More power, more torque, progressive geometry, and loads of travel make the new Specialized Kenevo SL 2 look like a pretty fun eMTB. It still lives in the ‘SL’ class of eMTBs but Specialized has boosted its capabilities and done some serious tuning to the frame and suspension.
The updated Turbo SL 1.2 motor produces 43% more torque and 33% more power than the previous model. Specialized says it offers natural-feeling power delivery, and the bikes provide an unbeatable weight-to-range ratio. There are three builds of the new Kenevo SL 2, with prices starting in the five-figure range…
Kenevo SL 2 Frame Features and Key Specs:
The Kenevo SL 2 is only available with a monocoque FACT 11m carbon fiber frame. Specialized’s Ride Dynamics integrated design approach takes the bike’s chassis, kinematics, suspension tune, frame geometry, motor, battery, and controller into account and ensures they all work seamlessly and efficiently together. The frame’s front end, rear end, and link were tuned to work as a single unit.
Specialized also strove to minimize lateral and torsional deflection in the Kenevo SL 2 frame. The carbon layup is optimized for handling and light weight, and the motor is centralized in the frame to keep its weight balanced.
The Kenevo SL 2 offers a plush 170mm rear travel and all models come with 170mm forks. The bike rolls on 29” wheels, and Specialized makes no mention of mullet compatibility. Frame details include full internal cable routing, 148mm Boost rear axle spacing, and sealed cartridge bearings. Complete builds come in at very reasonable weights, which don’t vary much across the three models. A size S4 S-works weighs 42lbs 3oz, and the Comp model is only slightly heavier at to 42lbs 8oz.
The Kenevo SL 2’s 170mms of travel is controlled by Specialized’s six-bar linkage. The linkage aims to balance control, big hit absorption, pedalling efficiency, and durability. The six-bar linkage is an evolution of the brand’s well-established FSR platform and allows designers to optimize axle path to handle impacts, anti-rise for powerful pedaling, and anti-squat to keep the suspension active while braking.
Furthermore, the tension links that drive the shock allow leverage rates and axle path to be tuned separately. Lastly, the six-bar design helps keeps weight low in the frame for a stable, responsive, and lively ride.
Specialized gave the Kenevo SL 2 a slightly rearward axle path so it can eat up square-edge hits, but this design also produces ideal anti-squat properties early in the bike’s travel to enhance pedaling efficiency.
The Kenevo SL 2’s leverage rate is tuned to provide initial small-bump sensitivity, mid-stroke support, and a ‘compliant but controlled’ end stroke. Specialized developed custom valving and spring curves for this bike specifically, so it should ride very well right out of the box.
The new Turbo SL 1.2 motor produces 320W and 50Nm of torque. It’s small enough to nearly hide in the frame, and Specialized says it runs very quietly. Providing power is a 320Wh battery which is protected from rocks and knocks by the down tube guard.
With energy-saving features like MicroTune, Specialized says the battery can last for up to five hours of ride time. If that’s not enough, you can add a Range Extender water bottle battery for another 160Wh and 2.5 more hours of riding.
The Kenevo SL 2’s electronics are controlled by the top-tube integrated MasterMind Turbo Control Unit. The unit displays ride metrics, allows you to tune assist power levels, and allows for over-the-air updates to keep your bike performing at its best. The control unit integrates with the Specialized App which opens up advanced tuning options, on-trail diagnostics, a system lockout feature to deter bike theft, and more.
*Note – Since the new Kenevo SL 2 isn’t showing on Specialized’s USA website just yet, there was no geo chart provided. When the bikes appear online there will be a geo finder tool showing all six possible configurations.
The Kenevo SL 2’s geometry was inspired by the ever-popular Enduro’s angles and measurements. In short, it features a long front end, steep seat tube, slack head angle, and lengthy wheelbases – The shortest frame size is 1228mm.
The new Kenevo SL 2 provides six-way adjustability – Between the head angle and BB height adjustments, there are six different possible settings. The frame’s head tube angle is adjustable, and the Horst Link pivot acts as the BB height adjustment. BB height can be adjusted up or down by 6mm, and your very slack options for head tube angles are 62.5°, 63.5°, or 64.5°.
Check out the Specialized website for full build specs on each model, but here’s a peek at each. Please note the S-Works build is available in Specialized’s S3, S4, and S5 frame sizes. The other models are offered in S2, S3, S4 and S5 sizes.
S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL 2 – $18,999 (Note – Pricing is in CAD. USD pricing was not provided and I can’t redirect to the USA website from Canada)
Color options are Gloss Black Liquid Metal/Brushed Liquid Metal/Black Brushed Chrome or Gloss Rusted Red/Redwood/White Mountains.
Turbo Kenevo SL 2 Expert – $13,999
Frame color options are Gloss Obsidian/Metallic Obsidian/Taupe or Satin Harvest Gold/Obsidian.
Turbo Kenevo SL 2 Comp – $10,999
Frame color options are Gloss Dove Grey/Smoke or Satin Mystic Blue/Mystic Blue Metallic.
The Kenevo SL 2 will be available in early 2024.