New bike alert! Specialized have just dropped their latest E-bike, and it looks super cool. Following the technology they developed for the ground-breaking Turbo Creo, the new Turbo Levo SL uses the same motor and battery system as the Creo but in mountain bike form.
What is the Turbo Levo SL?
The Turbo Levo SL is a light-weight e-bike, around 10lbs lighter than the equivalent Turbo Levo - 38.2lbs or 17.35KG. It uses Specialized's SL 1.1 motor and battery system, with 240 watts of power, that's 2x you, and with a 320 watt-hour battery and an additional 160WH battery on the S-Works and founder's edition (also available separately for lower-spec models). Compare this to a 565W or 4x you motor and 500WH or 700WH battery in the Turbo Levo.
So we're talking about a 150mm travel Stumpjumper-esque bike essentially, but with a little more weight to it. This means improved handling over the regular Turbo Levo, particularly at lower speeds, which is ideal for those riding our janky North shore Trails. This does come at the trade-off of a lower-power tune on the motor, similar to the Creo. We usually find that once you're past the novelty of the high-power motor on the Levo blasting around the parking lot, we've found that we rarely use the motors at peak power mode and are mostly fairly conservative with them. Specialized claim that while the Levo SL has a lower battery capacity, due to the lighter weight and higher efficiency of the motor (this is because the internals are gear driven rather than belt) the Levo SL should achieve a pretty similar range to the regular Levo with the auxiliary battery plugged in - their range calculator claims around 54km in hilly terrain for an average weight rider (75kg).
Specialized have managed to shorten the chainstays and liven-up the handling thanks to the smaller and lighter SL 1.1 motor
In terms of geometry the Levo SL is pretty similar to the regular Levo, with the exception of the chainstay length. Due to the fact that they've used the smaller SL 1.1 motor, they've been able to decrease the chainstay length from 455mm to a tighter 437mm, further enhancing the snappy characteristics of the bike - this thing should rail the turns! The rest of the geo is about the same as a Stumpjumper, with the same travel, and just a touch slacker head angle, steeper seat angle and a a little more reach. So it should be a pretty fun and and easy to ride bike. We're pretty excited to give it a try on the trails!
Who is the Turbo Levo SL for?
Everyone is different and wants something different out of their e-mtb. Specialized are keen to state that they will not be discontinuing the regular Turbo Levo, and that the two bikes have different prospective customers. They're totally right, and while some people might love engaging shuttle mode and blasting up a fire road or road climb on their Turbo Levo or Kenevo and shredding down a crazy fast descent, the Levo SL has it's own rider in mind.
The Levo SL is for the rider that might want to work a little harder and pedal more and enjoys more technical trails. The sort of person that will use the bike in eco mode and use the battery to give them a longer range for big adventures, rather than use the battery to get to the top as fast as they can. The reward for the extra effort is a lighter, more lively and nimble bike perfect for slower tech trails or just regular trail riding. The problem I've found with a lot of e-bikes is that the weight associated with them (and even the regular Turbo Levo, despite being fairly light for an e-bike) makes them a bit of a handful on tight, technical trails. However this same weight makes them really hug the ground on fast trails and means that they're actually fairly stable (albeit a little harder to slow down). The Levo SL then is a game changer for the e-bike market, as it's the first e-mtb to be anywhere near the weight that it is and therefore should handle very similarly to 'normal' bike. Cool!
All Levo SL models come with a Sram Eagle drivetrain[/caption]
Spec and pricing
Starting at $10,199 for the base (and only) aluminum model, and $10,599 for the base carbon, they finish at $19,999 for the S-Works Founders edition, which comes with the external battery pack, and is a special limited edition at only 250 produced worldwide, custom paint job complete with gold foil lettering. The various builds cover all bases without skimping on important details for the sake of saving money. All models have a 12sp Sram Eagle drivetrain, which points at its intentions of riding uphill a little more like a non-electric bike. All models also come with powerful 4-piston brakes, Fox suspension front and rear, dropper posts and all the components that you would expect to find on a modern trail/enduro bike. The top end S-Works builds come with a full Sram AXS groupset including Reverb.