Tourers and trail riders prick up your ears! While the Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL may only have a weak motor and small battery, that might be the most exciting thing about it! How so? And can the Levo SL keep up with a bunch of classic all-rounders?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2021 – 25 models in review

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL | Specialized SL 1.1/320 Wh | 150/150 mm (f/r)
17.40 kg in size L | € 13,999 | Manufacturer’s website

The Specialized Levo SL is the true underdog in this test. For their Light eMTB, Specialized designed the compact and light SL 1.1 motor, which delivers 35 Nm torque and draws its power from a small 320 Wh battery. Read our big motor group test to find out everything about the mid-motor system developed by Specialized in collaboration with MAHLE. At just 17.4 kg, the elegant carbon, top-of-the-range S-Works Turbo Levo SL is the lightest bike in our test. But the Levo SL isn’t just light. With its slim silhouette, it could be mistaken for its analogue counterpart, the Specialized Stumpjumper. All the frame details are well-thought-out and highly functional, from the ribbed chainstay protector to the quiet cable routing and cleverly integrated multi-tool. In typical Specialized fashion, the integration of the drive unit with the Mission Control app is excellent. For now, the Levo SL doesn’t yet come with the new Mastermind display, which is already installed on the new Levo.

Expensive and fancy – The spec of the Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL

Yes, you’re right: the Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL is damn expensive! However, at € 13,999, you can expect some very exciting surprises in the spec combined with high-quality workmanship. While last year’s model had a clear focus on weight reduction, the 2021 Levo SL has been designed for uncompromised trail performance. The FOX Factory suspension consists of a 36 GRIP2 fork and DPX2 shock with 150 mm travel front and rear and perfectly suits the bike’s intended use. A wireless SRAM AXS drivetrain and RockShox Reverb AXS dropper ensure a minimalist look and both the AXS shifter and dropper remote are attached to MAGURA MT7 brake levers using Shiftmix clamps. However, the clamps only have a small adjustment range, which makes it hard to position both the brake lever and the shifter within easy reach – almost all of our testers had problems with this! Not cool. Specialized also provide the wheels and tires, with a light Roval Traverse SL carbon wheelset shod in 29 x 2.3″ Specialized Butcher (front) and Eliminator (rear) tires in the GRID Trail casing. Heavy or particularly fast riders who want to exploit the full potential of the Levo SL should upgrade to a more robust tire combination or use a tire insert to protect the rims.

Great look, bad ergonomics
SRAM’s wireless AXS components and MAGURA’s Shiftmix clamps ensure a super tidy cockpit. However, the ergonomics aren’t great and make it hard to reach the brake lever or shifter, depending on the positioning.
Watch the rim, man!
Specialized combine a lightweight Roval Traverse SL carbon wheelset with thin Eliminator GRID Trail tires. Heavy or fast riders should either ride with lots of air in their tires or better yet, upgrade to a more robust set – your carbon rims will be grateful!
Quiet bike, happy rider
Pretty much every bike in this test plays an annoying rattling symphony on rough descents. But not the Levo SL! What a relief for our ears! Thanks to the quiet motor and sophisticated chainstay protector, it’s as quiet as a mouse.
Strong suspension instead of chasing grams
We’re glad to see that Specialized listened to our suggestions and upgraded the chassis with a more robust FOX 36 GRIP2 and DPX2 suspension combo. Both give the Levo SL substantial reserves.

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL

€ 13,999


Motor Specialized SL 1.1 35 Nm
Battery Specialized SL1-320 320 Wh
Display Specialized TCU
Fork FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 150 mm
Rear Shock FOX DPX2 150 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb AXS 125–170 mm
Brakes MAGURA MT7 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 1x12
Stem DEITY Copperhead 50 mm
Handlebar Specialized Trail, FACT Carbon 780 mm
Wheelset Roval Traverse SL29 29"
Tires Specialized Butcher/Eliminator GRID Trail 2.3"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 17.40 kg
Perm. total weight 128 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 110 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no

Specific Features

160 Wh Range-Extender
SWAT Multitool

Long days in the saddle
The capacity of the internal 320 Wh battery of the Levo SL can be expanded with an optional 160 Wh range extender, which sits in the bottle cage. In combination with the low-power and efficient SL 1.1 motor, the Levo SL is ready for very long rides.
That’s all it takes
The Levo SL gets by with a small remote and the TCU unit in the top tube. Here you can keep an eye on the battery charge and set the support mode quickly and easily. In our opinion, you don’t need more on this bike. If you like to ride with a display, there are additional compatible displays to choose from.
Always at hand!
Discreetly tucked away inside the steerer tube, Specialized’s SWAT multi-tool is always at hand and doesn’t rattle on the trail. Unfortunately, Specialized and MERIDA are the only brands to use integrated multitools – they’re so practical!

