Specialized Turbo Levo 6fattie moab ut photos c bikerumor (29)

If you’re just seeing this and wonder what we’re doing with an e-bike in Moab,  read this first. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the actual bike. Specifically the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie. This bike’s story actually starts around 5 years ago when Specialized launched their first e-bike, the Turbo S. At that point even Specialized’s founder Mike Sinyard wasn’t convinced that e-bikes were a way forward, pointing out that the impetus actually came from a small team of their engineers in Switzerland. It wasn’t long before the Turbo S far exceeded their expectations though, and new offices were built in Switzerland more or less specifically for their Turbo line. With the street focused Turbo S selling like hotcakes, it was time to focus on a new challenge.

A Turbo mountain bike.

In typical Specialized fashion though, this couldn’t be just another mountain bike with a battery and motor slapped on it. No, it needed to look and ride like a Specialized Stumpjumper just with a little extra ‘jump’. The end result is the Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie. A mouthful of a name, Turbo is the encompassing brand name for all of the Specialized e-Bikes while Levo is the name of their mountain e-bike category. With hardtails, FSR full suspension, and even fat bikes getting the Turbo Levo treatment, we spent two days on the Turbo Levo FSR Expert 6Fattie to figure out what makes these beasts whir….

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As it turns out, when you set out to build an e-bike, much like a regular bike you have two choices. You can either build the bike with off the shelf components – motors, batteries, bottom bracket forgings, etc., or you can start from the ground up. Specialized claims that during the development of the Levo FSR their goal was to create a mountain bike with pedal assist built in, not an e-bike with mountain bike tires. That may sound like splitting hairs, but what they really wanted was to retain that classic Specialized handling and mountain bike feel with the addition of the pedal assist which included a short 459mm chain stay.

For their engineers, that meant a completely custom design with their own motor and batteries that could be cleanly integrated into the frame. Custom batteries were built to keep the silhouette of a solid down tube – as well as allow space for a water bottle. A custom motor was sourced that wasn’t the most powerful on the market at 250w/530w max, but was nearly silent and could be tuned to the desired torque curves. Basically hidden under the plastic motor shroud is the motor brace that Specialized claims is their largest forging to date. Imagine a donut with a brace in the middle to provide the stiffness needed to harness the combined power of the rider and the motor.

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Just as important as the motor, the battery plays an important part in not only the bike’s range, but how it looks. In this case, Specialized has two different batteries – one for the S-Works and Expert models with 504Wh and a slightly lower 460Wh battery for the Comp and below. Each battery is built with 40 cells in two rows, 20 on top and 20 on bottom. The larger watt hour batteries use a 3.5v cell which Specialized says is the same cell used on the Tesla model S, only the Tesla uses 6-7k cells versus the Levo’s 40! Smaller capacity batteries use a 3.2v cell, but the two batteries are interchangeable so if you purchase a bike with one of the lower watt hour batteries you could upgrade to the longer lasting model. You’ll probably want to do this anyways as we found one of the biggest benefits to the Levo was being able to ride huge miles, but we needed two batteries a day to do it.

The Turbo Levo differs from many e-bikes we’ve seen in that the battery actually bolts onto the frame with a mini 15mm thru axle. This was done for a reason – rattling batteries suck. It turns out that the Levo is the quietest e-bike we’ve ridden (which admittedly isn’t that many), so it would be awful to ruin that with a battery that clattered down the trail. The battery loads into the bottom of the frame with a cam-lock mount and then threads into place, though it isn’t a stressed member so you can ride the bike without a battery in place. Why would you want to do that? The battery makes up 8 lbs or so of the bike’s total heft (somewhere around 20-22kg/44-48lbs, with the motor weighing 3400g), so if you had a choice between pedaling around with a dead battery or getting rid of it for the ride home it might not be such a bad idea.

As for total battery life, Specialized estimates that each battery should be at 100% performance for roughly 700 complete charge cycles. That means if you were to completely deplete the battery every day, you’d get almost two years out of the battery before it’s capacity diminished. That’s a lot of riding. At that point the battery would still work, but it would be like an old laptop that just doesn’t hold a charge like it used to and could be recycled and replaced with a new battery.

 

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However, the chances of you actually running out of battery on a ride are pretty slim – especially if you make use of (even more) electronic aides. To be clear, the Turbo Levo was designed to be as simple as possible and allow for use without any additional displays or electronics. Initially, Specialized wanted a clean handlebar. It looks better, and when you crash – displays break. Everything you need to control the pedal assist is located on the key pad on the down tube. The center button powers up the system and the + and – buttons add or subtract assist levels. Surrounding those buttons are 10 LEDs which correspond to 10% battery life each. As the battery level drops, LEDs go out until you get to the last two which will turn red to indicate 20% power. Since these are pedal assist bikes, there is no additional throttle controls to worry about. It only moves when you pedal.

If you’re the type to constantly worry about your range however, Specialized has you covered with a surprisingly comprehensive app (available in Android or iOS). Specialized Mission Control is exactly as it sounds – a complete control unit for the bike which allows you to diagnose issues, track your rides including how much power you are putting out (not just the motor – the bike includes a free powermeter!), and most importantly, tune the pedal assist performance all thanks to Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity built into the battery. This allows you to physically set the level of assist for each level. While the stock setting is 20% for Eco, 50% for Trail, and 100% for Turbo, you could set it to 10/20/30% if you wanted, or any combination of settings. You can also enable Smart Control which should eliminate “range anxiety.” Say you want to ride 30 miles and get back to the house with 20% battery – punch in those numbers to Smart Control and the motor will continuously monitor your progress every 10 seconds to make sure you make it home with the desired battery life by changing the power settings on the fly. It’s even GPS enabled so it will work with the upcoming terrain if you’re riding an installed route on the GPS. There’s not much worse than limping a 45lb dead e-bike back home so having this feature available seems invaluable.

