2019 Levo Carbon Comp demo thoughts (inc. range)

Sep 6, 2018
20
15
3
Scotland
Ride
Pondering
#1
So I paid £60 to demo a 2019 Levo Carbon Comp recently and thought people might be interested in an Emtb newbie's thoughts.

I currently own a Carbon Strive and Carbon Sender both of which I really like except for the fact they don't have motors. I have been biking for 10 years, am 5'10", 100kg with gear and picked the Large Levo which fitted well with a similar reach and head angle to the Strive which it would replace. My fitness is somewhere between poor and awful. I really hate pedalling uphill so an Emtb has obvious appeal. To give an idea of my skill level I did the Strava section "Ho Chi Min EWS" which is pretty straight, fast and rough (0.61km , 71m, -12%) with zero pedalling for me. Some times for comparison - Greg Callaghan 58s, Cecile Ravanel 72s, Me 70s.

I've previously demo'ed a Pivot Shuttle with Shimano motor and a Mondo with a Bosch. I didn't like the Bosch as it's not very smooth and the whole 16t chainring with gearing thing seems inefficient and it was very draggy above 15mph. The Shimano motor was better but still somewhat 'steppy' in power delivery on mild climbs. It felt like the power changed from 40% to 60% with slightly varying gradients or torque inputs.

Specialized delivered the bike to Pedal Power in West Calder where I picked it up for a 48hr demo. After I got it home I found out the gears were not setup correctly so I fixed that and tweaked pressures and brake angle etc. I tested it on tarmac around my house and played with the mission control app. Turning down the trail mode from 30-100 to 25-100 made it a bit more natural feeling which was nice. In my opinion the Shuttle mode is not really a 'mode' and more of a tuning bias or sensitivity. At zero you need a bit a torque input to hit top spped in Turbo mode or to get above the base level in Trail mode. Dialing Shuttle up to 100 affects Trial and Turbo in the same way by reducing the required torque input from your legs to get the max power out of the motor. I think it's pretty similar to the Shimano sensitivity setting. I set it to 40%.

First day I tried a hillwalkers trail up Dumyat which is a mix of hardpack path, dirt, grass and rocks. There were several sections of rocks about 20ft high and 30% or more gradient that I had to push up. Pic from car park looking at Dumyat. The bikes upside down because I need to take the wheels off to get it in the car -
dumyat-jpg.6154


First disappointment was the walk mode which is terrible. If you are on a gradient that makes you get off and push, say 30% plus then it doesn't provide enough power to move itself forward. Pushing the button (which is awkward to reach and quite stiff) has a barely noticeable effect. I would guess it needs double the power to be useful. On the dirt and hardpack surfaces it was excellent. I am sure it didn't have the "noisy motor" issue some people are reporting. It was very quiet in Trail/Eco mode and from memory it was slightly quieter than the Shimano in Turbo mode which is fine.
After I got to a large ledge I gave up climbing to the top and headed down. I made it 200m before a pinch flat stopped play. The bike was using skinny lightweight inner tubes which were garbage. I changed it for my Maxxis 27.5 Freeride tube (never had a 29 bike before) and upped the pressures to 23 Front / 26 Rear which worked ok. The rest of the downhill was pretty great, you feel really "in" the bike and the geometry is excellent. I got used to the weight for the most part however it did make bunny hopping roots and rocks harder than usual.

Second day I went to Glentress and did a route that was a mix of Black, Fire Roads and off-piste trails including some 2014 EWS sections.
gt-strava1-jpg.6155

Another nice day in Scotland -
gt-jpg.6156

Again the geometry and handling of the bike is excellent. It was my first time on 29 wheels and I was worried they would be a bit unwieldy and cumbersome but they were fine and, of course, rolled very well. I mostly used Turbo mode on climbs with some Trail on flatter and downhill sections and no Eco at all. For uphill hairpins I felt the front end wanted to wash wide in Turbo mode so started dropping down to Trail for the corner then back into Turbo at the exit which was much better. I got back to the car with 3 bars still so I had a loop of Janet's Brae of 130m climbing which dropped it to one red bar. It seemed to go from 2 bars to one in about 200m. Total ride stats below -
gt-strava2-jpg.6157

I noticed Rob said about his range test "In total I covered approximately 3000 ft of elevation before the change to the second battery.". That equates to about 914m even though he was mostly in Eco mode. He looks thinner than me so I am reasonably impressed with the battery performance !

