Levo SL Gen 1 2022 Specialized Turbo Levo SL comp carbon w/Shimano XT

Bicyclenut

Member
Jul 9, 2022
16
17
Fresno
Forgive me if this has been answered before but I haven't seen any answers in the forums.
I recently bought the above stated bike and Im just not a Sram fan. I figured I'd customize my bike with what I want and that being Shimano XT. I figured I'd go 12 speed. So I bought all the components. I also bought a new wheel set with Chris King hubs and Stans Flow rims. I went with center lock and micro splined. This has all turned into a huge headache. I did find out from trial and error that you MUST have ALL Shimano 12 speed compatible components. I installed the 12spd XT cassette with Shimano 12spd XT chain with new XT 12spd rear derailleur but using the stock Sram front chain ring. It all seemed to work in the repair stand, but once out on the trail there i was a huge clicking/grinding noise coming from the motor area. I thought something was wrong with the motor. Swapped out the chain and put back the Sram chain.....still problems. I put back my stock rear wheel with stock Sram cassette. and that fixed the noise. I found that the new Shimano 12spd is narrower than before and nothing is compatible unless it is specifically made for SM 12spd. All that is left is finding a 94 bcd front chain ring for SM 12spd... Easy enough right? WRONG! As suggested in another thread, someone recommended a company in Poland named Garbaruk. Their website shows that they make a compatible Shimano 12 speed chainrings in 94 bcd. I ordered 2 different teeth counts. Ill report back once they come in.
I even went as far as calling Specialized to ask if they made a different spider for the chainring so I could put a different one on. They said "no they don't". I said " I cant be the only person that wants to put Shimano on their comp SL, what do they recommend in this situation?" They basically had no answer for me.
This leads me to that last problem.
with the new Shimano Center lock hubs there is no mount for the rear magnet for the Levo. Specialized does make center lock that has the magnet in it but doesn't fit with the spacer from the Chris King hub. So my quick fix was, I mounted a magnet from an old Cateye computer that screws into a nut on the rotor. Seems to be working for now. But as stated above, I put my stock wheels back on until i get a front chain ring.
Sorry for the long winded post. I'll update with what I find to work best.
 

Bicyclenut

Member
Jul 9, 2022
16
17
Fresno
For those interested, here is the update. Yesterday I received my front chainring from Garbaruk. The chainring is very nicely made. I measured the width of the teeth and compared it with a M8100 12spd XT chainring and the Garbaruk is slightly narrower, but just about the same as the Shimano 12spd. Before installation I grabbed the XT chain and wrapped it around the Garbaruk so I could see the fit into the teeth.....WOW, it is very tight and I almost thought it was the wrong fit. I took the new Shimano XT 12spd chainring and did the same, with the same result. I guess the new Shimano 12spd is just super narrow with low tolerances. So, I proceeded to install the new chainring and chain. I did not remove the spider from the motor, but instead just removed the chainring. Once on the bike i noticed the teeth are really deep. I put my Chris King wheel with Shimano 12spd cassette back on my bike and everything is working great in the stand. I noticed the chainring was getting a little chain suck but then realized i didnt have the clutch on, on the XT derailleur. Once I flipped it on it gave the chain more tension and havent see the chain suck problem again.
Took it for a test ride down the street in flip flops and the bike shifted really nice. No creaking/grinding noises. Turned the motor on, No creaking/grinding noises. I held the brake a little and mashed down to put more torque on the drive train, Still No creaking/grinding noises.
It was 110 yesterday while i did all this in the garage, so I didint feel like taking it out for a proper ride, but Ill try and do that today. Overall, I think I have it figured out. So far so good.
 