As for battery life or range, it’s difficult to pin down as it’s all dependent on what mode you have it set in (off, Eco, Trail, or Turbo) how fast you ride, riding style, incline, etc. However, we were finishing challenging 2.5 – 3.5hr rides consistently with 20-40% battery life from rider to rider. This included a lot of Turbo use on the road which really eats up battery life, and plenty of sessioning fun sections of trail along the way. Our longest ride which was around 27-28 miles and 3.5 hrs, which for me was split between Trail and Turbo for the road and I finished with about 30% battery. Batteries can be charged on the bike, or you can remove it to charge if your outlet is far away from your bike storage or you just have multiple batteries. A full charge is said to take only 3.5 hours.

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Further control is available through Garmin Connect IQ which will put the Turbo controls on your handlebar if you have an Edge 520, 1000, or Explore 1000. Initially launched in 2014, Connect IQ was Garmin’s way of offering an open app to developers to allow users to download data fields onto their wearables. In this case it also allows you to place the Levo control panel on the screen of your Garmin and even take advantage of the Edge remote to control the bike’s settings and offer a blinking red light for the battery indicator. It also allows you to set up fake channels so you could use a device that is set up to show heart rate or cadence and display the Levo’s battery percentage. At the moment, this is the only way to control the Levo from the handlebar, though you can reach down to the downtube at any time. In practice, it was nice to be able to change the bike’s settings on the fly without fumbling for the controls on the downtube, but in reality I rode almost exclusively in Trail mode, only bumping it up to turbo mode on the road (or on Slickrock).

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In order to work, every e-bike has to sense both speed an torque. Torque is sensed within the motor at the crank, but speed is a little more difficult. Specialized didn’t like how most e-bikes use essentially a spoke magnet with a speed sensor bolted onto the chainstay, so they found a better way. The magnet is now attached directly to the brake rotor with the sensor hidden in the dropout. That makes the system a lot more robust and less prone to getting kicked or knocked off after a crash. It is important to know that without this magnet though, the system will not work – a fact Specialized employees were reminded of when they once swapped wheels after a flat.

Even with the massive battery and motor attached to the downtube, the frame is surprisingly resilient. In testing the battery has to withstand a 5kg strike test, and we did our own strike testing of the motor housing on the trail. Turns out it works pretty well as a bash guard! The battery actually has a skid plate built in, but Specialized says it’s not really needed since the battery is so robust. Also, while not recommended for complete submersion, the system is IP67 certified which means it’s waterproof to 1 meter and is safe for washing, riding through creeks, or being on your bike rack through a rain storm.

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Most of what sets the Levo apart is actually hidden inside the motor housing. Using a 3:1 gear reduction to increase torque, the 250w motor drives a toothed pulley on the crank with a Gates belt drive which is why the motor is so quiet. Apparently many other motors use direct gearing which is where that signature e-bike whine comes from. Only when the motor was under extreme torque in the lowest gears trying to go up a super steep pitch was the motor noise actually noticeable – otherwise all you heard was the typical drivetrain and tire noise. The Specialized motor also uses two sprague clutches – one on the crank and one on the motor. This makes it so that when you are pedaling without the motor engaged, you are only pedaling the drivetrain without any extra drag from the motor. Pedaling around downtown Moab with the motor off just felt like pedaling a really heavy bike. I wouldn’t want to do it up a mountain, but it wasn’t much different than pedaling one of my old downhill bikes.

Each bike also uses a custom crankset from Praxis Works along with a steel narrow-wide chainring. The steel ring is used for obvious reasons to cut down on wear, though Specialized claims drivetrain wear has been similar to what they’ve seen on the spectrum of classic bikes. Technically the crank uses a standard BCD so you could change the ring (within the confines of the built in chainguide), but with the pedal assist Specialized expects most riders to be happy with the 32t ring. The cranks are also a good bit shorter than what you’ll find on a classic bike (down to 165mm) along with a 7mm higher bottom bracket. This is all in an attempt to prevent you from snagging a pedal under full power, which has an all new level of danger when a motor is involved. They must have figured it out, because I didn’t notice pedal strike being an issue on any of the techy trails in Moab.

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Elsewhere, it’s just a normal FSR 6Fattie. Built with a good amount of rear tire clearance, our test bikes were set up with 6Fattie Purgatory and Ground Control 27 x 3.0″ tires with the more durable Control casings on 38mm internal width Roval Traverse alloy rims. Considering Moab’s terrain, the set ups worked incredibly well with only a few flats that were confined to the few hard tails in the mix. As much as this was an e-bike test, it was also an eye opening experience for the use of plus size tires. Between the additional grip, control, and confidence they provided on Moab’s varying conditions, motor or not, they were impressive. Specialized engineers actually claim there is a 69% greater contact patch with a 3.0″ tire at 18 psi compared to a 2.3″ tire at 24 psi. On paper that’s a bit hard to believe, but it’s a lot more believable once you hit the trail.

