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

Bicycling (South Africa) - - Contents - R74 000 SPE­CIAL­IZED.COM – Myles Kelsey

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.

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