How do a bottle cage and a dual crown fork fit together? Specialized have completely overhauled the Turbo Kenevo Expert for 2020, equipping it with the same motor and battery as the current Levo in an attempt to unite opposites. The Turbo Kenevo looks like a thoroughbred downhill bike purpose-built for bike parks and the wildest tracks. But looks can sometimes be deceptive.

Before we get into the review, we would like to tell you about our latest print edition. The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

Click here for an overview of the best eMTB 2020 group test.

Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Specialized 2.1/700 Wh | 180/180 mm (f/r) | 24.20 kg (size S4) | € 6,899 | manfacturer website

Components, weight and technical details of the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert

The Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert isn’t the only bike in the test field with 180 mm travel at the front and rear, but nonetheless, it immediately stands out from the crowd. The Kenevo is the only bike in the test field to rely on a RockShox BoXXer dual crown fork, which you’ll usually only find on proper downhill bikes. The suspension is completed by a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil shock. However, as we don’t categorise bikes based on their travel, so we won’t do it based on looks either. The € 6,899 Kenevo is a typical Specialized and makes no secret of its kinship with the Levo. The aluminium frame features the same asymmetric brace at the shock as well as Specialized’s proprietary Turbo Connect Unit (TCU) housed in the top tube. You also get Specialized’s 2.1 motor which puts out up to 90 Nm torque and is fed by an internal 700 Wh battery.

You decide…
…which size Kenevo suits you. Thanks to the short seat tubes, you can choose the frame size according to your personal preferences regarding reach and stack.
Double D
The days when you couldn’t find a dropper post on a bike with a dual crown fork are over on the new Kenevo.
Unusual
Granted, with the BoXXer the Kenevo looks more like an all-out downhill bike. But after some time on the bike, you quickly get used to the 180 mm travel dual crown fork.

Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert

€ 6,899

Specifications

Motor Specialized 2.1 90Nm
Battery Specialized M2 700Wh
Display Specialized TCU
Fork RockShox BoXXer Select RC 180 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Select 180 mm
Seatpost Specialized Command Post IRcc 130 - 160 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE R 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX 1x11
Stem Specialized Direct Mount DH 45 mm
Handlebar Specialized Alloy 800 mm
Wheelset Roval Alloy DH 27.5"

Technical Data

Size S2 S3 S4 S5
Weight 24.2 kg
Perm. total weight 161 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 136 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no

Specific Features

fully functional even without cockpit remote
Mission Control App
integrated multi tool


You’re the boss.
Thanks to the TCU in the top tube, the Kenevo offers all the functions you need without having to use the remote on the handlebar. However, the Remote is so compact and ergonomic that it never bothered us on the Kenevo.
Mismatched
The Kenevo is the fastest and most capable descender in the test field. The braking power of the SRAM CODE R-brakes without the SwingLink lever just can’t keep up.
Simply quiet
The ridges of the chainstay protector silences the drivetrain just as effectively on the Kenevo as it does on the Levo.
Haters gonna hate
Thanks to the SWAT bottle cage on the Kenevo, you can always take along the water and tools you need on trails outside of the bike park and far away from the next apres bike hut.

Geometry and size of the Specialized

Specialized have realised that eMTBs can no longer be categorised in size according to the length of their seat tubes. Instead, the short seat tube of the Kenevo and the long dropper posts allow you to choose the frame size according to the desired length of the top tube.

