Specialized Levo SL: Everything you need to know

A FAQ run-down of this revolutionary new e-mountain bike

E-bike

We traveled to South Africa to ride the new Specialized Levo SL. Photo by Gary Perkin

The Specialized Levo SL was just introduced and it is an intriguing addition to their E-Mtb line which includes the Levo and the Kenevo. We got to ride the Levo SL extensively during the product launch and it is something we’ve actually been asking for, a light, sub-40 lb ebike with less power and with modular batteries so the range can be configured for the desired ride.

It is indeed light at around 38 lbs for the top model and less powerful with smaller batteries. The surprise is it’s incredible usable with enough power and range to climb 5000-foot peaks. And it’s nimble and playful on the downhills. We see it as a unique product in the category that will attract a lot of new users. Riders who are athletic and want an experience very similar to non-assisted mountain bikers will be intrigued. They will be called upon to pedal quite a bit but the rewards will be very satisfying.

Check here for our ride report on the Levo SL.

Here’s how the Levo SL fits in their eMTB line

WHEN CAN RIDERS GET A TURBO LEVO SL?
The Turbo Levo SL will be available globally on February 4th.

DO ALL THE MODELS HAVE THE SAME RANGE OR RIDE TIME? WHAT IS IT?
Since all Turbo Levo SL models share the same motor and internal battery, the bikes’ potential range are nearly identical. Range varies with how you ride, where you ride, and which mode you ride in, but you can expect up to 3.5 hours of ride time using ECO mode from the internal battery alone. With a Range Extender battery (included with the S-Works and Founder’s Edition models and available as an accessory on other models) up to an additional 1.5 hours of ride time can be obtained with every Range Extender battery used.

HOW MANY MODELS ARE IN THE NEW TURBO LEVO SL LINE?
There are five models in the Turbo Levo SL family. The Founder’s Edition Levo SL, S-Works Levo SL, Levo SL Expert, Levo SL Comp Carbon, and Levo SL Comp.

WHAT’S THE TURBO LEVO SL’S PRICE RANGE?
The Turbo Levo SL ranges in price from $16,525 (Founder’s Edition Levo SL) to $6,525 (Levo SL Comp). Those prices are in US Dollars. Please verify with your local Specialized marketing representative to verify pricing in regions outside of the United States. Each Turbo Levo purchase price includes a $25 donation to the Outride Foundation/Soil Searching trail initiative.

WHAT SETS THE TURBO LEVO SL MODELS APART FROM ONE ANOTHER?
The S-Works Levo SL and Founder’s Edition models come equipped with Range Extenders (with the Founder’s Edition coming with 2 Range Extenders). These same Levo SL Range Extenders, it’s worth noting, can be purchased separately and used on all Turbo Levo SL models. The motor and internal battery assemblies, however, are shared across the entire Levo SL line. Consequently, the primary differentiator between the four carbon-framed models is brake, drivetrain, suspension and wheelset component spec. Additionally, the Turbo Levo SL Comp features an M5 alloy (rather than carbon) frameset.

WHAT’S THE WEIGHT RANGE WITHIN THE LEVO SL LINE?
Weights vary by size and model. The S-Works Levo SL, for example, comes in at 17.35Kg/38.25lb (for a size Large) while the Comp comes in at 19.4Kg/42.7lbs (also in size Large).

WHAT’S THE WEIGHT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE S-WORKS LEVO SL AND THE S-WORKS LEVO?
The S-Works Levo SL is 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) lighter than the S-Works Levo, which is already the lightest bike in its full-power class.

THE LEVO SL FRAME CLOSELY RESEMBLES THE LEVO FRAME—WHAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT?
The Turbo Levo SL’s kinematic performance is modeled after that of the Turbo Levo and both bikes feature a similar Sidearm-style chassis, but the Levo SL features a ride quality that’s closer to that of the lightweight Stumpjumper.

HOW MUCH SUSPENSION TRAVEL DOES THE LEVO SL POSSESS?
The Turbo Levo SL features 150 millimeters of travel, front and rear.

WHICH REAR SHOCKS CAN I RUN ON THE LEVO SL?
The Turbo Levo SL accepts standard-mount shocks with a 210-millimeter, eye-to-eye length, and 52.5-millimeter stroke.

