It's Electric! The 27.5+ Specialized Turbo Levo

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Electric pedal-assist mountain bikes have been around for a few years now, but it's fair to say that they have not been able to generate much enthusiasm from serious mountain bikers. Now Specialized launches the Levo with the promise of fundamentally rewriting the e-bike rulebook. We headed to Leogang in the Austrian Alps to see whether or not they pulled it off. Check out the slideshow from the launch above, then dig into specs, geo, and first ride impressions below. Also check out the ONE Lap edit from the first ride!

Slideshow feature and photos by Johan Hjord (unless otherwise indicated)

2016 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Expert 6Fattie Highlights

  • 67-degree head angle
  • 342-mm bottom bracket height
  • 459-mm chainstay length
  • Three-inch 6Fattie tire system with 38-mm internal width Roval rims
  • Rider Experience Tune ("RX-Trail") shock: unique compression tune mated to an unusually light rebound tune and a specific air spring volume
  • ROVAL 38mm internal width rims
  • Command Post IRcc
  • 1x11 drivetrain
  • SRAM Guide four-piston brakes
  • M5 alloy frame with mountain-specific battery mount
  • Trail tuned 250W motor
    • Compact and lightweight @ 3,400g
    • Quiet and fast engagement with focus on smooth disengagement
    • 530W / 90Nm max power output
  • Integrated Li-Ion battery:
    • 504 / 460 wh (S-Works, Exp/Comp)
    • Easy to remove, rattle-free design
    • IP 67 rating against dirt and water contamination
    • Chargeable in 3.5 hours, both on or off the frame
    • ANT+ and Bluetooth capability
    • Rock guard
  • 10 LEDs show battery life in real time (1 = 10%)
  • Three modes: Turbo, Trail, and Eco
  • Communicates with ANT+ to display speed, cadence, rider power, and more
  • LEV devices, like Garmin Edge Touring, display and allow for control
  • “FAKE” Channel for communication
  • Mission Control App for controlling the Levo:
    • Adjustable tuning of motor characteristics
    • Smart Control algorithm allows you to set yourdesired ride time, distance, or location which will then adjust yourLevo’s motor & battery output accordingly
    • Diagnostics system
    • Strava integration & Full Pro navigation
    • Ride history
    • For iOS & Andriod devices
  • Pricing (EUR only, US TBD):
    • S-Works: EUR 8999
    • Expert (as ridden here): EUR 6499
    • Comp: EUR 4999

2016 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Expert 6Fattie Specs and Geometry

First Ride: 2016 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Expert 6Fattie

by Johan Hjord // Photos courtesy of Specialized

We arrived in Leogang for the latest Specialized launch not knowing what to expect, mostly because we hadn't been told what we were going to be riding. When the curtains were pulled to reveal an electric, pedal-assist mountain bike, many of us didn't really know what to make of it. Reactions ranged from mild shock to excessive hand-wringing, but we were in the Austrian Alps and the sun was shining, and there's no denying that we were all curious to see what the beast would actually behave like once on the trail.

Aside from the electric part, setting up the Levo was straightforward: adjust controls, set seat height, set sag and dial in your suspension settings - so far, so good. The suspension is specifically tuned to deal with the extra weight of the bike, which makes it all transparent to the rider. You set it up just like you would any other mountain bike. After getting briefed on how to operate the controls of the pedal-assist feature, it was off for a warm-up lap.

Turn on the power supply, choose a mode (Turbo, Trail, or Eco - more on that later), and start pedaling. The pedal-assist kicks in when it senses torque on the pedals, and when it detects forward motion via the speed sensor on the rear wheel. In other words, there is no throttle. This feels like suddenly turning into Jared Graves, with every pedal stroke translating into forward momentum, how much of which depends on your power mode setting. In Turbo, the bikes delivers a surge of acceleration as soon as you start pedaling, while Trail and Eco modes are more subtle. In the base setting, Turbo will deliver up to 100% of the available motor power, while Trail delivers 60% and Eco "only" 30%. It quickly became apparent that even 30% is actually quite a lot, and this became our go-to setting once we learned how to ride the bike.

The torque sensor allows the bike to deliver power to complement your own effort. Power delivery is smooth, and feels very natural after a while. The amount of power on tap is significant, and most of our first ride was spent trying on climbs to see what sort of gradient this thing would deal with. Quite a lot, it turned out. "Steeper than it looks" quickly became "haha well that was easy, are there any more climbs we can try?"

