First Thoughts and Review of the Specialized Turbo Levo Ebike

Hello everyone!  I have some exciting information and photos to share with you on the new Specialized Turbo Levo mountain bike.  One of our guys got to fly out to Moab this past weekend for some press release testing and rides and gave me the low down on many of the specs and what to expect from this new kind of bike.  V__24E7

First off, the Levo gets much of the DNA that exists in the Specialized Stumpjumper.  The bottom bracket is a bit higher though as well as shorter crank arms and chainstays to avoid striking rocks.  It has the shortest chainstays in its class.  It comes stock as a 6fattie wheel setup and can also be converted to a 29er.  The 29er, however, only gains a slight 6 watt gain over the 6fattie.  My thoughts would be that the bike will be most stable with the larger tire.  It also has a low center of gravity to help keep it stable. The rear shock has been specifically tuned to for the additional weight of the bike.

The Levo comes in three configurations.  The SWORKS weighs in at 42lbs and will cost about $10,000, the Expert level weighs in at 44lV__5B4Abs and will cost about $6-7,000, and the Comp level weighs in at 47lbs and costs about $3,500.  The SWORKS and Expert level Levos are equipped with a 504 Wh battery and the Comp comes with a 400 Wh battery.  Both are Lithium ion batteries that use the same cells that exist in the Tesla.  A Tesla has 8000 cells, where a Levo has 40 cells and the Turbo S has 60.  So, that’s a pleasant feature because cheaper cells usually do not react well from vibration (much less from jumps and drops).  The battery weighs 9lbs.

The motor is integrated into the bottom of the downtube and has a 250 watt nominal power with a peak of 530 watts and a torque of 90Nm.  It is definitely the smoothest on the market and extremely quiet with a Gates belt drive.  In order for the motor to engage and apply power, torque must be sensed on the pedals and the rear wheel must have rotation.  The power meter to sense the torque in hidden inside behind the rear rotor.  This is great because if there is no movement, but you are pressing on the pedals, the bike won’t engage and lurch forward.  it will only apply the power once you are moving and pedaling.  This makes a lot of sense because you don’t really need the motor part when going down hill for the most part.V__71EC

Both the motor and the battery are Bluetooth and ANT+ compliant, which removes the need for an LCD screen.  Diagnosis, battery level, and other features of the state of the bike are communicated to either your phone (via the Mission Control app) or through the Garmin Edge 1000 or 520.  The harness for the battery is magnetic and (once the bike is off) can be easily removed and charged on or off the bike.  The motor is also removable and can be diagnosed through the app.

As far as the ride quality, it is top-notch.  A 3-5 hour ride is easily feasible for a single charge, which is mostly due to the mid motor setup versus the hub motor.  The field test rides done in Moab were almost 50 miles together with about 5,000 feet of climbing.  The turbo mode is almost too much power and can cause skidding, but is fantastic to be able to ride to the trails and back.  Most of the effective riding was best done at the Eco mode with a little Trail (more robust) mode here and there.

Climbing is exceptionally great (it was able to clear two foot ledges with ease uphill).  The bike audibly tells you to change gears if the motor is working too hard.  A higher pitched whine from the motor occurs if you are in too low of a gear and a deeper low rumble if you are in too high of a gear.  Like most full-suspension mountain bikes, it is best to be seated while climbing .  Because of the extra power, 3 mile ascents are much easier to handle without issue than with a standard mountain bike.  For descending, it handles great and the extra weight keeps you close to the ground.V__8F0FV__1281

So, additionally, Specialized has gotten together with Strava to create a new ebike category on segments, which will have their own KOMs and leaderboards compared to regular mountain bikes.  In summary, I think this is going to be an awesome bike to let people have a great mountain bike ride even if they are not exceptionally experienced.  It is spec’d really well and I have followed social media of people testing them in Europe for a while, so I would expect that most of the bugs have already been worked out.  More to come when we get one in the shop to build.  I’ll post a good article of the build and closeups of all of the features it has to offer.

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SRAM / Zipp Hub and quick release lever recall!!

Hey everyone, we were talking with Zipp this morning about a repair and found out that there is a newly released recall of most of their front hubs (88v6, 88v7, and 88v8) because of a possibly failing at the retaining ring that holds the spokes in the hub.  The description reads: “This recall includes SRAM’s Zipp bicycle wheel hubs. The model names of the affected hubs are ZIPP 88v6, 88v7 and 88v8. The Z logo is printed on the hub. The wheel hubs come in black, silver and falcon grey. The diameter of the clinch nut is approximately 1.46 inches. Some of the hubs were sold as part of wheel sets installed on new bicycles. SRAM will post a list of affected bicycle brands and models on its website at www.sram.com.”

The link for this recall is here

Also, several minutes after seeing it posted on the CSPC site, they posted another recall for their quick release skewers. Only quick releases without a marking at the center of the underside of the lever are included in this recall.  The description reads: “This recalls involves SRAM’s Zipp stainless steel or titanium quick releases. They were sold as aftermarket components or as part of the 202 DB V2, 303 DB V2, 404 Firestrike V2, 202 Firecrest V3, 303 Firecrest V3, 404 Firecrest V3, 808 Firecrest V3 or 808 NSW wheels. The quick release has a curved, black lever. Zipp appears on the lever. Only quick releases without a marking at the center of the underside of the lever, below the Zipp logo are included on this recall.

The link for this recall is here

 

Feel free to drop by the shop with your wheels so they can be processed as soon as possible with the season starting up!

 

SRAM eTap Actual Weights

About a week ago, we finally got all of our SRAM eTap groupsets in the shop.  We got six full groups out of the first batch of twelve to hit the US.  They come with the wireless components (derailleurs and shifters), a Quarq power meter crank, and SRAM Red brakes, cassette, and chain.  Out of the groupsets, two were TT eTap groups, which have the wireless ‘blips’ that actuate the derailleur like the paddle on the shifter.  I will be posting a good installation article that goes more in depth than the initial article I wrote on eTap.  In the mean time, I thought it would be cool to have some photos of the components and their actual weight.  Pretty light stuff and I really think it will be a popular option.

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SRAM eTap Rear Derailleur
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Interchangeable battery for SRAM eTap
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Interchangeable battery for SRAM eTap
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SRAM eTap Front Derailleur
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Left SRAM eTap Shifter
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Both SRAM eTap Shifters

265 grams (Shifters), 160 grams (Front Derailleur), 238 grams (Rear Derailleur) = 663 grams.

So, after seeing the weights, I obviously wanted to see what the comparison was with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070.  Here it is

230 grams (Shifters), 107 grams (Front Derailleur), 214 grams (Rear Derailleur), 50 grams (Battery) = 601 grams.  I am pretty sure that while the wires do weigh something, it’s not hardly enough to make it heavier than the eTap (maybe if you use 1000mm wires for all of the bike, haha).  So, while eTap is slightly heavier, it is not by much.  If you look at cassette, brakes, and cranksets (not a Quarq), chain, and bottom bracket, it is still lighter than Dura-Ace by almost a hundred grams.  This savings is almost entirely in the crank and cassette weights.  Anyways, hope this shed s a bit more light on the newest groupset.  I am also anxiously awaiting more photo leaks of the new Dura-Ace 9100, which looks to be wired, but will have an A Junction that can be updated and adjusted wirelessly.  That is a way more efficient way of easily checking firmware and diagnosing issues.