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Bikes Electric Electric Bikes Mountain News

Turbo Levo – Next gen eMTB tech from Specialized.

So, here it is. The E-bike that you’ve all been waiting for. Its lighter, more efficient and looks even more like a “normal” bike.

Specialized have made some dramatic changes to the bike this year. For starters, they are now using the new Brose 2.1 motor which is a dramatic 400 grams lighter and a fair whack more powerful than the previous unit. Specialized worked very closely with Brose to help develop this new unit. So much so that other manufacturers are having to work their bikes around Specialized’s preferred bottom bracket placement.

The new motor is now the most powerful on the market. Whatever the situation. Whatever the cadence. It either betters or equals the competition. Another change for this year is the mounting method of the motor within the bike. It now bolts straight into the frame of the bike instead of into a cradle which then bolts into the bike. The most obvious benefit of this is a weight saving but it could also help eliminate unwanted creaks by reducing the amount of hardware and points of contact.

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Along with a new motor is of course a new battery, or two. The expert and S-Works models with be specced with a 700wh unit and everything else will have a 500wh version. And of course batteries are available to purchase aftermarket should you want to upgrade or just need more range. That’s not the only change to the battery, its now fully encased within the downtube of the frame giving better protection and allows for a stiffer, lighter frame design.

The brain of the bike is now situated on the top tube just behind the stem. Making quick glances at battery life and mode selection a lot easier. It now features a classy blue light system but in principal does exactly what the previous version did. This new unit also helps with updates and eliminates the need for a specific diagnostics tool as it has a port within it too.

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Although Specialized have insisted that a heads up display type computer is not essential on this type of bike. They have now brought an aftermarket screen to the line up. It provides stats including speed, cadence, power and also battery life.

The first thing that strikes you about the new Levo isn’t whats lying beneath but the aesthetics of it. It looks amazing. It incorporates the asymmetric “sidearm” of the latest Stumpjumper and reaps all the same rewards. Enabling Specialized to make the bike stiffer and lighter, thus giving a better riding and more efficient bike. The downtube diameter has also shrunk lending itself to a more traditional look. The new frame has made some huge advances in weight saving too. A massive 800 grams has been saved on the S-Works level frame and 600 grams on the alloy version.

The geometry of the new bike is also, well, new. Its now 20mm longer and 0.5 degree slacker. Making the Levo very much its own bike. Although it does borrow a lot of tech from the stumpy, Specialized have said the bike sits between the Stumpjumper and Enduro in terms of geometry.

6Fattie wheels are out and the humble 29er is in. Its hard to avoid it these days. But in most situations the wagons wheels are the best option. Most of the bikes we were able to see were running the in house Butcher tyres in a 2.6 with grid casing. A burley tyre for a burley bike. The bike is still 6fattie compatible for all you plus tyre lovers. And because the new Levo has the same flip chip as the stumpy you can adjust the bottom bracket height to help avoid pedal strikes.

Along with plenty of new hardware comes new software in the form of a new mode and app. The new mode is dubbed “Uplift mode”. As the name implies its for them boring, gruelling fire roads that give little reward. Putting the bike in uplift mode reduces the torque the motor puts out and gets it to focus on just pulling you up the hill with a very low amount of effort from the rider. The drawback is of course this drains the battery a lot quicker so its not a mode you’ll want to be using too often. The app is an updated version of mission control which is also backwards compatible with older Turbo models.

A bike is the sum of its parts. Lots of changes to the Turbo Levo, big and small have made it a completely different beast to what it was last year. This is what happens when the best gets better.

Available online now, click and collect in your nearest Hargroves store or have it delivered to your door. 

Words: Jack Ingram (Insta @jack.ingram4)

Categories
Buying Guide Mountain Mountain Bikes Parts And Accessories Wheels

Understanding Mountain Bike Wheels

Following on from our Road Bike guide, we’re going to be looking at probably the most important part of the bike, the wheels! Mountain bikes have a variety of sizes, and it can be quite a minefield to navigate for a beginner. You could be gearing up to tackle those woodland trails, yet haven’t even thought of the correct wheel size! There are so many decisions to make from the standard 27.5-inch wheels to the more extreme Fatbike wheels. Do you want a smooth ride or one that can accelerate and keep its speed whilst going downhill? Well look no further we’re here to help you find the right size and fit for your mountain bike.

26 Inch Wheels

One of the smaller wheels you can fit on a mountain bike, these used to be standard among the mountain scene before the larger 29inch became popular. These wheels are the lightest, offering great acceleration along the single track trails. At high speeds, the 26 inch doesn’t sacrifice on the control in taking a corner. You can rip through the woods, dodging and diving between trees and really cut those seconds of your time. Though they are still knocking about, the 26-inch wheel has been replaced more often than not by the 27.5 inch.

 

The Mavic Crossride Wheelset

Our pick: The Mavic Crossride Wheelset – our only wheelset that still provides for the 26-inch wheels. Now with a wider and lighter rim, that really generates speed downhill.

27.5 Inch Wheels (650b)

The 27.5 inch, is the product of marrying the 26 inch and the 29er. It’s a great combination of both, offering lighter weight than the 29er, and handles like a 26 inch. It’s the perfect wheel for your mountain bike, so much so that it has now pretty much replaced the 26 inch as the standard for MTB. Don’t get confused by the 650b, that is a common name for the 27.5 inch with the 650 being the diameter of the wheel itself, and the letter b – the width (the name originates from the French way of sizing wheels).

The Mavic XA Elite WheelsetOur pick: The Mavic XA Elite Wheelset – Strong, light and it doesn’t compromise on strength. Tubeless ready for better traction, comfort and reduced risk of those pesky flats.

29 Inch Wheels

The biggest size wheel we have, the 29er is the wheel size that stole the throne from the 26 inch. Giving a larger surface area, allowing for improved traction whilst on those trails. The 29er is one of the best wheels for giving a smooth ride, rolling over the bumpy ground like it was a rolling pin. The 29ers carry their speed well and giving you such good stability you may not have found in other bikes or wheel sizes.

The Mavic Crossmax Elite Wheelset

Our pick: The Mavic Crossmax Elite Wheelset – A perfect mid-range wheelset, that has all the benefits of a strong, light wheel. This is perfect for upgrading your bike from your stock 29″ wheels.

27.5/29 Inch Plus

These are quite new on the scene, fitting mostly on 26-inch wheels (with quite wide rims). These tyres offer a completely different riding experience, without really compromising on performance. With the Boost standard (this refers to the front hubs, which are 10mm wider than standard and the rear hubs are 6mm wider), this allows for stiffer wheels which equal increased handling and with the plus tyres, you don’t lose out on the grip. The plus tyres’ cushioning is top notch, giving you a smoother ride.

Mountain Bike Wheelsize
Mountain Bike Rider image

 

Fatbike Tyres

Now if you want massive tyres, that relentlessly tackle any terrain thrown at it then you should consider a fat bike. These bikes were originally invented and used for crawling over snowy forests and sandy dunes. Yet they have found their way to normal trails, and offer such a different experience from other mountain bikes. The bigger tyres and the low pressure within them, are all the suspension you need, but that doesn’t stop the bikes themselves having front fork suspension. Fatbike tyres look like they’d be heavy and hard to roll, when really the low psi (some people go as low as 15 or 12 psi, whereas most MTB riders using 650bs are running on 25 psi) feels like you’re riding on a balloon. Probably the only downside is they are much heavier than your standard mountain bike, but then again it always comes down to the rider’s preference.