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Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp 2020 Review

Lighter weight and less powerful, the new Levo SL is the e-bike for the rider who seeks a "regular" trail bike experience with a just a little pedal assistance
Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp 2020
Photo: Laura Casner
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $6,525 List
Pros:  Lightweight for an e-bike, normal trail bike feel, range extender battery, quiet motor
Cons:  Less battery storage capacity, less powerful drive unit, expensive
Manufacturer:   Specialized
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 7
  • Downhill Performance - 35% 9
  • Climbing Performance - 20% 8
  • Power Output - 15% 7
  • Distance Range - 20% 7
  • E-Bike Controls - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Specialized really broke the mold when they created the new Turbo Levo SL. It has the same geometry and looks quite similar to their regular Stumpjumper models, but hidden inside the frame are an integrated 320Wh battery and the compact Specialized 1.1 drive motor. Due to the reduced size of both the battery and the motor, the Levo SL has a little less than half the power output of full-power e-bikes, and it weighs several pounds less. The significant reduction in weight helps the Levo SL handle and perform a lot more like a regular trail bike, and it absolutely rips on the descents. It can't compete with full-power models in terms of power output, but that's also the idea. This bike is a great new option for the rider who still wants to get a solid workout with just a little pedal assistance to ride a bit faster or expand their horizons. If you've thought that regular e-bikes are too heavy or too powerful, the Levo SL was made for you.

