Review: Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie

In 2015 Specialized announced the Turbo Levo, a range of electric pedal-assist trail bikes, and have since rolled out several variations. These include a women’s specific, a fat bike, a hardtail, a full suspension 29er, and a full-suspension 27.5-plus model which we spent last Friday afternoon riding at the spectacular Jonkershoek trails.

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 5.jpg

 

The Bike


The Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie is available in S-Works, Expert, and Comp specification levels. All models utilize the same M5 Premium Aluminium frame designed around Specialized's FSR suspension with 135mm of rear travel.

 

When developing the Turbo Levo range of bikes, Specailized's goal was to design a mountain bike integrating pedal assist rather than an e-bike with mountain bike components bolted on. To us it may sound obvious, but in other countries where e-bikes are fairly common, many e-mountain bikes have their roots in commuting and are not suitable mountain bikes.

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 14.jpg

 

The Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie is based on the Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie which is the 27.5 plus version of the Stumpjumper FSR - a bike that has been part of Specialized's line up for more than a decade. The challenge for their engineers was to integrate a motor and battery into a custom frame design in a clean and functional manner. And they succeeded. Apart from the bulk around the bottom bracket, the Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie is instantly recognisable as a Specialized and has managed to retain the stance of its siblings.

 

The Battery

 


Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 13.jpg

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 17.jpg

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 30.jpg


The battery pack comes in two capacity models: a 504Wh model for the S-Works and Expert bikes and a slightly lower 460Wh for the Comp specification. The Turbo Levo battery conveniently clicks into place via a cam-lock and a mini 15mm thru axle that can be loosened with a 5mm hex key. This has two benefits.

 

First, it makes for a rattle free design with the battery securely locked in place which, along with the quietest motor I have experienced on an e-bike, makes for a pleasant ride.

 

Secondly, as the battery is removable you will be able to swop it out during ultra long rides, when electricity is not available or when the battery starts to lose its charge capacity. You need not worry though, as Specialized estimates that each battery should be at 100 percent performance for roughly 700 complete charge cycles. That means if you were to completely deplete the battery every day, you would get almost two years of use before it begins to fade. A full charge is said to take only 3.5 hours using either the bike's charge port or with the battery removed (useful when maintaining multiple batteries).

 


Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 22.jpg

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 2.jpg


Pedal Assist

 

There are three pedal assist power modes to select from while riding: Eco, Trail and Turbo. Using the default setting, these offer 30%, 60% and 100% of your effort as assistance respectively. This, though, is highly customisable through the Mission Control App which I discuss in detail further below. For the bike to detect your pedalling effort, torque is measured in the motor at the crank while speed is measured by a sensor hidden in the dropout with a magnet attached directly to the brake rotor, doing away with a spoke magnet.

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 6.jpg

 

The 36V 250W Brose motor weighs 3.4 kgs and although it is not the most powerful model available, the output and characteristics suit the bike perfectly. Using a gear reduction of 3:1 to increase torque, the motor drives a toothed pulley on the crank with a Gates belt drive which is one reason the motor is so quiet. The motor also uses two sprag clutches – one on the crank and one on the motor. This ensures that when you pedal without the motor engaged, you are only pedaling the drivetrain without any extra drag from the motor.

 

The battery is chipped for use with both Bluetooth and ANT+, so connecting with a smartphone or GPS is simple. There is a built-in power meter, and the battery constantly communicates with your smartphone or Garmin head unit over ANT+ on a “fake” channel that, once paired, monitors battery life and allows you to toggle between power modes. It is reported that Garmin will be updating software to better handle e-bikes with dedicated channels.

 

The frame

 

All this technology is fitted into a tweaked Stumpjumper 6Fattie frame with clean lines and internal routing for all the hoses and outers. The frame comes with an integrated chainstay protector, as is becoming the norm these days, and a rock guard downtube protector. Compared to the standard non-assist bike, the rear stays get beefed-up main pivots and double-row bearings. Unique to the e-bike frames are bridges between the stays to help handle the extra weight of the motor and battery.

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 10.jpg

 

Thanks to the motor’s diminutive size and integration into the frame, Specialized could move it slightly ahead of the bottom bracket and combine it with the battery nestled in the underside of the downtube for one cohesive package. By design, it also allows for shorter chainstays than most of the competition while putting all the weight where it will least affect the bike's feel - low and in the centre of the wheelbase.