Other component highlights includes a RockShox Pike RC 140mm fork, and a custom Fox Float Factory DPS rear shock with Autosag and their RX trail tune that did a fantastic job keeping the 135mm of rear travel in check. Braking duties were taken care of through the SRAM Guide RS, though all the bikes feature upsized rotors with 200mm front/ 180mm rear and I can assure you we needed every bit of those brakes.

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Photo c. Specialized / Colin Belisle

Turbo Levo FSR 6Fatties will be sold in S-Works, Expert, and Comp builds which all utilize the same M5 Premium Aluminum frame with 140/135mm of travel. The Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie is also offered in a women’s version along with the Turbo Levo HT 6Fattie which is offered in men’s and women’s. The Turbo HT Comp Fat comes in a single build with pedal assist and 4.6″ tires. U.S. pricing is yet to be determined, though from the possible figures we’ve heard, it’s not as steep as you might think. Sold with a 2 year, 1,500 km warranty, the Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie series will soon be available in the U.S. but only in limited quantities.

Update: Specialized just released the U.S. pricing for their Turbo Levo line, with full suspension bikes starting at $5,500.

  • Women’s Hardtail Comp 6Fattie: $4000
  • Women’s FSR Comp 6Fattie: $5500
  • HT Comp Fat: $5000
  • HT Comp 6Fattie: $4000
  • FSR Comp 6fattie: $5500
  • FSR Expert 6Fattie: $7500
  • FSR S-Works 6Fattie: $9500

specialized.com

94 COMMENTS

  1. 1) It’s a motorcycle. I know it doesn’t look like one yet, but as battery and drive train technology gets better it will look and feel more and more like one. Pedal, and if you can’t get where you want to go, keep pedaling harder day in and day out until you can.

    2) If we, as mountain bikers, are trying to make the case that wilderness access should include bikes, calling this a mountain bike DOES NOT HELP OUR CASE

  2. I also will no longer be supporting any companies that make an ‘E-bike’ without calling it an electric motorcycle. Rather than just complain I’ll use my dollars to vote.

  3. Getting bikes into wilderness is a joke. The bike industry and the products they are pushing (asides from a few) are increasing the speed, mobility and efficiency of bikes. Bike users should be allowed in wilderness but not with their bikes. Go for a hike once in a while. It is good to get away from bikes and their technology.

    • We do hike. We also ride bikes. And we don’t suffer from the same delusion you do that hiking with a GPS, ultralight tent, carbon fiber poles, anatomically designed hiking boots, and uber lightweight climbing jacket is somehow less technologically involved than a bicycle. Human powered exploration comes in many forms.

      Either show evidence you head into the wilderness naked, kill a dear for it’s skin to make clothes and navigate by the stars, or take your fatally flawed reasoning and get outta here.

    • this is a silly answer, pretty typical of the wildernuts who take their GPS and other technological marvels in the backcountry so that they can pretend they’re communing with mother earth…

  4. this is a cool motorcycle. not a mountain bike. please go away. i ride motorcycles, but they are not bikes. MTN bikes should be able to go anywhere but motorized stuff should not. go away go away go away please for the longevity of MTB access.

  5. Just to play devil’s advocate with all of the BikeRumor readers who love to shoot down these articles as “Motorcycle Propaganda”. This bike, in normal use, has a 250 watt motor. If an average untrained rider could produce around 150 watts and they were pedaling with the motor assist, doesn’t that mean that the whole package will come out to around 400 watts total power. Now there are many pros and highly trained amateurs who can produce that kind of power. Should they be banned from the trails as well? What is the difference? Just the fact that they can produce the power naturally vs. assisted? If the riders are similar sized, the speed and wear on the trail would be the same, right?

    • yes- I fully support the banning of any rider that can produce ~400 watts of power.

      But it looks like you answered your own question- the difference is that one does it assisted and one in a manner that isn’t about motors.

      But to (maybe) stretch your argument a bit- if you can ride a bike w/ a generator hub that powers a light- should the battery lights be banned? Or if my genrator hub charges a battery during each downhill- can I use that stored energy to help get up some other hill?

      Plenty of motorbikes out there using the same trails I often do. Can’t say I’m a big fan of that either. Selfish of me but true.

      • Well, a handful of fast people don’t do the damage of a ton of fast people. This lets everyone be fast. Kinda like dirty vehicles. An 18 wheeler is dirty but it transports so much stuff that its not really so bad. Imagine if we all drove one for no reason though…

    • The wattage doesn’t matter. If it was 1 watt it would still be a motorized vehicle. And trail wear is the product of many users, not one. The whole purpose behind an e-bike is that it enables you to ride faster and further. That alone increases wear beyond what a rider would normally do with a bicycle.

    • huh i meant to look at bikerumor.com but I guess i mistakenly hit up motorbikerumor.com … Im bummed we’ve come to this.

    • Your math proves a lot of arguments against void.
      The problem as I see it is that these contraptions will turn every trail in to a shuttling trail.
      So far you needed to make a significant effort to shuttle. Either you had to travel to a resort with a chairlift or a helicopter/some other shuttle service with a paid crew to maintain the trails. Or you could organize a shuttle vehicle with a friend or a SO willing to donate time for your pleasure. In every case a major PITA, plus very few trails have the access road suitable for shuttling.
      On the other hand e-thing makes it very easy to shuttle everywhere.