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Price $6,525 List$5,975 List$5,399 List$6,500 List$5,999 List
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Pros Lightweight for an e-bike, normal trail bike feel, range extender battery, quiet motorOutstanding battery life, whisper quiet motor, just right geometry, intuitive operationGood controls, huge distance range, confidence inspiring at speed, good component specPowerful motor, good distance range, well-rounded performanceVery nice build, stealthy looks, hard-charging downhill performance
Cons Less battery storage capacity, less powerful drive unit, expensiveReadout display not standard feature, SRAM Guide brakes not powerful enough, reported motor failuresHeaviest in test, sluggish at low speedsBattery or motor rattle, expensive, sluggish handling at low speedsExpensive, sluggish handling at times, came setup with tubes in tires
Bottom Line The new Turbo Levo SL splits the difference between a regular trail bike and a full-power e-bikeThe 2020 Specialized Turbo Levo Comp checks in for the third consecutive time as Editor's Choice thanks to class-leading range, power and innovationConfidence and stability, the Bulls E-Stream EVO AM 4 likes to party and can do so for a long time thanks to its large battery and distance rangeA well-rounded eMTB with modern geometry and an impressive distance rangeThe enduro-oriented YT Decoy is capable of charging the descents as hard as you want
Rating Categories Turbo Levo SL Comp Specialized Turbo Levo Comp Bulls E-Stream EVO AM 4 Trek Rail 9.7 YT Decoy CF Pro
Downhill Performance (35%)
9
9
8
8
9
Climbing Performance (20%)
8
9
8
7
7
Power Output (15%)
7
8
9
8
8
Distance Range (20%)
7
10
9
10
7
E Bike Controls (10%)
7
7
7
7
8
Specs Turbo Levo SL Comp Specialized Turbo... Bulls E-Stream EVO... Trek Rail 9.7 YT Decoy CF Pro
Battery Size (Wh) 320Wh (+160Wh Range Extender) 700Wh 650Wh 625Wh 540Wh
Wheel size (inches) 29 29 27.5+ 29 29 front/27.5+ rear
Motor System Specialized SL 1.1 (240W) Specialized 2.1, Custom Rx Trail-tuned 250W Brose Drive S (250W) 650Wh Bosch Performance Line CX Shimano Steps E8000
Motor Power (torque) 35Nm 90Nm 75Nm 70Nm
Measured Weight (w/o pedals, Medium) 41 lbs 10 oz (2lbs 6 oz - range extender battery) 50 lbs 7 oz 55 lbs 15 oz ? 50 lbs 10 oz with tubes
Fork Fox Rhythm 34 Float 150mm RockShox Lyrik Select RC DebonAir RockShox Lyrik RC Boost Solo Air 150mm RockShox Yari RC e-MTB, 160mm Fox 36 Float Performance Elite E
Suspension & Travel Future Shock Rear (FSR) - 150mm Future Shock Rear (FSR) - 150mm RockShox Deluxe RT 150mm Active Braking Pivot, 150mm V4L Virtual 4-Link 165mm
Shock Fox Float DPS Performance RockShox Deluxe Select+ RockShox Deluxe RT RockShox Deluxe Select+ Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite
Frame Material M5 Premium Alloy M5 Premium Aluminum Aluminum OCLV Carbon Carbon Fiber
Frame Size Tested Large Large Large Medium Medium
Available Sizes XS-XL S-XL 44/49/54 cm s-XL S-XXL
Wheelset Roval Traverse 29, 30mm internal Roval Traverse 29, 30mm internal Formula Hubs/Bulls Rims Bontrager Line Comp 30 E*Thirteen E*Spec Plus
Front Tire Specialized Butcher GRID TRAIL GRIPTON 2.3" Specialized Butcher GRID GRIPTON 2.6" Schwalbe Magic Mary Snakeskin, TLE, Apex, 27.5 x 2.8 Bontrager XR5 Team Issue 2.6" Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 29" x 2.5"
Rear Tire Specialized Eliminator GRID TRAIL 2.3" Specialized Eliminator BLCK DMND 2.3" Nobby Nic Snakeskin, TLE, Apex, 27.5 x 2.8 Bontrager XR5 Team Issue 2.6" Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO 27.5" x 2.8"
Shifters SRAM NX Eagle SRAM S700 11-speed Shimano Deore XT SL-M8000 SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed Shimano XT 11-speed
Rear Derailleur SRAM NX Eagle SRAM GX, 11-speed Shimano Deore XT RD-8000-GS, 11-speed SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed Shimano XT 11-speed
Crankset Praxis M30 Praxis SR Suntour 38T + Miranda SRAM X1 1000 Shimano XT
Crankarm length 170mm 165mm not specified, but at least 170 165mm 165mm
Bottom Bracket part of the motor not specified not specified not specified
Cassette SRAM NX Eagle 11-50T SRAM PG-1130 11-42t Shimano SLX CS-M7000-11 , 11-speed, 11-42T SRAM PG1230, 11-50T E*Thirteen TRS Plus
Chain SRAM NX Eagle KMC X11ET KMC X11E SRAM NX Eagle not specified
Saddle Specialized Bridge Comp Specialized Bridge 155 S2 Selle Royal Seta M1/Bulls Bontrager Arvada 138mm SDG Radar Mountian
Seatpost X-Fusion Manic 150mm (large) X-Fusion Manic 150mm KS LEV-Integra Bontrager Line Dropper, 150mm SDG Tellis 150mm
Handlebar Specialized Trail 780mm Specialized Trail 780mm Bulls Bontrager Comp Alloy, 780mm Renthal Fatbar 35 800mm
Stem Specialized Trail Specialized Trail Monkey Link Bontrager Rhythm Comp, 60mm Renthal Apex 35 40mm
Brakes SRAM Guide R SRAM Guide RE 4 piston 200mm rotors Magura MT5 hydraulic disk brakes Shimano M6120 4-piston SRAM Code RS
Grips Specialized Trail Specialized Sip Grip Ergon Bontrager XR Trail Comp ODI Elite Motion
Measured Effective Top Tube (mm) 625 630 638 611 590
Measured Reach (mm) 454 460 435 450 435
Measured Head Tube Angle 66 66 67 64.9/64.5 65.5 High/65.0 Low
Measured Seat Tube Angle 74.5 74.7 74 75 76.5 High/76 Low
Measured Bottom Bracket Height (mm) 350 347 354 34.4 340 Low
Measured Wheelbase (mm) 1218 1235 1230 1220 1205
Measured Chain Stay Length (mm) 437 455 462 447 443
Warranty Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime on frame Five Years on frame

Our Analysis and Test Results

Specialized has been at the forefront of the electric mountain bike market for a while now, and they continue to push the envelope of innovation and design. It seems like most of their competitors are just trying to play catch up as they continue to run away from the pack. This became even more apparent when they released the new Levo SL models, bringing a lower weight and lower-powered option into the fold. The new SL models fit into what seems like a completely new category, splitting the difference between everyday trail bikes and full-power electric mountain bikes.

