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.
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.
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.
Words: Jack Ingram (Insta @jack.ingram4)