Equivalent MTB: Specialized Stumpjumper Motor and Battery: Specialized SL 1.1 custom motor
Lightest e-MTB, superb range
Less power than most e-bikes
Riding most e-MTBs is a very different experience than riding a regular MTB. And while the Turbo Levo doesn’t have the same feel as its sister bike, the Specialized Stumpjumper, it’s darn close.
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If you’re riding with friends but need a little boost to keep up, this is the tool for the job. If you’re riding solo and need a little help getting up a big hill or the confidence to tackle a bigger ride than you’re used to, the Turbo Levo SL is your perfect partner. If you want to get more laps in so you can practice your technical skills on a particular trail, the Levo SL will help you do it.
This bike gives riders the option for pedal-assist on a bike that’s rideable uphill and downhill without it. The 150mm travel pedal-assist Turbo Levo SL doubles your pedaling power. On the trail, that’s half the assist of most other e-bikes in the 50-pound range, but it helps keep the bike light and familiar feeling, whether you’re boosting off a rock or root, or you’re hammering out a big traverse.
The SL 1.1 motor doubles your effort with as much as 240 watts of assistance to your pedals. The motor has a responsive torque curve that engages almost imperceptibly, flowing into your normal riding cadence and disengaging without the feeling that everything just got way heavier. There’s no additional resistance when you’re riding without the power assist.
The Turbo Levo SL connects with Specialized’s Mission Control app to let you tune the modes to suit your preferences, record your miles, and to monitor the battery. If you don’t want to deal with extra electronics, the top tube power button also has a gauge that shows how much juice you have remaining, and that’s how I preferred to track my range.
After a steep-climbing, technical-descending, three-hour ride, I had nearly half the battery left. And if you use a Garmin, Wahoo, or another compatible handlebar-mount computer, the Turbo Levo’s built-in power meter will send your stats directly to that computer via Ant+.
The bike’s top speed is 20mph, but on a mountain bike, that’s all I needed. And if you’re afraid you’ll run out of power, don’t stress. Specialized sells a water-bottle-sized range extending battery for $450 that gives you another 50 percent, or about 40 miles of range.
The Comp Carbon has a full carbon frame, Fox Performance suspension, and a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain. Guide R hydraulic disc brakes with 200mm front and 180mm rear rotors provided plenty of stopping power.
Consider this a mountain biker’s e-bike: It gives you a little extra when you need it, but otherwise feels fairly similar to a mountain bike without a motor and battery. It won’t give you as big of a boost as other e-bikes out there, but that’s fine for riders who just want a bit more push when necessary, and otherwise want the bike to feel nearly-motorless all other times.