  6. Woah. I somehow missed when mainstream bike companies started making motorcycles.

    Come on now, fat tires, full suspension, electric motor… Stop calling it what it is not. Maybe we can agree on, ‘mountain moped’?

  7. Getting away from the e-bike issue for a moment here:

    A “short 459mm chainstay”.

    In what universe is that short? Did you perhaps mean “gargantuan”? A SC Hightower uses similar/the same tires, and has a 435mm chainstay.

    Maybe we should be honest here and state the truth: the motor for your e-bike will add at least an inch to your chainstay length.

    Oops, I guess i brought it back to e-bikes….

  8. Thank you Bryan for some clear thinking. Motorcycles go when you twist a throttle – no physical work happens. A “PEDAL_ASSIST” bike assists pedaling…it’s not a motorcycle. A pedal assist bike simply adds wattage. I cannot tell people enough how much I would love one of these. I have a heart condition that allows me to ride but not at the level of effort that would let me complete longer and hilly rides with my friends – now I could. I will not be beating them up, but merely be able to hang. Get over it and ride your bike. These bikes aren’t going to wreck trails anymore than a strong rider…which is zero. You can’t roost one, you can’t go without pedaling. It’s not a motorcycle – period.

    • Clear thinking? I’m fit and can ride long distances at fast speeds – doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy more power more often. The perception to the public is then, “motorbike” – and perception is more important than any actual real effect.

      I’m sorry to hear about your condition, but you are not all riders and access should not be determined on the account of exceptional cases. If you want to ride this way, there is plenty of existing infrastructure to accommodate pedal-assist bikes. Motorized access to these places is established and accepted.

      There are also many areas that barely allow unassisted MTB access as-is. One or two cases of injury due to someone using pedal-assist to ride outside of their limits on a mixed-use trail can spell an end to all bike access. I don’t get the selfish “me me me” mentality of people who would be willing to risk everyone’s access due to their own unique circumstances.

  9. I don’t see the confusion. The terminology is..Bicycle, Motorcycle, Moped. We can call them all bikes but if referring use their proper names. They are not …Pedal bikes, e-bikes, classic bikes, or assisted bikes.

  10. So sad to see a big bike company undermine years of MTB advocacy. Articles and products like this are exactly what wilderness and land management point to and say NO way bike bros.

    • Not that there was anything particularly inspiring about Specialized’s business decisions previous to this, but I agree it’s a little depressing.

  11. Ooh I can’t wait until I have to share the trails as well as the roads with motorized vehicles. Stop posting these motorcycle press releases on a bicycle website, please?

  12. I would love to try riding this very cool moped. It looks really fun. Someday when I need the e-help you can bet I would buy one. That day is not today, but it will come.

  13. Haha almost every comment is hate. You guys are Holocaust deniers…accept it and get down off your lofty cloud. It’s not a motorbike, that’s total bollocks. It has no throttle. It just gets you up a hill easier, that is all. Same bunch of narrow minded box-dwellers that screamed about 27.5, or 29 before that, or 142 before that, or carbon before that, or isis bb’s before that, or suspension before that…

  14. Yes you tell em Mad3chanic, you naysayers try training on a pedal assist only ebike as supplementary overload training then get on your non ebike and you will fly! Try it

  15. I’d love one of these for the uphills. Easily get in an extra run or two per-ride. It’s probably great on the way to the trail too. Now I drive to anything that’s 10 or more miles away, but this would really open up the ability to ride to trails and let me ditch my car.

    • duder – great point. before people vomit the hate towards pedal assist bikes they must open their mind. And please ride one. I was fortunate to do so and it is a very interesting thing 🙂

  16. Not everyone is healthy enough to ride a standard bike. To some people, this is the difference between ever seeing Moab on a bike again, or not. Just don’t take your health and the ability to ride a standard bike for granted. It can leave you in the blink of an eye and something like this might look pretty awesome to that person. You might not be able to tell if you run into one on the trail, but just know that guy might not be able to ride without the electric help. So be careful to rush to judgement.

  17. I’ll give you a pass for this article, but if e-mountain bike articles become a regular occurrence I will no longer visit this site.

  18. Under the conclusion that bikerumor is either heavily invested in ebikes or taking bibs to advertise them.

    No reason to put motorcycles, ebikes or mopeds on this site. We do not want this here.

    These bikes will be the end of mountain biking on trails. Do not include these with bicycles.

  19. Motor+Bike=MotorBike
    Now that that’s out of the way, I had a new self reflection about this topic. In fact it’s something I never thought about untill I almost wanted to ride one….
    “maybe I’m being to hard on this whole ebike thing, I would love to go up hill faster.”
    But then out of nowhere, in my minds eye I’m crestting a brutal climb on my imaginary ebike super stoked about the sweet downhill I just got to the top of and I think to myself, “this bike is going to be a f-ing pig on the way down!” And in that I know I would not only would I be cheating myself on the way up, but now I’m going to ruin the only reason I climbed up to the top in first place. I get it, some people physically can’t exert themselves as much as I can, and maybe that said person should be able to get a special allowance to ride an ebike on a bicycle trail, maybe, or maybe not; I honestly haven’t digested my own personal opinion about a special exceptions based on physical limitations. How would you qualify? How would people not take advantage of a trail net work built by volunteers, I’m pretty sure if you can’t climb a trail without a motor you sure as sh*t can’t dig one. Have any of you ebike supporters ever thought that if you can’t get to the top of the trail without motorized assistance you might not have the physical capabilities to safely ride the rest of the trail? Does “squirrel catcher”mean anything to you? I can’t help but think that the company’s making and pushing ebikes for trail use are only out for $’s not other wise going to be spent in the cycling world. To me It’s how big soulless bicycle company’s expand their demographic to people who might not otherwise give cycling a second thought.

