Tim Wild gassed-up the SUV and headed to New Jersey for the 2018 Specialized Turbo Levo Carbon launch and a full day of smashing laps on the rocks and features of Mountain Creek’s bike park. Details of the bike and first ride impressions are below. Check it, yo!
I think we know by now that ebikes aren’t a fad and that they are here to stay. If you were around in the mid 90’s you’ll probably remember the days when manufacturers pretty much reinvented their suspension bikes every year as they tried the next new thing to make the best bike. It’s reassuring to see evolution rather than revolution year-on-year when it comes to ebikes. And why not? The bikes we’ve ridden have by and large been great, and big players like Specialized, Trek and Cube have great suspension and geometries to work from.
The 2018 Carbon Levo is a great example of this evolution. An already good bike has been made better with a few tweaks. I’ll spare you the full marketing spin and stick to the headlines; this new model has a lighter frame, better motor performance and a more customizable control App.
Let’s start with the frame. Ok, I know that there are carbon skeptics out there especially when it is talked about in relation to stiffness, but the move to carbon has reduced the weight of the front triangle by 500g. That’s not a small amount, and a carbon rear end drops a further 150g off the S-Works frame. There is a general acceptance that ebikes are heavy, but if you didn’t want to drop half a kilogram from any bike I think you’re nuts.
The batteries, battery harnesses and speed sensors are the same on the new and old models, so you could interchange should you end up with both bikes.
The motor has 15% more power than the current motor and there have been modifications to improve ‘thermal balance’ and prevent it from overheating and ultimately reducing power. This work on reducing overheating makes the motor more efficient so you should get better mileage from your battery. We’ve had small reservations about the motor in the past, but we’ve found the Specialized to have the most reliable motor on long term tests, so it’ll be interesting to see how this version performs over time.