After one too many miserable days pedaling with friends who have no medical issues I hit the “buy now” button for a Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp. Dusty Turquoise color. It wasn’t a rash or rushed decision at all. Actually my better half basically insisted I buy it.. months ago, and since then I’ve been on her shit list (well I had bought an Evil Wreckoning instead, which was my 3rd mtb at the time). Since that purchase I’ve been dealing a little more with my heart condition affecting my riding. And the previous weekend I had my worst day riding to date. Almost walked up a hill I generally cruise up. And also since buying that Evil eMTBs have been impossible to find, part of the Covid pandemic bicycle scarcity situation.
so… Well… after having that awful day I was surprised to see this available and sorta just said “Fuck it, uncool Honda Accord-like boring old Speshy, here I come.”That $$ was spent on a Friday night. The bike was ready to be picked up before the weekend was over. 😬
I had demo’d the non SL version on a day trip to Downieville last November (2019), and demo’d the Levo SL Carbon Expert 2021 version a few months back, riding the beautiful trails in Nisene Marks. Back in November, in Downieville, I remember my initial impression was that I had wished the bike was 10 pounds lighter and had half as much power. The non SL bike was just too much of a monster. I rode that bike in low power all day that day and used only about 30% of the battery. And I found the 50+ pounds a bit much to handle when trying to levitate over rock gardens (bunny hop and other shenanigans we can use to Not feel all the bumps)
It wasn’t more than a week later after that Downieville trip that The Big S released the Levo SL, an eMTB that is 10 pounds lighter and 1/2 as powerful as the bike I had then ridden. I was immediately torn…It appeared to be Exactly what I wanted. So now there was no excuse.. I had to both fork over an exorbitant sum of money and face head on, the internal cognitive dissonance which accompanies owning and riding an eMTB. Ugh.
Why the SL? On that SL demo ride it was clear that it was the better bike for me. To sum it up in one word: Wheelies. The SL will ride wheelies just as well as a normal bike. The non-SL, high powered bikes will not. Not for me, Not yet anyway. The power delivery of the SL is superior to the others and nearly seamless. Also, manuals… I’m pretty light and I find manualling a 50+ pound bike really difficult.
So now I was in need of a psychologist..
Ok, to maybe back up a little here…I Freaking Love riding mountain bikes. Especially mine, that’d I’ve set up and dialed in. Most of my bikes receive a full treatment of suspension modification, and smart-ish components. I revalve my own dampers and prefer alloy rims. And I generally have more fun on 2.4″ tires than on those which are 2.5″ or wider.
To be continuted…
I’ve got this sloppy clattering klunker feeling like a race bike. Braap! It only took some decent brakes, a 160mm fork, the Cascade Components linkage (boosts the leverage progressivity from shit to about perfect while simultaneously bumping travel up a few percent), and to mulletize it with a 27.5 rear wheel and the accompanying flip chip to high (which increases the anti-squat from shit to almost adequate). It’s now a super fun bike….. when it works…
Yeah, I made all those upgrades (really requirements) the week I got the bike back from a 5 week hiatus during which the bike sat in the shop receiving a new motor. And on my 3rd ride with it feeling awesome it failed completely. (See Levo Failed post)