Performance Comparison



The new SL models are an excellent addition to Specialized's line of...
The new SL models are an excellent addition to Specialized's line of Levo e-bikes. Lighter and less powerful, it won't be for everyone but we're sure there are plenty of people out there who will probably love it.
Photo: Laura Casner

Downhill Performance


The Levo SL has a very impressive downhill performance that blurs the lines between a regular trail bike and full-powered e-bike. It can be ridden with finesse, and the downhill experience isn't dominated by its "e-bike-ness" the way that heavier and more powerful bikes can be. Thanks to its lower weight and modern but not extreme geometry, it feels, handles, and performs a lot like a regular trail bike. It's undeniably quicker, livelier, and easier to get off the ground than its heavier counterparts, yet it is impressively stable and ground-hugging at speed and confidence-inspiring when the trail gets steep or rough. Even on the least expensive model in the lineup, the alloy Comp model we tested, the component specification is quality and backs up this bike's downhill capabilities.

Steep and chunky or smooth and mellow, the Levo SL eats it all up...
Steep and chunky or smooth and mellow, the Levo SL eats it all up and handles a lot more like a regular trail bike than any other e-bike we've tested.
Photo: Laura Casner

The geometry of the Levo SL is in many ways a carbon copy of the full-powered Levo models with a couple of notable exceptions. The differences are primarily in the length of the chainstays and the wheelbase, both of which are 18mm shorter on the SL. Due to the smaller size of the motor, Specialized was able to shorten the chainstays to 437mm, the same length that you'll find on the non-pedal-assist Stumpjumper 29 models. The shorter stays help to give the Levo SL a slightly more playful and flick-able feel and a little more maneuverability in super tight switchbacks and technical sections on the descents. The moderate length 1218mm wheelbase is long enough to feel super stable at speed yet this bike rails corners and never feels like an excessively long enduro-sled. The 66-degree head tube angle feels perfect, slack enough to feel composed at high speeds and in the steeps, but not so slack that handling at lower speeds suffers. Our size large test bike had a generous front center with an effective top tube length of 628mm and a moderate length reach of 455mm.

Testers felt very comfortable descending on the Levo SL, the lighter...
Testers felt very comfortable descending on the Levo SL, the lighter weight helps it feel more nimble and the suspension feels plush and well balanced for boosting into chunky rock gardens.
Photo: Laura Casner

The Levo SL's 150mm of front and rear suspension feels impressively supple and well balanced. Specialized's FSR rear suspension platform is proven and provides excellent small bump compliance and when combined with the additional weight of the bike really gives it a ground-hugging and ultra-smooth feel over high-frequency chop and chatter. It also performed well on mid-sized and bigger hits with a nice ramp-up at the end of the stroke, blowing through the travel and harsh bottom outs were a non-issue. The Fox 34 Rhythm fork also comes with a beefed up e-bike specific crown and felt far more sturdy than the 34s that come on non-e-bikes. It's also worth noting just how well the Levo SL railed through corners. The additional weight of the motor and battery on this bike is as low as possible by the bottom bracket, combine that with supple rear suspension and grippy tires and this bike absolutely shreds corners and eats up fast flowy sections of trail.

One thing that really sets the Levo SL apart from the competition on the descents is the lower weight, 41 lbs and 10 oz, which plays a role in several aspects of its downhill performance. First, and most obviously, it weighs approximately 9-10 lbs less than any other eMTB we've tested. That much weight is very noticeable, it feels quicker, more responsive, and generally more "normal" in how it handles and performs on the descents. Jumping and tweaking the bike in the air doesn't feel like a chore. When you get the Levo SL up to speed, we noticed that pedaling it past the 20mph mark feels much easier and far more natural than heavier e-bikes. In fact, our testers noted that they could barely notice when the drive unit stopped providing pedal assistance when they were really jamming on the pedals.

