Although the current Specialized Levo is still selling like hotcakes, Specialized has revealed its successor. True to the company motto “innovate or die”, the American brand isn’t presenting a slightly updated version of the old model but has developed a completely new eMTB instead. We took the brand new Specialized Turbo Levo Expert for a test ride to find out if it’s here to usher in a new era.
We crowned the previous Levo S-Works model the best eMTB of 2018. Instead of resting on its laurels, Specialized has stepped things up a notch and introduced a completely redesigned Specialized Levo. With 150 mm of travel front and rear, as well as 29″ wheels, it should offer considerably more off-road potency and fun, offering even more versatility than its predecessor. The most affordable aluminium model is available from € 4,499. For the top end S-Works model you’ll have to fork out a whopping € 10,999. On top of that, there are two women’s models made of aluminium.
The Specialized Levo in detail
With the frame, Specialized has taken over many elements of their new Stumpjumper trail bike. First and foremost, there’s the asymmetrical brace in the front triangle, which is intended to significantly increase the frame’s stiffness. Together with the new Brose motor and a special motor mounting system, they claim to have achieved a weight saving of about 800 g.
The new brain of the new Specialized Turbo Levo is housed in the top tube: the Turbo Connect Unit. It indicates the battery charge status and the riding mode, functions as the bike’s on/off switch and communicates with all Bluetooth-capable accessories.
Fastened with an Allen bolt, the fully integrated battery is removable in a few easy steps (you’ll have to lift the bike or turn it upside down). In addition to the battery, the speed sensor is neatly integrated and securely attached to the dropout.
The Specialized Levo’s new motor
The hardware of the brand new Specialized 2.1 motor is based on the Brose Drive S Mag and provides up to 410% support. With a maximum torque output of 90 Nm, it is one of the more powerful motors and, thanks to special sensors, provides ample support even at a low cadence. Depending on the model, the Levo comes with the new Turbo M2 battery with either 500 Wh or 700 Wh capacity. They’re the same size but differ in weight and capacity.
Improved connectivity and customization
At the heart of the Specialized integration concept is the Turbo Connect Unit (TCU) in the top tube. The unit communicates via Bluetooth or ANT+ with external devices such as a Garmin device and the Mission Control smartphone app. This too has been redesigned. There is a smart navigation tool that takes into account the battery’s charge status, able to automatically adjust the level of assistance, you can customise the level of support and maximum power of the different riding modes. Although the “old” Mission Control app also had this feature, they’ve improved its usability.
Specialized leaves the choice of display and remote to the customer. The new Specialized Levo comes as standard with the handlebar Remote, as we’ve come to know and love from the previous model. It lets you select the riding modes and activate the walk assist. If you prefer a super clean cockpit, you can remove the remote and select the support level on the TCU. Fans of data, on the other hand, can attach the small, wireless Turbo Connect Display to the handlebars and have all values at a glance. The newly developed display is cross-compatible with older Levo models and only takes a few seconds to mount.
The geometry of the Specialized Levo
|Seat tube length||380 mm||410 mm||455 mm||505 mm|
|Top Tube (horizontal)||577 mm||600 mm||631 mm||664 mm|
|Head tube length||95 mm||95 mm||125 mm||140 mm|
|Seat tube angle||75°||75°||74°||74°|
|Chainstay length||455 mm||455 mm||455 mm||455 mm|
|BB drop||27 mm||27 mm||27 mm||27 mm|
|Wheelbase||1182 mm||1202 mm||1235 mm||1266 mm|
|Reach||415 mm||435 mm||455 mm||480 mm|
|Stack||606 mm||606 mm||634 mm||647 mm|
The new motor also plays a decisive role regarding geometry. The more compact design of the magnesium housing gave the developers more freedom in the frame design. The chainstays have been shortened by 4 mm, to 455 mm. With a reach of 455 mm (in size L), the new Levo is longer than its predecessor, but still more on the compact, playful side. With a FlipChip in the shock mount, the geometry of the Specialized Levo can be further adjusted. The FlipChip has the greatest influence on the bottom bracket height, as well as the seat and head angle. But we rode the Levo “only” in the low geometry setting.
On the next pages, you find the first ride review of the brand new Specialized Turbo Levo Expert 2019 and all new Specialized Turbo Levo models at a glance