First thing.. We’ve only had this bike for a few days so the full review of how it actually performs will have to wait. At this point we are still learning about the bike, but here’ a first look and a run down of the new features.
Second thing, and it’s a big thing.. This particular model is priced at £13,000!
But before you reach for the outrage button consider this. This is the top of the line model. It’s the money no object version that sits at the top of the range to show off what is possible. There are other bikes in the range that are priced much lower. This is the all dancing, “Look at me!” version. Like the top of the line, bling’d up car that sits at the top of the pile with a crazy price tag that no one chooses at the car showroom. I point out in the video below that you can buy a Toyota Aygo for well over £20k, but why would you? You can also buy one for half that money too and most people in that particular car market will choose that option.
That’s me trying desperately to moderate the inevitable outrage that shall surely flow at the end of this first look. I’m also not making excuses for Specialized here – this is clearly a staggering price and I’m not pretending it’s good value. The important point to note is that the fundamental changes that have happened to this 3rd generation Levo are to be found at all the price points and so apart from the bling spec on this model the changes are universal through the range.
Now, if you are over the shock of the price, I’ll continue.
What Specialized have released here today is the carbon framed Levo and as such the starting price is £8750. There’s a model that sits in the middle at £10750. And yes, I fully appreciate the magnitude of those numbers. You can check out what you get for your money at each of those price points below.
What about the alloy versions? Well, we have no information at all to tell you on that score but I’m sure we will at some later date.
Turbo Levo Frame Only
And finally, you can get a frame only version of this carbon model for £6500. I know! But it does come with all this…
Fox Float X2 shock, Praxix cranks, motor, 10/11sp chain ring.
So there’s that.
3rd Generation Features
Firstly, what is the same? Well the fundamental principal of keeping the cockpit display free remains. There’s the familiar looking power controller with its basic buttons. The main display sits on the top tube. What has changed though is how much information is now displayed there. Previously you’ve just had a simple display of battery capacity marked in tiered lights. Now there’s a full display panel that can be customised to display everything from speed to altitude gained. And, rather usefully, the power remaining indicator is now shown as a percentage.
The ability to fine tune the motor’s power output in each of the individual modes remains but there’s now a function that allows you to change the basic power settings in each mode on the fly by using the thumb controller. So if you are finding trail mode is not offering you quite enough power on a particular climb you can give it a tweak with your thumb without having to stop and get the app out.
The Levo 3rd Gen Motor
Specialized are still working with Brose on their motor and this version has had some significant upgrades from the generation 2. The belt drive within the motor has been totally re-engineered and is now stronger and much thicker. It’s also a whole lot quieter too, in fact the very first thing I noticed after pushing the pedals was how quiet the motor is. It’s only when you start adding some load on a climb and the motor starts to really do some work that you start to notice the sound. It’s is remarkably quiet.
The motor kicks out 90nm of torque and has a peak power output of 565 Watts. The battery is a 700Wh battery.
This has been an issue that Specialized have really tried to put to bed with this version. I’ve experienced the issue where the charging port flap on my Levo SL model was open during a wet ride and the next day was met with a message from the app telling me that moisture was detected inside the charging port. A 6 hour drying off period in the house and all was well again. It’s great that the app diagnosed the issue and told me how to fix it of course.
The new motor now has three levels of sealing around the charging port. To access it you have to first unlock the outer flap before unlocking the battery cable inside and then releasing it from yet another waterproof seal. Specialized are now claiming they have seal redundancy built in and that even full submersion on river crossings should not be a problem.
The S-Works model comes with 150mm of Fox Factory 38 fork and a Float X2 rear shock. The tune of the rear has been ‘borrowed’ from the progressive nature of the Specialized EVO and has been specifically tuned for this bike. Which to be fair is a fair bit more massive than the EVO.
The problem with motors is that take up a lot of space. They are getting smaller but still, they are never going to occupy the same space as a simple acoustic BB. This causes issues with chainstay length, especially when you are trying to make them as short as possible. One increasingly common solution is to spec 27.5 wheels at the back and save yourself a good 20mm when compared to a 29r wheel. And so, we are moving towards the common site of eBikes adopting the mullet. That’s what we have here on the new Levo.
Turbo Levo Geometry Changes
Rather than make more progress in the everlasting march towards longer, lower, slacker bikes, Specialized have decided that with the Levo, at least when it comes to geometry you should be able to decide things for yourself. There’s a standard flip chip in there that allows you to drop the BB and change the head angle by half a degree but there is also an adjustable headset with three different head angle settings. Combined with the flip chip that gives you six different geometry settings.
First Ride Thoughts
At the time of writing I’ve had two rides on this bike. I’m going to try and put aside my thoughts on the pricing and concentrate on the aspects that will be the same across the price points. The new display is a great improvement and especially knowing the battery level in percentage terms, it all just seemed so much more reassuring. The fact I could see the time was surprisingly useful too. It’s the little things that matter it seems. And yet, despite the new plethora of live riding info the original form factor of minimal cockpit clutter and simplicity remain. I think Specialized have done a great job here in terms of UX.
The head angle ranges from 63 – 65.5 degrees and the BB can be dropped by 7mm
Enjoy the silence
The motor is so powerful that I quickly had to dial it down in the mission control app, but then I’ve spent a lot of time on the lesser powered Levo SL that I’ve got used to having to work a bit. But what was immediately noticeable was what I didn’t notice. This is the quietest motor system I have ever ridden on any eMTB to date. Even the noise from the lesser powered LEVO SL motor drowned out the noise from this motor when we rode both side by side. If like me, you find yourself powering down the motor of your eMTB as you pass walkers, then you’ll love this. Enjoy the silence
The overall ride felt very stable, but that’s not revelationary these days with eMTBs as their mass tends to be low enough that it’s a common feature, but what I did notice was how agile the bike is, especially when swinging it from side to side in tight bends and berms.
I have some work to do still to get the suspension dialled in properly, but the sheer capability of the new Fox 38 forks has left me wondering is there’s now any place left in the Specialized range for the bigger Kenevo model.
That’s a very brief breakdown of what I’ve found out so far but rest assured I intend to put as many miles in as possible on this bike before it heads back to base and I’ll be back with a full review in a few weeks.
The S-Works Spec – £13,000
Check out the special brake levers!
The Pro Model Spec sheet – £10,750
Any Turbo Levo Questions?
Pop them below and we can learn together as I find the answers for you