functions; for example, you can tell the app how far you want to ride and it will meter out the power to ensure you gain assistance all the way without going flat. You can also record your routes and share them Strava style with other Levo riders. It even includes a fault diagnosis system that will let you know of any service related issues, which you can in turn pass on to your Specialized dealer.
For all the details check out the Specialized site.