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Specialised Turbo Levo SL Assessment: This Mild Weight eBike is Definitely worth the Wait






The Final Path Bike. That’s a daring assertion. Significantly when you’re lumping each e-bikes and customary mountain bikes into the identical class. Hyperbolic claims apart, Specialised is dedicated to creating the most effective eMTB they will, which doesn’t at all times come simple. They had been practically able to launch this bike in 2022, simply with a very totally different motor. There was even a media launch occasion for the bike.

However it wasn’t “the final word path bike” but, so that they went again to the drafting board. Actually.

The important thing to the success of the Turbo Levo SL Gen 2 lies within the motor, which is totally new from the bottom up. Specialised claims that not a single bolt or half was reused from the 1.1 SL motor to create the 1.2 SL motor. But the all-new 1.2 remains to be the precise dimension and weight of the earlier motor – simply with much more energy and torque.

Mixed with the already glorious body, would this new motor be simply what the next-generation Levo SL wanted? We headed to California to search out out.

Setting Up the Turbo Levo SL Gen 2

Specialized Turbo Levo SL ebike setup
Images. Lear Miller / Specialised

Going down the week earlier than the Sea Otter Basic, numerous California was nonetheless drying out (or melting out) from epic storms. Fortuitously, the paths had been in fine condition in Temecula, so the Specialised crew packed up and headed to SoCal.

By the point we arrived, the bikes had been arrange and ready for us close to Greer Ranch trails in Murrieta, CA. After a fast suspension setting, there wasn’t a lot to do aside from dial within the cockpit and test tire pressures. At 5’8″, I’m in all probability between an S2 and S3, however opted for the S3 and felt immediately at house.

After driving the primary day, I did find yourself altering the shift button orientation on the AXS Transmission shifter although. I discovered that I’d choose the shift order reversed, which was very simple to vary with the AXS app. As soon as the bike is linked to the app, then choose the shifter and assign the button the popular shifting motion. As soon as you determine the way it’s finished, this may be finished in a short time.

Whereas the Specialised Mission Management app and MasterMind Complete Management Unit supply immense customization choices, you may mainly simply soar on the bike and go. A easy press of the ability button wakes the system, and from there, every part will be simply managed by way of the distant on the left aspect of the bar. The +/- buttons toggle by way of help modes going from off, to Eco, Path, and Turbo. A protracted press of the button additionally lets you enter the MicroTune setting the place help will be adjusted in 10% increments.

Turbo All of the Time?

Despite the show display being situated on the highest tube as an alternative of on the bars, it’s nonetheless very simple to see the numbers and settings as you’re driving. It’s additionally not distracting if you don’t have to see when you’re nonetheless in Turbo mode. All of that is to say that the system could be very intuitive and straightforward to function. You’ll be able to actually dial in your settings with the Mission Management app, however you can too simply soar on the bike and experience with out opening your smartphone as we did for 3 days.

As we had been rolling out to the primary trails, I obtained acquainted with the extent of energy and help from the brand new motor. You’ll be able to inform it’s not a full-power ebike, however that might be factor. Specialised’s motto is “you, solely quicker,” and the brand new Levo SL gives precisely that. Certain, you may inform you’re driving an ebike, but it surely feels such as you’re simply having your finest day on the bike.

Perhaps the most effective factor concerning the new bike is how quiet the motor is. Beneath most circumstances, you’ll battle to listen to something out of the odd. Solely on steep climbs with full Turbo energy will you hear something from the motor and even then, it’s a quiet whir – not the obnoxious whine many full-power ebikes emit. For the individuals who ask, “why not simply get a motorbike?” for me, the quietness is without doubt one of the predominant causes. With the Levo SL, most of what you’ll hear is your tires rolling down the path.

Greer Ranch MTB

Whereas we had been driving at Greer, deciding on Turbo mode was sufficient to make the steep climbs with tight switchbacks a riot. It was nonetheless a exercise, but it surely was manner extra enjoyable than it could have been climbing those self same trails with out help. It was additionally immediately clear we weren’t on full-power e-bikes when a gaggle of riders on full-power ebikes was in a position to catch as much as us pretty shortly as we had been motoring uphill.

On the high, it was time to bomb again down which is the place the body design actually got here into its aspect. Any ebike can climb pretty nicely with sufficient energy, however how a motorcycle handles whereas descending is the true take a look at. Usually whereas descending, you’re not using the motor’s energy so you’re successfully piloting a 40+lb bike downhill. If the suspension or geometry isn’t dialed, you’ll shortly discover out.

