The original Turbo Levo FSR launched a couple years ago, and like everything else, they eventually wanted to make it better.

So, on the all-new 2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon 6Fattie, the motor gets an upgrade, as does the control system. But the biggest change is a move to a carbon fiber frame -yes, the front triangle and rear section are both carbon- that dropped a massive amount of weight. It also made it stiffer, proving they’re out to make a high performance full suspension mountain bike regardless of where the power’s coming from…

SAVING WEIGHT WITH CARBON

One of the big challenges was the huge opening in the down tube for the battery. To overcome this structural challenge, they made the walls much thicker than you’d normally find on a carbon bike, and it wraps around more of the motor compartment. The battery is not a structural element, and the frame passes all safety testing without the battery installed. Meaning you could ride the bike without the battery (2.7kg).

The motor compartment is finished off with a machined alloy bracket that bolts onto the frame and also serves as the rear lower pivot mount.

This design dropped 500g from the alloy front triangle, and 150g from the rear triangle, which equates to a whopping 1.43lb on the S-Works level bike. Granted, on a bike weighing in around 52lb, dropping a few percentage points seems trivial, but that’s only part of the reason they did it. The rear is 40% stiffer than the alloy rear triangle, and overall it gains about 20% total stiffness compared to the full alloy model. So, on a bike this heavy with a motor to amplify your efforts, that stiffness means better overall performance.

THE TURBO MOTOR GETS BETTER THAN EVER

specialized turbo levo motor and battery tech details

We recently rode the latest Turbo motor at the Turbo Vado commuter bike launch, and it’s really good. We covered a lot of the tech there, but suffice to say there’s no discernible drag when coasting, and the power kicks in smoothly. For the Levo, they upgraded it just a little more to become the Turbo 1.3 motor.

specialized turbo levo motor and battery tech details

The new motor system has approximately 15% more torque across the cadence range, and it’s more efficient. It turns more of the battery’s energy into power, and it produces less heat. Because any good e-bike will start to reduce power to protect an engine from overheating, this improvement helps it continue to push full power for longer. They did this by updating the chassis design and adding thermal pads to pull more heat away from the motor. Other upgrades include a new electronic unit and new magnets, all of which combine to make everything works better, harder, faster, stronger.

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike gets a new slimmer motor assist control switch and smartphone app to customize the power settings

Other hardware changes, too, starting with a sleeker Trail Remote that adds easily reachable and useable mode changes. And it’s included, which is a major upgrade from the original’s mode buttons located on the battery pack, meaning you had to reach down to change the assist level unless you ponied up for the available wireless remote.

There’s a Walk Assist button for hike-a-bike sections that gives you a little help waking the bike up the mountain by spinning the back wheel at 2mph. It’s that button just above the dropper post lever, positioned perfectly for holding while your walking your bike up the hill. We tested it on some gnarly, steep, no-fun-to-even-try-to-ride sections while hiking back up to rerun them (because they were wicked fun to come down!) and it works amazingly well. I’m guessing it would work pretty good for getting your bike up a flight of stairs, too.

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike battery indicator lights

The original downtube button now handles on/off duties, but the indicator lights are still there. Clockwise from top left, the battery charge level shows continuously, but it briefly shows mode when you cycle through them, going from Eco to Trail to Turbo. Keeping the display here keeps the handlebar very clean…and gives the rider the opportunity to use whatever cycling computer they want. Specialized has included a BTLE/ANT+ transmitter in the system so it can send mode and ride data to compatible computers (Garmin is on board already for head units and, soon, their watches). In addition to battery and system info, it sends your power output, which the motor is measuring anyway in order to match your effort, so it can still let you see how much work you’re doing throughout the ride. Think of it as a free power meter.

The Specialized Turbo app or the Garmin IQ app for Turbo will save your ride and then automatically classify it as an E-Bike ride when uploaded to Strava. No more post-ride editing to keep the purists from attacking your KOM.

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike tech overview and details

Some of these updates are done through software, which will be available as a downloadable update for prior generation Levo bikes. The Mission Control app lets you customize the level of assist for each mode, and it has their Smart Control so you can set the distance you plan on riding and it’ll automatically set the level of assist to provide evenly portioned assistance throughout your ride.