 

Specialized's designers were very specific in making this look like a regular mountain bike. As a result you won't find a display unit or thumb control on the handlebars. Instead the three modes are easily accessible by push button on the side of the battery as well as control integration with some Garmin head units. If you really want control on the handlebar, there is a small remote available as an optional extra.

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 12.jpg

 

There are three buttons on the left hand side of the downtube. A power button to switch the bike on and off and and +/- buttons to switch between the three available power modes. In a very clever minimalist design there are ten LED lights that surround the mode buttons, each representing 10% battery life. They are also responsible for showing which mode you are in, with the two lights at the bottom showing that you are in ECO mode, six LEDs represent Trail mode and all ten for Turbo mode. When selecting one of the three modes the lights momentarily display which mode you are in before going back to showing battery life.

 

Mission Control App


Available in Google's Play Store and Apple's iStore, the Specialized Mission Control app offers a wide range of features and allows full control over the Turbo Levo system. This is a great piece of technology and sets Specialized apart from all other e-bikes currently available on the market.

 

Smart Control
The Smart Control algorithm allows you to set your desired ride time or distance, how much battery life you would like to have left at the end of your ride and it will adjust the motor and battery output accordingly by monitoring the battery in 10-second intervals and metering its life accordingly. No need to worry whether you will make it home.

 


Specialized Mission Control  app 4.jpg

Specialized Mission Control  app 5.jpg

Specialized Mission Control  app 6.jpg


Tune
Allows you to customise your motor characteristics like acceleration response, maximum motor output or mode-setting. With its "Acceleration Response" you can set how much vigour you would like the motor to kick in with. You can also set each of the three modes' (Eco, Trail, and Turbo) wattage assistance to your own liking, if you don't want the default Eco at 30%, Trail at 60% and Turbo at 100%.

 

Navigation
The app includes a comprehensive navigation (POI, search address, language coach and previous rides) in combination with an extensive and customisable on board computer

 

Connectivity
Strava integration and automatic upload opportunities to dedicated e-bike category and the ability to copy your route or ride from Strava over to the App and Smart Control will ensure your battery will last the full distance.

 

Diagnose
A comprehensive diagnosis system gives you immediate feedback and an overview of the motor, battery and system health.

 

Ride History
Gives you a detailed overview of your fitness and ride history.

 


Specialized Mission Control  app 3.jpg

Specialized Mission Control  app 2.jpg

Specialized Mission Control  app 1.jpg


Components


As you would expect from an S-Works model, the bike we had for the day sits at the top of the line-up. See the full specification table below.

 

Fork: The bike comes fitted with a RockShox Pike RCT3 with 140mm of travel. This was our first experience with a RockShox fork featuring the 110mm boost axle width having previously reviewed the 100mm width fork. As one would expect by now, the Pike delivered great composure and support through its full travel range and showed no signs of flex. With no internal changes over previous models, I would expect it to be ultra-reliable with little TLC needed to keep it performing at its best.

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 7.jpg

 

Shock: A Custom Fox Float does duty on the S-Works model. Befitting of the bike it is the top of the range Factory DPS with Kashima coating, boost valve and Specailzied's Autosag function. For those not familiar with Autosag, have a look at the quick video guide here. In short, most shocks have a transfer port that balances the positive and negative air chambers inside the shock. The Autosag system works on that balance. You over-inflate the positive air chamber so the bike is totally extended, the riders sits on the bike in their riding gear with the shock fully open, then presses the Autosag valve and it bleeds out the excess air. Once the air is released, it automatically balances the positive and negative chambers to the sag-level set by Specialized (which is around 20% for an Epic and 25% for a Stumpjumper).

 

Drivetrain: At the heart of the Turbo Levo's drivetrain sits SRAM's XX1 components powered by a custom Praxis crankset running a 32T steel chainring to better cope with the torque forces. The frame is dedicated 1x and can run anything from 32 to 38 tooth chainrings. The XX1 drivetrain performed flawlessly with quick, positive shifts. I did not notice any issues when shifting under load although thanks to the power on offer in Turbo mode, chances are that you won't be shifting under load too often.