There is no point going up a hill unless you can enjoy it on the way down. We were worried that the bike would be a handful in real mountain bike terrain, but that turned out not to be the case. Once we got into the rowdy Leogang trails, it became obvious that the Levo is a real mountain bike. Having never ridden 27.5+ tires before, they were the first eye-opener. When it comes to traction, they offer it up in spades. But not only that, they are significantly more stable over really rough surfaces than their regular counterparts. We were soon searching for root nests and other assorted nastiness to really go look for the limits of traction, in most cases not finding it.

Additionally, the extra weight of the bike helps keep it really planted. We took on some pretty scary sections of trail on sight, and without exaggeration, we were quite shocked by just how capable the Levo is. The traction is impressive, and the bike sticks to its line no matter what the trail throws at you. We found that we could look further ahead and worry less about what's in front of the wheels, letting momentum and grip carry us through sections we would normally expect to pinball. Perhaps the biggest surprise was how playful the bike is. 44-pounds sounds pretty sluggish, but once this bike gets up to speed, that weight translates into momentum that can be used for fun. See a little root double just after a slow turn? 2 pedal strokes and you can launch over it. See a big rock step in the middle of the climb? 2 pedal strokes and you can pop right up the face of it. Want to hit the bonus lines off the side of the trail? No problem, as long as you keep momentum, the bike reacts surprisingly well to rider input, and can be pumped and jumped much like any other good trail bike. Manualing the bike is however a bit of a chore, both due to the weight and the relatively long chain stays (compared to your normal trail bike).

With regards to power and range, our experience over 2 days showed that the Levo will allow you go much further and higher than you would with a regular mountain bike. This is of course one of the main reasons behind building these bikes in the first place. However, if you use the bike in proper terrain, you'll soon find that you are getting a real workout too, especially if you leave the bike in Eco mode. The thing is, it pushes you to go further, and to try things you would normally ignore. We rode some fairly epic loops with significant amounts of climbing, and the bike came back from a 5-hour alpine adventure with 20-30% of battery power still left in the tank. There are more reasons for using Eco mode than just range though: it is actually the most balanced setting, and the one that allows you to really go for the tricky stuff. Turbo mode is too powerful for most climbs, resulting in spin-outs, and even Trail mode has too much for certain situations. Keep in mind that you are not throttling through stuff, as soon as you stop pedaling, the bike stops pushing, so getting through technical sections whether on the ups or the downs still requires good technique and fitness. You just get more trail for your efforts.

Turning the motor off leaves you with a very heavy trail bike. However, Specialized's motor/crank assembly is frictionless when the motor is not engaged, so it's still possible to pedal the bike home if you should run out of juice. It won't be much fun if there's any climbing involved, but it will get you home. Note that the "Mission Control" app has a nifty tool that allows you to set ride duration, distance, or even location and that will then adjust the power output accordingly to make sure you have enough juice to finish the ride.

As previously mentioned, the 27.5+ tires have a lot to do with the "monstertruck-ability" of the Levo. As newcomers to this wheel size, we took the opportunity to put in a couple of quick reference laps on a non-electric 27.5+ bike, the 2016 Stumpjumper 6Fattie.

After we got over the initial shock of being back on a bike that weighs about 17-pounds less than the Levo, we found that some of the aforementioned characteristics do indeed translate. The bigger tires offer gobs of traction, and lots of extra stability over uneven ground. In the dry conditions we enjoyed throughout our stay in Leogang, we were unable to fault the bigger rubber. Apparently, they can be quite problematic in muddy conditions, but in dry natural terrain or in the bike park berms, they are a lot of fun. We also worried about the fact that they are single-ply only at this point, but we saw only a couple of flats in the riding group over 2 days, which is a very good score given the terrain and the bikes we were riding. And yes, a light, modern trail bike is still the tool of choice if it's outright shredability you're after...

So, It's All Rosy Then?

