Half Bike, Half Rocket: Specialized’s New E-Mountain Bike

It doesn’t take much riding – just a handful of seconds – before you realize that Specialized’s new electric mountain bike, the Turbo Levo, is a different beast from the rest. Designed meticulously for a precise ride that feels identical to their class-leading Stumpjumper mountain bike, the 44 pound machine blows the category wide open. A new chassis, motor, and battery add up to a complete overhaul that is lighter, slimmer, smoother, and more capable than any electric bike before it. It is, in short, the new standard.

The Levo isn’t just for extreme riders or technical descents. Far from it, actually. This turbocharged bike opens up mountain biking to new riders, with stable tires and a nearly silent motor that can help propel anyone uphill, through turns, and through long rides. The new bike opens up a new way to explore the dirt roads and trails around your home, no matter your experience or fitness. It’s a true game changer.

We took the Turbo Levo on a 2-day test ride in British Columbia to see for ourselves what the whole fuss was about – and our minds are still blown. Here’s a recap of its features, handling, and design.

With just a glance, it’s hard to tell the Levo is electric at all. The motor and battery are lightweight, compact, and hidden within the bike frame near the crank. The battery is removable and easy to charge, either on the bike or off. The motor amplifies your pedal power by 410-percent (the most in its class) with a surprisingly smooth and natural feel. What you get from all of this is the ability to ride uphill easily, accelerate quickly, and keep up with even the fastest mountain bikers in the world. We rode with world champions and Specialized pros and were able to keep up, easily.

The improvements all start with the frame design. The new Levo shaves eight pounds off last year’s model, making it one of the lightest full-suspension bikes on the market. Specialized leveraged new innovations from its lauded Stumpjumper and adapted them for the Levo. A new sidearm frame design, longer reach, top-tier stiffness-to-weight ratio, slacker geometry, and lower center of gravity gives it incredible handling in technical terrain. It’s one of the most dialed bikes we’ve ever ridden.

Specialized also made big strides on the suspension. The initial travel is supple, great for relatively smooth trails with small bumps, jumps, and roots. Extra mid-stroke support acts as an important backup for the 150mm of suspension the bike has, for big drops. It also helps when you’re climbing, keep the suspension steady when your weight shifts to the back wheel.

Not to be left behind, the battery also saw some major improvements, notably a 40 percent improvement on its capacity. Thanks to one of the most advanced lithium-ion batteries on the market, the Levo can provide you more distance on a single charge. We rode nearly 20 miles and used roughly half the battery. This massive storage helps mitigate any worry that you’ll get stuck far from home without enough power to bring you back. You can easily view the charge of the battery on the handlebar mounted display.

Overall, the our takeaway was simple. This is the most fun we’ve ever had on a bike. Whether you’re casually exploring forest roads or ripping down singletrack, the Turbo Levo will amplify the feeling of pure fun. It rides just like a modern mountain bike and gives you the power to keep up with anyone. It’s great for anyone learning to ride, wanting to get back into the scene after years away, or adventurers looking for an entirely new way to get after it. The Turbo Levo is a truly revolutionary bike worth every penny you invest in it.

Editor’s note: Our tester rode both the 2018 and 2019 models of the Turbo Levo. Photos 1 and 5 are of the 2019 model, while Photos 2-4 are of the 2018.

All photos by Andy Cochrane.

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