It may be the least expensive model in the line, but the Comp alloy...
It may be the least expensive model in the line, but the Comp alloy build is pretty well appointed helping enhance its downhill performance.
Photo: Laura Casner

Despite carrying the lowest price tag in Specialized's line of new Levo SL models, the Comp build we tested gave us little to complain about. While not flashy, the Fox Rhythm 34 fork and Float DPS Performance shock felt great and performed well during testing. The cockpit felt dialed with a nice wide handlebar, short stem, and comfortable grips. The 150mm X-Fusion Manic dropper post worked flawlessly and ensured our saddle was always in the perfect position. The SRAM Guide R brakes are a little under-gunned for this bike, but the 200mm front rotor helps to boost the stopping power. The 2.3-inch Specialized Eliminator rear and Butcher front tires both have excellent aggressive treads and the beefier GRID TRAIL casing that is up to the task of handling the weight and speeds of the Levo SL, plus they deliver excellent cornering and braking traction.

With a little less than half the power on tap, climbing on the Levo...
With a little less than half the power on tap, climbing on the Levo SL isn't as easy as full-power models. You'll work a little harder for it, but it still gives you enough assistance to climb up just about anything.
Photo: Laura Casner

Climbing Performance


The Levo SL is a comfortable and capable climber, but again, it sets itself apart from the competition because of the fact that it is less powerful. This isn't the bike if you want to soft-pedal and have the bike to all of the uphill work for you. Instead, this is the bike for the rider who wants to push their own watts and have a little help to go a little faster or farther. That said, it has a great geometry, a good seated pedaling position, and the lower amounts of pedal assistance will be just right for many riders.

The geometry feels great on the Levo SL, climbing is comfortable and...
The geometry feels great on the Levo SL, climbing is comfortable and the lighter weight of the bike helps to make it feel more efficient.
Photo: Laura Casner

The Levo SL has a just-right geometry that feels great on the climbs. It's almost identical to the Stumpjumper, and it's clear that they have refined these measurements over the past several years leaving little to complain about. The 455mm reach is long enough and the 74.5-degree seat tube angle is just steep enough that power transfer feels direct and efficient. The shorter chainstays and wheelbase along with a 66-degree head tube angle make for a highly maneuverable bike and it feels responsive and easy to control. Uphill switchbacks are a breeze and picking through technical rock gardens is easy thanks to the lower weight. The lighter weight is also helpful on long grinds, and in the off chance you run out of battery in the middle of nowhere.

Climbing on the Levo SL isn't a gimme, you'll still need to pick...
Climbing on the Levo SL isn't a gimme, you'll still need to pick good lines and put in some effort.
Photo: Laura Casner

Unlike other e-bikes that are twice as powerful, climbing on the Levo SL isn't a spectator sport. You can't really just relax and fly up the hill with minimal effort. Climbing on the Levo SL requires significantly more effort, especially when it gets really steep and the reduced power output and torque become more noticeable. Sure, it makes it much easier than climbing a bike with no pedal-assistance, but you are likely to get much more of a workout than you would on a full-power model. Again, that's the point of the SL models, it's just a little boost in your power and speed.

The FSR rear suspension platform is reasonably supportive, but our testers found they actually used the climb switch for extended climbs aboard the Levo SL. We attribute this to the fact that you have to put more of your own power down into the cranks than on full-power models. The SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain gave us nothing to complain about, and it has plenty of range should you find yourself pedaling back to the trailhead under your own power. The 2.3-inch Specialized Eliminator tire has an aggressive tread and provides loads of traction on most surfaces.

Specialized has refined their drive units over the past several...
Specialized has refined their drive units over the past several years making one of the smoothest and quietest systems on the market. It may have only about half the power, but that should be plenty for many riders.
Photo: Laura Casner

Power Output


One of the primary things that sets the Levo SL apart, other than the lighter weight, is the fact that it delivers less torque and power output than standard e-bike motors. In addition to having a smaller internal battery, only 320Wh, Specialized designed a smaller and lighter weight motor, the SL 1.1. The SL 1.1 motor delivers 35 Nm of torque and up to a maximum power output of 240 watts. This is less than half of the torque and max watts produced by the more powerful, and much heavier, 2.1 motor found in the regular Levo models. While it feels far less powerful, that's also kind of the point. This lightweight e-bike is most ideal for the rider who wants "regular" trail bike handling and still wants to get a solid workout with some, but less, pedal assistance.