  20. If it has a motor then it’s a “motorbike”, pedal assist or not. Once a motor is added what’s to stop modifications to increase power/torque. Call me a hater, but I’d rather my comment be looked at as a vote “No to ebikes on trails” and “No to ebikes on bikerumor”.

  21. Maybe I take my health for granted, but I think you might be taking your (and everyone else’s) trail access for granted. The mountain biking community, which has accepted a half dozen new axle standards in as many years, is skeptical of this technology. What do you think the general public’s perception will be? Think about how much worse for the sport a headline would be if a collision between trail user and mountain biker can now be described as between a trail user and a motorized vehicle that triples the power output of an average human.

    I see nothing inherently evil with pedal assist bikes, but I also want them limited to trails that already condone motorized transport so continued access and recreation for the majority of mountain bikers (those who propel themselves) is protected.

  22. Legally, in the EU 250W pedal-assist is classed as a bike, it can go anywhere a bike can go.

    “To me It’s how big soulless bicycle company’s expand their demographic to people who might not otherwise give cycling a second thought.”

    To me it’s great that some people can enjoy the simple pleasure of riding and don’t need to get all strava’d up or train or think about whether they can ‘hang’ with a group. Just riding for fun. More people on 2 wheels. For that, road-legal 250W max pedalecs are ok with me.

    • Me early 70’s, wife, well a gentleman never tells. We have to carry our ebikes in by car because of distance. We don’t rip up tracks. We enjoy quallity time in the forest with 2 silent ebikes. Motorcycles not allowed. Families with kids, bicycles etc. all enjoy their time out. No noise no problems. Only luddites or riders that have never been on a ebike seem to complain. We are allowed to ride on footpaths since 2015..some people moan but change is hard for the older people. LOL. My wife has just purchased a Levo FSR fattie. I rode it today. What a bike!!
      Cheers

  23. Its an electric motor bike. Look, I love Bikerumour, but you guys have got to stop bowing to the bike companies. I know they lean on you like the music guys lean on radio stations and it must be hard… Maybe set up an electric motor bike website separately from this one?

  24. every manufacturer needs an e-bike in their lineup !
    if some countries are becoming strict as to what can and can’t be driven/ridden offroad then that’s sad!
    in the meantime let people who live elsewere like me who ride mtbs ebikes trials enduro jetskis paramotors etc continue to do so…!
    the levo turbo is def on my list of upcoming toys…!

  25. My first guess is, every single person crapping all over this bike has the ability to ride a standard bike. As people age and/or lose the ability to do that for whatever reason, and electric assisted bikes get smaller, lighter, and harder to tell apart from the normal bikes, my next guess is every single one of you will employ that badass seat tube hidden motor that will be here before you know it. Every one of you will do the math in your head, (no riding at all, OR, slide a motor into my seat tube and go do what I’ve always loved again, or go all in and buy the electric bike). Every one of you will do it, you just haven’t hit that crossroads yet, but you will. We’ll see how passionate you are about this subject when that time comes. I already know what all of you will do, but for now you’re healthy enough, and you think you will be forever, that you sit in your ivory tower and cast stones. Just be nice to the guy you might run into on one of these things in the future, because he might not have any other choice and already feels embarrassed enough for having to ride it in the first place.

    • You still don’t get it. When “that time comes”, you get off the bike, or you ride where your diminished abilities allow. Once again, you are espousing the “me me me” attitude that is so pervasive. I don’t know about you, but I get sick and tired of reading about some 80 or 90 year old person driving through a farmer’s market because they are so old and feeble, they can’t tell the difference between the gas and the brake. You talk about ivory towers, well why don’t you come down from yours and get a grip. You are right…you AREN’T young forever, and when the time comes, you have to accept you cannot do the same things you once could, including riding a bike up the same technical or steep trail you used to. The solution is to accept where you are in your life, not to bring a motorcycle into the wilderness to continue doing the same thing you could when you were 35. Ridiculous.

  26. I saw my first Ebike on the trails I ride, yesterday. You E-bike whiners are so wrong!
    I doubt any trip users would even know if this bike was e-assist as it makes no noise and ridden by someone so heavy they were almost an invalid.
    Certainly, he would never have ridden or even been active on a trail in his life before this contraption came along. I seriously doubt it would carry him on anything besides relatively flat fire roads either.
    The only other assisted “bike” I have seen was a paraplegic man on a E-assist quad bike . Would you deny him that ability? I wouldn’t.
    Both were trying to pedal as much as they can but their respective physical problems would not allow much trail riding w/o the battery.
    These vehicles will NOT prevent or affect your access. What you miss in that argument is the people trying to prevent growing access or outright preventing it will do so to your pedal bike as well. They don’t like you or your vehicle (batteries or not) and will treat both the same.
    Get over it, and stop using E-bikes as your future excuse for access issues. E-bikes have nothing to do with it.