Size S2 S3 S4 S5
Seat tube 400 mm 420 mm 440 mm 465 mm
Top tube 585 mm 612 mm 639 mm 666 mm
Head tube 105 mm 115 mm 125 mm 135 mm
Head angle 64.0° 64.0° 64.0° 64.0°
Seat angle 77.0° 77.0° 77.0° 77.0°
Chainstays 454 mm 454 mm 454 mm 454 mm
BB Height 345 mm 345 mm 345 mm 345 mm
BB Drop 14 mm 14 mm 14 mm 14 mm
Wheelbase 1,234 mm 1,263 mm 1,293 mm 1,322 mm
Reach 445 mm 470 mm 495 mm 520 mm
Stack 605 mm 614 mm 623 mm 632 mm
Helmet Fox Dropframe | Goggle Fox Main Stars | Jersey ION Seek Amp Tee | Pants ION Seek Amp Jeans

The Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert on the trail

How does a bike with a dual crown fork climb? The answer: just as well as it would with a regular single crown fork! Despite its bulky appearance, the Kenevo Expert gets up even the most technical climbs. With its super-steep seat tube angle, the rider is positioned centrally between the wheels and in combination with the long front triangle the front wheel is kept sufficiently weighted. As a result, the front wheel stays planted on the ground and only starts lifting on the most extreme climbs despite the very “long” fork. But let’s be honest, if you’re interested in the Kenevo, you’ll want to know how it climbs in Shuttle mode, the most powerful support level that you’ll first have to activate via the Mission Control app. The Specialized 2.1 is based on the Brose motor system, but compared to other bikes, despite losing its natural ride feel this powerful support mode remains bit better to control even on technical climbs. The Kenevo does less well on technical climbs that have to be ridden slowly. The 11-speed SRAM GX drivetrain simply doesn’t have a big enough gear range to get up slow, high-cadence climbs.

The Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert is much more than just a downhill bike with a motor.

One thing is clear: the 24.2 kg Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert is a big bike. No matter how rough the terrain, it remains composed, planted and super precise. Whichever line you attempt to ride, with the Kenevo you’ll be able to! Despite the long travel, the suspension remains well defined and always provides the rider with enough feedback from the trail. All of this also makes the Kenevo surprisingly easy to get airborne. The steeper and the faster the trail gets, the more fun you’ll have on the Kenevo. However, on tight, winding trails you eventually pay the price of the tall front end and the long front triangle. You have to actively weight the front of the bike to successfully manoeuvre it around the corners on flat terrain. As composed as the Kenevo is, it requires a lot of rider input to move it around at slower speeds.

Tuning tip: 220 mm brake rotor up front

Riding Characteristics

7

Agility

  1. sluggish
  2. playful

Stability

  1. nervous
  2. stable

Handling

  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

Application

Forest road

1

Flow trail uphill

2

Flow trail downhill

3

Technical single trail uphill

4

Technical single trail downhill

5

Downhill tracks

6

Conclusion

The Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert is much more than just a downhill bike with a motor. Even if it excels in rough terrain at high speeds and hitting jumps in the bike park, it will also get you back to the top of the trail with ease. The large battery, the excellent system integration and numerous details round out the Kenevo package.

Tops

  • no limits on the descents
  • confidence inspiring on steep terrain
  • great motor integration
  • useful app to tune the support levels
  • large selection of frame sizes

Flops

  • 11-speed drivetrain
  • brakes not powerful enough for the bike’s hard-riding purpose
  • boring on easy trails

You can find out more about the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert at specialized.com.

The test field

You can find everything you need to know about our test for the best eMTB of 2020 right here!

All bikes in test: BULLS SONIC EVO AM 6 | Cannondale Moterra 1 | Canyon Spectral:ON 9.0 | COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020 | CONWAY XYRON 927 Carbon | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC | FANTIC XF1 180 Race | FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER | Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro | Haibike XDURO Nduro 10.0 | Liteville 301 CE MK1 | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K | Moustache Samedi 27 Trail | Norco Range VLT C1 | NOX Hybrid Enduro 7.1 | Orbea WILD FS M-LTD | Pivot Shuttle 29 | Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition | ROTWILD R.X750 ULTRA | SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax | Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo | Trek Rail 9.9 | Whyte E-180 RS V1 | YT DECOY CF Pro Race


It's finally here: The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

Words: Felix Stix, Robin Schmitt, Jonas Müssig Photos: Finlay Anderson, Robin Schmitt, Felix Stix, Markus Frühmann