Doubling your output will make you feel like a hero compared to a...
Doubling your output will make you feel like a hero compared to a non-e-bike, but doesn't pack the punch of full-power models.
Photo: Laura Casner

Specialized claims that the Levo SL is "2x You", roughly doubling your power output. This is in contrast to the Levo which they say is "4x You". Turbo mode on the Levo SL feels a lot like the Trail setting on a full-power e-bike, but again, that's the point. If you're after a super-powerful e-bike to blast up steep climbs at 20mph with minimal effort, you're going to want to look elsewhere. If you want some pedal assistance to ride a little faster or a little farther, the Levo SL has you covered. The delivery of the power on the Levo SL is smooth and comes on as soon as the pedals start turning without any of the twitchiness you find with some other drive systems. In the Eco and Trail modes, the power cuts out as soon as you stop pedaling. In Turbo, the power band extends just a bit past when the pedals stop turning. One notable difference between the Levo SL and heavier models is that when the motor cuts out at 20mph it is far less noticeable and much easier to keep your momentum. It feels far more natural, and there is also virtually no resistance when pedaling without the assistance of the drive unit.

The Mission Control App is easy to use and it allows you to adjust...
The Mission Control App is easy to use and it allows you to adjust the support settings to your liking. We suggest toying around with it.
In the Mission Control App, you can adjust the output settings to dial them in how you like. The factory settings are pretty good with Eco at 35% support and 35% peak power, Trail at 60% support and 60% peak power, and Turbo at 100% support and 100% peak power. "Peak power" refers to the amount of power output, while the "support" setting dictates the amount of input required to get to that level of output. The settings are easily adjusted, and multiple custom presets can be saved and named.

Range


Considering the differences between the Levo SL and virtually every other electric mountain bike on the market, it's hard to make a direct comparison in terms of its distance range. It has a smaller battery capacity, but due to the less powerful motor it also uses its power more efficiently albeit with noticeably more rider input. The 320Wh battery is certainly on the smaller side compared to the standard 500 or even 700Wh batteries we are used to these days, but with the optional Range Extender Battery you can bump that up to 480Wh which is plenty to get out on some super epic rides. The Range Extender battery weighs 2 lbs and 6 oz and fits into the bottle cage where it is secured with a thick rubber band. The Range Extender plugs straight into the charging port on the frame and has a twist lock to secure it in place.

The Levo SL has a solid range that increases depending how hard you...
The Levo SL has a solid range that increases depending how hard you try. We were able to take it on some super epic rides with huge amounts of vert while testing.
Photo: Laura Casner

On our standardized range test hill, we rode the Levo SL in the Turbo setting for 13 miles and 2,858 vertical feet. When we added the Range Extender battery, we were able to go another 5 miles and 964 vertical feet. Since we've been doing our range testing in this standardized way, we've had the same tester putting in the same amount of effort each time. He was quick to note that it took approximately 50% longer to complete the test on this bike due to the fact that he was going slower as a result of the roughly half-powered assistance compared to "normal" e-bikes. That said, 18 miles and 3,822 vertical feet is as good or better than many of the full-power models we've tested. It should be noted that when the batteries got close to depletion, approximately 20%, the power output dropped noticeably.

To supplement this range test, we also took the Levo SL out for some epic trail rides in the Downieville, CA area. While riding mostly in trail mode using the Range Extender we were able to complete rides over 28 miles with more than 6,000 vertical feet and finish with three bars of battery remaining. Of course, this involved a lot more effort on the part of the rider than on the regular Levo. Those seeking a more normal feeling ride who still want to lay down some effort of their own will find that the Levo SL has an impressive range.

E-bike Controls


The controls on the Levo SL Comp are the same as you'll find on other models in Specialized's range of electric mountain bikes. This includes the low profile handlebar-mounted shifter and the top-tube mounted Turbo Connect Unit (TCU) that displays your current support setting and remaining battery life. While we enjoy the user-friendliness of a digital display, our testers have become accustomed to Specialized's controls over the past few years of testing various Turbo Levo models. Specialized does make an aftermarket Turbo Connect Display for $90 for those who require a digital display.