  27. Great for Moab. Now put that thing on a trail in Kentucky. Loamy, full clay, can take a couple days to dry. I have to deal with enough idiots riding wet trails and leaving ruts. Now open those trails to folks who the most trail knowledge they have is the sales guy/gal telling them to not ride muddy trails, if they even do. Heavier bikes, with motors rutting up the trails I work even more? My back is hurting already.

  28. not many europeans responding here…. In the EU bikes with pedal assist motors with 250W output are legally pedelacs/ “classic bikes” and the 350 watt versions with assist to 45 km/h and a throtle option till 20km/h are e-bikes (speed-pedelacs). This bike (which uses a standard Brose motor system, also found on at least 4 other german brands) is just a normal bike legally.

    Over here we see a lot of pedelacs these days. On average 1 in 6 bicycles sold is a pedelac, in the Netherlands this a bit higher, 1 in 4 the last three months is a pedelac. These are jusat bicyles, just a bit heavier.

    Here its a non-issue if pedelacs should be riding off-road. If a route is open to hikers/bikers you can ride you e-mtb. We see more an issue of horsebackriders riding on trails they should not.

    this discussion iff a pedelac should be banned is really a non-issue. its the same for having more than 5 gears, having suspension on even worse the exceptance of disck-brakes of Carbon frames…

    that discussion we have seen all before, within a year or 2 even the ‘maricans wil take in the pedelacs for granted. We’ve seen it years ago here in the Netherlands. From the exclusive bikes like the Sparta pharos in 1996 to the XM700+ from Trek for example.

    I’d say, go to an event to test a few of these pedelacs or the faster e-bikes yourself before forming an opinion.

    Cheers from one of the bike crowded places in the world.

    Have a nice Oestra.

    Bas

    • I totally agree with B@se, so much e-bike hate here in the comments, I don’t get it at all. Here in the Nordic countries luckily trail access is also a non-issue thanks to the everyman’s right

    • Totally agree with you. I live in Switzerland, a much more crowded place than the US. Very few trails are banned for bikes and eassistbikes are not an issue. Why people always want to ban things? Hikers want to ban bikes, bikers want to ban e-bikes… Common sense should be what stop you from doing stupid things not rigid rules. A hiker will not notice the difference between a regular bike and one of these Specialized turbo but he will for sure notice if a rider stops to let him pass, smiles and show respect. There is space for everyone if people stop thinking they are the only ones with the holy truth. Btw I just tested one of those Levo Turbo today and they are incredibly fun uphill and downhill. This is also a great way to avoid shuttling with cars. I will probably buy one and still use my regular ensure bike half the time. Give it a try and see for yourselves. Peace

  29. Where does it say Motorbikerumour? Maybe the editor of this website has lost his direction and needs to switch to the relivent website? I for one am a cyclist, i own a “Bicycle” shop, and i feel for the bicycle if the desire to make money at the cost of the very thing that got them to this place, then let them hang their heads in shame #Specialisedbikes? Or this is now Specialised motorbikes?

  30. Hello dear commenters, can you please label your comments at the top with either a POLITICS or EXPERIENCE header?

    If your post is about whether or not you think e-bikes/pedal assist bikes should be allowed or not allowed on trails, then place POLITICS at top so I know what not to read.

    For a post in which you discuss how fun it is to ride (especially if you’ve already ridden one), then label your post EXPERIENCE, as I would love to read about the EXPERIENCE of riding these things.

    Thank you for saving me from reading your tired, cliched soapbox POLITICAL rant that’s been rehashed over and over. Trust me, unless you’re the IMBA or STC president or head of the BLM, you’re NOT going to add anything new to the conversation on this thread. However, I will read your post about how much of a blast you had riding this bike (or other e-bike).

  31. US trail regulations are getting tighter currently, which is what’s breeding alot of anti-motor sentiment IMO. I ride dirt bikes and have fun, but I figure that’s why a lot of this is coming to a head regarding e-bikes. Maybe Specialized and others who have a large financial gain to make can throw a ton of money at US Congress to “lobby” aka bribe the Wilderness act into allowing bicycles and change how our entire forestry system works.

    in short:

    braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap

  32. basicly I have roughly 10 years of experience with e-bkes/pedelacs. Both personally and professionally.

    I’ve riding Trek’s powerfly+ and the powerfly+ FS and I’ve build some pedelacs myself. I do own a X-caliber frameplatrform BionX equipted 29″ e-mtb. I take that bike for a spin when I do not have the phissical abilaty to ride my Fuel EX.

    So I do both, riding the same routes with pedal assist and on a classic mtb. The e-mtb’s are really fun to ride. and because off the pedal assist I am able to ride when I would not ride my classic mtb.

    Same experience with my parents. They own a pair of folding bikes. They take them with them on trips to France or Germany. After years of riding a pedelac on daily rides they thought that the folders where going to be binned, to hard to pedalaround. I convinced them that I could re-build them as pedelacs. Tney have been riding more miles with them after the conversion than before (they are equipted with a BionX kit)
    So whats better, ditch riding bikes on vacaion trips or use a form of pedalassist?

    Same with myself. I could be watching telle, or riding an e-mtb. I rather cycle.

    The e-mtb communaty is really gaining some momentum here in the BeNeLux and Germany. I think its a great thing. More peoples riding bikes again. (for sport that is).

    I must admit that the remarks on what you work out on an e-mtb is really different then a classic mtb. On the classic its more pedalling, on the e-mtb its really more a thorax workout then cardio. Same experience as the reporter.

    as mentioned before, stop ranting, start riding.