You'd be forgiven if you thought we're gushing about this new bike. We did not arrive in Leogang with the most open mindset when it comes to electric mountain bikes, if for no other reason than thinking of them as not real mountain bikes. Our experience with the Levo over 2 days proved us wrong. This bike delivers a ride that is fun in ways that a normal bike can never be. When you race your buddies up a 10-minute, root-infested traverse instead of just pushing your bike, that's a pretty big bonus. Especially since you can then enjoy yourself on the way down in much the same way as you would with your normal bike. However, there are unanswered questions and some potential for improvement to point out:

  • What will the extra weight and power mean for durability? Shifting under load is a lot worse on a pedal-assist bike than it is on a regular pushbike, and there were plenty of cringe-inducing "skrunch" sounds from tortured cassettes and chains during the 2 days. You need to think ahead and shift when not under load, which is not always easy to do. In steep terrain, SRAM's Guide brakes were impressively fade-free in operation, but what will all that weight and momentum translate to in terms of pad wear?
  • The bike is very stable when jumping, but there is no denying how heavy it is. Bike park style lips need speed if you want to make backside, since extra pop is hard to come by. And if you like to get sideways, this is not the best tool for the job by any stretch.
  • Moving the bike side to side takes a little more body language. Whether this is a good, bad, or indifferent aspect is really up to each individual rider. Once we adjust our riding style, we were enjoying ourselves on the downs without paying particular attention to this side of the equation.
  • There is no denying the potential for trail conflicts that this technology brings along. When you're suddenly able to climb a trail at speed and have fun doing so, it doesn't take genius to realize that at some point, you're going to run into riders enjoying themselves going down. Additionally, there is no proper legislation to regulate trail access for these types of bikes today, so in many cases they might actually be illegal (if considered a motorized vehicle). Being responsible is all good and well, but given how fun the bike is to ride, it's hard to imagine that everybody is going to abide by the law to the letter and stay off forbidden trails. That issue is not all that different to other types of mountain biking today, but the ebikes could easily further accentuate the problem.
  • Trail erosion can be an issue with this type of bike, especially on climbs.

So there you have it. Specialized promised us a unique experience, and that is what we got. We almost wish the bike would have performed a bit less impressively, to allow us to continue dismissing electric pedal-assist bikes as not real mountain bikes, but that simply wasn't the case. Where this goes from here, and how this new technology will impact the sport as a whole is too early to tell, but we will certainly continue to follow future developments with much interest.

More information at www.specialized.com.

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57 comments
  • relfed

    10/22/2015 6:24 AM

    650B+ 3.0?! they will destroy our trails an so they will be closed!! 26" only.
    And those wide handlebars , soo dangerous!
    Not to speak about the disk brakes, they belong on cars and motorcycles.

    Hey, lay off the dairy. And uh, no more happiness.

  • dmann

    8/14/2015 6:10 PM

    E-bikes + Specialized = Perfect storm of sucking

    Land managers won't be able to tell these apart from real bikes, so it will make it easy for them to ban all bikes. These are already being rented out to tourists in Orange County who are then sent out to nearby parks, often lacking the skillset to handle real trails. Sad...

  • Stevef

    7/21/2015 5:17 AM

    Hello Johan,
    It's a while after the event but your story makes interesting reading and didn't have much trouble provoking the anticipated response in the comments section, which I daresay would have been exactly the case in another age when snowboards first made an appearance on the worlds ski slopes. Now they're in the Olympic games.

    I live in New Zealand and as you and much of your readership will be aware it is a mountain biker’s paradise. The e-mountainbike (eMTB ) is emerging slowly in this country. I have been an early adopter after being forced to hang up my Giant hardtail many years ago due to a chronic knee problem. I have been concious of the controversy this new modality will generate as popularity grows and for that reason I have been very observant of my own impact on the environment and at the same time trying to gauge the trends in other countries.
    Where North America, (USA and Canada) are distinguished in this issue is the relative dearth of regulation in the classification of e-bikes. The EU would probably be the most regulated jurisdiction and that is where most of the dedicated eMTBs are being sourced from. It is tied in with what is known as the European directive EN15194, which is the specification of the pedelec. So the power will always be limited to 250 watts and they have to be propelled primarily by human muscular energy. EN15194 has been adopted by the UK and Australia and for New Zealand we're almost there but have a marginally higher power cut off at 300 watts which is historical dating back to when the rule was established.