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM FORK TRAVEL THAT I CAN RUN ON THE LEVO SL FRAME?
All Turbo Levo SL models were designed around, tested, and equipped with, 150-millimeter forks. We do not recommend running 160mm (or greater) travel forks.

WHAT THE MAXIMUM TIRE SIZE THAT WILL FIT ON THE LEVO SL?
All Turbo Levo SL models are equipped with 2.3” tires, which is the tire size we recommend on these bikes. While it may be possible to accommodate some manufacturers’ 2.4 tires (with minimal clearance), riders will have to verify this on a case-by-case basis since tire size varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Special Founder’s Edition

CAN RIDERS CHOOSE TO RUN A MIXED WHEEL (29/27.5) COMBINATION ON THE LEVO SL?
The Turbo Levo SL was designed around matching (front and rear) 29-inch wheels. Though a non “plus-size” 27.5 rear tire will fit, running that smaller-diameter rear wheel will substantially change the Levo SL’s geometry—and not for the better. Even with the flip-chip, the Levo SL’s frame was not designed to have adequate BB height/crank to ground clearance with this kind of “mixed” wheel setup.

WHAT SETS THE NEW SPECIALIZED SL 1.1 MOTOR APART FROM THE SPECIALIZED 2.1 MOTOR FOUND ON THE LEVO AND KENEVO MODELS?
In a word, everything. The SL 1.1 is not only significantly smaller and lighter than the 2.1 motor, it also features different internal components. While the Specialized 2.1 motor was purpose-built for delivering the most power possible, the Specialized SL 1.1 motor was purpose-built around the lightest system possible.

WHAT’S THE WEIGHT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SPECIALIZED SL 1.1 AND SPECIALIZED 2.1 MOTORS?
T
he SL 1.1 motor weighs 1,100 grams (2.4 pounds) less than the Levo and Kenevo’s 2.1 motor.

HOW MUCH DOES THE SPECIALIZED SL 1.1 MOTOR WEIGH?
At just 1.95 kilograms (4.3 pounds), the SL 1.1 Motor is essentially half the weight of other crank-based motors. The magnesium motor casing is one of several advancements that help make the motor so light.

IS THIS THE SAME MOTOR THAT’S USED ON THE SPECIALIZED TURBO CREO?
The Turbo Levo SL motor is the same motor system featured on the Turbo Creo. The Turbo Levo SL does, however, benefit from additional advanced software, including walk assist.

WILL ANY OTHER BIKE BRANDS BE USING THIS MOTOR (ALBEIT, WITH DIFFERENT BRANDING) ON FUTURE BIKES?
The Specialized SL 1.1 motor is only available on Specialized Turbo bikes.

HOW MUCH POWER DOES THE NEW SPECIALIZED SL 1.1 MOTOR DELIVER?
Our Specialized SL 1.1 motor amplifies rider power up to 240 watts and 35Nm of both peak and sustained power. We tuned our motor to deliver constant, strong support across a wide cadence range for a very natural feel while pedaling.

HOW DOES THE SPECIALIZED SL 1.1 MOTOR COMPARE TO THE FAZUA EVATION MOTOR—IN TERMS OF WEIGHT AND POWER?
The Specialized SL 1.1 motor is a full kilogram (2.2 pounds) lighter than the FAZUA Evation motor. The SL 1.1 motor also features full-powered support through a wider cadence range (10-120 RPM). The FAZUA, by contrast, exhibits a significant support drop at cadences above 90 RPM.

AT WHAT SPEED DOES THE TURBO LEVO SL’S MOTOR DISENGAGE?
All Turbo Levo SL models are equipped with a decoupling mechanism that disengages the motor completely when the bike reaches the top speed specified by the country in which it was sold.
In Europe, for instance, this max speed is 25 kilometers-per-hour. In the United States, the maximum speed is 20 miles-per-hour. At speeds greater than this, the motor no longer provides any kind of assistance. We also designed our motor to provide no resistance, so at these higher speeds, the Levo SL exhibits no more drag than a conventional bottom bracket. It feels like you’re riding a traditional Specialized trail bike.

WHAT IS THE TURBO LEVO SL’S BATTERY CAPACITY?
All Turbo Levo SL models use the same Specialized 320Wh internal battery. The Founder’s Edition Levo SL, however, comes equipped with two 160Wh Range Extender batteries, which effectively doubles its capacity. The S-Works Levo SL comes with a single 160Wh Range Extender battery that increases onboard battery capacity by 50 percent. The 160Wh Range Extender battery kit will also be available as an aftermarket product and can be used on all Turbo Levo SL models.