    Cheers.

    Bas

  33. So specialized has guaranteed that they won’t change the “standard on their batteries and we’ll still be able to buy a replacement battery when it reaches the end of its charge life?

  34. My turn at taking shots. I have to wonder…are people being purposely obtuse, or do you just simply not get it? Sure, there is some general hate toward e-bikes, but if you look at many of the comments, a lot of the concern is about what effect these bikes may have on already diminishing access to wilderness areas. It does not matter how reasonable, and how rational you make your argument about ebikes, the vast majority of anti-motor and anti-MTB people will immediately be against this technology as it pertains to access. And I can just see the headlines the very first time some idiot way over his head riding one of these crashes into some hikers or something and causes injuries, or heaven forbid, deaths. If MTB’ers want to continue to gain access and acceptance, when the majority of people already frown upon such activities, then the market for these bikes should not be increasing, and their access should be strictly limited to existing motor-friendly trails.

    You guys can play dumb, talk about irrelevant points in other countries, and put your fingers in your ears and say “la la la I can’t heaaaaar you!!” all you want, but there are many people who will continue to rail against acceptance of these alongside “classic” bikes.

  35. eBikes will lead to regulations, taxing, licensing and insurance requirements for all bikes. There’s no way for cops/rangers to tell if a bike’s pedal-assist, full-throttle or how many watts it’s putting down or if it’s even a ebike at all. So the end result will be all wheeled vehicles will end up being treated the same by the traffic and trail authorities. It was full while it lasted…

  36. If I want a motorcycle I will go buy one. If I want a better mountain bike I will buy one of those. This device is neither.

  37. a lot of comments about something that sounds like most have never ridden.
    i would highly recommend trying one and speaking with experience not ignorance !
    riding all bikes is fun.

  38. It takes two cars to shuttle up to the trailhead. If I ride an e-bike up to the trailhead it saves two cars worth of gas. Less pollution boys. Try using a solar recharger and it is pollution free.

  39. Ive Owned just about Every Type of bike especially Mountain bikes. I do understand the Frustration and arguments from all sides. All i can Say is please take one out on the trail and see what its all about. There are absolutely some pros and Cons here. Just to give my Input. Please listen carefully and without emotion and Pride.

    First off these bike have a pedal assist speed limiter of 18mph so the danger downhill acceleration is obviously a non issue. ( you don’t just pin the grip throttle)

    Second -Now to the climbing I am a heavy rider at 6’2 240 lbs and on the steep climbs even in turbo and in Granny gear pushing as hard as i can and maybe gaining 2-4 mph over my 18 lb Hard tail.
    With this bike being 50 lbs along with a heavier ride weight its not exactly a rocket ship of a climber.

    Third- It is awesome to be able to ride with some of my friends that are cat 1 and pro riders without holding them up or whining and hesitating to even show up.

    Four- It is pretty awesome to be able to control you ride / HR etc to stay in a zone ( fat burn for me) on the mountains ( cause i still hate riding with cars)

    Five – Rehab riders ( everyones crashed before and been depressed they cant get out in the hills )

    Six – Im a Busy Business man with young children and cannot always get out for a 3 hour ride so this is a nice way to access more miles and save time if you want to .

    Seven- We all know some of the super competitive riders who we run into on the trails that are riding full out to gain KOMs or ride around other riders ( i think those riders and issues create a much larger concern and threat for safety concerns than a pedal assist MTB)

    Eight- If you don’t have a basic understanding of MTB and the skill sets of agility balance and pedal power, these bikes are not easy to manage. So with that being said along with the Higher Price point s i don’t think you are going to see thousands of people flocking to the trails any time soon with this new technology.

    In closing

    I am out riding more (and no i didn’t sell my other bikes ) Im dropping weight like i never have on the MTB My shit eating grin of happiness doesn’t end and i very seldom am sitting back and just spinning relying on the assistance . Its like one guy said like a carrot dangling in front of the rabbit. It s a real good workout and a hell of a lot of fun. I really think everyone should again hop on one of these bikes and spin it before you pass all the judgments and bitterness.

    THX ,

    MDZ

    • Bought the Levo Comp6 in May, been riding more now then I have ridden in 17 years. It’s amazing fun, amazing exercise at good speeds. It’s not ultra fast, it’s a fun beast of a work horse. I’m a heavier rider, I’ve been dropping the weight. It’s been a blast doing so. The main thing with all trails is respect. I’ve seen all kinds of people abuse and make things harder for us who enjoy the great outdoors. This bike doesn’t compound those issues. If you have respect, great, if you don’t have respect it won’t matter what you ride.

      I bought this to be a commuter and off-road entertainment vehicle. I don’t like motorcycles for myself. They are noisy, take a lot of maintenance, and the total cost of ownership is high, plus they aren’t great for the environment. I love hiking, I love cycling. Anything that can take me peacefully through the outdoors is awesome. This bike does that.

      The commuting portion of the bike, I take 20-30 minutes to and from work daily, I ride instead of drive. With the fattie tires, I hope to commute year-round except on the coldest (-15F or below) days.

      When the weekend gets here, I go play on trails. I’ve had several absolutely lung clearing, breathless rides getting up some big hills. It extended my range and made possible things and places that I don’t have the physical stamina to do.

