Our time aboard the Specialized Turbo Levo Expert was definitely fun. It’s a bike we hope to keep and use as a testbed for future ebike products that keep showing up on our doorstep. Some bikes take several rides to dial in and learn. We instantly felt comfortable on the Levo and continued to enjoy it throughout the test period.
Some highlights include long-range and battery life! We were able to get some huge rides in the bag thanks to the larger battery and more efficient motor. The Specialized 2.1 Rx motor is definitely one of, if not the quietest motors we’ve tested. We did notice that the frame does have a slight harmonic hum and vibration through it, which we haven’t experienced on other ebikes. It wasn’t really enough to make us complain, though, and maybe we only noticed it on the Levo because it’s quieter than other ebikes we’ve ridden.
The Mission Control app is a lot of fun to play with and let us adjust power modes, and monitor battery usage. We do wish the bike had a display on the bars, though. We’ve grown quite used to seeing all our ride data and speed on the Turbo Connect Display.
As we mentioned above, the spec is certainly fair for the bike, but we felt it could have been a little bit better for the price or demands of the bike. Specifically, in terms of drivetrain, tires, and suspension. We had reliability and tuning issues with the drivetrain frequently, the brakes were mediocre, and we punctured the tires more than once. The bike encourages aggressive riding, and it really made us push the boundaries until we entered rock gardens or sent a few natural gaps with a little too much juice. Even with air pressure well over our normal riding set up, we were able to puncture the 29×2.6” Grid-equipped tires. Of course, the first times were because the tires had tubes in them, which is another issue altogether.
Moving on from our nitpicking and focusing on the many great things this bike has to offer, it’s easy to see why we love it. It is a very precise bike, and we believe the 29er set up with 2.6-inch tires has a bit to do with it. The bike rolls fast and smooth, and the sub-Plus sized tires give rides searching for precision a scalpel to carve the trail.
The improved shock tune really makes a difference in how the rear end handles compressions. We no longer have to add extra air pressure to keep the shock higher in the travel, which took away from the small bump compliance. Riders can now run a more appropriate air pressure for their riding weight/level and enjoy the benefits of a reactive rear end that won’t wallow.
The FACT 9m carbon frame is stiff and responds well to rider input. The alloy rear end didn’t bother us at all. It was snappy, stiff, and we didn’t cry every time we dragged it across a rock face trying to climb weird new lines. The short aluminum chainstays weren’t the best for super steep climbs, but we found the playfulness and lively feel of the bike overweighed the extra effort to lean over the front end on super steep climbs.
During our test period, we took the Levo on more trails than we can remember. It performs well on rocky, chunder, and loose trails. We had a blast riding it on flatter, pedaly rides where beginners or those who aren’t looking to push the limits of gravity will ride. Our favorite place to ride the Levo, however, was on trails with some speed and sharp, quick turns. Laying this bike over in rutted corners, berms, or dropping a foot and drifting flat turns at speed all resulted in huge grins as fingers moved farther off the brake levers and firmly wrapped around the grips instead.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Some owe’ve private test loops blend rut track slaloms with rock gardens, awkward gaps out of corners, and moto-whoop inspired washboard sections. We originally built the trails to test 160mm pedal bikes like the Specialized Enduro, but we’ve recently spent more time up there pushing the limits of ebikes. We found that some ebikes handle rowdy terrain much better than others, and since we’re mountain bikers above all else, this is of the utmost importance to us. Specialized’s Turbo Levo Expert handled our trails better than most. We were able to brake late, exit hard, pop the awkward jumps and let it loose on the high-speed chunder.
It’s not a perfect bike, and we think some improvements to spec could be made, especially for the price tag, but those minor tweaks wouldn’t mean anything if the backbone of the bike wasn’t there. The Levo is a very impressive eMTB and one of those machines that makes us excited for the future of ebikes. If you are looking for an ebike, the Levo Expert certainly gets our recommendation. Still, we’d suggest you get the best suspension spec you can afford as it’s going to play a more critical role in how well the bike rides compared to say, carbon wheels, or a nicer derailleur.
Weight: 47.12 lbs