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike

Infinite Tune is new and adds another element to customizing the support level by including Max Motor Current. Standard setup matches motor current level to assist level, but now you can increase or decrease the maximum current. Without this, the pre-set current was limited in Eco and Trail, regardless of what percent you set the assist at. So, even if you set the assist to 90%, the system might still be limited current to 60%, which means it would only assist at 90% up to 60% of max current, at which point the assist would fall off the faster you pedaled. Now, you set the two parameters independently, to the motor can assist at whatever percent you set up to 100% of the available current. It sounds confusing, but for riders that want to train hard on this, it’s a great tool. Look for this update to hit the app store in mid-July 2017.

TURBO LEVO FSR CARBON DETAILS

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike tech overview and details

Shown here is the S-Works model, which will now come with a 150mm Ohlins fork, a 10mm increase from the original Levo. They made this change because the Levo started out with 3.0 tires, but they found that a 2.8 Butcher offered equally good (or better) traction without suffering through the mud. With the smaller tires, the BB height dropped slightly, so the longer travel fork brought it back up to reduce rock strikes on the motor housing.

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike with Ohlins suspension fork

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike with Ohlins suspension fork

Levo FSR Carbon Expert/Comp models use an alloy rear end, but same carbon front end with 500g savings. They all use the same hardware, so you could upgrade your current Levo frame to this one and just port over the motor, battery and electronics. Geometry carries over unchanged save for that fork travel increase.

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike tech overview and details

Across the line, spec updates bring everything up to speed with generally better brakes and suspension. Brakes now run 200mm rotors front and rear to help reel in the speed on these heavier bikes.

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike with Ohlins rear shock

Rear travel stays at 135mm. The rear end and fork have Boost spacing, so it’s compatible with 29er wheels and tires, too, but comes stock with 27.5 x 2.8.

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike with Ohlins rear shock

The S-Works model gets Ohlins suspension front and rear, all other models get Rockshox forks and shocks.

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike tech overview and details

The bikes come with SRAM drivetrains, but not the e-bike specific EX1 group that SRAM introduced last May. That EX1 group features a one-click shifter to limit shifting in both directions to a single gear at a time because the torque could jumble things up if you were trying to jump over a couple of gears. Specialized wanted to use wider range traditional 1×11 MTB group, so they had SRAM customize a standard 11-speed mountain bike shifter to only make one shift at a time in either direction.

PRICES, MOTOR & SPECS

2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Carbon e-mountain bike with stealth swat tool hidden inside top cap

They’ll come with this new pop-up SWAT tool inside the steerer tube. Just swivel the cap around and it pops up, James Bond style. I believe I heard them say it was available separately.

The S-Works Carbon models get a FACT 11m carbon frame with 504Wh battery and the new SRAM Code brakes.
Expert Carbon ($7,500), Comp carbon ($5,500) and alloy ($4,500) also get a 504Wh battery with SRAM Guide RE brakes. There’s also a base Base alloy model with a 460Wh battery, but the Turbo 1.3 motor comes on all. The Levo Hardtail uogrades to the 1.2 motor found on the new Vado.

Look for alloy models to hit dealers very soon, and the carbon ones in September.

Specialized.com

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59 COMMENTS

  1. Haters are going to have a fit. You really cannot tell this is an e-Bike on first glance which is all you’ll see of it. I am curious where this whole thing goes. More watts, more battery storage better concealment of e-bike stuff.
    Not sure how trail systems actually enforce any anti e-bike rules on something like this unless you have very tuned in an knowledgeable LE to figure it all out, which is not hardly any.
    Cool.

    • Not a hater, These things are really fun, but they do not belong on Non-Motorized trails. A bicycle with a motor is a motorcycle.

      • Have you ever rode one alex? If so you already know they belong to our world, the mountain bike world.

        It should kept in mind that average Joe like the most of us, even with the help of an electric assisted bike, we develop less wattage on e-bikes than Absalon or Schurter on a regular bicycle.