IS A RANGE EXTENDER INCLUDED WITH EVERY TURBO LEVO SL?
The 160Wh Range Extender comes standard with the S-Works model and two Range Extenders are included on the Founder’s Edition model. For other models, the Range Extender (adding up to another 2 hours of ride time) will be available as an accessory and is the perfect tool to extend your Turbo Levo SL rides even farther.

DO ALL THE MODELS HAVE THE SAME RANGE OR RIDE TIME? WHAT IS IT?
Since all Turbo Levo SL models share the same motor and internal battery, the bikes’ potential range is nearly identical. Range varies with how you ride, where you ride, and which mode you ride in, but you can expect up to 3 hours of ride time using ECO mode from the internal battery alone. With a Range Extender battery (included with the S-Works and Founder’s Edition models and available as an accessory on other models) up to an additional 2 hours of ride time can be obtained with every Range Extender battery used.

WHAT IMPACTS THE RANGE AND HOW CAN I GET THE MOST DISTANCE POSSIBLE?
There are many variables that influence range. The rider’s weight, fitness, and position on the bike, as well as the bike build, bike weight, tire choice, and tire pressure all impact range. Several environmental influences, such as trail conditions, elevation, and weather can impact range as well. The less motor support you require, the longer the battery will last. Riding in ECO mode will generally provide the longest battery life. Our Smart Control feature within the Mission Control App gives you the most control to ensure you longest ride time available.

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa – 28 January 2020 – during the 2020 Specialized Levo SL launch. Photo by Gary Perkin

HOW MUCH WEIGHT DOES THE RANGE EXTENDER ADD TO THE TURBO LEVO SL?
The Range Extender battery weighs 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds).

HOW DOES THE RANGE EXTENDER ATTACH TO THE TURBO LEVO SL?
While the Range Extender fits in a normal water bottle cage, we recommend using the Specialized Z-Cage along with the included band for increased security—especially on rougher terrain. The Z-Cage has passed extensive testing that ensures that Range Extender batteries are held secure despite the shock and vibration experienced on rough trails.

HOW MUCH DOES THE RANGE EXTENDER COST?
The Range Extender will be available in the aftermarket and will sell for $450 USD.

WHAT IS SMART CONTROL AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Using the Smart Control feature of our Mission Control App enables you to enter how far, or how long, you want to ride, as well as how much battery you would like to have left at the end of your ride. Smart Control then takes care of all battery management to reach those targets. It does this with a smart algorithm that checks the bike’s status every 10 seconds. Keep in mind, with Smart Control initiated on the app, assistance modes cannot be altered via the TCU on the bike’s top tube. It’s worth noting if at any point you choose to ride with no assistance, meaning you’re not getting any motor support, the system is still on and recording/sharing data to display on apps or ANT+ enabled devices.

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa – 28 January 2020 – Francis Cebedo of MTBR during the 2020 Specialized Levo SL launch. Photo by Gary Perkin

HOW DO YOU CHARGE THE TURBO LEVO SL’S BATTERY?
Included with every Turbo Levo SL is a Specialized 48V charger that plugs into a port at the bottom of the bike’s seat tube, just above the bottom bracket. The Range Extender is charged with the same charger. After plugging in your charger, it will take five seconds for the TCU to light-up and indicate charging. When all blue bars are illuminated, the bike is fully charged. A green LED on the charger indicates “standby,” while a steady red light indicates “charging.” S-Works bikes and Founder’s Edition bikes will ship with a “Y” cable that allows both the internal battery and Range Extender to be charged simultaneously. You can also gauge the status of your battery charge when you are away from your bike. The Mission Control App can relay your Levo SL’s current charge status directly to your smartphone.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CHARGE THE TURBO LEVO SL?
You can expect your Turbo Levo SL’s internal battery to charge from 3% to 100% in approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes. A Range Extender will charge from 3% to 100% in approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes. Both the internal and Range Extender batteries will charge (simultaneously) from 3% to 100% in approximately 3 hours 20 minutes with a “Y” cable.

