SPECIALIZED TURBO LEVO PRO REVIEW

THE GEN 3 TURBO LEVO RIPS!

Review by Dusten Ryen | Photos by Dusten Ryen

A little over a year ago we were hand delivered a new Gen 3 Specialized Turbo Levo ahead of a full day of filming and interviewing Specialized Bicycles employees for our Dissected Feature. Since that first sloppy and incredibly fun day, we’ve done our best to put as many miles, hours, and vertical feet on this bike as we could under as many riders as possible. As much as we wanted to rush a review of the Specialized Levo out in the name of Google Analytic rankings, we knew there was a need to put this bike through a thorough review process.

We joined a few Facebook Levo Owners groups and forums and found that quite a few previous generation Levo owners had concerns over reliability. Since these bikes are no small investment, we felt it prudent to do our best to beat on this updated Specialized Levo and see if we developed any issues of our own. Let’s see how 14 months and 5 test riders have gotten along with the Gen 3 Turbo Levo.

QUICK HITS

• 150 / 160mm Mullet
• 700Wh Battery
• 90Nm of Torque
• 6 distinct geo settings
• HTA: 64.5°
• Reach: 477mm(S4)

Price: $5,500 – $15,000
Website: Specialized.com

THE LAB
As mentioned above, we met with two members of the Specialized Bicycles team when they delivered our Levo and along with shredding some awesome trails, they sat down for a pretty in-depth interview, so, if you want to know more, check out this video and interview from our Dissected Feature here.

Since the above feature goes into great detail, we’re going to gloss over the updates and get right to the ride impressions.

Specialized Turbo Levo Pro Gen 3 Profile Shot

UPDATES: The 2022 Specialized Levo has a completely redesigned frame with 160/150mm of travel and an updated suspension kinematic, modeled after the new Stumpjumper Evo. Also new on the Turbo Levo is the 2.2 motor, which is based on Brose’s Drive S-Mag motor. In hopes of addressing the known durability/reliability issues, Specialized modified the software to be a bit friendlier to components while also making some updates to the belts. The new belt is wider, stiffer, and better designed to handle the rigors of these all mountain eBikes.

In keeping with improved reliability, Specialized sought to improve the motor and charge port’s sealing properties, and they have. Although that brings up another issue we’ll address later. Specialized’s new charge port door and drive units seem to repel even the most abusive owners and debris, and for that we applaud their efforts. However, we’ve read and even broken our own bits on the charge door, and door lever, although after bringing it up to Specialized, it seems they’ve had enough similar issues that they’re seeking to make some improvements to reduce the likelihood of breaking bits.

Specialized Turbo Levo Pro Charge Door

Accessing the weatherproof charge port has been a been tricky since snapping the lever. We’ve heard several other Levo owners have completely broken the door off by mistakenly back pedaling or rolling the bike backwards with the door open. It seems Specialized is aware and working on an improvement.

Next on the upgrade list are Specialized’s use of their reach based, or S-Sizing system, nicely placed frame protection, a nice speed sensor and magnet integration, the awesome new MasterMind TCU display and MicroTune. Along with Specialized’s Mission Control App, Turbo Levo owners can modify power in 10% increments on the fly by using the MicroTune feature if they’re not loving the three factory settings for that current ride. It was a feature we barely used, but know other riders are always tuning.

Specialized Turbo Levo Pro Gen 3 Gorrila Glass Display

The MasterMind TCU has a nice display behind a layer of Gorilla Glass that lets you track customizable data fields that users can select in the MissionControl App. The 700Wh battery is removable and offers plenty of range to the 90Nm strong drive unit.

Speaking of tuning, one of the coolest, but least used updates on the new Gen 3 Specialized Turbo Levo is the adjustable geometry. Spec’ed with a 29/27.5 or mullet configuration, the Levo has an incredibly well-rounded factory geometry but can be made into a milder-mannered trail whip or a slack and low enduro eBike. Head tube angle sits at 64.5 degrees but can be made either a full degree slacker or steeper by swapping the headset cups, or can be modified ½ degree by using the geo flip chip in the Horst Link. This smaller adjustment will also adjust bottom bracket height by 7mm. Though riders have a wide variety of options available, we all loved the stock geo setting as it blended nimbleness and fun, with stability and confidence.

Specialized Turbo Levo Pro Gen 3 Geometry
Specialized Turbo Levo Pro Gen 3 Action

THE DIRT
Ever since our first ride on the new Specialized Turbo Levo we were hooked. We had to do our best to hide the instant connection during our Dissected video as they are made with the support of the brands, but since then the feelings have only grown. It has pretty much become my go-to eMTB for testing new products, components and filming for our YouTube videos. In fact, aside from breaking the little plastic tab on the charge port door, the only thing this bike needs, badly, is a suspension service. Granted I did replace the SRAM brakes with a set of TRP DHR-EVO brakes, which are way more powerful and consistent than the OE spec.