    I have tried to place all the objections into either one of three categories; Social, Physical or Ecological.They are many and varied and it is beyond the scope of this comment to list them all, however suffice to say it is my opinion that none of them can be justified for physical or ecological reasons and I put that down to two elements of the Pedelec eMTB's characteristics, weight and power. The weight factor is irrelevant. There is no difference from an 84kg rider on a 14kg mountain bike to a 74kg rider on a 23kg eMTB.
    The power being limited to assistance only is 250 Watts continuous rating. Most mountain bikers will output between 200 and 300 watts over a sustained period.In a nutshell the forces through the contact patch of the rear tyre are going to be equivalent. They are both going to leave the same footprint on the forest floor.
    So that leaves the category of social impact. That is where the most vocal objection is squarely placed, that of a threat to future trail access.It is however a perceived threat and in your country, because it is akin to the wild west when it comes to e-mountain bikes,then you do have real concerns and the threat is likely to eventuate if it remains open slather to eMTBs on your trails.The answer of course is two fold. Adopt EN15194 into your rules and embark on campaigns to educate and inform all the stakeholders involved.

    In our country the government has embarked on a massive infrastructure project to build a nationwide network of off road back country trails to give us an edge in the future boom of cycle tourism. They traverse a wide variety of countryside and much of it is single track in wilderness areas.The negative consequences to tourism of prohibiting eMTbs on these tracks would be significant given that a third of the population in our country and our major tourism partners will be over 55 in about 2020. However that has not dampened the enthusiasm of the naysayers, most of whom have never ridden a pedelec eMTB and are probably simply reiterating what they read on blogs throughout the English speaking world and most of it from the USA.

    Layered over all I what I have mentioned above is the issue of the law and land management. All of our public open spaces are managed by either a central or local territorial authority. There are a couple of Principal legislative Acts that govern how the land is to be administered and like a lot of law it's constantly being challenged to keep up with technological advances.The emergence of e-bikes is no exception.
    Currently, as is the practice in your country, land managers are content to simply place e-bikes into the category of motorized vehicles. But therin lies the problem. Their prinicipal Acts do not interpret a motor vehicle and the definition has to be borrowed from other legislation. Power assisted bikes or pedelecs are classified as not being a motorized vehicle in our law. They are expressly worded as being equivalent to a cycle. The land manager’s principal Acts give them the option to decline the interpretation because it's not intended or inconsistent with conservation prinicipals for the type of land they manage, but they have to justify the reason for doing so. A social objection such as a threat to future access quite simily does not hold sway. That is squarely the State’s problem and not that of the pedelec e-bike or the person who rides it. So where you have a designated cycle track on public land then unless there are physical or ecological reasons to support prohibition, you can't ban them. And that is how it should be. You cannot in any civilized society have the State making arbitrary rules.

    E-bikes are here to stay and with the burgeoning demographic facing all of our societies there is going to be uptake because these bikes are getting so good. You have had a taste of the Levo today. In three years time this bike will be 4kg lighter will go twice the distance on the same charge, and will handle equally well to any all mountain steed you have ever thrown your legs across.Three years after that you won't be able to see where the electrics are placed.It's hard to see them now.
    So the way forward is to first and foremost understand the technology. Understand the design parameters and the legislation surrounding it. Convince yourselves they are not a threat and abandon the self flagelatting luddite attitudes trying to build a barrier to progress. That approach simply will fail leaving a lot of grumpy old mountain bikers in it's midst. We are all going to sucumb to lower limb degeneration at some point. Some sooner than others. Swallow some pride and revel in the fact that the camaraderie with your riding buddies will endure well past todays cutoff point.

  • Steve56303

    7/8/2015 1:32 PM

    Hi,

    Federal law is quite clear on these types of vehicles. They are categorized as bicycles. You don't need to register them at the DMV, get a license plate and so forth.

    They might have a motor, but according to the law they are not "motorized" vehicles. Odd semantics for sure, but that's the way it is.

    The exact definitions are based on power, how the throttle button works, max speed and the like. The law was developed to deal with all sorts of motorized things that started appearing around 2000 such as scooters, skateboards, bicycles, and etc.

    If someone tells you they are illegal in a certain setting ask them to cite the law. They won't be able to.

  • cofattire

    7/8/2015 2:18 PM

    Moab recently banned ebikes from all non motorized trails: http://www.vitalmtb.com/news/news/Moab-Bans-Electric-Bikes-on-Mountain-Bike-Trails,834

    Hopefully other areas follow Moab's example and ban ebikes so there's no ambiguity.

