Fly Rides has officially partnered with Specialized and I could not be more pumped. I’ve loved these bikes for a long while, and now I finally get to go public with our affair. Specialized electric bikes provide some of the most natural feeling assistance available today. This is especially true in their Turbo Levo e-MTBs. Fly Rides is here to break down the lineup for you. We’ll take you through the design, specs, how they ride, and our favorite models. Read on for our Specialized Turbo Levo review.
What makes these bikes so Special(ized)?
For starters, the motor. Before riding the Specialized Trail-tuned motor, I assumed it would be similar to any Brose motor. Solid battery integration, quiet, with decent power, but Specialized has managed to upgrade the already awesome Brose experience with their Specialized 1.3 Rx Trail-tuned version of the motor. The ride is incredibly quiet and powerful while still providing a natural cycling feel.
When you hit top speed, it’s difficult to determine whether or not the assistance has stopped. I was assisting officials at Boogaloo a few weekends ago, a class 1 e-bike race series, and was asked to speed test the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Expert Comp 6Fattie/29 . It took me longer to test this bike than any other because of how subtly the motor stops assisting you. This is all thanks to a gearbox disengagement feature on Turbo Levo bikes when the rider hits top speed. This allows riders to continue gaining speed more easily after hitting the maximum assisted speed.
The motor has a nominal 250 watts, 504wh of battery life, and about 15% more power than a traditional Brose system. It also has the same low profile design as that makes Brose motor bikes such a popular option. Which leads us into…
The most appealing aspect in a Specialized electric bike is definitely how low-profile they are. They look a lot like traditional mountain bikes. While I don’t think this is the most important feature in an electric bike, it definitely seems to appeal to veterans and newbies alike. It also helps for overall ride feel.
Specialized has also opted for a very minimal cockpit on the Turbo Levo line. You won’t find any displays, just a four-button thumb pad to change levels of assistance or operate walk assist. Admittedly, I was a little bit circumspect about this idea. Being from the world of e-MTBs, I usually love having a plethora of information directly in my face while riding. After riding the Turbo Levo, I don’t miss having the extra information. In fact, most manufacturers have been moving to more minimal displays. Bulls did it with their compact CSI display, and Haibike has moved toward Bosch’s Purion display. Specialized has just taken things to the next level by completely doing away with the display. I’m assuming the thinking is that you can always slap on a Quadlock and use an app like Strava to track your ride. Oh, or you can use the incredibly cool Mission Control App.
The geometry on the Turbo Levo lineup works perfecly for trail riders. For comparison, I’d check out what most other e-bike manufacturers call their All Mountain lines. Specialized has mounted the rear shock horizontally and offers a standard five pivot point rear triangle allowing for some pretty aggressive riding if that’s your thing. Or you can use these as Cadillac-style trail riders. I dig having the rear shock horizontally mounted because it allows easy access for when you want to lock the suspension out.
Basically, Specialized designed the Turbo Levo bikes for true mountain bikers. There are no battery keys, no bosses for a kickstand or racks (something I’m seeing way too often on high-end e-MTBs), and the cable routing is a thing of beauty.
Specs, Glorious Specs
Obviously, the specs on each model are going to vary based on the price, but I want to give you a general idea on what you’re getting from every model. First, I find it very appealing that every model–even the base Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie/29–comes standard with dual front and rear 200mm rotors. This is going to make a world of difference in your braking, and I think will start to be an industry standard for e-MTBs. Most of the options come with the opportunity to switch 27.5 inch wheels (which Specialized calls “6fatties”) to 29ers. Finally, the 2.8″ Butcher tires with GRID casing are tubeless ready and come standard on all models.
So many carbon bikes!
Specialized has hooked up buyers with three carbon options for those looking to shed a little weight off their ride. First off, you’ve got the winner of e-MTB magazines Best in Test award for 2018 the S-Works Turbo Levo FSR Carbon 6Fattie/29. This one is the creme de la creme, primo dreamo, make you scream-o Specialized bike. The full carbon frame (and that includes the rear triangle) will save you about 7 pounds off the weight of a standard Turbo Levo. Couple that with SRAM Code RSC hydraulic disc brakes, a SRAM XX1 11-speed groupset, and Ohlins RXF 36 fork with 150mm of travel, and you’ve got yourself a true baddie.
Just below this is the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie/29. You don’t compromise much in terms of components here, but the rear triangle is is aluminum. Check out the picture up above. After that, you could save a little more money and check out the Turbo Levo FSR Comp Carbon 6Fattie/29. On that, you’ll still get Guide RE hydraulic disc brakes, a RockShox Revelation fork, and a SRAM GX drivetrain.
An e-MTB designed for female riders that actually shreds
Ever since e-MTBs hit the trails, manufacturers have advertised e-bikes designed with women riders in mind. What’s also true is that up until this bike, every Woman’s specific bike I’ve seen has verged on absurdly bad. For whatever reason, ebike manufacturers seem to want to sandbag the components. Specialized has flipped that narrative.
11-speed SRAM GX drivetrain, RockShox Revelation fork with 150 mm of travel, SRAM Guide hydraulic disc brakes, the list goes on and on. It seems obvious to make a bike this great for female riders, but Specialized are truly the only people who seem to be doing it.
A price point option that doesn’t suck
I referenced the Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie/29 earlier in the post, and wanted to give it a bit more of a spotlight. Specialized does not offer anything less than incredible bikes. Their dedication to this premise could not be more clear than it is in this bike. If you’re looking for a trail e-bike that is still realistic in that it isn’t using bottom of the barrel components but still offers competitive pricing, this is the bike for you. A RockShox Yari fork with 150mm of travel, SRAM NX drivetrain, and SRAM Level T 4-piston disc brakes keep this bike a competitive option in price and quality.
It is tough to beat the Specialized Turbo Levo lineup. Specialized is a company with a long history of making impeccable bikes. This year’s Turbo Levo bikes are certainly no exception. While you do have to be willing to pay a premium pricepoint, what you get in return is worth the cost.
Leave a comment below and let us know what you thought of our Specialized Turbo Levo review!