How a good day out ends -
gt2-jpg.6158


Overall it's pretty great but I could use more battery endurance so I have ordered an Expert, due in Feb 2019.
 

Rob Hancill

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 14, 2018
1,849
1,534
363
Surrey, UK
Ride
Levo Expert
#2
Nice review.

Regarding Walk Mode, I find it pretty good. Did you try to shift to a higher gear when using it? I find you get a better performance that way.
 
Sep 6, 2018
20
15
3
Scotland
Ride
Pondering
#3
Nice review.

Regarding Walk Mode, I find it pretty good. Did you try to shift to a higher gear when using it? I find you get a better performance that way.
I think I tried the 2nd biggest cassette cog and something in the middle, didn't notice much difference. I will try a small cog next time.
 
Jul 23, 2018
54
33
28
CO, USA
Ride
None yet!
#4
Good review. I demoed one recently too from the new Specialized Experience center in Boulder, CO. Same model, Turbo Levo Carbon Comp.

I agree that the frame design, construction, kinematics and geometry are all very good. At 73 inches or 185.42 cm but a armspan of 75.5" or 191.77cm I chose the XL and it was spot on. The motor was good and I thought pretty comparable to the I think quite good Shimano unit. It's been awhile since I've ridden the Shimano system so a direct comparison is harder for me to make. I did like how the new 2.1 motor doesn't have much overrun at all. Very natural feeling. I didn't mess with Mission Control at all.

I didn't track my ride but I rode pretty much the most gnarly trails in the area and the new Levo did really great. Total climbing was 3910 ft or 1191 m and the battery was toast by the end of the ride. I climbed in trail or turbo but then the last climb nursed it in eco. Here is the same ride but on my non assist bike from earlier this year for reference 13.3 mi Ride Activity on May 5, 2018 by Todd M. on Strava

I ride hard dh, enduro type tracks as first preference and the Levo was great. The stock Fox 34 was outgunned though. I'd definitely change that. The big battery of the expert would be a huge asset, so if I get one it would be the expert. I think the gearing was a bit tall to be honest. I think you could get more range if you geared down a bit and gave the drivetrain more leverage, at least for my riding which has very steep sustained climbs, not rolling at all.
 
Sep 21, 2018
1
0
1
USA
#6
Overall it's pretty great but I could use more battery endurance so I have ordered an Expert, due in Feb 2019.
Are any shops letting people buy a lower level bike and paying the difference for a 700wh battery?
 
Last edited:

R120

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Patreon
Apr 13, 2018
1,244
807
343
Surrey
#7
I don't think the big batteries are in stock yet - i think some shops may be offering a discount on them as part of a purchase deal, but you wont get the bigger battery with the bike right now
 

Rob Hancill

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 14, 2018
1,849
1,534
363
Surrey, UK
Ride
Levo Expert
#8
Are any shops letting people buy a lower level bike and paying the difference for a 700mah battery?
As @R120 mentioned, haven't seen any of the 700Wh batteries. When stock is good though I'm sure you'll have lots of options to play with.

Personally, even if I had the Expert, I'd want a 500Wh battery, I prefer the 750g weight saving on the frame.
 
Sep 6, 2018
20
15
3
Scotland
Ride
Pondering
#9
As @R120 mentioned, haven't seen any of the 700Wh batteries. When stock is good though I'm sure you'll have lots of options to play with.

