As I casually pedaled up the final climb from Lost Valley to the Hamburg Trail in Weldon Spring, Mo., I couldn’t help but smile, and maybe feel a little guilty. Riding up a steep, gravelly, quarter-mile-long hill shouldn’t be so easy. Yet there I was ready for more while my two buddies were gulping down air.
“It should feel like a more powerful version of you,” said the Specialized rep before I hopped onto the Turbo Levo Hardtail Comp 6Fattie. I chose to run the eMTB in “trail” mode for most of the time. Each down stroke of the pedal (there is no throttle) returned a satisfying boost of acceleration. Not shock and awe, but strong and controlled.
The power, 530 watts at peak, comes via the brand’s custom-tuned motor and intelligent software, which you can further dial-in using the Mission Control app. “Turbo” and “eco” modes deliver more or less pedal assist, respectively. There’s no fancy LCD handlebar display like on some ebikes, but that was intentional, to make the Levo feel more like a traditional mountain bike.
Speaking of which, the Levo is set up with quality components like you would expect on any high-end performance rig from Specialized. There’s a 120mm-travel RockShox Reba RL fork up front, SRAM DB5 brakes, and an efficient SRAM GX one-by groupset controlling shift and drivetrain duties.
Cutting-edge tech aside, the best feature of this bike is its geometry. It’s a confident ride, balanced, with reliable and predictive handling. It tackled the rolling slopes and switchbacks of Lost Valley with no problem. The 27.5+ tires go a long way to adding stability and traction to what is, let’s face it, a heavy frame. Rather than a negative, that weight translates into momentum that I used to plow over root piles and rock steps. Just mash the pedal for another shot of power.
After riding the Levo for several miles, I found that I just wanted to keep going and going, which is one of the big benefits of an electric bike. But try not to run out of juice. At 44 pounds, the Levo is pretty sluggish with no power. Fortunately, using Mission Control, you can set ride duration and distance parameters and the app will adjust power output accordingly to get you home.
If your experience with the Levo is anything like mine, when you do get home, you’ll want to immediately plug it in (full charge time is 3.5 hours) so you can return to the trail as quickly as possible. $4,000; specialized.com
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain magazine