Specialized Turbo Levo SL
THE GATEWAY eMTB?
Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics
It’s hard to talk about ebikes like the Specialized Turbo Levo without talking about the stigma and hate that North American riders have spewed for the last few years. We know that hate because we too held it up until about 16 months ago. We feared trail access, unskilled and uneducated riders crashing into families of hikers, and on top of that, they were heavy turds. Yes, they made climbing easier, but quite frankly they resembled 55-lb Walmart bikes more than the svelte carbon performance machines we’d grown to love. Like their non-powered siblings however, eMTBs are getting lighter, more refined and ride better with every iteration. Slowly the masses are converting, and chances are, the last holdouts are starting to wonder if they’re the only ones not taking craz-E pills. We’re not going to speak for Specialized here, but we’re guessing that the new Turbo Levo SL was designed to bridge the gap between holdouts and guys who, “rode one a couple times” in a parking lot or demo a couple years ago and haven’t enjoyed the leaps made by contemporary eMTBs since.
It seems a good portion of riders who aren’t on the e-train either felt the power and weight were just too much to make it enjoyable or spent so much time talking sh*t over the last couple of years they’d feel guilty riding a “full powered” eMTB. The new Turbo Levo SL could be the bike to lure even more converts over to the e-side. We’ve already seen it firsthand. Riders who we bet $200 just one year ago that they’d love ebikes by 2021, trying to weasel out of the deal, “Well, those other bikes have 565 watts of power and such huge batteries, but, the SL only has 240 watts and a smaller battery, it’s not the same.” We smile and nod, but at the end of the day we don’t really care because we spent plenty of time making excuses ourselves before we just said screw it, we like fun, and these bikes are fun! They may not be fun for everyone, but hell, we don’t all have to have fun the same way. Riding road bikes that are basically retracing the evolution of mountain bikes in the 1980’s doesn’t look very fun to us, yet the exploding “gravel” scene says otherwise. So, let’s talk about the latest technology in the off road bicycle world – lightweight eMTBs.