 


Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 8.jpg

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 21.jpg


Brakes: Complementing the SRAM drivetrain is a set of SRAM Guide RS Carbon brakes paired with a 200mm rotor in front and 180mm on the rear. The bigger rotors do an excellent job slowing the 22 kg bike. Feel, modulation and consistent performance are all very good. Lever shape is down to personal preference, but I found the carbon levers to be excellent.

 

Wheels: The Traverse SL Fattie 650b 148 carbon wheels are lightweight, tubeless ready rims build around a 148mm boost rear hub standard and feature a zero bead hook design. Internal width is 30mm with 24 spokes in front and 28 rear. The rear hub is a CNC machined alloy body with DT Swiss 350 internals featuring a 54T quick engagement ratchet system. Claimed weight for the complete wheelset is a very competitive 1537g with a 108kg rider weight limit. The wheels worked well on the trails with good engagement and no signs of flex.

 


Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 19.jpg

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 18.jpg


Tyres: Specialized fit a 6Fattie Purgatory Control in front and 6Fattie Ground Control on the rear. Both are 60TPI, tubeless ready and 3.0" wide. I found this to be a great combination for traction and speed with the tyre and rim working together to offer mountains of grip.

 

Seatpost: Specialized's internally routed Command Post IRcc comes standard on all Levo models - something I'm glad to see. A nice touch is the gear lever like remote that sits on the left where a front gear shifter would be. It makes using it intuitive and natural as minimal hand movement is required to operate with your thumb. I found the return speed too fast and would prefer it to be a bit slower for health and practical use reasons.

 


Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 3.jpg

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 4.jpg


Saddle: The 143mm wide Body Geometry Henge Expert with hollow Ti rails was very comfortable from the outset and should suit a wide range of sit bone widths.

 

Cockpit: A 750mm carbon bar with 8-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 10mm rise is used on the S-Works model. The sweep and rise feel good making for a steady comfortable ride. The length of the standard stem is 75mm.

 

On the Trail


Although the standard assist settings are good out the box, those looking to get the most out of a Turbo bike should install, pair and setup the Mission Control app which only takes a couple of minutes. Each bike can only be paired to one app to ensure no one fiddles with your settings.

 

Once the bike is set up - just turn on the power, choose a mode, and start pedaling. The pedal-assist will kick in when it senses torque on the pedals and detects forward motion via the speed sensor.

 

From the first "assist" it was clear that the Mission Control plays a big part in separating the Turbo Levo from the crowd. With the "Acceleration Response" setting I was able to reduce the unsettling kick-in on the first few pedal strokes that many e-bikes suffer from giving it a smoother feel more like a traditional pedal bike. When climbing fire roads, the kick-in experienced on other e-bikes does not seem to be a big issue. But when the trail gets narrow and you have to navigate tight turns, you will need to be careful with pedal strokes as the awakening motor can catch you off guard. This is not a problem on the Specialized. Power delivery is smooth and assistance gradually picks up - a major plus. Not only does it make for a safer and more enjoyable ride, but it adds to the regular mountain bike feel of the Turbo Levo, allowing the rider to focus on what they are there to do, ride their bike.

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 23.jpg

 

Those who have spent a day riding in the Jonkershoek valley will know what the climbs there do to the legs. Using the full assistance mode makes light work of the steepest climbs and gets you to the trailhead fresher and faster. After the first few ascents, I dialled it back to the Trail or Eco mode to get a reasonable workout with some assistance to take the edge off. It was such a joy popping out at the bottom of Neverending Story and thinking "let me do that again", turn around and head back up without any concern of blowing up on the climb.

 

The motor really is frictionless with no signs of drag when free wheeling or pedaling unassisted. When the Euro speed limit of 25km/h kicks in the motor simply switches off making the drivetrain feel like any non-assisted bike. Other e-bikes I've tried have a form of retarder build in that will slow you down once you go above 25 km/h. The Turbo Levo, however, will allow you to pick up speed at will with zero interference with your ride.

 

The pedal assist does not have to remain on at all times for the bike to be fun. Going down single track with the motor off, you realise just how good a mountain bike the Turbo Levo 6Fattie is. The suspension soaks up everything in your path while the extra volume of the tyres allows for very rough line choices without the feeling of being shaken off the bike. Even with the longer rear (compared to its non-motorized sibling) the bike never felt cumbersome through tighter sections and, as long as you are willing to move your weight around, the bike turns with razor sharp accuracy. There is very little indication (even with the motor off) from the feel of the ride that you are piloting a 22 kg bike.