Personally, even if I had the Expert, I'd want a 500Wh battery, I prefer the 750g weight saving on the frame.
Before my test ride I had thought I migthwant to swap my 700 for someone's 500 for free to get the weight saving but now I think I will live with the extra weight for more Turbo action. If I ever improve my fitness I might swap to a 500. If I was loaded I would buy a 500 for shorter rides and keep the 700 for long ones. Perfect :)
 
Jul 9, 2018
37
19
8
Uk
Ride
Levo
#11
So I paid £60 to demo a 2019 Levo Carbon Comp recently and thought people might be interested in an Emtb newbie's thoughts.

I currently own a Carbon Strive and Carbon Sender both of which I really like except for the fact they don't have motors. I have been biking for 10 years, am 5'10", 100kg with gear and picked the Large Levo which fitted well with a similar reach and head angle to the Strive which it would replace. My fitness is somewhere between poor and awful. I really hate pedalling uphill so an Emtb has obvious appeal. To give an idea of my skill level I did the Strava section "Ho Chi Min EWS" which is pretty straight, fast and rough (0.61km , 71m, -12%) with zero pedalling for me. Some times for comparison - Greg Callaghan 58s, Cecile Ravanel 72s, Me 70s.

I've previously demo'ed a Pivot Shuttle with Shimano motor and a Mondo with a Bosch. I didn't like the Bosch as it's not very smooth and the whole 16t chainring with gearing thing seems inefficient and it was very draggy above 15mph. The Shimano motor was better but still somewhat 'steppy' in power delivery on mild climbs. It felt like the power changed from 40% to 60% with slightly varying gradients or torque inputs.

Specialized delivered the bike to Pedal Power in West Calder where I picked it up for a 48hr demo. After I got it home I found out the gears were not setup correctly so I fixed that and tweaked pressures and brake angle etc. I tested it on tarmac around my house and played with the mission control app. Turning down the trail mode from 30-100 to 25-100 made it a bit more natural feeling which was nice. In my opinion the Shuttle mode is not really a 'mode' and more of a tuning bias or sensitivity. At zero you need a bit a torque input to hit top spped in Turbo mode or to get above the base level in Trail mode. Dialing Shuttle up to 100 affects Trial and Turbo in the same way by reducing the required torque input from your legs to get the max power out of the motor. I think it's pretty similar to the Shimano sensitivity setting. I set it to 40%.

First day I tried a hillwalkers trail up Dumyat which is a mix of hardpack path, dirt, grass and rocks. There were several sections of rocks about 20ft high and 30% or more gradient that I had to push up. Pic from car park looking at Dumyat. The bikes upside down because I need to take the wheels off to get it in the car -
View attachment 6154

First disappointment was the walk mode which is terrible. If you are on a gradient that makes you get off and push, say 30% plus then it doesn't provide enough power to move itself forward. Pushing the button (which is awkward to reach and quite stiff) has a barely noticeable effect. I would guess it needs double the power to be useful. On the dirt and hardpack surfaces it was excellent. I am sure it didn't have the "noisy motor" issue some people are reporting. It was very quiet in Trail/Eco mode and from memory it was slightly quieter than the Shimano in Turbo mode which is fine.
After I got to a large ledge I gave up climbing to the top and headed down. I made it 200m before a pinch flat stopped play. The bike was using skinny lightweight inner tubes which were garbage. I changed it for my Maxxis 27.5 Freeride tube (never had a 29 bike before) and upped the pressures to 23 Front / 26 Rear which worked ok. The rest of the downhill was pretty great, you feel really "in" the bike and the geometry is excellent. I got used to the weight for the most part however it did make bunny hopping roots and rocks harder than usual.