  • deathXsquad

    7/8/2015 4:58 PM

    When this topic was brought up recently by the local trail group (Bend), one of the most prominent builders posted a statement he received from a National Forest Service employee stating that these qualify as motorized vehicles and by no means are permitted on NFS multi-use non motorized trails. FWIW motorized vehicle trespassing on federally protected land carries a max sentence of $2000 and 6 months in jail, at least around here. Last I heard the NFS and BLM are working on addressing the e-bike issue in greater detail, but there doesn't seem to be any plan to allow them on biking trails on federal land.

  • bturman

    7/17/2015 8:47 AM

    St. George has followed Moab's lead - http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/st__george/recreation/non-motorized_trails.html

    "Motor Assisted Bicycles: Motor assisted bicycles are prohibited on all non-motorized trails managed by the BLM St. George Field Office.

    The BLM St. George Field Office has determined that motor assisted bicycles (electric, gas, or diesel) are motorized vehicles. Use of motor assisted bicycles is only allowed on roads and trails open to motorized use. Please visit our motorized recreation web page for information on motorized trails managed by the St. George Field Office.

    Regulations found at 43 CFR 8340.0-5(a) define an off-road vehicle as "...any motorized vehicle capable of, or designed for, travel on or immediately over land, water, or other natural terrain...." Furthermore, regulations found at 43 CFR 8342.1 direct the BLM to designate routes as either available for or not available for off-road (motorized) vehicles.

    Since electric assisted bicycles have a motor, they fit under the definition provided in 43 CFR 8340.0-5(a) as off-road vehicles. Thus, electric assisted bicycles are allowed only on routes designated for off-road (motorized) vehicle use and prohibited from routes that have been designated only for non-motorized use.

    At this time, there is no other BLM guidance specific to managing electric assisted bicycles, so the BLM St. George Field Office is managing the use as motorized based on the rationale described above. This policy is consistent with the policy recently implemented by the BLM-Moab Field Office."

  • Daz

    7/8/2015 10:40 PM

    Section 2 on this law backs up @Steve56303. With the number of laws on the books maybe the decision makers at BLM & NFS don't know these are not classified how they are defining them.
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ319/pdf/PLAW-107publ319.pdf

    Is there anything more recent somebody knows about?
    Government says it might look like a duck and quack like a duck but it's really a bike.

  • E William_Smithon

    7/8/2015 11:59 AM

    Love this. I'm going to buy 2. One for me, and the other for my slow buddy. And I'm going to shred the heck out of those XC trails we have here in Michigan. Yee haw. Move over slow pokes!!

  • piggy

    5/4/2016 1:21 PM

    You're my kind of guy E Will! Can you buy a third for when I come to visit? I'll keep you a spare up here in BC! YEEEEEEE HAWWWWWW!

  • Traysaw

    7/7/2015 3:07 PM

    Why do people keep saying that the bike does not have a throttle? ?? The bike DOES have a Throttle, it's just foot activated. ..like a car... or riding lawnmower or go cart..exc!
    Specialized really got in everyone's head with the pedal assisted terminology!
    According to Specialized I could put a bike pedal in place of my trucks gas pedal and drive it on mountain bike trails..
    Me: look officer I'm pushing a bike pedal!
    Officer: Oh sorry I stopped you on this mountain bike trail you're free to go!

  • boaz

    7/7/2015 9:42 PM

    The similarities to a car or go-cart throttle begin and end with the fact you use your feet. It requires you to pedal, a car and go cart require you to simply push down with your foot. I see a world of difference between those two things. Also, it has less than 1hp at peak power; this is an assist not a machine that can drive itself.

  • Traysaw

    7/8/2015 5:03 AM

    It's got a 1hp what??? Oh, MOTOR!! Keep it off non-motorized bike trails! Please.

  • filthyanimal

    7/7/2015 9:44 AM

    This is a bad idea for MTB. Are the stupid things fun? Of course they are... So is cocaine. So is unprotected sex with sketchy skanks from the bar. So it driving real fast on crowded streets...Doesn't mean it's a good idea. It'd also be fun to blast my KX450F up the local MTB trails... It's also fun to shuttle all of the super crowded local MTB trails on DH bikes, But most people don't (or they get a lecture and possibly a sock in the nose) 'cause it's totally a bad idea and bad for MTB. Roll down the road a bit and shuttle where it's legal (or, at least permitted) or hit the resorts...or drop the same amount of $krilla that you'd drop on a used DH bike on a used MX bike and go ride one of the various moto tracks or trails systems within and hour's drive for a 1/3 the price of a lift ticket.