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie 15.jpg

 

Climbing is good with the shock's tune combating any sign of bob. When the climbing gets rough, the 6Fattie will out climb the best in its class thanks to the extra grip and traction on offer with the bike only showing signs of its meaty tyres on faster, open climbs.

 

On single track the 3.0" plus tyres let the rider carry extra speed through rough sections, around berms and corners. This helps to maintain momentum and speed meaning less yo-yo effect of slowing down and speeding up again.

 

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie specifications:

SWorks Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie.jpg
[spec_list][spec_list_row=Battery]Custom Specialized, 504Wh, ANT+/BT module, IP 67[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Brake levers"]SRAM Guide RS Carbon, carbon lever, reach adjust, cartridge bearing lever pivot[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Cassette]SRAM XX1, 11-speed, 10-42t[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Chain]SRAM PC-XX1, 11-speed, w/ PowerLink[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Charger]Custom Specialized, 42V4A, w/ Rosenberger plug[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Crankset]Custom Praxis, steel 1x11 32T ring, 104 BCD spider[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Fork]RockShox Pike RCT3, 140mm travel, tapered aluminum steerer, 15x110mm Maxle Ultimate thru-axle[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Front brake"]SRAM Guide RS Carbon, metallic pads, 200mm Centerline rotor[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Front hub"]Roval Traverse, 15mm thru-axle, 24h[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Front tyre"]Specialized 6Fattie Purgatory Control, 60TPI, 2Bliss Ready, folding bead, 650bx3.0"[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Grips]Specialized Sip Grip, light lock-on, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thickness[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Handlebars]Specialized FACT carbon, 8-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 10mm rise, 31.8mm, 750mm width[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Headset]Hella Flush, 1-1/8" and 1-1/2" threadless, Campy style upper w/ 1-1/2" lower, cartridge bearings[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Inner tubes"]Standard, Presta valve[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Motor]Exclusive, custom tuned for Specialized, Trail Tune, 250W[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Pedals]Nylon, CEN std., w/ toe clips[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Rear brake"]SRAM Guide RS Carbon, metallic pads, 180mm Centerline rotor[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Rear derailleur"]SRAM XX1, 11-speed[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Rear hub"]Roval Traverse SL 148, DT Swiss Star Ratchet, 54t engagement, SRAM XX1 driver body, 28h[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Rear shock"]Custom FOX FLOAT Factory DPS, AUTOSAG, Rx Trail Tune, Boost Valve, Kashima coating, 197x47.6mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Rear tyre"]Specialized 6Fattie Ground Control, 60TPI, 2Bliss Ready, folding bead, 650bx3.0"[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Rims]Roval Traverse SL 38 650b, carbon disc, 38mm wide, 24/28h[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Saddle]Body Geometry Henge Expert, hollow Ti rails, 143mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Seat binder"]Specialized, 7050 alloy, single bolt, 34.9mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Seatpost]Command Post IRcc, cruiser control technology, micro-adjust height adjustable, alien head design, bottom mount cable routing, remote adjust SRL lever, 30.9mm, S: 100mm travel, M/L/XL: 125mm[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Shift levers"]SRAM XX1, 11-speed, trigger[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Spokes]DT Swiss Revolution[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Stem]Syntace F109, 6-degree rise[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="User interface/remote"]Integrated Trail display, 10 LED battery display, Mission Control iOS or Android app[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Wiring]Custom harness, w/ Rosenberger plug[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Measured weight]22.4 kg[/spec_list_row][/spec_list]




77 Comments

Underachiever, May 31 2016 05:58

An e-bike with Carbon rims.  Makes ALOT of sense!!!

Iwan Kemp, May 31 2016 06:20

An e-bike with Carbon rims. Makes ALOT of sense!!!

Not too long ago they said that about carbon rims on DH bikes followed by saying that about carbon DH bikes. Before that it was any carbon rim, preceded by carbon bars and stems, saddles, mtb's, road bikes, cars, planes and so on and so on. Before that it was alloy.

You either adapt and roll with the times or get left behind.

There are many advantages in the use of carbon - which by the way is still in its infancy and will see many advances over the next decade.

Keep in mind this is the S-Works model with top of the line spec.

Pyka, May 31 2016 07:07

I hope I can get over the stigma someday because I can see some benefits...like being able to do multiple runs. 

