The Specialized Turbo Levo SL enters the next round! In our 2024 eMTB group test, the forefather of light eMTBs takes on the competition with the same rowdy DNA as its analogue counterpart, the Specialized Stumpjumper, and should therefore deliver plenty of riding fun with its 160/150 mm of travel and Specialized’s in-house Specialized SL1.2 motor. We found out what it’s capable of and how it stacks up against the competition.

Specialized Turbo Levo SL Expert | Specialized SL1.2/320 Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r)
18.2 kg in size S4 | € 9,900 | Manufacturer’s website

The first Specialized Levo SL was launched back in 2020 and, although Specialized weren’t the first manufacturer to introduce such a concept, it was the first bike that really put the light eMTB concept on the map. The trend has been growing ever since, and the Californian manufacturer already launched the second generation of the Levo SL back in spring 2023. While most light eMTB models are still in their first generation or have only just been released, the Levo SL has already gone through several product cycles. Does this mean that Specialized had a chance to address all the teething problems they experienced with the first-gen Levo SL while other brands are still trying to figure them out? While still developed around Specialized’s trail bike, the Stumpjumper, the latest iteration of the Levo SL wants to deliver the ultimate trail riding experience, combining practicality with fun. To achieve this, the new Levo SL generates 160/150 mm of travel (front/rear) and rolls on a mullet wheel setup, with a big 29″ wagon-wheel at the front and smaller 27.5″ wheel at the rear. Assistance is provided by the new Specialized SL1.2 motor, which delivers 50 Nm of torque and draws its power from a 320 Wh battery. We tested the more affordable Levo SL Expert spec variant, which employs a full carbon frame and retails at € 9,900, lining up below the mid-range Pro variant and flagship S-Works model. Tipping the scales at 18.2 kg in size S4, it’s right in the middle of the light eMTB test field in our 2024 comparison test.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2024 – 27 of the most exciting models in our comparison test

What sets the Specialized Turbo Levo SL Expert 2024 apart from the competition?

The exceptional thing about the Levo SL isn’t obvious at first glance. Simply put, it’s about Specialized’s holistic approach to ebike development, which produces a coherent, unified concept, right down to the smallest detail. At the heart of the concept lies the in-house motor system and software, which brings many advantages for the development and refinement of individual components. In a nutshell, Specialized create their own custom solutions, while most other bike brands rely on those of third party motor manufacturers, which are usually aimed at a huge range of products and applications. The new Specialized SL1.2 motor was released in conjunction with the new Levo SL, and churns out 50 Nm of torque with 320 W of peak power – its predecessor delivered 35 Nm and 240 watts. In terms of integration, it can’t quite keep up with the TQ-HPR50 or the well-hidden FAZUA Ride 60 in the Santa Cruz Heckler SL – it seems a little clunkier. The system draws its power from a permanently integrated 320 Wh battery, which enables a slim frame design and helps save weight. However, this also means that the battery can’t be charged externally, so you’ll have to schlep the bike into your flat if you don’t have a plug in your garage – or a garage at all ;).

The Specialized SL1.2 motor delivers 50 Nm torque and 320 watts peak power. That’s 33% more power and 43% more torque than its predecessor.
The 160 Wh range extender battery sits in the bottle cage, where it’s securely held in place by a rubber band.
The proven MasterMind TCU display is integrated into the top tube of the new Specialized Levo SL and provides all crucial riding data, like speed and battery charge status.

Once you’ve dragged your bike inside, you’ll find the charging port is easily accessible right above the motor, and it feels suitably sturdy. Like its predecessor, the Levo SL allows you to expand the battery with an optional 160 Wh range extender, which costs € 460 and can be secured in the bottle cage with a rubber band. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to carry a water bottle if you use the extender. The rest of the hardware, including the remote and MasterMind TCU display, consists of proven components taken from current Turbo models, which convince with good readability and excellent haptics. Using Specialized’s proprietary Control app, you can personalise the layout of the colour display. As far as connectivity goes, Specialized caught up remarkably well with Bosch, with an increased focus on sporty features like the Jump Stats function, which allows you to view the amount, distance and duration of your jumps. However, Specialized didn’t just deliver a well-thought out motor system and software, but an impressive overall concept. Particularly striking are the countless clever details on the full carbon frame, like the practical SWAT tool in the steerer tube, which includes a matching bit for every bolt on the Levo SL – awesome! A discreet, flexible plastic flap at the transition from the main frame to the swingarm prevents dirt and stray rocks from damaging the frame and cables, while a generously sized chainstay protector ensures a quiet ride. All cables are routed internally, and disappear into the frame through conventional cable ports at the back of the head tube, with clamps preventing them from rattling.