    What bums me out is that you guys are "kinda" promoting this. This will allow the exact people that probably shouldn't be out on the trails to get out on the trails without paying some dues and learning a bit about the way it all works. This is a motorized bike--any way you slice it--and the wrong clowns are gonna ride them on MTB trails. Especially if shops and internet sources start 'kinda' promoting them. F Specialized...

  • gnarmad

    7/7/2015 3:47 PM

    Do you really think 250 watts is going to hurt any trail system out there?

    Also consider the age range this will most likely appeal to.... younger folks, mechanics, purists (guilty of all three) will not need this bike and it won't affect our precious cycling biosphere we've all come to enjoy. The people buying this bike will be the older, retired folks who have the dough and time to ride this.

    Does that mean I support this new product? Yes. While I may not own one I'll certainly be working on them. Which means I will continue to reap the benefits of whichever direction the market goes--job security right there :D

  • Traysaw

    7/7/2015 3:54 PM

    You must work at Specialized!

  • Nozes

    7/7/2015 5:05 AM

    What a big,fat,electric...turd.

  • Big Bird

    7/6/2015 11:33 PM

    I've recently been diagnosed with MS, so my climbing days are over. But I'll vow right now that I'll never buy a pedal assist or full motor powered "Bike" and ride it on a mountain bike legal trail. As many have said, we've worked way too long and hard to get access to what we have now. Strapping a battery and motor to your bike is only quieter than strapping a 50cc engine and a gas tank. Otherwise there's really no difference. Corporate threats to trail access must stop. Remember that Specialized has also repeatedly shown illegal (And since shut down.) trails including their entrances. Specialized, I'm making you the same offer that I made Santa Cruz. Hire me as your VP Of Common Sense and I'll save you a lot of embarrassment. I'm cheap, just pay for my MS drugs.

  • Traysaw

    7/7/2015 5:09 AM

    My best friend has cystic fibrosis, he can absolutely not pedal but he is in great physical condition otherwise. I believe that only people with real physical limitations (not just out of shape and lazy) should be able to ride these bikes on all trails. But I don't see anyway to keep the fat lazy masses from abusing this. And let's be honest, Specialized did not build this bike because they care about a few mountain bikers that have limitations.

  • b-lec

    7/6/2015 9:03 PM

    The number of people that are reacting positively to this article is disturbing. Where do you draw the line? This will threaten trail access in the US if it catches on and e-bikes are indistinguishable from normal bikes to the lay person. If I knew there would be no backlash I would have no issues with this - my wife could keep up and group rides might not take all day. But we have worked too hard over the last 20 years for access to risk it. And you know there will be a hack to set the bike to roost mode...

  • Traysaw

    7/6/2015 9:24 PM

    Exactly!!! Hopping them up the first thing ppl are going to do! I've lost sleep over this..We ARE going to loose trails! Buy the time the smoke settles it will be to late.
    And the new e-biker's won't care, they will just move on to destroy the next sport/lifestyle. Shame on Specialized for jumping on this bandwagon!

  • deathXsquad

    7/7/2015 8:08 AM

    its people who have only been riding for a couple years, and don't realize all the work thats been done to secure and preserve the trails they take for granted. every thing has been given to them.

  • #6

    7/6/2015 10:22 AM

    Now then, where the Eddie Masters test on this?

  • Sussexsurfer

    7/6/2015 10:02 AM

    In Europe these aren't defined as mopeds! They are 'Pedalecs' and can be used anywhere you can use a bike. Pedal assistance only works up to 15mph, after that it you're pedalling by yourself. Which is fine, especially downhill, just like a normal bike!

    I've been using an eMTB for 6 months now and I've ridden more miles than I had in the last 3 years. Further, higher and harder. During that time there have been no problems with other riders. Over here we don't ride UP downhill singletrack, only fire trails or bridleways. And considering what a crowded island the UK is I can't see that you'll have many trail conflicts in the US. The bikes aren't powerful enough to cause trail erosion compared with any bike coming down a trail!

    I try and let anyone who shows an interest have a go. Their reaction is normally a huge grin or laughter. And after a climb they're still out of breath! Few, if any, negatives from riders, weight being the normal one, but once they've ridden that's forgotten and they get it!