Rocket-Boy, May 31 2016 07:57

Its definitely nice and must be quite fun.

Its nowhere near R155k nice though.

FCH, May 31 2016 08:11

Iwan, for who is this bike really meant? For doing multiple downhill runs; it doesnt make much sense as it isnt a downhiller and how much does that extra weight throw your handling out vs standard bike?
Honestly asking, so I can wrap my head around the use.

Mohs, May 31 2016 08:49

.....http://www.ktm.com/us/mx/250-sx-1  the same money, and you can refill as much as you want....Sorry Iwan, its still n awesome bike and review....But the Stigma...dammit

NickGM, May 31 2016 09:23

Iwan, for who is this bike really meant? For doing multiple downhill runs; it doesnt make much sense as it isnt a downhiller and how much does that extra weight throw your handling out vs standard bike?
Honestly asking, so I can wrap my head around the use.

It makes a lot of sense as a concept, it's just expensive. Neverending story (shown in the photo) is, like many trails in jonkershoek, a fun trail that goes downhill. I word it that way because it is not a "downhill"/DH trail. that requires a DH bike. With 140mm travel you could probably ride 95% of all the trails in the country without trouble. So if I could ride neverending story many times without the tiring climb back up, I would, and I'm sure most other people would too. So I can see the appeal. But then, I would rather spend that amount of money on something else.

Iwan Kemp, May 31 2016 10:28

Iwan, for who is this bike really meant? For doing multiple downhill runs; it doesnt make much sense as it isnt a downhiller and how much does that extra weight throw your handling out vs standard bike?
Honestly asking, so I can wrap my head around the use.

I think Nimo has nailed it.

 

In short from my side: if you're in the market for a 140mm - 160mm bike then you should consider this one. If you're looking for an e-bike then there are a few options, but none with a well-rounded "ecosystem" as the Turbo Levo range.

 

The longer version: In sunny SA most single track (aka the fun parts for me) are sections that go down the hill. There are flat and pedally parts, but for the most part you can let the bike run and the flow will get you to the bottom. That's different to a DH track that you would ride with a DH bike. Although, in sunny SA most of our DH tracks can be ridden by the new breed of Enduro bikes. Bikes with 160mm and more travel, but that's another topic.

 

I see you are from Stellenbosch, so: Coetzenburg, Eden, Jonkers, G-Spot, Welvanpas...all of those will be a heck of a lot of fun on this bike. G-Spot you will be able to session until doves cry just based on the fact that you won't tire as much pedaling back up after each run. And to session a section won't kill you off as quickly as you can just spin back to the top or the start of the section you are practicing. 

 

I'm not saying this is impossible on other bikes. just easier and a lot (which is the correct spelling of the word) more fun than having to pedal uphill every time. 

 

For starters, the 6Fattie was made for Jonkers. The Turbo Levo adds another level of fun by being able to ride all of it in one day with as much of a workout as you would like to have dialled in.

 

Back to Neverending Story: getting to the top is not the easiest of tasks for quite a few cyclists. Doing it twice in one day is reserved for only a few. Doing it twice in a day after having ridden other parts of Jonkers first for even fewer. Yet, when I dropped into the trail for the second my legs, body and mind was still fresh enough to give it some stick. This is the beauty of an e-bike. Especially for those who do not get to ride often enough to be super fit, maybe for those who are not healthy or strong enough to be able to pedal there on your own steam or for those joining a partner who is fit and does not want to hang around waiting.

 

To repeat myself a bit: what is truly great is just how much of a great ride the bike is with the motor off. Neverending story have quite a few pedaling sections and I managed all of those without any assistance. In actual fact I think I did better on those sections than on my normal bike as I still had some juice left to pedal it out. For the rest I made sure I carried speed. 

 

I try not to pin things down too much as we are all different riders who are better and worse at different elements, ride for different reasons and like different bikes. But if you're a trail (on the aggro side of trail), All Mountain or Enduro rider you should look at this bike. Ride it. If it's not for you, then cool. If it is then give it some thought. Just like you would with any bike. Lots of too cool for school kids slated 29ers, even more so when LT 29ers start popping up - today they are accepted by most and people can see and understand where they fit in.

 

150mm 29er not for you? Cool. 100mm 29er not for you? Also cool. We are spoiled for choice so pick one that suits your riding and that you like and go enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Where would we be without pioneers and innovators?

