Specialized Turbo Levo Ebikes 2018
Updates on one of our favourite ebikes
I think we know by now that ebikes aren’t a fad and that they are here to stay. If you were around in the mid 90’s you’ll probably remember the days when manufacturers pretty much reinvented their suspension bikes every year as they tried the next new thing to make the best bike. It’s reassuring to see evolution rather than revolution year-on-year when it comes to ebikes.
The 2018 Carbon Levo is a great example of this evolution. An already good bike has been made better with a few tweaks. I’ll spare you the full marketing spin and stick to the headlines; this new model has a lighter frame, better motor performance and a more customizable control App.
Let’s start with the frame. Ok, I know that there are carbon skeptics out there especially when it is talked about in relation to stiffness, but the move to carbon has reduced the weight of the front triangle by 500g. That’s not a small amount, and a carbon rear end drops a further 150g off the S-Works frame. There is a general acceptance that ebikes are heavy, but if you didn’t want to drop half a kilogram from any bike I think you’re nuts.
The batteries, battery harnesses and speed sensors are the same on the new and old models, so you could interchange should you end up with both bikes.
As the drop in tyre size has lowered the front end a fraction the new models come with a 150mm fork. The S-Works and Expert models have Ohlins front and rear, and the others have Rock Shox models.
The bike has no handlebar display, but it has a really, really neat level adjust which is something I like. Big displays get broken in crashes, batteries run out in the display units, and as it’s all linked the display can be another point of motor failure. This doesn’t mean you can’t fine tune the ride, the app is being updated (if you have a Levo, the new app is available to use right now) to give even more adjustability. I won’t try and explain it here but in short, you can control how quickly the bike gets to its maximum speed in even more ways than before. The other point of note is that you can choose how to talk to your bike with Smart Watch compatibility an alternative to your phone.
The motor is smooth and easy to get on with; some motors react very quickly to small pedal movements and in situations such as a tight corner that needs a quarter pedal stroke they can quickly run away from you. Not so with the Specialized, it’s always well delivered and predictable power.
The lighter frame is noticeable, and while we know that ebikes have a weightless sweet spot when they are moving, this bike was easy to control through rock sections and jump lines with the weight low and central.
The brand of a great ebike is that it simply lets you forget you are on an ebike and concentrate on the trail ahead. After a short XC loop and a couple of climbs I just forgot about the bike and made the most of the mountain, riding like I’d ride any other bike. The 150mm fork and big tyres alongside the well-balanced weight from the motor and battery make for a confident and stable ride. I tried pretty hard and didn’t get it out of its depth, often surprised at what it bailed me out of.
Grip, good angles and good suspension make it a bike that is, fast, fun and can take a beating.