The spring-loaded SWAT tool pops out from its housing as soon as you slide away the cover, and includes a matching bit for every bolt on the bike.
The FOX Performance Elite suspension offers countless adjustment options and delivers the same tremendous trail performance as its top-tier FOX Factory counterpart, just without the fancy Kashima coating.

While the spec of the Expert variant we tested might not be as bling as the flagship S-Works model, it’s trimmed uncompromisingly towards trail performance – and also shrinks the price by a whopping € 4,000! The FOX Performance Elite suspension doesn’t come with the fancy Kashima coating, but delivers the same tremendous performance on the trail, offering countless adjustment options to fine tune your ride. The same goes for the wireless SRAM GX Eagle Transmission drivetrain, which relies on a hangerless rear derailleur that mounts directly to the frame and ensures the same butter-smooth shifting performance as its top-tier XX counterpart – the only difference is a little more weight. SRAM CODE Silver Stealth four-piston brakes with 200 mm rotors front and rear provide powerful and reliable deceleration. The CODE Silver Stealth variant is pretty much identical to the Ultimate flagship model, except for the carbon levers and titanium hardware. The low seat tube and 180 mm OneUp dropper ensure plenty of freedom of movement on the bike. Our Levo SL Expert test bike rolls on Specialized’s in-house Roval Traverse alloy wheelset. For the tires, Specialized keep to their own catalogue, combining a Butcher and Eliminator in the thin-ish GRID Trail casing. This is a good option for light riders with a penchant for flowing trails, but far too flimsy for heavy, aggressive riders who tend to get rowdy. If you belong to the latter category, we recommend upgrading straight away to the more robust GRID Gravity casing on the rear.

Specialized Turbo Levo SL Expert

€ 9,900


Motor Specialized SL1.2 50 Nm
Battery Specialized 320 Wh
Display Specialized MasterMind TCU
Fork FOX 36 Performance Elite 160 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X Performance Elite 150 mm
Seatpost OneUp Components V2 180 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE Silver Stealth 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle AXS Transmission 1x12
Stem Specialized Alloy Trail 50 mm
Handlebar Specialized Trail 800 mm
Wheelset Roval Traverse 29"/27.5"
Tires Specialized Butcher GRID Trail T9/Specialized Eliminator GRID Trail T7 2.3

Technical Data

Size S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6
Weight 18.2 kg
Perm. total weight 143 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 125 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no

Specific Features

Range Extender

Tuning tip: More robust GRID Gravity casing on the rear for heavy and aggressive riders

What is the 2024 Specialized Turbo Levo SL Expert capable of on the trail?

What does the Levo SL Expert have in common with a sofa? When you swing your leg over the saddle, the Specialized feels familiar and comfortable. The integrated, balanced riding position makes it easy to ride, whether you’re a beginner or seasoned trail veteran, while the high front end inspires huge amounts of confidence, encouraging even inexperienced riders to plough their way through nasty rock gardens without fear. On narrow trails, it strikes an excellent balance between composure and agility, allowing you to spontaneously change your line, without feeling unpredictable. The suspension generates plenty of traction on loose terrain and works predictably, filtering out bumps with great efficiency. Compared to the SCOTT Voltage eRide, the suspension feels slightly more plush. Even on flowing trails, it’s the bike we found to be the most fun during this test. The poppy suspension turns every trail into a playground, encouraging you to pump through rollers and pop off ledges. At the same time, it always provides enough support and reserves, bailing you out when you get yourself into a pickle. In a nutshell, the Specialized Levo SL Expert does a great job of uniting supposed opposites, delivering a tremendous fun factor on all types of trails.

The Levo SL requires a little more physical exertion than its competitors on climbs, but rewards your effort with a natural ride feel.
With its poppy suspension and agile handling, the Levo SL transforms every trail into a playground, allowing you to pop off ledges and tree stumps.

On long transfers, the Levo SL places you in a comfortable riding position, allowing you to use the full battery capacity – including the range extender – without having to book yourself in with your chiropractor after a long day in the saddle. When climbing, the rear suspension only bobs marginally and generates excellent traction. The front wheel remains planted on the ground even on steep gradients, allowing you to thread your way through tight hairpin bends without having to actively weight the front wheel. The low system weight makes it easy to lift the bike over steps and roots when things get technical. The Specialized SL1.2 requires a little more physical effort and higher pedalling cadences to deliver its full power and can’t quite keep up with the more powerful light eMTB motors, the FAZUA and Bosch Performance Line SX. On the other hand, it provides a more natural ride feel, delivering similar power output to the TQ-HPR50 – albeit with a little more background noise. Apart from that, the latest generation of the Levo SL is so sophisticated that even the most fine-grained polish wouldn’t improve its finish, while some of its competitors are still ironing out a few creases.

The Specialized Levo SL Expert unites supposed opposites, combining agility and composure, and putting a smile on your face, no matter what type of trail.