KnollyBro

E*POWAH Elite
Dec 3, 2020
878
2,190
Vancouver
For those interested, here is the update. Yesterday I received my front chainring from Garbaruk. The chainring is very nicely made. I measured the width of the teeth and compared it with a M8100 12spd XT chainring and the Garbaruk is slightly narrower, but just about the same as the Shimano 12spd. Before installation I grabbed the XT chain and wrapped it around the Garbaruk so I could see the fit into the teeth.....WOW, it is very tight and I almost thought it was the wrong fit. I took the new Shimano XT 12spd chainring and did the same, with the same result. I guess the new Shimano 12spd is just super narrow with low tolerances. So, I proceeded to install the new chainring and chain. I did not remove the spider from the motor, but instead just removed the chainring. Once on the bike i noticed the teeth are really deep. I put my Chris King wheel with Shimano 12spd cassette back on my bike and everything is working great in the stand. I noticed the chainring was getting a little chain suck but then realized i didnt have the clutch on, on the XT derailleur. Once I flipped it on it gave the chain more tension and havent see the chain suck problem again.
Took it for a test ride down the street in flip flops and the bike shifted really nice. No creaking/grinding noises. Turned the motor on, No creaking/grinding noises. I held the brake a little and mashed down to put more torque on the drive train, Still No creaking/grinding noises.
It was 110 yesterday while i did all this in the garage, so I didint feel like taking it out for a proper ride, but Ill try and do that today. Overall, I think I have it figured out. So far so good.
I might be way off in my skill level and attention to the subtleties of drive trains but from what I have read in your report, with all that time spent, effort and money spent on replacement parts, was it worth it for a drive train? IMHO, SRAM Code RSC brakes are the best I have used. My wife hates them and likes her Saints. Its ok for her to be wrong as we both enjoy our bikes ;). Why did you want centerlock rotors?
 

Konanige

Active member
Feb 29, 2020
422
336
Mendips
I might be way off in my skill level and attention to the subtleties of drive trains but from what I have read in your report, with all that time spent, effort and money spent on replacement parts, was it worth it for a drive train? IMHO, SRAM Code RSC brakes are the best I have used. My wife hates them and likes her Saints. Its ok for her to be wrong as we both enjoy our bikes ;). Why did you want centerlock rotors?
I must concur, always had nothing but trouble with centerlock, now I just bin them and go 6 bolt, like on my car!!!
 

Bicyclenut

Member
Jul 9, 2022
16
17
Fresno
with all that time spent, effort and money spent on replacement parts, was it worth it for a drive train?
Well....yes and no. Maybe I should have just upgraded to top of the line Sram. That would have been so much easier. But what came on the bike was such low end, I didnt like it, So I knew i was going to update the drivetrain anyways. Ive always been a Shimano fan so i figured I'd go with Shimano. Now I have what i want and it works great. The centerlock issue, i didnt think would be an issue. Being new to the Levo bike, I didnt know about the magnet on the rear hub. As far as performance goes for the centerlock, I havent noticed any issues. This past week I was at Morro Bay California and went and rode at Montano de Oro trails....The bike was killer.
 
Last edited:

Ou812

Active member
Jun 26, 2022
654
448
Fort William
I’ve always preferred Shimano over SRAM, only reason I went with SRAM was because of AXS. I had all XX1 on my amish bike, ended up swapping back to XTR but kept the AXS derailleur. It’s the best of both worlds for me, I get the better shifting of Shimano with the wire free cockpit of SRAM. The hyper glide is so much better!
 

boBE

Active member
Apr 12, 2020
415
361
FL
...from what I have read in your report, with all that time spent, effort and money spent on replacement parts, was it worth it for a drive train?...

Sometimes we get involved in an (perhaps dubious) upgrade and things start going poorly but at that point it becomes a holy war and there is no backing down. Like when I wanted a closer ratio cassette and found a nice 11-32 11 speed, after replacing the cassette, shifter, and derailleur the cassette lock ring was not even close to threading on. I had to take 1.85 mm off the back of the road bike cassette carrier (on a lathe) to make it fit.

Worth it? Sure... after it is all done and it works. Halfway through, I was not so certain. ;)
 

Bicyclenut

Member
Jul 9, 2022
16
17
Fresno
My hope is with this thread, is if someone is thinking of doing what I did, they do their research. Hopefully they see this thread and find the answers they need from my trial and error.
 

KnollyBro

E*POWAH Elite
Dec 3, 2020
878
2,190
Vancouver
Well....yes and no. Maybe I should have just upgraded to top of the line Sram. That would have been so much easier. But what came on the bike was such low end, I didnt like it, So I knew i was going to update the drivetrain anyways. Ive always been a Shimano fan so i figured I'd go with Shimano. Now I have what i want and it works great. The centerlock issue, i didnt think would be an issue. Being new to the Levo bike, I didnt know about the magnet on the rear hub. As far as performance goes for the centerlock, I havent noticed any issues. This past week I was at Morro Bay California and went and rode at Montano de Oro trails....The bike was killer.