The Levo SL uses the same top tube mounted TCU display as the...
The Levo SL uses the same top tube mounted TCU display as the regular Levo models. It shows remaining battery in blue and green when the range extender battery is connected.
Photo: Laura Casner

Turning the Levo SL on is as simple as pressing and holding the power button located at the bottom of the TCU on the top tube. The system boots up in just a few seconds and displays the remaining battery charge as a stack of 10 blue LED bars while the output setting (Eco, Trail, Turbo) is indicated in a ring of LEDs at the top of the display. The handlebar-mounted shifter is low profile with relatively good ergonomics. The + and - buttons shift up or down through the motor's output settings. On the bottom of the shifter is the walk mode button which provides a small amount of assistance when pushing the bike up steep sections of trail.

The handlebar-mounted controls are low profile with relatively good...
The handlebar-mounted controls are low profile with relatively good ergonomics.
Photo: Laura Casner

Specialized's Mission Control App is free to download and is not necessary to use the Levo SL, but is useful for tuning your output settings, making custom presets, as well as battery and system diagnostics. There is also a feature called Smart Control that allows you
to enter a predetermined route and it adjusts and regulates the output accordingly. The app also has a function called Heart Rate Control that is intended to keep the rider from exceeding a maximum heart rate threshold when paired with a heart rate sensor. The app also has a Stealth setting which turns off all the LED lights even when the power is on, and you can also choose battery priority when using the Range Extender Battery.

The Levo SL has a 320Wh battery integrated into the downtube of the frame. An additional 160Wh of battery life can be added with the Range Extender Battery, sold separately for $450, bumping the total battery storage capacity up to 480Wh. The Range Extender battery fits into the bottle cage and gets plugged into the charge port for the internal battery. The Range Extender has 3 LED bars on the top that indicate its remaining battery charge, and when plugged into the bike the TCU displays the battery life in blue and green LEDs. The default setting is to drain the internal and Range Extender batteries simultaneously, although you can set it up through the app to prioritize one of the other.

The Range Extender fits securely in the bottle cage and plugs...
The Range Extender fits securely in the bottle cage and plugs directly into the charging port for the internal battery.
Photo: Laura Casner

The charge port is located on the non-drive side near the bottom of the seat tube. This location is an improvement over the regular Levo models, and the door closes more securely and keeps dirt and grime out more effectively. The Levo SL doesn't use the same magnetic Rosenberger plug as the Levo which helps to keep sand and minerals from sticking to it although it takes a little more care and effort when plugging it in.

The Comp model we tested is the only aluminum-framed model in the...
The Comp model we tested is the only aluminum-framed model in the range.
Photo: Laura Casner

Build


As the least expensive model in the new Turbo Levo SL lineup, the Comp comes with a surprisingly nice build. It's no blinged-out head-turner, but every aspect of the build is functional and well suited to handling how hard you can shred on this bike. Everything is built around Specialized's M5 aluminum frame with the integrated SL 1.1 motor and downtube integrated 320Wh battery.

The Fox 34 fork has a beefed crown and feels sturdy enough to handle...
The Fox 34 fork has a beefed crown and feels sturdy enough to handle high speeds, rough trails, and the heavier weight of the Levo SL
Photo: Laura Casner

The Levo SL Comp comes with a Fox suspension package that includes a Rhythm 34 Float fork and a Float DPS Performance rear shock. Considering that this is one of the lower end fork models in Fox's line, our testers were very impressed with how sturdy it felt and how plush it was in its travel. It doesn't say e-bike specific on the fork, but the crown does appear to be beefier than on a standard fork. The Float DPS shock is nothing fancy, but it worked fine during testing and has a 3-position compression damping switch.