Size S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6
Top tube 560 mm 582 mm 604 mm 631 mm 659 mm 691 mm
Seat tube 385 mm 385 mm 405 mm 425 mm 445 mm 465 mm
Head tube 95 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm 140 mm
Head angle 64.6° 64.6° 64.6° 64.6° 64.6° 64.6°
Seat angle 75.8° 75.8° 75.8° 75.8° 75.8° 75.8°
Chainstays 433 mm 432 mm 432 mm 432 mm 432 mm 432 mm
BB Drop 34 mm 29 mm 29 mm 29 mm 29 mm 29 mm
Wheelbase 1,158 mm 1,184 mm 1,208 mm 1,238 mm 1,267 mm 1,301 mm
Reach 405 mm 425 mm 445 mm 470 mm 495 mm 525 mm
Stack 609 mm 617 mm 626 mm 635 mm 645 mm 654 mm
Helmet SCOTT Argo Plus | Glasses NAKED Optics The VOLT | Hip Pack EVOC HIP PACK 3
Jersey Rapha Trail Long Sleeve Technical T-SHIRT | Pants ION MTB Tech Logo
Shoes Five Ten Freerider Pro | Socks FOX Ranger Sock | Gloves Velocio Trail Gloves

Who should take a closer look at the Specialized Turbo Levo SL Expert 2024 and who should look elsewhere?

With its intuitive handling, Specialized’s light eMTB is a good choice for both beginners and experienced riders, and also impresses with excellent all-round qualities. However, it’s aimed primarily at sporty riders who are looking for a natural riding experience and still want to do some work themselves. The holistic in-house motor system is intuitive to use and doesn’t distract you with superfluous data on the display.

Riding Characteristics


  1. unbalanced
  2. coherent


  1. cumbersome
  2. clever


  1. flop
  2. top


  1. low
  2. high


  1. demanding
  2. intuitive


  1. boring
  2. lively

Intended Use

Gravel roads

Technical climbs

Flowtrail descents

Technical descents

Our conclusions about the 2024 Turbo Levo SL Expert

With the Turbo Levo SL Expert, Specialized delivered a harmonious overall package for sporty riders, which offers a potent spec and nice detail solutions at a very fair price. Specialized’s light eMTB demands a little more physical effort on the climbs, but delivers a natural riding experience in return. On the trail, it impresses with Specialized’s typical feel-good factor, putting a massive grin on your face regardless of whether you’re a beginner or seasoned trail veteran.


  • High feel-good and fun factor
  • Harmonious overall concept
  • Suitable for both beginners and experienced riders
  • Integrated mini tool


  • chunky motor despite low power

For more information, visit

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best eMTB of 2024 – 27 of the most exciting models in our comparison test

All bikes in test: BULLS VUCA EVO AM 2 (Click for review) | BULLS SONIC EVO AM SX-I (Click for review) | Canyon Strive:ON CFR LTD (Click for review) | Canyon Torque:ON CF Roczen (Click for review) | CENTURION No Pogo SL R8000i (Click for review) | CUBE AMS Hybrid ONE44 (Click for review) | FLYER Uproc X 8.70 (Click for review) | FOCUS SAM² 6.9 (Click for review) | GASGAS ECC 6 (Click for review) | GIANT Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 0 (Click for review) | KTM Macina Scarp SX Prime (Click for review) | Lapierre Overvolt GLP3 (Click for review) | Merida eOne-Sixty 10K (Click for review) | Mondraker Neat RR SL (Click for review) | Moustache Samedi 29 Game 11 FOX (Click for review) | Orbea WILD M-LTD (Click for review) | Pivot Shuttle AM Team (Click for review) | Propain Ekano 2 CF (Click for review) | RADON RENDER 10.0 HD (Click for review) | ROTWILD R.X 1000 Ultra (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Heckler SL XX AXS RSV (Click for review) | SCOR 4060 ST (Click for review) | SCOTT Voltage eRide 900 Tuned (Click for review) | SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax Pinion (Click for review) | Specialized Turbo Levo SL Expert | Specialized Turbo Levo Pro (Click for review) | Spherik E-SMT XX AXS (Click for review)

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Words & Photos: Mike Hunger

About the author

Mike Hunger

From slopestyle and landscape photography to enduro and action shots. Mike enjoys trying new things and loves action. He also loves craftsmanship, regularly going on road trips with his VW Syncro van, which he restored and converted himself. Of course, his bike and his camera are always with him so that he can ride the finest trails from Italy to the Alps and capture the most beautiful moments. Thanks to his training as an industrial mechanic, his experience in cycling and his photographic skills, he can apply his know-how perfectly as a bike journalist, testing the latest bikes and components and documenting his findings. As a photography nerd, he also captures the reviews with his camera and ensures that the magazine features only the best images.