    I can understand the 'purists' objections but when knees start to give out and your lung capacity ain't what it was these bikes just allow you to get out there.

    There's room for both. We've already proved that in Europe.

  • cofattire

    7/7/2015 9:03 AM

    I'm glad you aren't seeing trail access issues where you live. I don't mean this as an insult but you are ignorant of the issues that exist in the US. Ebikes will exacerbate existing issues, and create new ones. This is something that shouldn't be taken lightly.

  • jiw71

    7/17/2015 5:46 AM

    Sorry, but "when knees start to give out and your lung capacity ain't what it was..................." then ride trails within your physical limitations - there are thousands of 'em. I am 66 years old and still enjoy riding trails that I can negotiate under my own power. The point that seems to be missed is the satisfaction and enjoyment that results in riding a trail "under your own steam" - UNASSISTED - and by NOT cheating yourself. Honesty and integrity is missing here. Get out there!

  • WaffleStomp

    7/6/2015 7:41 AM

    So big fat tires... and a motor.

    VitalMX is thataway --->

  • publicenemy

    7/5/2015 10:47 PM

    The article says it perfectly. "The Levo will allow you to go much further and higher". I love my XC Bike and I love my good XC rides with my XC friends. I see no reason for anyone to flame this bike. Might not be for everyone but if you care that much about what gets other people excited to ride and go explore, have fun, and smile then I probably wouldn't be riding with you anyway.

  • syngltrkmnd

    7/7/2015 10:06 AM

    It comes down to trail access. That's the crux of this issue. As soon as the Richie Richs that can afford this bike start tearing up our trails, spooking hikers and horse riders, and riding uphill into downhill traffic, the hard work we have done for trail access and legitimacy will disappear faster than dope in Armstrong's fridge.

  • silvbullit

    7/5/2015 7:13 PM

    NO.

    It is, by definition, a different "sport" when there is any sort of alternate power source. So please start a new site called VitalEbike and post these turds there.

    This is a potentially damaging trend for trail access.

    Earn your turns, find buddies to shuttle with, or pay for a lift ticket. Do NOT ruin my trail access with a motored vehicle.

    These things should all be painted "Scarlet Yellow" so we can spot the dopes buying these to go poach non-motorized trails with a motor.

  • F1234K

    7/5/2015 8:32 PM

    Do you realize how dumb you sound? You are not allowed a pedal assist motor in the bike (which means you still have to use your muscles to get up the hill, it just uses less of your energy) but it is perfectly fine to use a lift or vehicle to get to the top?! Why don't you start a website called LiftBike or ShuttleBike and go post your stupid comments there...

  • WaffleStomp

    7/6/2015 7:43 AM

    Uh, bringing in the non-argument of lift access is the real dumb issue here. Namely, lift access parks are either on private land, or private permitted land. They can allow whatever the hell they want on their terrain, including full blown 450 MX bikes if they feel so inclined.

    The issue with e-bikes is that they are MOTORIZED vehicles. I have no problem with e-bikes at all, provided they are used in areas reserved for motorized vehicles.

  • silvbullit

    7/7/2015 9:57 PM

    It only sounds dumb if you fail to properly comprehend what is being stated. Bikes with motors absolutely will threaten trail access. Period. It does not matter whether they are going up or down. Everyone here fully understands how they work so there is no need to explain.

    When people shuttle, they are not driving motorized vehicles up a bike trail so trail access in that manner is not threatened. Do I think shuttling is lame? Yup. But between the places I have lived out west and in New England, the shuttle-optional trails have yet to affect the trail access one way or the other.

    This is about motorized bikes versus non-motorized. They are far and away different from one another. Cycling is purely human powered. Simple.

  • tcmtnbikr

    7/5/2015 9:55 PM

    No bones about it, this is motorized by most definitions and technically not allowed on most trails and may exacerbate access issues. That said, WHY?

    My thoughts on a few issues...

    1) Increased erosion? The bike can't roost like a moto. It merely increases one's power output. If the argument turns to weight with the contention that somehow causes increased erosion are we banning 45lb DH bikes too? Most experienced trail users will tell you horses cause more damage than any other form of transport. I'm not suggesting excluding horses, just saying we all have equal rights.