 

The extra weight: it took me no longer to get used to this bike than any other bike we get to review. In fact, there are a few I can think of that needed quite a bit more time before I was comfortable. Getting your tail out takes more effort than usual...that's about it. But thinking about it again now it is a little difficult to answer as 1) our perceptions are not the same and 2) I only had the bike for a day and even on an e-bike there is only so much you can get around to on one day.

 

.....http://www.ktm.com/u...0-sx-1/.....for the same money, and you can refill as much as you want....Sorry Iwan, its still n awesome bike and review....But the Stigma...dammit

 

Hehe. Sure. Now add the cost of a service every 3 hours (yes, hours) and then again 10 hours, the cost of a trailer (as you can't ride that bike anywhere), the cost of valves every 50 (?) hours, top end rebuilt every how many hours and the running cost of a hardcore 2T bike on top of the money you will spend to tweak it a bit added to the cost of owning a KTM and the drama of having to carry extra fuel around that you have to mix yourself and soon you will wish you were on a MTB you can hammer day in and day out at a fraction of the running cost.

 

Sure, I also wonder why a motorbike with an engine and gearbox and all the other electric and electronic bits often cost less than some mtb''s, but I reckon

a) A specific model motorbike recover the costs over several years where with bicycles we have the poor manufactures change the bikes very year. 

b) Quite often the highest spec, halo model MTB's price gets compared with a stock standard motorbike we all know will get an aftermarket pipe, new pegs, plenty of protection, etc, etc before hitting the dirt in anger. That's not even DS bikes that need a bashplate, hand guards, luggage of sort, bigger screen, crash bars and bigger pegs before you can take your "adventure" bike off road.

Lefty V, Jun 01 2016 07:04

a) A specific model motorbike recover the costs over several years where with bicycles we have the poor manufactures change the bikes very year. 

 

Disagree: The bulk of the components on bicycles are outsourced and produced in greater quantities than those on motorbikes. I don't think Shimano and Sram are struggling to amortize development cost. The frame is typically the  only important/costly bit that is unique to the specific bicycle OEM and thanks to Chinarello Spazello bikes we now know more or less how much they really cost to make- and often they carry over multiple years with only paint and build-kit changes.

Underachiever, Jun 01 2016 07:41

Not too long ago they said that about carbon rims on DH bikes followed by saying that about carbon DH bikes. Before that it was any carbon rim, preceded by carbon bars and stems, saddles, mtb's, road bikes, cars, planes and so on and so on. Before that it was alloy.

You either adapt and roll with the times or get left behind.

There are many advantages in the use of carbon - which by the way is still in its infancy and will see many advances over the next decade.

Keep in mind this is the S-Works model with top of the line spec.

Hi Iwan

 

I fully support advancement in technology. Whether an early adopter or not.

 

But I think you misunderstood the message of my post!

Underachiever, Jun 01 2016 07:46

I think Nimo has nailed it.

 

In short from my side: if you're in the market for a 140mm - 160mm bike then you should consider this one. If you're looking for an e-bike then there are a few options, but none with a well-rounded "ecosystem" as the Turbo Levo range.

 

The longer version: In sunny SA most single track (aka the fun parts for me) are sections that go down the hill. There are flat and pedally parts, but for the most part you can let the bike run and the flow will get you to the bottom. That's different to a DH track that you would ride with a DH bike. Although, in sunny SA most of our DH tracks can be ridden by the new breed of Enduro bikes. Bikes with 160mm and more travel, but that's another topic.

 

I see you are from Stellenbosch, so: Coetzenburg, Eden, Jonkers, G-Spot, Welvanpas...all of those will be a heck of a lot of fun on this bike. G-Spot you will be able to session until doves cry just based on the fact that you won't tire as much pedaling back up after each run. And to session a section won't kill you off as quickly as you can just spin back to the top or the start of the section you are practicing. 

 

I'm not saying this is impossible on other bikes. just easier and a lot (which is the correct spelling of the word) more fun than having to pedal uphill every time. 

 

For starters, the 6Fattie was made for Jonkers. The Turbo Levo adds another level of fun by being able to ride all of it in one day with as much of a workout as you would like to have dialled in.

