After many years development Specialized launches their off road line of pedal assisted bikes under the “Turbo” line. We recently attended a special press event in Leogang, Austria, where we had an opportunity to take an in depth look at their bread and butter offering : the 130mm Levo FSR.
Specialized were emphatic that their entrance to the pedal assist market at this time is about releasing the right product. Their approach is fairly unique with the Turbo Levo FSR. It is a completely custom pedal assist FSR mountain bike that has been designed to ride and look like a normal trail bike. We start our introduction to the Turbo Levo with a look at the details of Specialized’s offering.
The Levo is based around the 6Fattie wheel system (27.5+), and has all the characteristics of a fully fledged all mountain trail bike.
Specialized chose the 6Fattie base as it offered the best performance characteristics for the pedal assist design, including greater traction and better support for the additional weight.
The frame contains an integrated battery and motor (250W, maximum power530W / 90Nm) that have been custom designed by Specialized.
• 67-degree head angle
• 342mm bottom bracket height
• 459mm chainstay length
• 3.0″ 6Fattie tire system with 38mm Roval rims
• Boost 148 hub spacing
• M5 alloy frame with unique mountain-specific battery mount
• Exclusive, custom tuned motor made for the Turbo Levo
• Integrated custom Li-Ion battery. 504 / 460 wh (S-Works, Exp/Comp). Charging time: 3.5 hours.
• Integrated speed sensor and Trail display
• IP67 water resistant certified
The Mission Control App
• Full control of Turbo technology
• Key Features:
– Adjustable tuning of motor characteristics
– Smart Control algorithm allows you to set your desired ride time, distance, or location & will adjust your Levo’s motor & battery output for you.
– Diagnostic system
– Strava integration & Full Pro navigation
– Ride history
• For iOS & Andriod devices
Nothing about the Levo’s trail form is compromised. The geometry is all about fun and capability. With short chain stays and a roomy top tube, the frame fits the mold of a modern trail bike. Available in four sizes, the use of 6Fattie wheels is a clear endorsement to the growing possibilities that come with a wider choice of wheel standards, including the Boost hub standard.
The Bike In Detail
Running over the details we can see how the MTB culture of Specialized is active all over the Turbo Levo. The use of a chain guide, a secure battery system that never rattles and display free, all come from the strong, clear experiences that Specialized have developed over the years about rider preference, performance and style. With a Full SRAM component kit based on the 11 speed drive train as well as the proven Guide four piston brakes there are no compromises with the control package. The custom wiring and sensor layout serve as a buffer from mechanicals, and help prevent the battery from rattling loose. The Levo is available in three build variations : S-Works, Expert and Comp. Rumours heard include that the S-Works version will be sub 20 kilos showing that there is a Levo FSR for just about every type of rider.
The Levo utilises a normal 32T steel chain-wheel and custom crank set, tied with relatively short (459mm) chain stays.
The focus on less distraction is clear with a simple battery readout, with ten leds in a 10% progression.
The Levos frame layout enables its rider to include a water bottle and tools on their rides.
The battery mounts securely in a specially design holder that produces absolutely no movement.
The special custom battery is IP67 compliant. Therefore the system can be used in the wet and washed like a normal bike would be.
The locking mechanism is secure and based around a suspension style through axle.
The bars are clean with no display present.
A simple, robust connector and minimal wiring leave the motor area looking fully integrated.
The custom chain guide shows that this bike is asking to be ridden off road aggressively.
Specialized have included a bash plate moulded into the frameset.
The Turbo Levo runs 130mm of FSR travel with a custom suspension tune that gives a supple but grippy ride.
The speed sensor is hidden under the rear brake mount.
Command Post IRcc on all models.
The digital side of the bike is controlled by the free app which connects to the bike via bluetooth and allows complete control over how you ride.
For example, set a time of riding and how much battery you want left in reserve after your ride has finished and the app will do the rest, allocating the right amount of power assist when you need it and enabling the user to never worry about running out of power.
The same app system is fully integrated with Strava and introduces a new Ebike category for the segments on Strava. Tied into this is a full tracking of your fitness and exercise workout. Specialized have also been clever and made the bike capable of communicating with the wireless standard from Garmin, allowing measurable technical characteristics to be displayed on a compatible Garmin GPS device with the ANT+ system.
Select a route and let the system set and control power.
The app also has the ability to fine tune ride characteristics of the Turbo Levo pedal assist bike precisely.
With our experience of Ebikes we wondered if anyone would ever produce a pedal assisted bike that could shake things up and really deal with the rigours of off road use, and tempt us away from our non-assisted bike.
All the right signs are there for the Levo FSR to be taken seriously on the trails. But will their assist bike be accepted? With their careful approach to development Specialized are aiming at making the Levo the standard to start from with pedal assist MTB trail riding.
The Turbo Levo FSR will be available some time around the start of spring 2016. Pricing is still to be advised, more info as we receive it. Exact specifications of the bikes may vary when in full production.
We take a look in our next article at what it was actually like to ride the Levo, stay tuned over the next few days.