CAN THE INTERNAL BATTERY BE REMOVED FOR CHARGING?
Yes, it can. However, the Turbo Levo SL’s internal battery is fully integrated into the frame and is intended to be charged while in the frame. In order to get the battery out of the frame, you need to remove the motor first. It’s this kind of integration that allows the Turbo Levo SL to be so light. If you want to fly with your Turbo Levo SL, the internal battery needs to be removed. You can carry a Range Extender in your carry-on luggage and when you arrive at your location, you can ride the Turbo Levo SL with just the Range Extender.

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa – 27 January 2020 – Francis Cebedo of MTBR during the 2020 Specialized Levo SL launch. Photo by Gary Perkin

Levo

MISSION CONTROL/MOTOR TUNING
HOW MANY RIDING MODES ARE THERE AND HOW MUCH ASSIST DO THEY OFFER?
There are three assisted riding modes: ECO, TRAIL, and TURBO. ECO mode matches your effort up to 30% of the motor’s power, TRAIL mode matches your effort up to 60% of the motor’s power, and TURBO mode matches your effort to 100% of the motor’s power—or 240 watts. That said, all three assist modes can be tuned almost infinitely to personalize power levels via our Mission Control App. There is also an unassisted riding mode when no power from the motor is desired.

HOW DOES THE TURBO CONTROL UNIT ON THE BIKE’S TOP TUBE WORK?
The Turbo Control Unit has two buttons and a battery level display. The bottom button is used to turn the bike on, while the top button is used to select one of the three assistance levels—or to ride with no assistance at all. Quickly push the button to cycle through different modes—1/3 blue circle is ECO, 2/3 blue circle is TRAIL, and the full blue circle is TURBO. Press and hold the button until all blue lights turn off to ride with no assistance.
When a Range Extender battery is connected to your Levo SL, the Turbo Control Unit will display five additional green bars that indicate the charge status of the Range Extender battery.

For a first ride review of the Levo SL, click here.

For more information, visit: Specialized.com


About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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Comments:

  • Joel MANN says:

    How was the motor sound compared to the regular Levo?

  • Loll says:

    Logical evolution on this is to get the same small battery but match levo’s battery power.

    seems like we are still about a year or two away from that. And more brands will be able to do this, price will go down.

    Seems like consumer should hold out for couple more years? 16k to get a 38 pound e-bike is rediculous. The base model at 6k isnt as appealing. Might as well look at decoy.

  • scotch hennesy says:

    16k for an ebike? That’s an embarrassing reality! There’s a fool born everyday.

    • Randy says:

      While I agree, I work in a very small bike shop. We sell $7000 bikes occasionally, that blows me away. So, I can see someone buying a 16 grand bike with every blue tooth option there is available and the best of everything else on it. They only made 250 of them. Bet they sell them all.

  • Paul Cherry says:

    pricey yes but most quality emountain bikes have been hovering between 48 to 52 pounds. To hear this one is at 38 pounds, wow, that is pretty amazing. glad to see how much progress is being made.

  • Mj says:

    As the guy first in line to mock and get pissed at Ebikes…the reality is, I’m a broken down 52. Between numerous auto, motorcycle, MTB, training accidents, I’m coming to the realization that in just the next couple of years I will only be riding partial trails, and much reduced time. Sucks, but that’s reality. Now the 30 something guy I see riding whizing around, shame on you. If you’re gonna ride one of these, you should really have a medical reason or just don’t be on the trails.

    • EK says:

      Should everyone that rides a motorcycle need to have disability? How about driving a car? Everyone has feet and should just walk where they need to go right? Ebikes are bikes. The sooner all the bike nerds (that’s me included) come together around this fact the better off EVERYONE will be. If people are enjoying their riding experience and respecting other road/trail users, who cares how they’re doing it.

    • Wayne Bird says:

      Totally agree with you

  • NoWay says:

    Even if I could afford $16k I can’t imagine dropping it on a bicycle. $5k yes, but $16k is a nice Ducati or KTM. I’ll wait for the trickle down in 5 years or so.

  • Eli says:

    The Levo SL Expert Carbon has enough tire clearance to clear a 2.6 tire (Bontrager SE5). WIll it rub under extremely hard cornering… time will tell. It has a minimum of about 5mm clearance but up to 10mm. It certainly will clear all Maxxis tires that are labeled 2.5 since they rarely make a tire that measures the printed width anyway.

    • Eli says:

      Forgot to add, the owners manual states the max tire clearance as 29 x 2.6 and 27.5 x 2.8 for the rear of the bike.

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