04 Oct Specialized Turbo Levo 2018 guide
Specialized’s announcement of the 2019 Turbo Levo range raised our eyebrows before making us very excited indeed. We’re very familiar with the 2018 line, selling plenty of them in store. There’s been a ton of changes, some of them significant.
So we’ve put together a handy guide to what you can expect from the 2019 Specialized Turbo Levo range, and how it’s changed from 2018.
There’s been a redesign of the 2019 Levo geometry to bring it closer to their legendary Stumpjumper than the 2018 Levo was..
You can see across their range that there’s been a few changes compared to 2018. The reach is longer, the stack is lower, the head and seat angles slackened off, and the wheelbase is a little longer as a result. Despite that, the chainstays are now a little shorter to make the rear end more agile.
It’s all pulling the Levo into line with traditional trail geometry.
Specialized has put their “Flip Chip” on the Levos too. They’re a two-position adjuster than can steepen or slacken the bike’s geometry and change the bottom bracket height. It’s not a real-time adjustment, but something you can do at home with the right tools.
There’s been some extra juice added into the 2019 Turbo Levos.
The big news is at the very top with the S-Works Turbo Levo getting a massive 700 Wh battery. We can only describe it as massive! That 700 Wh of juice means the battery will last over 2.5 hours even if you ride it like a maniac at full noise. It’s incredibly impressive capacity.
The rest of the range has been set at 500 Wh. It’s a bit less than the S-Works but It’ll give you more than enough power for your trail rowdiness.
Un-changed is the internal down tube battery storage. You un-do a screw around the bottom bracket and remove the cover to slide the battery out. It helps to protect the battery from the outside elements but we love how it makes the bike look. Simply, the Specialized Turbo line is the least eMTB looking eMTB on the market. The smooth lines and minimalist shaping means it’s not obviously an eMTB at first glance.
DATA AND DISPLAY
There’s been a slight change of tack for the 2019 Levos with how data and battery information can be displayed.
The battery level indicator has moved from the side of the down tub to the top of the down tube at the base of the stem. It’s easily visible at a glance, and can even be switched into a dark mode so it’s not visible at all.
Specialized have retained their minimalist thumb button system for changing the power button. In 2018, they relied on buyers adding their own Garmin Edge head unit with the Specialized Mission Control app installed to show your critical ride details. There’s now an optional Specialized-developed display that mounts to the stem and can show your ride details.
There’s a beefy new Brose motor that’s a full 400 grams lighter than those in the 2018 line. It’s still rated at 250 Watts of nominal power and 19 Nm of Torque.
The numbers are impressive, but how Specialized uses that power is something we’ve always been impressed by. They’re obsessed with smoothness and don’t ever want you to feel like the bike’s working against you, or doing something of its own accord. The bike reads your power and deploys the power as smoothly as possible.
They’ve packaged the motor differently too, with the casing around it becoming part of the bike’s chassis. It increases stiffness and reduces weight. The work on and around the power unit is seriously impressive stuff.
WHEELS AND TYRES
2019 sees the Levo range take a major direction change from 27.5” wheels and MTB+ size 3.0” tyres and opts for the classic 29er rim size and 2.6” tyres.
Their decision was made to enhance the ride feel on the trails. The bigger rims and narrower tyres give more feedback to the riders than the small rims and wide tyres from the year before. There’s more 29” tyres available to buyers than 27.5” too so you can choose your preferred rubber.
Interestingly Specialized have decided to move back to 11-speed 1x SRAM groupsets for the entire 2019 range.
The much-loved 12 speed SRAM drivetrains carry enough of a weight penalty for them to drop back to 11 speed. They decided the motor-assisted pedalling removed the necessity for SRAM’s 500% gear range that comes with their 12-speed drivetrains.
We’ve used SRAM’s 11 speed offerings plenty of times so we know how good it is. The decision is certainly not a regression, rather a spec choice that better fits with their philosophy of what they want the Levos to be.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
We’ve got some Turbo Levos on our shop floor if you’d like to come in and have a look. We’re more than happy to answer any and every question you have about these fantastic bikes. We’ve ridden them ourselves so we can tell you anything you need to know.
-The Will Ride Team