As previously mentioned, your bike's overall performance depends on several variables, research and brand bias should also be added to that list. IMHO, centerlock rotors (besides not being able to mount the magnet on them {research}) are not going to improve one's performance as much as increase one's level of frustration if you don't have the proper tool to change them or they are not available. I use Magura 220mm MDR-P rotors on the front because they are bigger, thicker and simply stop better (they also make the coolest "ting" sound when they cool down at the end of a trail). My rear rotor is a Shimano XT 203mm Ice Tech rotor because that is what I have always used with my Code RSC brakes. I am all about performance and don't care about "matchies". When I bought my Levo SL Comp, I just swapped out the Code R levers to Code RSC levers and rotors as the calipers are the same. The drive train was fine for me but don't get me started on the POS fork and shock :rolleyes:. How anyone can ride that bike with the stock suspension on anything other than XC trails is beyond me. Now, lets talk about a mullet setup for the win?

Levo SL .jpg
 

KnollyBro

E*POWAH Elite
Dec 3, 2020
878
2,190
Vancouver
Sometimes we get involved in an (perhaps dubious) upgrade and things start going poorly but at that point it becomes a holy war and there is no backing down. Like when I wanted a closer ratio cassette and found a nice 11-32 11 speed, after replacing the cassette, shifter, and derailleur the cassette lock ring was not even close to threading on. I had to take 1.85 mm off the back of the road bike cassette carrier (on a lathe) to make it fit.

Worth it? Sure... after it is all done and it works. Halfway through, I was not so certain. ;)

Nothing like a challenge to make you feel good when you win! Are you running a close ratio 11-32 on an MTB?
 

boBE

Active member
Apr 12, 2020
415
361
FL
Nothing like a challenge to make you feel good when you win! Are you running a close ratio 11-32 on an MTB?

The only hill around here is the bridge over the intracoastal waterway, maybe 8% and about 1/2 mile climb. My usual 27 mile ride covers sea level to a whopping 32' elevation so the 50T cog didn't see much use. 11-32 works much better on my Levo SL to keep cadence in a sweet spot.
 

Pauliemon

Active member
Sep 14, 2020
211
310
Northern California, USA
The only hill around here is the bridge over the intracoastal waterway, maybe 8% and about 1/2 mile climb. My usual 27 mile ride covers sea level to a whopping 32' elevation so the 50T cog didn't see much use. 11-32 works much better on my Levo SL to keep cadence in a sweet spot.
I bet it works awesome! SLs don't like to torque out. They like da spin. When I first started riding mountain bikes (in the previous century) we didn't have many gear options. 38/28 was about it. Later someone produced a 12/30 freewheel. We went nuts! You'd think someone handed a free oz of green bud.
 

Bicyclenut

Member
Jul 9, 2022
16
17
Fresno
One last update.....After my last post, I stated that I had it all figured out. I took the bike out for a longer ride and the creaking noise came back....I was so perplexed as to what was going on. So I started all over looking at what was going on. I finally was able to isolate where the sound was coming from.....my new Chris King hub! With the Shimano cassette on the hub, I could move it ever so slightly. This is what was echoing through the chain making it seem like the motor/chainring was having issues. So, I readjusted the cassette body/axel and that took any play out of the cassette body. I put the Shimano 12 speed chain back on along with the stock Sram chainring. I then took it on a long ride tonight with no creaking. After all this, it all works really nice with the stock 94 BCD chainring, 12 spd Shimano chain along with 12 spd XT cassette. Hopefully no one else will have issues.
 

unclezz

Member
May 3, 2020
175
91
CZ
One last update.....After my last post, I stated that I had it all figured out. I took the bike out for a longer ride and the creaking noise came back....I was so perplexed as to what was going on. So I started all over looking at what was going on. I finally was able to isolate where the sound was coming from.....my new Chris King hub! With the Shimano cassette on the hub, I could move it ever so slightly. This is what was echoing through the chain making it seem like the motor/chainring was having issues. So, I readjusted the cassette body/axel and that took any play out of the cassette body. I put the Shimano 12 speed chain back on along with the stock Sram chainring. I then took it on a long ride tonight with no creaking. After all this, it all works really nice with the stock 94 BCD chainring, 12 spd Shimano chain along with 12 spd XT cassette. Hopefully no one else will have issues.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I am going to build soon a levo sl using a frameset and I am planning to use a shimano drivetrain I already own from another bike (6 bolt brake though).

From what I read on other forums the sram chainring is absolutely fine. But the Shimano chain may be problematic, especially the quick link.
To overcome this issue I am going to use a KMC ebike chain which should work with any drivetrain, no matter the brand. As quick link I will stick on having the sram as spare.

Will update here once build is complete in case of issues.
 

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