This Electric Mountain Bike Will Make You A Believer
I’ll never ride an mountain electric bike.” Those words have been spoken by every devout cyclist at least once. Pedal-assist bikes are blasphemy, a divergence from the gospel of bike. But unless you believe there is a special circle of hell devoted to deviants from the two-wheeled faith, what do you have to lose by trying one?
What Is It?
The Turbo Levo FSR Comp 6Fattie is an electric, pedal-assist mountain bike based on the Outside-favorite Stump jumper 6Fattie. There’s other models in Specialized’s electric Turbo Levo family, including a hardtail, and versions with fancier group sets.
This particular model has 135mm of rear travel, three-inch tires, a slack 66.5-degree head tube, and a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain. So it’s a trail bike at heart. Just one with electric benefits.
The removable 460 Wh battery is hidden in the downtube, and the custom-built-for-Specialized Brose motor is integrated around the bottom bracket, and develops 250 watts of power. A torque sensor detects when you’re applying pressure to the pedals, and provides assistance when you need it. Aside from the glowing green LEDs indicating charge levels and output settings, there is little indicating this Turbo is anything but a typical mountain electric bike.
Who’s It For?
Me: I had a total of seven knee surgeries over 14 months, and man, my fitness took a beating. Getting back on a bike was both liberating and frustrating. I just can’t go as fast, or as far, as I used to. But, you don’t have to fall victim to a flesh-eating bacterial infection during routine a ACL reconstruction to find the idea of an electric mountain bike appealing.
You: A new parent. A busy career type. Someone who ended up prioritizing a new relationship over working out, and now your partner is dropping you on climbs. Basically anyone who just wants to go out and rip on an occasional trail ride, but can’t dedicate the time required by a consistent training program.
Your friends: We all have friends we wish wanted to pedal up hills with us. Many of who might be capable of leaving us in their dust on descents. These are young and old riders; riders lacking the fitness, time, motivation, or who just aren’t interested in climbing alone, at the back of the pack. You’ve done everything to get them back out riding with your regular crew, but pride and reluctance to hold the group back is keeping them away.
The N+1 cyclist: Where N is the number of bikes you currently own, and N+1 is the number you’d like to have. No bike is perfect for everything; add this one to the stable.
All models of the Turbo Levo use a frame made from M5 aluminum alloy, with the motor and removable battery integrated inside. The frame and fork use 148mm (rear) and 110mm (front) spacing. Specialized 6Fattie Purgatory (front) and Ground Control (rear) 3-inch wide tires are laced to 38mm Roval Traverse rims. Rear stays and pivots are beefed up to handle the additional weight (48.5 lbs) and torque, and bridges are added to the stays, over the non-motorized Stump jumper. The front fork is a RockShox Yari XC with a 15mm thru-axle. The 135mm rear travel is provided by a custom Fox Float Performance DPS shock with automatic sag adjust.
The Brose motor puts out 250 watts nominally, and can peak up to a max of 460 watts. That’s around half what the 2016 Specialized Turbo S road bike we tested last year develops, but that bike’s much-larger motor sits in the rear hub, which would massively compromise performance on a full-suspension mountain bike like this one. Spend up to the Expert or S-Works spec Turbo Levo and you get a motor that can peak up to 530 watts.
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