      The bike is a blast. Bottom line. I like having fun, and I have fun on this. Next year (wife permitting) I plan on buying a road bike version and getting in some long touring around yellowstone national park.

      I don’t like that I couldn’t hook up a trailer with solar panels to trickle charge the battery while in motion. This would give me a huge range on logging roads. I would love to take it on some huge bike-packing excursions for multiple days in the back country.

      As it is, no worries, I put the battery in eco mode and just enjoy the ride. If the battery dies, who cares, I ride back in and get a better work out.

    • Fantastic review and from my one day on this bike I agree. I’m late 50s and ride a nice trek road bike and an Intense MTB. I’m slower every year and still ride frequently. I see this bike in my future after 60 to keep me on the trails until … It’s hard to get too old to go up the steep parts or pass on a ride with friends knowing you don’t have the lungs or legs you did when you were 50. Good news is that when you are young you won’t likely need this bike, when you are older and have saved a few bucks you may very well find it to be a ticket to riding a decade or two longer than you could have without it.

  40. Hey my wife and I own dirt bikes (motorcycle), 2 class1 e-mtb’s and 2 mtb’s, I know hate me because I have lots of toys. The agreement contained below is based on class 1 e-mtb like the Specialized Turbo Levo.

    Lets look at the facts;

    Only a neanderthal would call a e-mtb a motorcycle. An e-mtb, on turbo assist, make less power than the starter motor on motorcycle. Ever see a dirt bike motorcycle with pedal assist?

    The comparison time trials between e-mtb and mtb by expert rider have shown that the e-mtb are slower.

    All generation ii class 1 e-mtb have 650+ tire which reduce trail wear and maintenance by 69% over current mtb with 2.30 tires. Fat tired e-mtb reduce trail wear and maintenance by 300%. Clearly todays e-mtb are more environmentally friendly than the current non e-mtb.

    Class 1 e-mtb only assist based on your physical input. Don’t pedal and you go nowhere pedal harder and faster and a e-mtb will assist you in proportion to to your input.

    In fact many mtb riders a shuttle their bikes to the top of the hill and use gravity power descent not pedal power, does that make the downhill mtb motorcycles?

    Think about this the next time you are coasting down a hill on USFS or BLM land. Gravity is doing the work on this descent, not human power, so you are in fact in violation of current laws.

    If you really care about the environment, wildlife, trail maintenance and mtb sport then you should be a e-mtb advocate.

    • 10 years from now it won’t matter…..everyone will be on a pedal assist e bike. The motor doesn’t work after 18 mph (at least the one I own) so it’s not like you’re on a moto and you can and will work hard but you’ll be up front and not DFL. I love my ebike and will continue to ride.

  41. Call it what you want i will buy one! I am a trail builder and i didn’t see it roosting up the trails. Plus i will be able to access my job site much quicker, this allowing me to produce more trail for you to ride. Flow checking and packing are a given!!

  42. Hi trail lovers,
    New to this forum, I enjoy your comments. All valid and valuable, thank you.
    I am observing many opinions, all rich in perspective. Respected.

    I share the frustration and the concern of the ones here opposing electric-powered bikes.
    Also, I share the joy and excitement of the ones here embracing this new technology.

    My passion for bikes is immense, I love riding road and MTB´s and am privileged to live in a place that is both rich in trails and good paved roads (I live on the island of Mallorca, Spain).

    Here the WHY I am posting:
    The technology is here. It is here to stay.
    I strongly believe it is up to the user and not up to the ride.

    I own a Specialized Levo as a second bike.

    The purpose of this bike is to inspire me to explore new terrain.

    Places I would not go (in my case, due to lack of time and fitness) and now do go.

    Now this bike opens up that door (for me) and I truthfully enjoy riding it.

    I call this bike my ¨Explorer¨, it sets me free of labelling it (and with it myself) e-bike, motorbike and all the other names I have seen that are posted here.

    Knowing that my bike is heavier and faster than other fellow riders and hikers I am sharing the trails with, I give them priority by getting out of their way. So enjoying it responsibly is may way to go.

    I see some posts concerning environment.

    I agree that It is not a pro-green choice owning an e-bike. The battery alone is a big resource-sucker and seeing it land later on landfill is something that makes me feel guilty owning one.

    I appreciate Santa Cruz not jumping on the e-wagon because of environmental concerns (at least not yet)

    That said, I better enjoy and care for it even more than.
    Wish you all a wonderful day. I am a visitor only and my intention is to leave this forum as soon as I finish typing this, so there will be not a second post of mine here.

    ¨Love the ride and use the bike, the other way around never works.¨
    – Ronny

  43. I am old and have bad knees. This allows me to ride with my kids and I am thankful for it. It is great fun too. Many younger people with regular bikes ride a lot harder than me. Other have more time and ride much more than I do. Does that make them bad riders? I don’t think so. Others litter a lot at the trails around here. Those are the people that should be singled out at the trails!

  44. It’s all about perspective. If I took my 46,000 watt KTM motorbike out on a MTB trail I’d expect to draw as much hate as I see here, or worse. But, when I ride with my buddies in a group that includes non-ebikes and some who have 250 watt ebikes for a few hours it seems pretty trivial to complain. Even after riding a couple of them I’m really hard pressed to see how these things would be damaging to the trail or the riders.

    Honestly, find a local dealer to borrow a bike from and take it for a ride at your local trails before you insist that these exceedingly low powered bikes are as evil as some here believe.

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