Riding the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6 Fattie
I think most of us are apprehensive on the e-bike category when it comes to mountain bikes. We can see the point of city e-bikes like the Whyte Coniston, Raleigh Captus and more, but where do e-bikes for the mountains come in?
Performance bicycles such as the Specialized Enduro are made for the descents, though will climb quite well or the Giant Anthem made for XC / trail centres will climb with mountain goat capability and descend without a problem, but what if you could climb like a super fit tour rider and descend like a world cup enduro rider?!
The Specialized Turbo Levo is a bike that MAY just fit that bill. Have you ever ridden a trail and feel like your legs are not as fresh for the descents as you may have liked, or if that undulating section in Kirroughtree really sucked it out of you? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to not be that out of breath at the top of a climb? At least one of these thoughts would have passed through your mind as you are cycling up a hill on a solo ride with nothing but the trees and forest around you.
We know throughout all of the years of cycling road and mountain that cyclists just want to go faster! Speed on two wheels makes us smile, on climbs searching for that elusive KOM, on the descents blasting through corners and over double jumps- The faster the better, right?
We have taken quite a few bikes out lately to see the actual difference is, plus 650b…29er…29er plus…does anyone remember 26”? We have been impressed with them all in different circumstances. But we took a Levo out…that’s when things got REALLY interesting.
First things were to make sure the bike is charged, we opened our store in Formby at 9am – plugged the bike in to a socket and started charging it, every light is 10% charge. It starts with two red lights, then once past 20% everything is green. It charges quite fast – it was done well before closing time too! We set tyre pressures, shock and fork pressures (put a wider set of riser bars on) and were good to go!
When we got to the car park of Llandegla forest, we took the bike out of the van, got our helmet on and climbed on board nearly forgetting that the bike we are on had an “on” switch! A short press of the button gave us a flash of green lights and three fast beeps. We couldn’t help but smile as it was a complete first for us turning a bike on in the car park, or anywhere really!
We put a water bottle in the SWAT cage that came with a little multi tool bolted to it, clipped in, then threw in a couple of cautious pedal strokes remembering that it was in turbo mode! Straight away you could feel the power kick in. Smooth and gradual controlled power was delivered by the Brose unit tucked away out of sight. A smile grew that we couldn’t hide, nor did we want to.
Once we got from the van to the start of the very first climb, we let a couple of riders who were riding towards the climb go first, trail etiquette and all… but catching up to them was a breeze. We had to hold back a little not to ride too close to them on the climb, but once there was a chance to overtake, we took it. A few extra cranks and we were off. We’ve never over took anyone quite like this before. Sure, we have over taken and more times than we may admit have been over taken, but this was a strange feeling this time. We were easily going twice as fast on the approach to the skills section we said a quick hello and heard something along the lines of “gosh, he’s passing us at a much faster pace, what, what” (Sadly we can’t repeat what was said, but it wasn’t anything other than shock and maybe awe.
After we passed the skills section we had a little look over our shoulder and seen nobody. We wondered if it was because of the e-bike, or did they stop at the skills section, we didn’t know. The climb to the top was a cold and windy one. One thing we did notice almost immediately was our breathing. It was calm and controlled with no big breaths being taken. Our heart rate was lower than it usually was on that climb and we wasn’t as warm as we usually are, even in -1 temperatures. We hoped that we would warm up soon.
We got to the top of the climb ready for the first descent, we didn’t stop as we didn’t need to and continued towards the jumps in front of us. We picked up speed FAST, but we put this down to the motor as it works even on descents. We over shot the last table top jump heading into the right handed hairpin and let out a chuckle and an “ouff”- A little flick of the back end got it round the right hander, off the brakes and away we go again. After step downs and little jumps we go to the almost fire road descent before the rocky straight leading to a 90 degree left hand turn over some rocks and bearms, we were full speed again! There was even a little step up just after a left hand bearm that was a jump this time, usually you don’t have enough speed to boost off it…ebike comes to save the day! Jump, saddle up courtesy of the Command seatpost by Specialized, click through a couple of gears and away we went on the slight climb leading to the black or red run turn offs.
Before we knew it, we were already turning left, dropping into the black run descent after checking someone was ok with their bike. Turns out their gear cable was seized in and needed to be replaced, he was ok to carry on, but it was a shame we didn’t have a spare cable, some cutters and some lube to get his gears working again! This bike descends well. We mean REALLY well. It’s as stable as a DH bike, 50 odd pounds of DH bike, but still as much fun! The Specialized Turbo Levo has 140mm of travel, which doesn’t sound like that much when you’re off the brakes over the roughest lines you can find, but the 3” plus tyres help out a massive amount! Running sub 20psi in the tyres (12-18 for some riders) means a huge amount of grip, and surprisingly not that much more drag (even non e-bike)
Parallel universe is up next! We love this section of trail. Jumps, bearms, downhill and more jumps. We proceeded to make motorbike sounds whilst descending this section, not because we wanted to, just because of the inner child in us that came out when the Levo is in full roar. One thing we noticed (in the very first part of the trail) is that you come into corners so much hotter than you usually do, meaning you grab a first full of brakes, slam it into the corner and accelerate out. Over jumping is easy and if caught out you have to remember to squash the jump to not become a bucking bronco for the next jump. This was our first time out, so the next time we went out we were more mindful and adjusted our riding style a little bit to compensate for the speed of the bike.
The rest of the trail absolutely flew by. We didn’t see many people out due to the frosty morning and it was also a week day, but we did see a few, which we over took never to see again. We stopped for pictures as you usually do but still managed to do the black run in 1:17:44 without trying to break any records. We also didn’t try too much on the climbs, we let the Specialized Levo sort us out for that. We know there is time to be shaved off, and certain people may even be faster without an e-bike, but for us, it might not all be about total time spent on the trail – more the experience.
We noticed a couple of things when we were on the Levo;
- It was easy on the climbs, but you can still get a real work out if you wanted to
- It was more fun on the descents than we ever imagined
- It took longer to drive to Llandegla one way than it was to ride the whole trail
- We overtook people at a silly rate
- Saying “Hello” to those people got mixed reactions on passing them
- We had too much fun to remember to turn it off from turbo mode
- We did miss a lot of nice scenery that we have grown to love on accents
- Plus tyres are super grippy
- 140mm of suspension is quite adequate for this trail
- We didn’t stop as much
- Finally, we didn’t get as warm as on a normal non e-bike
Due to not turning off Turbo mode and changing through different modes we go the whole of the black run, up the first climb again and halfway around the blue run before the battery died. There is an app that you can fine tune the motor to. You can change pretty much everything, you can even set it so turbo mode is only 30% power, giving you a massive range on one battery charge. We know the question that we get asked the most is; How fast does it go? It cuts out at about 15 mph. We do get asked a few more questions so we hope we have answered these below;
Q: How far can I ride on Levo
A: This isn’t as easy as giving you the magical number you crave. It depends on so much, tyre pressure, rider weight, terrain and what mode you have it in. You will have a lot of fun finding its limits in whatever mode you’re in and adjusting the limits to go further!
Q: Is the Levo heavy?
A: Yes, it is, about 50 ish lbs.
Q: Isn’t it too heavy to ride without the power on?
A: You do feel the weight, but it is certainly rideable without the power on.
Q: Can you ride it without the battery in?
A: If you want to, sure, though we don’t see why you would.
Q: How can I ride it before I buy?
A: Give us a £50.00 deposit (refundable if you buy a Levo) on a card, and take it for the weekend, call 01704835720 for more information.
If you`re looking for a Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6 Fattie, check out our range of Specialized E bikes At Formby Cycles.