        If you think e-bikes will damage the trails think again. Why don’t we ban powerful cyclists from trail then? Or bikes with mud tires because their spikes are too big … lmao.

        • Yeah I have ridden them, they are super fun. I don’t think that they damage trails. Have you ever ridden a Honda CRF250x? Also super fun. Both are motorcycles. My opposition to e-bikes on non-motorized trails is about trails getting closed to mountain bikes, which is an ongoing problem. E-bikes are just more ammo for the Sierra Clubbers who want bikes banned everywhere.

          • You can’t have experienced both a motocross bike and an electric assist mountain bike and still objectively consider them to belong in the same, or even a similar environment. That is not within the limits of rational human reasoning.

            Trails get closed for one reason and one reason only: because the voice of the opposition is larger/louder than that of the mountain bikers. Shunning e-mtb’s because you’re worried that the sierra club will use them against you is submission.

          • There are many people like myself that because of health issues cannot climb hills but would benefit greatly from mountain biking. We are older and have more money and greater political influence. This would help open up more trails to mountain biking. Comparing them to motorcycles is just ignorant. You have to pedal it to move it. It can only go 20 MPH and you cant kick up any dirt when you hit the throttle. I guarantee you that if one of you elitist mountain bikers had a lung infection that lowered your lung function to 50% you would buy one of these. You don’t just give up on life when you have a major setback. If its possible with technology, you find ways to live.

        • They belong in “our world”? Not sure what our world is, but no, motorized vehicles do not belong on non-motorized trails (and the BLM agrees).

          E-bikes have a motor, that makes them motorized vehicles. Why is this a difficult concept?

          “It should kept in mind that average Joe like the most of us, even with the help of an electric assisted bike, we develop less wattage on e-bikes than Absalon or Schurter on a regular bicycle.”

          Laughably wrong. The average Joe rider has a FTP of 200-250W. Elite athletes like Shurter are probably around 400W. The 150-200W difference is nothing for an E-bike. This bike can make you as powerful as Shurter for 2-3 hours straight, or considerably more so for shorter stints. Your claim is a flat out lie.

          “If you think e-bikes will damage the trails think again.”

          What is the point of an e-bike? To go further, faster. Riding on a trail causes erosion. Riding on a trail more, at higher speeds causes more erosion. This is basic logic, your assertion is not supported by any facts.

          So, to sum up- you lie about the facts, and use wishful thinking to disguise a lack of coherent logic. No one should listen to you.

          Want to ride your e-bike on trails? GO BUILD SOME. Don’t piggy back off the hard work of others just because you want to be the special snowflake who can bend the rules.

          • You’re assuming that people that would ride these bikes don’t contribute to trail work. By your logic, you should be giving yourself a riding allowance that will help retain some of what the trail has for others. Your argument is heated, and full of contradiction. Go ride your bike, cool off, and then try an realize that others are simply out there trying to have a good time like you are.

            Yes regulations might need to be adjusted, but freaking out and calling someone “snowflake” is pretty childish. If anything, you’re giving the MTB community a bad vibe.

            You’re attitude aligns with the groups that want unassisted MTBs off of the trail.

            RYFB

            • You are 100% correct Yus, he has never ridden one. with the 2.8-3 inch tires at low pressure and set at 20-40% power level most of the time, to allow you to have a 3-4 hour ride. trail erosion is a non issue. compared to a standard 2.1-2.4 size tire. They are so similar to a regular MTN bike, and without riding one on a real ride these panicer’s have no real perspective. Non of the people or myself are giving up on our full MTN bikes, it just gives you more riding in a shorter period of time. And can allow you to ride with people who don’t ride almost daily like a lot of us. I think its just a really fun concept, that should be experienced, before too strong of an opinion is projected.

      • In the EU the laws follow the evolution and this is considered as a regular bicycle (assist up to 25kph) and can be ridden anywhere where bikes are allowed. I don’t own one but personally I don’t see any problem with it…

      • An e-bike is not a motorcycle. It is not capable of speeds and performance that are dramatically different than a bicycle with a fast, motivated rider aboard. Sure, it can go uphill a bit faster but that presents no additional danger to other trail users and all of the same limitations (space, traction, rider ability) apply as they do to any off-road cyclist. The presence of a battery and a motor do not erase a rider’s self-preservation instinct in any way.

