Bike Test: Specialized Turbo Levo SL Trail Bike
TURBO LEVO SL
By Alex Boyce
Back in 2015 Specialized helped define the e-MTB sector by building the Turbo Levo. Five years later they are at it again with the launch of the Turbo Levo SL, which comes in at a headline-grabbing weight of only 37.7 pounds as weighed by ourselves on the scales.
With the new Levo SL, Specialized in now emphasizing that the most important element of the bike is not how much power it has, but how light the bike is. Specialized’s Chief designer Jan Tavalsek emphasized the feedback the design team had received over the years, which led them to design a bike that was more responsive on the trail to handling inputs. But, with only 35 N/m of torque, they pursued a less brutal power hit and a smoother delivery.
The Turbo Levo SL takes its design language from the Stumpjumper, with 150mm of travel front and rear and geometry passed over from the Turbo Levo.
There is no doubt that Specialized, with their top-of-the-range S-Works model, has set a standard that is absolute when it comes to e-MTBs that are available to the general public to buy. All of our riding opinions are based on our experiences on that bike.
The Turbo Levo SL is the equivalent in non-e-bike territory of a Stumpjumper, which is aimed at trail riders and those who wish to have a fun, active ride without going extreme and expect to pedal a fair amount. It is not an extreme enduro bike or a lightweight cross-country machine. That being said, the geometry is progressive for this type of bike to be a capable machine for descending.
Top tube length gives enough room for moving about, but at the same time maintains the body position in a comfortable state for long hours pedaling when climbing or cruising along. Attack mode is more about the rider making the positional adjustments necessary to attack the descents rather than the bike forcing you into that position by necessity. What makes the bike modern is if you wish to find an attack position, it is easy, and you don’t have to search for a balance point, as the large size we tried is just long enough to have an easy-to-find comfort zone.
The use of the new, more compact motor (with a claimed weight of 4.2 pounds) allowed Specialized to decrease the chainstay length (437mm) and lower the bottom bracket height, which will keep the bike very agile and very stable in all conditions.
The Levo SL uses a full-carbon component build, including wheels and bar. This enhances the feel for…