Features like the integrated SWAT tool are really handy.
Features like the integrated SWAT tool are really handy.
Photo: Laura Casner

The cockpit of the Levo SL Comp is nicely equipped with a generous amount of Specialized branded components. It comes with a 780mm wide alloy Trail handlebar clamped by a nice short stem. At the top of the stem is a Specialized SWAT door that hides a multi-tool that pops up and out of the steerer tube when you need it. At the back of the bike, a comfortable Specialized Bridge Comp saddle is mounted to the top of a 150mm travel (size Large) X-Fusion Manic dropper. The Manic dropper worked flawlessly throughout our testing and we liked the 1x style remote that fits neatly below the e-bike controls.

NX Eagle, not flashy, but nothing to really complain about either.
NX Eagle, not flashy, but nothing to really complain about either.
Photo: Laura Casner

A SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain takes care of the shifting duties. It features an 11-50-tooth cassette paired with a 30-tooth front chainring mounted to a set of Praxis cranks. While not flashy, this drivetrain setup works well and has plenty of range, even if you run out of battery. The SRAM Guide R brakes worked well enough, and the 200mm front rotor helps when trying to slow down at high speeds.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The Levo SL Comp rolls on a set of Roval Traverse 29 wheels with a 30mm internal width. The wheels come tubeless-ready and have a 2.3-inch Specialized Butcher in the front and 2.3-inch Eliminator in the rear, and both have Specialized's new robust GRID TRAIL casing. The GRID TRAIL casing is thicker and more puncture and tear-resistant with a more supportive sidewall that is great for aggressive trail riding and the heavier weight of this bike.

Value


There's no denying that mountain bikes, and especially electric mountain bikes, are expensive. This is especially true of the new Levo SL models, as the aluminum-framed Comp version we tested is the least expensive in the range at $6,525. That said, Specialized is leading the market in terms of technology and performance, and we feel this is a solid value for an innovative and absolutely ripping e-bike. Bear in mind that adding accessories like the Range Extender Battery will cost some additional money.

The Levo SL is the perfect middle ground between full-powered...
The Levo SL is the perfect middle ground between full-powered e-bikes and regular trail bikes. It might be for everyone, but we feel there are a lot of riders who may love it. We did.
Photo: Laura Casner

Conclusion


The new Turbo Levo SL is a genre-blending electric mountain bike that falls almost directly between regular trail bikes and full-powered e-bikes. It is significantly lighter weight, a result of the more compact and less powerful motor and smaller battery. While it doesn't pack the full-throttle punch of full power models, it makes up for that with its agility and impressively well-rounded performance on both the climbs and descents. It may not be everyone, but those seeking regular trail bike handling and want just a little assistance to go farther or faster should give the Levo SL serious consideration.

Other Versions and Accesories


Specialized makes a couple of accessories for the new Turbo Levo SL models. The most intriguing is the Range Extender Battery ($450) which gives you an additional 160Wh of battery storage and fits in the bottle cage. You must also purchase an SL Range Extender Cable ($35) to connect it to the bike. The Range Extender battery and cable weigh 2 lbs and 6 oz.

If you buy the optional Range Extender Battery, Specialized also sells a Y-Splitter attachment ($60) so that you can simul-charge both batteries at the same time.

Specialized also makes a handlebar-mounted digital display called the Turbo Connect Display (TCD) ($90) for riders who want to view metrics like speed, distance, riding time, power output, support mode, etc, at a glance.

Specialized makes several versions of the new Turbo Levo SL in both aluminum (tested) and carbon frames. The Comp Carbon is the least expensive carbon-framed model at $7,525. It comes with the same build as the model we tested, but with a lighter weight carbon frame.

The Turbo Levo SL Expert Carbon goes for $9,025 and comes with upgrades like a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, SRAM G2 RSC brakes, and Roval Carbon wheels.

The S-Works Turbo Levo SL will set you back $13,525 and comes decked out with Fox Factory suspension, a SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain, SRAM G2 Ultimate brakes, Roval Traverse SL carbon wheels, and a RockShox Reverb AXS electronic dropper post. The S-Works model also comes with the Range Extender Battery included.

Specialized also made a limited run of Founder's Edition models that come with an impressive build kit and an even more impressive price of $16,525. Wow!

Jeremy Benson, Joshua Hutchens, Chris McNamara