We’ve had a closer look at the new gen3 Specialized Levo, and we’ve ha a short ride on it. You can watch this video below from EMTB Videos where we share all of our thoughts about the bike. Or you can continue reading.
The previous Levo model was introduced for 2019 and it was an innovative bike. Specialized had come up with a clever way to implement the battery. Sure, there are bikes where it’s easier to remove and install the battery. But Specialized save quite a bit of weight with their solution. And now, three years later, there still isn’t a more innovative solution out there we think. Specialized have made some changes though. The old “flap” that connected the battery to the motor has been redesigned. Now it’s a more solid looking and waterproof connection. While the 700Wh battery remains unchanged, the mounting hardware has been altered. You can use the previous battery in the new Levo, but you need to swap the plastic kit at the bottom of the battery to make it fit.
There has been speculation that Specialized would abandon the Brose-motor. They had issues with the Specialized 2.1 Rx motor. This was addressed last year. The motor got an updated software and a few new internal components, such as a new belt. Specialized now tells us the issues are solved. The updated motor has proved to be reliable, mainly thanks to the new software. So, the motor lives on in the new Levo. Now it’s called Specialized 2.2.
Updated and adjustable geometry
Judging by the geometry table, the new Levo seems to be a very different bike to the old one. Head angle is down by 1.5* to 64.5* in the default settings. This can be altered though. The bike comes with an additional head-set cup. Depending on how you install this cup, you will either steepen or slacken the head angle by 1*. Resulting in an angle of 63.5 or 65.5*.
And that’s not all. There is a small adjustable chip on the rear suspension, the “Horst link chip”. The chip is set in the high position from the factory. Setting the chip to “low” will reduce the head angle by 0.5*. Also, the bottom bracket will drop by 7 mm, down to 343 mm. When the bottom bracket is lowered, the chainstays levels out a bit. Chainstay length increases by 6 mm, up from 441 to 447 mm. Setting everything in the lowest position will significantly increase the wheelbase. The wheelbase of the size S4 (L) test bike will increase from 1255 to 1268 mm. And the head angle is 63*. These are figures we usually find on properly burly bikes.
The new Levo comes in what Specialized call “S-Sizing”, just like the 2020 Kenevo. Many riders are used to chosing between bike sizes, to get a bike that suits their preferences. With the S-sizing, we get more sizes to chose between.
The new Levo has got properly short chainstays. They achieved this partly by abandoning the 29er rear wheel. The Levo is now a “mullet” bike with a 29er up front and a smaller 27.5” wheel at the back. Some years ago, the 27.5 Plus wheels was dominating in the emtb segment. Specialized were among the first to abandon the wide tyres, they moved to 29er wheels. And only a year ago it seemed the 29ers were taking over. So, it is perhaps a bit surprising that the new Levo is a mullet bike. But it makes sense to us. It seems more and more manufacturers are embracing the mixed wheel sizes. And we think that’s a good thing. I prefer the smaller rear wheel. It gives us more room to move over the bike, most noticeably in the steep descents. And it of course allows for a shorter rear end.
Specialized is introducing the new Levo with 3 different build kits. The demo bike is of the unobtainable kind, at least to us. It’s the Specialized Levo S-Works with a £13.000 price tag. Then there’s the Pro model at £10.750 and the Expert at £8.750.
On the trails
Our time with the bike was limited, so this is just our first impression. We only rode the bike in the default geometry settings. The new Specialized Levo looks like a very different bike to the old one. It looks much burlier, even in the default settings. But it doesn’t necessarily feel that way. Sure, it’s a capable bike that inspires confidence on the descents. Still, it doesn’t feel heavy or slow on the flat sections. It feels at least as nimble as the old Levo. One might think the new Levo isn’t a great climber due to the short chainstays. But no, the bike climbs well. The steep seat angle moves rider weight forward on the bike. Also, the long reach allows us to move far forwards on the climbs.
We’re quite impressed with Specialized and their new Levo. This is a proper upgrade and a very versatile bike. We look forward to spending more time on the bike.