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Specialized Turbo Levo SL Review

robb dorr
By
Robb Dorr,
Co-founder
Images from manufacturer's website

30 mi

RANGE

20 mph

TOP SPEED

3 hrs

CHARGE TIME

38 lbs

WEIGHT

Mid-drive

MOTOR TYPE

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Specialized Turbo Levo SL Review: Takeaway

Into serious MTB riding, but starting to fear hills? Returning to fitness, or don’t want to max out while training on the hill? The Specialized Turbo Levo SL is a lightest-in-class eMTB that could be the machine for you. It comes in two configurations — Comp and Expert Carbon — depending on your needs.

At just under 40 lbs, this electric bike is light and nimble — a rarity for an e-bike in this category. For having serious fun on the hills and trails, Specialized has created a monster that will take a hammering without compromising too much on weight or agility.

Ideal for...

Returning to MTB after injury
Between-race training
Riding the trails when age is slowing you down

E-Bike Overview

There are three models of Turbo Levo SL on the market, and we have looked at the top end and bottom end for this article. The lowest-priced, aluminum-framed e-bike still packs a lot of great components such as an SRAM drivetrain, SRAM brakes, and Fox suspension.

As with all electric bikes, if you know how to handle one of these (such as changing the settings on the forks/shock), then it will pay to spend as much as you can afford for the better bike. The full carbon SL Carbon Expert will be a different league to ride than the Turbo Levo Expert, but it’s a full $4,500 more in cost.

The relatively small, 325 Wh battery on the Turbo Levo SL is aimed at someone who wants a bit of a push now and again. Paired with the lightweight SL 1.1 motor, you’ll get 240 watts of power. The motor is super quiet on a ride so you can enjoy your surroundings — and it doesn’t offer resistance when you have pedal assist off.

Reasons to Buy

We love the weight of this electric bike. As electric bikes go, it’s positively featherweight. For someone who is moving away from analog MTB riding, doesn’t want to give 100% all the time in training, or recovering from injury, this could well be the electric bike you seek.

The analog drivetrains on all the models are among the best on the market. The forks and shocks, with a huge 150mm of travel, will see you fly over big bumps without your brain being rattled in your helmet. When it comes to the brakes, again, these will offer great deceleration even on a fast descent in wet conditions without overheating or fading.

Things to Consider

The motor on the Turbo Levo SL isn’t as powerful as the top-end Bosch or Yamaha motors out there, sacrificing power for weight. If you’re after a big, 80+ Nm of push, there are e-MTBs out there for that.

For those who may need a lot of support on the trails, then this e-bike’s small motor and light battery are weaknesses. However, they’re strengths when it comes to those who are very fit already (but need a little extra push).

Specs & Components

Motor
Specialized SL 1.1, custom lightweight motor
Battery
Specialized SL1-320, fully integrated, 320Wh
Display
3-LED Ride Mode display
App
Specialized Mission Control
Front Tire
Butcher Grid Trail, 29” x 2.3”
Rear Tire
Eliminator Grid Trail 29 x 2.3”
Turbo Levo SL Expert Specs:
Main frame
FACT 11m full carbon
Fork
Fox Float 36 Performance Elite 150mm travel
Rear shock
Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite
Drivetrain
SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed, 10-52t cassette
Brakes
SRAM Code RS 4-piston hydraulic, 200mm front + rear discs
Turbo Levo SL Comp Specs:
Main Frame
Specialized M5 Premium Aluminum
Fork
Fox Rhythm 34 Float 29, 150mm travel
Rear shock
Fox Float DPS Performance 150mm travel
Drivetrain
SRAM NX Eagle 12 speed, 11-50t
Brakes
SRAM Guide R hydraulic, 200mm front rotor and 180mm rear

The specs above come from the manufacturer and may vary from what you’ve experienced. Notice something that needs correcting? Let us know.

Ratings

Power
2.5/5
2.5

All models of this series are designed to help the experienced trail rider with hills between runs. The Specialized SL 1.1 motor on all models is low in weight but delivers just enough power for an added kick up the hill. You can reach speeds of up to 20 mph, which is pretty standard. The 29″ tires are also standard, and because they’re made for gripping the trail, they may slow you down a bit through friction.

In a similar price bracket, eMTBs with Bosch and Yamaha motors deliver lots of power for longer periods, so we can’t rate this bike too highly in this category.

Range
2.5/5
2.5

As we said above, the 320 Wh battery won’t get you many hours of pedal assist riding — by our calculations, just over an hour and a half at full power. For the intended purpose — fast trail riding with occasional power support on inclines — this is ample. You’ll likely get 30 miles in before the battery gives out, which should be enough to finish your run. However, if you’re a heavier rider or in more mud and muck than usual, you may find the range is less.

Comfort
4/5
4

Looking at comfort as a whole, the Turbo Levo SL series of e-bikes offers high quality, long-travel front and rear shocks, a remote controlled dropper post, and 29” wheels with trail-designed tires.

Different models have different specifications within these parameters — pay more money, and you’ll get higher-quality components. For example, you’ll get a top-of-the-line Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite shock on the $10,500 model and a lower-quality Fox Float DPS Performance shock on cheaper models. All models also come with Specialized trail handlebars, Deity grips, and a Bridge Comp saddle.

Durability
5/5
5

Regarding maintenance, the shocks, drivetrain, dropper post, brakes, and wheels will require regular care and attention. In particular, the cassette and chain will require changing every 700 or so miles. This is more often than you would find on a traditional equivalent bike.

Specialized offers a lifetime warranty on its frames and a limited warranty on its other components. The motor and forks will be subject to separate manufacturers’ warranties, too.

Style
4.5/5
4.5

Designed as all-out trail beasts, the Specialized Turbo Levo SL series is a perfect example of form meeting function. They are well-proportioned to look at and will tell other riders that you’re serious about the sport. Don’t go buying this e-bike if you’re new to the sport, as with all beasts that need taming, it may just bite you if you don’t know how to handle it.

The color schemes vary from a loud red on the entry-level Turbo Levo SL Comp to the muted black on the top-of-the-range Turbo Levo SL.

Our Research Methodology

We personally research and test every e-bike featured in our reviews and guides to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn how we review.

About Our Editorial Team

robb dorr
Written by Robb Dorr
Co-founder
Robb is a massive cycling enthusiast who has more than 20 years of non-motorized cycling experience. He started eBikes.org to lower the barrier of entry to cycling and reduce the intimidation people can experience when getting into the cycling world.

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