 

Back to Neverending Story: getting to the top is not the easiest of tasks for quite a few cyclists. Doing it twice in one day is reserved for only a few. Doing it twice in a day after having ridden other parts of Jonkers first for even fewer. Yet, when I dropped into the trail for the second my legs, body and mind was still fresh enough to give it some stick. This is the beauty of an e-bike. Especially for those who do not get to ride often enough to be super fit, maybe for those who are not healthy or strong enough to be able to pedal there on your own steam or for those joining a partner who is fit and does not want to hang around waiting.

 

To repeat myself a bit: what is truly great is just how much of a great ride the bike is with the motor off. Neverending story have quite a few pedaling sections and I managed all of those without any assistance. In actual fact I think I did better on those sections than on my normal bike as I still had some juice left to pedal it out. For the rest I made sure I carried speed. 

 

I try not to pin things down too much as we are all different riders who are better and worse at different elements, ride for different reasons and like different bikes. But if you're a trail (on the aggro side of trail), All Mountain or Enduro rider you should look at this bike. Ride it. If it's not for you, then cool. If it is then give it some thought. Just like you would with any bike. Lots of too cool for school kids slated 29ers, even more so when LT 29ers start popping up - today they are accepted by most and people can see and understand where they fit in.

 

150mm 29er not for you? Cool. 100mm 29er not for you? Also cool. We are spoiled for choice so pick one that suits your riding and that you like and go enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Where would we be without pioneers and innovators?

 

The extra weight: it took me no longer to get used to this bike than any other bike we get to review. In fact, there are a few I can think of that needed quite a bit more time before I was comfortable. Getting your tail out takes more effort than usual...that's about it. But thinking about it again now it is a little difficult to answer as 1) our perceptions are not the same and 2) I only had the bike for a day and even on an e-bike there is only so much you can get around to on one day.

 

 

Hehe. Sure. Now add the cost of a service every 3 hours (yes, hours) and then again 10 hours, the cost of a trailer (as you can't ride that bike anywhere), the cost of valves every 50 (?) hours, top end rebuilt every how many hours and the running cost of a hardcore 2T bike on top of the money you will spend to tweak it a bit added to the cost of owning a KTM and the drama of having to carry extra fuel around that you have to mix yourself and soon you will wish you were on a MTB you can hammer day in and day out at a fraction of the running cost.

 

Sure, I also wonder why a motorbike with an engine and gearbox and all the other electric and electronic bits often cost less than some mtb''s, but I reckon

a) A specific model motorbike recover the costs over several years where with bicycles we have the poor manufactures change the bikes very year. 

b) Quite often the highest spec, halo model MTB's price gets compared with a stock standard motorbike we all know will get an aftermarket pipe, new pegs, plenty of protection, etc, etc before hitting the dirt in anger. That's not even DS bikes that need a bashplate, hand guards, luggage of sort, bigger screen, crash bars and bigger pegs before you can take your "adventure" bike off road.

Ha, ha!! Like your subtle dig!!!

 

BTW, are you working for Spez?

Nick, Jun 01 2016 07:48

Hi Iwan

 

I fully support advancement in technology. Whether an early adopter or not.

 

But I think you misunderstood the message of my post!

 

The reason you add carbon rims to a bike is to increase the stiffness of the wheels. The Turbo Levo, like other bikes, can benefit from this. Is that what you were asking?

L.T.G, Jun 01 2016 07:49

I don't care who says what!

I think there's a place for them!

Take my money an give me an Expert!!!!!!

(now.. someone give me R85K)

GrahamS2, Jun 01 2016 07:51

a) A specific model motorbike recover the costs over several years where with bicycles we have the poor manufactures change the bikes very year. 

 

Disagree: The bulk of the components on bicycles are outsourced and produced in greater quantities than those on motorbikes. I don't think Shimano and Sram are struggling to amortize development cost. The frame is typically the  only important/costly bit that is unique to the specific bicycle OEM and thanks to Chinarello Spazello bikes we now know more or less how much they really cost to make- and often they carry over multiple years with only paint and build-kit changes.

The margins in the the cycling industry and the margins in the motorbike industry are also lightyears apart. Single digit profit on most motorbike deals, and 4-5 times higher on bicycles.

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Jun 01 2016 07:53

Ha, ha!! Like your subtle dig!!!

BTW, are you working for Spez?


Nope. That he definitely does not.

