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Monday, May 27, 2024

Specialised Turbo Levo SL Overview: This Gentle Weight eBike is Well worth the Wait


The Final Path Bike. That’s a daring assertion. Notably should 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’ll, which doesn’t at all times come straightforward. They had been practically able to launch this bike in 2022, simply with a totally totally different motor. There was even a media launch occasion for the bike.

However it wasn’t “the last 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 continues to be the precise measurement and weight of the earlier motor – simply with much more energy and torque.

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

Setting Up the Turbo Levo SL Gen 2

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

Happening the week earlier than the Sea Otter Basic, plenty of California was nonetheless drying out (or melting out) from epic storms. Fortuitously, the paths had been in good 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 using 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 straightforward to alter with the AXS app. As soon as the bike is related to the app, then choose the shifter and assign the button the popular shifting motion. As soon as you determine the way it’s completed, this may be completed in a short time.

Whereas the Specialised Mission Management app and MasterMind Complete Management Unit provide immense customization choices, you possibly can principally simply bounce on the bike and go. A easy press of the ability button wakes the system, and from there, every thing will be simply managed by way of the distant on the left facet 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 means that you can enter the MicroTune setting the place help will be adjusted in 10% increments.

Turbo All of the Time?

Regardless of the show display screen being situated on the highest tube as a substitute of on the bars, it’s nonetheless very straightforward to see the numbers and settings as you’re using. It’s additionally not distracting whenever you don’t have to see should you’re nonetheless in Turbo mode. All of that is to say that the system could be very intuitive and straightforward to function. You may actually dial in your settings with the Mission Management app, however it’s also possible to simply bounce on the bike and trip with out opening your smartphone as we did for 3 days.

As we had been rolling out to the primary trails, I received acquainted with the extent of energy and help from the brand new motor. You may inform it’s not a full-power ebike, however that may very well be a superb factor. Specialised’s motto is “you, solely quicker,” and the brand new Levo SL provides precisely that. Positive, you possibly can inform you’re using an ebike, nevertheless it feels such as you’re simply having your finest day on the bike.

Possibly the most effective factor in regards to the new bike is how quiet the motor is. Underneath most circumstances, you’ll wrestle to listen to something out of the strange. 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 bike?” for me, the quietness is without doubt one of the essential 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 using at Greer, choosing Turbo mode was sufficient to make the steep climbs with tight switchbacks a riot. It was nonetheless a exercise, nevertheless it was means extra enjoyable than it will 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 bunch of riders on full-power ebikes was capable of catch as much as us pretty shortly as we had been motoring uphill.

On the prime, it was time to bomb again down which is the place the body design actually got here into its ingredient. Any ebike can climb pretty properly with sufficient energy, however how a motorbike handles whereas descending is the true take a look at. Typically whereas descending, you’re not using the motor’s energy so you might be 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 alternatively was begging to be pushed quicker. It’s a bike that’s simply as joyful 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 thing from XC, to move path, to gnarly rock gardens and quick, chunky downhills. Don’t be fooled by the ‘SL’ within the title, this bike is each bit as succesful as you’d want it to be.

We had been using 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 prefer to mess around with the totally different settings simply to see the way it impacts the trip, 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 using with individuals higher and quicker than me (together with Curtis Keene), I discovered myself principally using uphill in Turbo mode. Even on some descents I might maintain it in Turbo, however would usually drop all the way down to Path mode. I not often used Eco mode, and but the battery life was nonetheless very spectacular. I by no means received near draining the battery regardless of my heavy use of Turbo and plenty of steep climbs. On the second day, Specialised recharged the batteries whereas we had lunch to be on the secure facet, however I don’t it will have been essential for me. I lined 21 miles that day with simply over 3k ft 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 in case you are environment friendly together with your help.

SRAM Transmission Accepted

This was not my first time using SRAM Eagle Transmission, nevertheless it was my first time using 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 should 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 challenge with the mounting bolt and was finally fastened.

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 actually 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 using the S-Works construct degree, 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 in the course of the journey that that is basically a whole Aethos lighter than a full energy Turbo Levo. It’s potential 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 appears like a handful.

I like you could nonetheless match a full-size water bottle within the S3 body, although should 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 trip). Be aware that the battery extender cable is totally different than on earlier fashions. And for fast trailside changes, the SWAT CC steerer tube built-in device with a sequence device and hyperlink is a good contact.

It’s a bit arduous 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 degree solely. This single bike appears to mix the most effective attributes of the assorted Levo platforms into one impressively succesful ebike – that doesn’t actually trip like an ebike.

By way of having my very own ebike to recurrently trip on my house trails, I’ve been on the fence for years. However this bike modifications that. I need one. To not change my non-ebikes, however to complement them. The Levo SL Gen 2 appears like a motorbike you can trip nearly anyplace, and have an absolute blast doing it. Possibly that does make it “the last word path bike?”

For extra particulars on the Specialised Levo Gen 2, try our tech piece right here.

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