The Levo SL proves that compact drive units give developers more freedom with frame design and geometry. This becomes particularly evident with the short 437 mm chainstays, which, in addition to the low system weight, contribute significantly to the agile handling of the Levo SL. The slack head angle and short reach (455 mm in L) make for a compact pedalling position, which in combination with the relatively slack seat angle is very comfortable on the flats. If you use your bike mainly on long rides and with little assistance, the economical SL 1.1 motor allows you to achieve large ranges despite the small battery. Thanks to an optional range extender that fits into the bottle cage, the Levo SL can have up to a total capacity of 480 Wh.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 390 mm 410 mm 455 mm 505 mm
Head tube 95 mm 95 mm 125 mm 140 mm
Head angle 66.0° 66.0° 66.0° 66.0°
Sitzwinkel 75.3° 75° 74.6° 74.2°
Kettenstrebe 437 mm 437 mm 437 mm 437 mm
Tretlagerabsenkung 27 mm 27 mm 27 mm 27 mm
Radstand 1,165 mm 1,185 mm 1,217 mm 1,248 mm
Reach 415 mm 435 mm 455 mm 480 mm
Stack 606 mm 606 mm 633 mm 647 mm
Helmet POC Kortal | Glasses 100% Hypercraft | Hippack Bontrager Rapid Pack
Jersey Carharrt Wips tee | Shoes Specialized 2FO Clip 2.0 | Socks ION Mid Ace
Clench your teeth
With its weak motor, the Levo SL lags behind the competition on steeper climbs, but then, that’s a deliberate choice. Particularly on steep ramps, it’s important to select the right gear and use lots of momentum – almost like riding an analogue bike.

Does the Levo SL stand a chance on the trail?

Even in the highest setting, the Levo SL requires strong input from the rider to keep up with the more powerful all-rounders in the lowest support level up moderate climbs. Both in terms of torque and maximum power output, the motor is significantly weaker than the Bosch or Shimano drives. But then again, Specialized went this way deliberately. On steeper ramps, the Levo SL has no chance of keeping up with the other bikes in test but is lots of fun on winding trails with tight turns. The agile Light eMTB requires greater physical effort but still winches its way up most trails. To negotiate steep ramps and steps, you’ll have to select the right gear and use lots of momentum – good technique doesn’t hurt either. You’ll even have to get out of the saddle from time to time, just like an analogue bike. However, when doing so the rear wheel tends to lose traction and spin out of control. Technical climbs are not one of the Levo SL’s fortes.

With its weak motor, the Levo SL lags behind the competition on steeper climbs, but then, that’s a deliberate choice. Particularly on steep ramps, it’s important to select the right gear and use lots of momentum – almost like riding an analogue bike.

Tuning tips: replace the right MAGURA Shiftmix clamps with ordinary clamps (shifter and brake separate) | fast and heavy riders should upgrade the rear tire to the more robust GRID Gravity casing immediately!

Once you turn its nose downhill, no other bike on test is as playful yet as easy to control. While beginners can look forward to the good-natured character and low system weight, ambitious riders will use every opportunity to play with the features of the trail and get the Levo SL airborne. While the suspension offers sufficient support for aggressive riders, it still generates enough traction on slow technical trails. On steep descents, the lightweight Levo SL doesn’t tax the brakes as much and is easier to control. At high speeds, the compact Levo SL feels a little twitchy and doesn’t inspire as much confidence as its direct competitor, the ROTWILD.

Gentle on your back
At 17.4 kg, the Levo SL is by far the lightest bike in the entire test field. You can feel this when posing (like our CEO Max) or riding on the trail, in a very good way!

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. stable


  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Riding fun

  1. boring
  2. lively

Motor feeling

  1. digital
  2. natural

Motor power

  1. weak
  2. strong

Value for money

  1. poor
  2. top


Forest road


Flow trail uphill


Flow trail downhill


Technical single trail uphill


Technical single trail downhill


Downhill tracks



The bold drive concept is cleverly implemented and makes the Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL the underdog in this test. Despite the small battery, it achieves a decent range and provides a high level of comfort on long rides – assuming you’re fairly fit! On the trail, the agile and good-natured handling makes it easy to get going and provides sporty riders with the lively handling of analogue trail bikes. Uphill, the natural-riding but weak Levo SL has no chance against the powerful all-rounders of our test field.


  • excellent implementation of the drive concept
  • modular battery concept
  • very agile and playful
  • the concept bridges analogue and electric MTBs


  • technical climbs
  • cockpit ergonomics

You can find out more about at

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2021 – 25 models in review

All bikes in this test: Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 1 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral:ON CF 9 (Click for review) | CENTURION No Pogo F3600i (Click for review) | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC SLT Nyon (Click for review) | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 C:62 SLT Kiox (Click for review) | Ducati TK-01 RR (Click for review) | FLYER Uproc6 9.50 (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM² 6.9 NINE (Click for review) | GIANT Trance X E+ 1 (Click for review) | Haibike AllMtn 7 (Click for review) | KTM Macina Kapoho Prestige (Click for review) | Lapierre Overvolt GLP 2 Team (Click for review) | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K (Click for review) | Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR (Click for review) | Moustache Samedi 29 Trail 8 (Click for review) | ROTWILD R.X375 ULTRA (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Bullit X01 RSV Air (Click for review) | SCOTT Ransom eRIDE 910 (Click for review) | SIMPLON Rapcon PMAX (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL (Click for review) | STEVENS E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF (Click for review) | Thömus Lightrider E2 Pro (Click for review) | Trek Rail 9.9 X01 (Click for review) | Whyte E-150 RS 29ER V1 (Click for review)


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Words: Photos: various