        They belong on all of the same trails as “acoustic” MTB’s and I’m surprised more aren’t welcoming them. The trail advocacy set has a very small voice as it is. Inviting more users can only help justify more access.

    • I’m going to say this looks immediately like an e-bike. Absolutely zero bikes have that amount of visual mass going on in their BB areas.

  2. It’s wait for the gas version, much better trail access and further range, and you can spend longer on the bike without tiring too quickly.

  3. Their motto, and I’m not making this up, is “Busy Lives Call For Faster Bikes”. That’s how they are trying to sell their new motorcycles.

  4. So this is a 52 pound bike? What about when the battery dies? Who’ll ride a 52 pound bike when the motor dies? Or you remove the battery and it gets down to about 47?
    Can somebody tell me where the lines are between these motorbikes, motorcycles, and bicycles?

    • Well, bike weights are overrated anyway especially since rider weighs several times as much.

      All those trekking people do fine with heavy and loaded bikes.

      • Define “do fine”?
        Have you ever ridden a loaded touring bike? You load it because that is what is needed to tour, and that is the only reason. Touring bikes are “fun” in that you get to tour and explore areas by bike. Although the bike allows that, they are not fun like a 16lb road bike is fun.

        Being powered will make it better, but it won’t feel like a sub 30lb FS bike.

    • Look up what the mission control app does. It literally prevents your from running out of battery. You select the distance/ route, the app calculated how much battery it can apply throughout the ride and conserves battery/ you from over using it. It’s pretty cool tech.

      Bicycle – you pedal
      Motorcycle – you don’t pedal
      Pedal Assist E-Bike – you pedal & it helps (but only if you pedal)

      Pretty simple

    • Don’t worry about when the motor dies, they handle like a flabby overweight arse with the battery charged too. Testing a TurboLevo earlier this year was fun, but underlined how awful they are off road, the crunch when I slammed the bottom of the bike into a water bar can only be described as horrifying. These things are aimed at commuters, show them anything resembling difficult terrain and it’s like riding a Walmart bike.

  5. That dropper post lever is perfectly positioned to stab the rider in the knee. So much for e-bikes “growing the sport”

  6. Bicycle – you pedal
    Motorcycle – you don’t pedal
    Pedal Assist Motorcycle – You motor along, and pedal to make it look like you are doing something.

    It doesn’t matter if the throttle is a wrist or a foot, a motor is a motor.

  7. Trail stewardship. trail advocacy, opening more land to MTB riders, sharing the trails. All great potential posts for bikerumor.

  8. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a ranger warning an e-bike rider that his bike was not allowed on the trails. I don’t know what model the bike was, but it looked very similar to this – the only visual giveaway was the thick downtime and BB area. (This was at Corte de Madera Open Space, aka Skeggs, in the SF Bay Area, CA).

    I ride a 30lb single speed hard tail, but I get why these are being made and why people buy them. It’s really the logical progression of constantly trying to make everything easier until someday the bike will just ride itself. I have a dropper post and suspension fork on the single speed, so I am no purist. It’s up to the individual where to draw the line and I personally will never buy one of these. But then again, I won’t own a smartphone, DI2, or a power meter either.

    • Skeggs is also the only place I’ve ever had a ranger call me out for wearing headphones. I’ve even seen the rangers out there with speed guns on a fire road descent. Unfortunately, almost nowhere else is going to be as diligent about policing e-bike use as those guys. They are sticklers for the rules up there.

  9. My dad was looking at one of these so he can simply just ride with me. I do close to 10k KM a year and he does 1K if that.

    He like the idea of being able to ride my pace and come training with me without my training rides suffering.

  10. All you silly Americans who likely have never ridden an E-MTB on trails.

    They’re NOT motorcycles. It’s merely amplifying your output- allowing you to climb faster, handle technical, steep terrain, and let you ride up and through things you might not have had the power to pedal through before.

    Perhaps you’re not as young or as fit as you used to be.

    You can now keep up.