Second day I went to Glentress and did a route that was a mix of Black, Fire Roads and off-piste trails including some 2014 EWS sections.
View attachment 6155
Another nice day in Scotland -
View attachment 6156
Again the geometry and handling of the bike is excellent. It was my first time on 29 wheels and I was worried they would be a bit unwieldy and cumbersome but they were fine and, of course, rolled very well. I mostly used Turbo mode on climbs with some Trail on flatter and downhill sections and no Eco at all. For uphill hairpins I felt the front end wanted to wash wide in Turbo mode so started dropping down to Trail for the corner then back into Turbo at the exit which was much better. I got back to the car with 3 bars still so I had a loop of Janet's Brae of 130m climbing which dropped it to one red bar. It seemed to go from 2 bars to one in about 200m. Total ride stats below -
View attachment 6157
I noticed Rob said about his range test "In total I covered approximately 3000 ft of elevation before the change to the second battery.". That equates to about 914m even though he was mostly in Eco mode. He looks thinner than me so I am reasonably impressed with the battery performance !

How a good day out ends -
View attachment 6158

Overall it's pretty great but I could use more battery endurance so I have ordered an Expert, due in Feb 2019.
Great write up.
What size Strive did you have?
I'm 5 09 and have a medium strive, I was going to opt for a medium Levo also.
I want to make sure I don't nerd a large.
Cheers
 

Eckythump

E*POWAH Master
Founding Member
Jan 16, 2018
346
142
173
North Yorkshire
#12
Before my test ride I had thought I migthwant to swap my 700 for someone's 500 for free to get the weight saving but now I think I will live with the extra weight for more Turbo action. If I ever improve my fitness I might swap to a 500. If I was loaded I would buy a 500 for shorter rides and keep the 700 for long ones. Perfect :)
Think you may be surprised how quickly your fitness will improve with an ebike.
 
Sep 6, 2018
20
15
3
Scotland
Ride
Pondering
#13
Great write up.
What size Strive did you have?
I'm 5 09 and have a medium strive, I was going to opt for a medium Levo also.
I want to make sure I don't nerd a large.
Cheers
I have a medium Strive Race. I made a small spreadsheet with the geo numbers from the bikes and the large Levo is very close on paper and on the trail. The longer chainstay and wheelbase with 29 wheels was the most noticable difference. Also the levo large comes with a 50mm stem so there is scope to shorten that to 40mm if I feel its a little big after I get it.
 

Kernow

E*POWAH Elite
Patreon
Founding Member
Jan 18, 2018
713
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Cornwall uk
#14
Interesting to hear a comparison with shimano but you didn’t mention what settings you had selected on the shimano motor but you spent time setting the spesh
I think if you had selected max power and using boost it would be a little abrupt in its power delivery
 
Sep 6, 2018
20
15
3
Scotland
Ride
Pondering
#15
Interesting to hear a comparison with shimano but you didn’t mention what settings you had selected on the shimano motor but you spent time setting the spesh
I think if you had selected max power and using boost it would be a little abrupt in its power delivery
When I said " It felt like the power changed from 40% to 60% with slightly varying gradients or torque inputs." I was in trail mode with medium sensitivity setting. This was on a climb that was not very steep, with some near flat sections and didn't need turbo mode. I was as if while riding along and the gradient changed a tiny bit steeper, instead of upper the assitance from 40% to 45% it could only jump up to what felt like 60% then back down to 40% again if the trail got mellower. Basically it seemed to have poor 'granularity' in the delivery. The Brose 2.1 in the Levo seemed to be a lot smoother at varying powers.

When the Shimano was in Turbo mode it always delivered a consistant power, similar to the Levo. It was only abrupt when moving off from stopped which is ok. From zero the Levo responds immediately but takes a pedal stroke or 2 to get up to full power, again somewhat smooother than Shimano. Overall the Shimano is good, the Brose 2.1 is just a bit smoother and more natural.
 
Oct 15, 2018
4
9
13
Netherlands
Ride
Levo SW 19
#16
Hi There,

Concerning the Walk-assist mode power/support delivery, your Specialized dealer can update your Levo and the walk-assit will be much more power full.

gr
Harm
 



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