THE FUTURE IS E
THE PURISTS MAY TURN UP THEIR NOSES, BUT THERE’SNODENYINGHOWMUCHFUNYOUCAN HAVE ON AN E-BIKE. YOU CAN RIDE A LOOP TWO ORTHREETIMESINAROWTHATYOU’DONLY MANAGEONCEONANORMALBIKE;YOUCAN KEEPUPWITHAFRIENDORFAMILYMEMBER WHO’SFITTERORYOUNGER;ANDYOUCAN NIPDOWNTOTHE
The e-bike category is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the cycling market. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they open the sport up to more people. See our best e-buys...
SPECIALIZED TURBO LEVO
TTHE ALL-NEW TURBO LEVO IS VISIBLY DIFFERENT FROM THE FIRST GENERATION – SLICKER, SLEEKER AND MORE ATTRACTIVE. It was developed in Cham, Switzerland – the R&D office for all Specialized e-bikes – by a team of 19 mechanical and software engineers captained by bike wizard Jan Talavasek. For the past two years, their daily routine has been something like this: early-morning Skype call with their Taiwan-based partners, followed by a ride on the local trails with sensors on the bike to capture data, then some office-based design work, and a late-afternoon catchup with Specialized HQ in Morgan Hill, California.
The end result is probably the best e-bike available right now.
The new battery has 40% more range – on one of the tests, the engineers did 2 400m of climbing, and took five hours to drain it to zero! The new motor is nearly a kilogram lighter than the previous one, and the frame has been designed to save more weight wherever possible, without sacrificing stiffness and performance.
There are three power modes that offer varying degrees of pedal assistance, and these are customisable via the Mission Control smartphone app, which also allows you to fiddle with things like acceleration, maximum motor output and so on, and check the overall condition of the system.
In keeping with mountain-biking trends, the geometry of the new Levo is also slightly longer and slacker, with more reach.
Of course, the adventure potential of an e-bike is significant. But I want to have fun on the trails, too. If I can’t push the bike hard through turns and rocky chutes, then I’m not going to ride it. I want a bike with the agility to carry speed, change lines quickly and pop over roots and big jumps.
The Turbo Levo does all that and more. It’s a ripper. It holds its line and flows with ease. I particularly enjoyed sections of trail that dragged slightly uphill. Ordinarily, these sections would impede the gravity flow, but with a few pedal strokes in Eco or Trail mode, the Levo gets up to speed and brings you back into the flow zone.
Indeed, the Turbo Levo is a performance equaliser, allowing friends or family members of different strengths to ride together. It’s also an enabler, which can help you recover from (or manage) injury or illness. It’s the perfect tool for daily adventures on your local trails, or for covering maximum ground on a bike-riding week away with your mates.
Gravity riders will like how lively it is – much more lively than other e-bikes on the market.
There’s a big, bright future for e-bikes. They’re not for everybody – they’re for anybody! And the new Levo is leading the pack.