    Perhaps you’ve had an injury and lack the strength or ability to ride or pedal like you used to. —

    Now you can.

    Perhaps your not fit at all, but want a way to get into fitness and ride with your buddies who already do.

    Or hell, perhaps you’re a strong rider who just wants to rip 5-6 loops in an afternoon on your favorite trail that before you could only get in 2.

    They’re only faster on the climbs because you have the assist, but it’s not going to somehow make you a Trail God and imbue you with the ability to shred ‘Gnar in the descents and technical riding where it requires skills.

    So don’t worry. While you’ll likely still get your panties in a bunch when someone rides by you on the climbs, it’s still fun to pass them on the downs!

      • it would be nice if the anti e bike crowd would admit the truth, they don’t want Joe Average on “their” trails just like surfers don’t want anyone surfing “their” break.

        Got news for you, it ain’t your trail. It’s our trails and I intend to ride them.

  11. excuses excuses excuses. Too Fat, Too Weak, Too Slow, waaaahhhhhh. Notice how ALL of the defenders of electric motor bicycles cry about the great equalization that occurs when slow people get on a motorized bicycle? They could just ride with equal fitness people like has been happening for decades. But, what happens when fit riders are sick of hearing the banter from those on the juice when they should be further back in the pack? THEY get one of these and the power race is on. Do not down play a governed 25mph max and the ‘only 250 blah blah watts’, adding 250/350+ watts to a 50lb vehicle is a MASSIVE impact on the ability for greater overall speed. Unless you forgot to charge the battery these will churn out 250+ watts the WHOLE ride. Humans can not. going forward a few years we will now have a lot more riders going a lot faster mile after mile. Period. Trail conflicts? Collisions? Yep, way more, not just with lowly humans and animals, but with other moped riders, Double the speed, then x2 and you got a perfect recipe for awesome head on collisions. Don’t think this won’t have an impact on trail access, think.

    • Nobody owes anyone any exucses. Electric bikes are proving that many people want to ride, they just can’t accept the sport as it is for a vast number of reasons.

      The argument that speeds and danger will be excessive is a red herring. Self preservation instinct prevents that. The system doesn’t churn out 250W the whole ride because the rider has different power modes to choose from, space, skill traction and self-preservation constraints governing his behavior. Collisions and trail conflicts will remain exactly as they already are. The guys who behave badly will probably continue to do so, the vast majority of e-bikers will likely not fall into that group because so far, they seem completely uninterested.

      The impact on trail access will hopefully be a great deal more people riding and demanding trail access than there are now. If a giant, semi-unpredictable animal with a small brain, that poops directly on the trail, ridden by a tiny minority of the population (horse..) doesn’t get one kicked out, surely we can manage a few electric motors…

  12. Just wondering if I’m the only one with a beloved father that introduced me to MTB when bikes had no suspension (maybe that girvin stems) and that this whole ebike category enables him to keep riding with his son for a couple years more… For him it’s a big yes, for me a huge one

  13. These let families ride together. My pre-teen and early-teen kids and wife and I can go on 20 mile rides together now and all have fun. It’s a game changer. We all ride together and all get challenged however much we want. If you don’t see the value of this to our sport then I’m not sure what to say (or how long you want to make counter arguments).

  14. I have over 1300 miles on the 17″ Levo and my wife rides one also. This bike has saved my marriage. Although I consider myself in mountain bike shape, my wife is very busy and the addition of health problems ensures there is no way she can stay in biking shape. My wife is also not a mountain biker by any stretch of the imagination. That was until I bought her a Levo. She doesn’t really like downhill so I plan routes where we can ride up the mountain in the dirt together and she rides back on the pavement. Also, instead of using a shuttle car we ride up the highway together. One ride I used to do required over an hour of pounding the hot pavement up steep grades to get to a trailhead. Now it has turned into a pleasant ride. Last weekend I got my wife (for the second time) to ride 23 miles of a mix of asphalt and mountain biking for over two hours and 3000 ft elevation change. That’s incredible for someone who doesn’t bike. I have even tried riding my road bike along side my wife with her ebike and she has pulled me up some hills when I got tired. It is great!

What do you think?