While we have not been able to cause any failures, or other problems with the drive unit, battery or belt, it does seem like the motor has gotten a bit louder over time. In fact, even on hard days with 5,000-6,500-feet of very steep self-shuttles, we notice the unit seems to get louder as the day goes on and can slight drop in power, perhaps from the heat on the extended and steep climbs. Nevertheless, the bike is still fun, peppy and climbs like a goat. We will update as miles keep getting stacked on this bike if anything changes.

Specialized Turbo Levo Pro Gen 3 Climbing

From a comfort and performance perspective, the Turbo Levo is a treat to ride. Whether it’s an all day mission or shredding hot laps, the Gen 3 Levo just feels right. Some may take issue with the 27.5-inch rear wheel, and yes, it lacks the rollover of a 29er while seated, or standing for that matter, but is more of an indication for who this bike is designed to please. Riders who want to push hard, corner quickly, enjoy a stiffer and snappy rear end will all enjoy the shortened rear end of the Turbo Levo. We’re big fans of mulleted eBikes, although we do agree there is a place for full 29ers in the realm.

When it comes to picking our favorite part about the new Specialized Levo, it’s hard to pick just one. We instantly feel at-home on the bike, but think the geo and suspension tune are huge factors in why we really enjoy this bike. It feels right in almost every single type of terrain and trail. And for the rare occasion it doesn’t feel quite right, a simple geo adjustment and you’re tuned up and ready to rip. Specialized absolutely nailed the suspension tune on the new Levo eMTB and we’re confident that because it can effortlessly blend planted stability with poppiness and snappiness when needed are why it’s one of our favorite eBikes on the market.

Specialized Turbo Levo Pro Gen 3 Action

The Wolf’s Last Word

As we look one month into the future with our 4th Annual eBike Shootout looming, this is definitely a bike our crew has their eyes on for a top spot in the all-around category. We’ve done our best to put durability and reliability issues to the test regarding the belt and drive units and are happy to report we’ve not had any issues at all. Although it’s not quite as fast or powerful feeling as the EP8 in some situations and Bosch in most situations, it’s in the mix and has its own unique feel that we could describe as vanilla ice cream. Although I personally love a good vanilla, what I mean by that is, it has no major standouts when trying to describe power delivery or pedaling performance. I don’t see that as a bad thing because it means most riders will just get along fine without the polarizing traits some units have.

Overall Specialized have delivered a complete package of an eBike that is incredibly fun to ride, capable in all types of terrain and has become one of our most fought over test bikes. That being said, I’m sure glad we didn’t have to fork over $13,000 to buy it, cuz if I did I’d just have to hope the new, alloy versions ride almost as well since I’ve got bills to pay and diapers to buy. Price aside, this thing kicks ass.

Price: $13,000
Weight: 48.9 lbs
Website:
Specialized.com

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SPECIFICATIONS

CHASSIS
Frame: FACT 11m full carbon | 150mm
Fork: FOX Float 38 Factory 29 | 160mm
Shock: FOX Float X2 Factory

ELECTRONICS
Motor: Specialized Turbo Full Power System 2.2 Motor
Battery: Specialized M3-700 | Integrated battery | 700Wh
Display: Specialized MasterMind TCU

COCKPIT
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC | 220/200mm
Shifter: SRAM X01 Eagle | 12-speed
Handlebar: Roval Traverse SL Carbon | 30mm rise x 780mm
Stem: Deity | 35mm
Saddle: Bridge
Seatpost: FOX Transfer

WHEELS
Wheels: Traverse Carbon 29 (f) / 27.5 (r)
Front Tire: Specialized Butcher 29×2.6 | Grid Trail casing, Gripton T9 compound
Rear Tire: Specialized Eliminator 27.5×2.6 | Grid Trail casing, Gripton T7 compound

DRIVETRAIN
Cassette: SRAM XG-1295 Eagle, 10-52t
Cranks: Praxis Carbon M30 | 34t | 160mm
Derailleur: Sram X01 Eagle, 12-speed

Santa Cruz Bronson V4 CC Rear Forward Link

We Dig

Suspension Tune!
All around versatility
Insanely confident and comfortable
Playful and planted

We Don’t

Do we have to say it?
$13,000!!
Not the most powerful or fastest on the climbs
Charge port door breakage

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