    2) Who's to tell? You think some park ranger can tell you have an E bike? Bear in mind you must always be pedaling to be moving up hill. Why is it illegal for me to pedal up at 8 MPH assisted but the guy with great genetics and EPO and blood transfusions for breakfast it's OK?

    3) What is the underlying concern? We hard core MTBers need to get off our collective high horse - better than though BS attitude and accept other viable forms of recreation. We didn't and don't appreciate the attitude from the established hiking community when this sport came into being and we should remember that as this new variant blossoms. I am still earning my turns...I can just earn more of them in the same precious time.

  • krisrayner

    7/5/2015 5:20 PM

    Definitely the cleanest integration I've yet seen. Even room for a water bottle in the front triangle. But with where I'd be limited to riding this thing, it just doesn't make sense. In California, riding it anywhere other than OHV trails is gonna cause issues

  • OCsponger587

    7/5/2015 5:15 PM

    i'd hit it

  • tcmtnbikr

    7/5/2015 10:09 AM

    I'm all for it. 20+ years of hard core MTB experience and 10+ years extreme enduro moto experience.
    No it's not 'pure' in the MTB/sado masochististic pedaling sense whatever the hell that means. And no I can't do a 100+ mile epic singletrack throttle twisting day on it. This is a different more accessible hybrid.

    I MTB 5-6 days a week, 500,000+ ft elevation climbing a year. Face it, the climb to descend ratio sucks. Spend 20+ minutes climbing for a 2-3 minute descent. I'd love to improve that fun ratio and this is a tool that can do it. I could give a sh!t if it's legal, most of the good trails are not to begin with. It also means I don't have to drive 4+ hours each way for good motoing.

    Why is it a lot of folks think their preferred form of recreation is superior to others? This is a tool to get more folks out enjoying the great outdoors. NIMBYism will say we don't want more folks on 'our' trails and it may be a bit depressing to see some tubby dude 30 miles out when you've busted your hump for 3 hours to get their but anything that moves more people away from the idiot box and outside is good for society as a whole.

    Don't burn it with fire, this is next in my arsenal. Intense T275Factory, KTM 350XCF-W, Specialized Turbo Levo

  • F1234K

    7/5/2015 2:08 PM

    Love it!!! Finally some non European company gets it. There was hate for suspension when it first came out, in fact there is hate for EVERY new mtb trend when it comes out. I don't get it why there are so many negative nancy's out there but either way it seems the companies are seeing through that rubbish and noticing there are tons of people that think progression is a good thing and just want to have fun.

    I would love to see a more aggressive bike in this category. If pedaling up is made easier, I'm willing to have the bike be full DH spec for the pedal up so I can seriously bomb the down. Good times!!

  • tcmtnbikr

    7/5/2015 2:59 PM

    Agree with more travel. Really no reason not to make this a 6" bike, not like 1 or 2 pounds of weight matters in this application.

    The Rotwild and Haibike XDURO are more like it but the Big S seems to have taken the electronics integration to the next level.

  • deathXsquad

    7/6/2015 8:56 AM

    and whats gonna happen when that tubby dude's bike breaks down 30 miles out, and he has no skills,experience, or fitness to get his lazy ass back to where he started? if the climb/descend "fun ratio" is too hard for you find a different sport, don't destroy the trails for everyone else who can handle it.

  • syngltrkmnd

    7/6/2015 11:18 AM

    The tubby dude will succumb to Darwin's view of things.... Problem solved.

  • jiw71

    7/17/2015 7:37 AM

    I've gotten 5x that amount of elevation in my Jeep. So what's your point? Try riding under your own power (only) - then brag about elevation gain.

  • Icehawk

    7/7/2015 2:35 PM

    Agreed - here is what I said on the ONE Lap:

    I think these are great - I'm older, moving to elevation, and haven't ridden in a few years - a bike like this could make it possible for me to actually go out and enjoy the ride vs feel like I am torturing myself. This is an assisted bike and I don't get the hate honestly, I would agree the throttle bikes should probably stick to MX trails and the like due to impact, etc. but an assisted bike just make the pedaling easier...

  • BikerShae

    7/5/2015 9:18 AM

    This is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. I agree, KILL IT WITH FIRE.

  • Reformed Roadie

    7/5/2015 9:12 AM

    Kill it with Fire!


    Seriously, how much less is this than a used CRF250?

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