Spectacular Battery Life

The Levo SL Gen 2 however was begging to be pushed quicker. It’s a bike that’s simply as glad rocketing downhill as it’s casually climbing again up. All through our time at Greer Ranch and the subsequent day at Vailocity Bike Park, we sampled every part from XC, to move path, to gnarly rock gardens and quick, chunky downhills. Don’t be fooled by the ‘SL’ within the identify, this bike is each bit as succesful as you’d want it to be.

We had been driving the bikes as they arrive out of the field – 29″ entrance, 27.5″ rear wheel, center headset place, and the low BB place. I’d wish to mess around with the totally different settings simply to see the way it impacts the experience, however in Temecula, it wasn’t wanted. The geometry felt spot on, and regardless of many technical rocky sections, pedal strikes had been stored to a minimal.

Provided that I used to be driving with individuals higher and quicker than me (together with Curtis Keene), I discovered myself largely driving uphill in Turbo mode. Even on some descents I’d maintain it in Turbo, however would usually drop all the way down to Path mode. I hardly ever used Eco mode, and but the battery life was nonetheless very spectacular. I by no means obtained near draining the battery regardless of my heavy use of Turbo and numerous steep climbs. On the second day, Specialised recharged the batteries whereas we had lunch to be on the secure aspect, however I don’t it could have been needed for me. I coated 21 miles that day with simply over 3k toes of climbing, and at lunch was nonetheless above 50% of battery life. For actually massive days, the vary extender would take you fairly far particularly if you’re environment friendly together with your help.

SRAM Transmission Accredited

This was not my first time driving SRAM Eagle Transmission, but it surely was my first time driving it on an ebike. I’ve to say that it makes much more sense on an ebike than it does on a daily bike. You will be below full Turbo energy and nonetheless know that when you hit the AXS shift button, the derailleur will simply slam it into gear with out fuss. There was one bike within the group that was having points with the derailleur staying put, however that appeared to be a torque concern with the mounting bolt and was ultimately mounted.

I’m additionally nonetheless not utterly glad with the positioning of the shifter pod after making an attempt each the bar clamp and the SRAM Matchmaker clamps. It’s not an enormous deal, however to me, it feels just like the pod might use one other axis of adjustment to essentially dial it in – like if it had a ball joint the place the pod meets the bracket.

Turbo Levo SL S-Works

We had been driving the S-Works construct stage, which incorporates SRAM XX Eagle Transmission, SRAM Code Stealth Final brakes, Fox Manufacturing unit suspension, Royal Traverse carbon wheels, and Specialised Butcher/Eliminator 29 x 2.3/27.5 x 2.3″ tires. The one change made was so as to add a Grid Gravity casing tire on the rear for the chunky terrain. There have been no flats.

An S4 S-Works construct is claimed to run about 39.6 lbs which is heavy for a path bike, however fairly mild for an ebike. It was talked about through the journey that that is basically a complete Aethos lighter than a full energy Turbo Levo. It’s doable to make it lighter, however there’s little have to. Even at 40 lbs, the bike is impressively nimble. At instances, it feels just like the added weight even lets you keep traction on unfastened corners, and by no means looks like a handful.

I like you can nonetheless match a full-size water bottle within the S3 body, although when you select to run the battery extender you’ll have to hold water in your again (which you’d in all probability have to do anyway because you’re in for a giant experience). Word that the battery extender cable is totally different than on earlier fashions. And for fast trailside changes, the SWAT CC steerer tube built-in instrument with a series instrument and hyperlink is a good contact.

It’s a bit onerous to consider that the primary Specialised Levo product wasn’t launched till 2016. Beginning with the Turbo Levo FSR in Moab, I’ve ridden many of the Levo generations since. Yearly the bikes have gotten higher, however the Levo SL Gen 2 takes issues to a different stage totally. This single bike appears to mix the most effective attributes of the assorted Levo platforms into one impressively succesful ebike – that doesn’t actually experience like an ebike.

When it comes to having my very own ebike to commonly experience on my house trails, I’ve been on the fence for years. However this bike modifications that. I need one. To not exchange my non-ebikes, however to complement them. The Levo SL Gen 2 looks like a motorcycle you would experience nearly wherever, and have an absolute blast doing it. Perhaps that does make it “the final word path bike?”

For extra particulars on the Specialised Levo Gen 2, take a look at our tech piece right here.

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