Underachiever, Jun 01 2016 08:02

The reason you add carbon rims to a bike is to increase the stiffness of the wheels. The Turbo Levo, like other bikes, can benefit from this. Is that what you were asking?

Hi Nick

 

I get all of that, stiffness, etc, etc.  I also ride carbon wheels :-)

 

I really questioned the reasoning of putting such an item on an e-bike. 

 

Methinks is good money wasted and I'm a frugal type of guy, well most of the time!!

Iwan Kemp, Jun 01 2016 08:02

a) A specific model motorbike recover the costs over several years where with bicycles we have the poor manufactures change the bikes very year. 

 

Disagree: The bulk of the components on bicycles are outsourced and produced in greater quantities than those on motorbikes. I don't think Shimano and Sram are struggling to amortize development cost. The frame is typically the  only important/costly bit that is unique to the specific bicycle OEM and thanks to Chinarello Spazello bikes we now know more or less how much they really cost to make- and often they carry over multiple years with only paint and build-kit changes.

 

Honest reply and question:

 

You are comparing components here and not the complete bike as Joe Public sees it. I think on motorbikes it is even worse as there is no clear tier system for individual drivetrain and control components. Take the new Africa Twin. The Base model retails for R160k and uses the same chain and sprockets as the top of the range model. Same rims, same handlebar, same tires, etc. In cycling there is a clear tier system so instead of selling the total amount of the same chains, they sell smaller percentages of each model. That's for SRAM or Shimano as you will know.  

 

Also, most components on a bike are used for years and years and years and quite often carried over unchanged to the newer model.

 

There is still a bit in me that wonders about the business model behind it, but again I think it's a bit unfair comparing the top of the range bicycle's price to that of a one model bike. Kinda like for most motorbike models the point is to get a well-rounded bike to the market and that's it. If you had a KTM 250 SX halo model it would probably cost somewhere between R200k and R250k - maybe even more. So not REALLY comparing apples and apples or even apples and oranges. 

 

What do you reckon? Scrap that, lets take that debate to another thread and stay on topic here.

KingTJ, Jun 01 2016 08:06

Its still a motorbike....why not buy a lekker mx bike for that price...

Dominik, Jun 01 2016 08:24

Not my kind of bike, at least not now. Took it for a spin yesterday when our LBS just received them and asked me if I want to try it and man its a "fun" toy to have with loads of power.

gummibear, Jun 01 2016 08:29

Just another toy for the rich to show off with :whistling:

 

Over here they are very reasonable to own as government gives 40% tax back and discounts on Ebikes.The communes around the city all give good monthly incentives for bike commuters.

FCH, Jun 01 2016 08:39

we also get tax breaks in good old SA..... the tax breaks all our backs, 24/7.

Just another toy for the rich to show off with :whistling:

 

Over here they are very reasonable to own as government gives 40% tax back and discounts on Ebikes.The communes around the city all give good monthly incentives for bike commuters.

JXV, Jun 01 2016 08:54

I could see myself sessioning Renee's Rumble and Bat Outta Hell all day on one these.

They need to add regenerative braking to extend battery life. This would need some sort of sensor on the brake levers or a pressure transmitter on the brake lines to trigger it by keepi ng the drivetrain clutches locked in when the brakes are activated.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

Shaun McCormack, Jun 01 2016 09:32

Total Bollocks!!!!

Fine for commuting.

And Le Tour de France. 

But not on the mountains!

FFS

 

This *** will get us banned everywhere.

Nick, Jun 01 2016 09:36

I could see myself sessioning Renee's Rumble and Bat Outta Hell all day on one these.

They need to add regenerative braking to extend battery life. This would need some sort of sensor on the brake levers or a pressure transmitter on the brake lines to trigger it by keepi ng the drivetrain clutches locked in when the brakes are activated.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

 

Shimano's STEPS platform does regenerative braking. I'm not sure on the technical workings though but it does seem like a logical progression.

Rock Guy, Jun 01 2016 10:04

I fear for a near future where singletracks are choked by unskilled, slow, fat rich people on E-bikes. If I see one on a trail don't expect any pleasant comments. 

 

E bikes are going to ruin it for everyone that has worked hard for their skill and fitness levels. And for what, so that the machine can make more money for already well lined pockets.

 

Sorry Iwan, I like your articles, but I don't like your stance on E bikes.