Levo SL Gen 1 Levo SL Expert - my build thread.

p3eps

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I’ve got a test ride thread out here somewhere that has details of my build in it - but here’s the info in an easier to read format rather than spanning over loads of posts...

My Bike:

Specialized Levo SL Expert - Size XL
What’s changed:

Full Invisiframe kit
SRAM XX1 AXS derailleur
SRAM XX1 cassette
RockShox Reverb AXS 170 x 34.9mm dropper post
RockShox Lyric Ultimate 160mm 51 offset fork
ENVE DH Carbon bar
ENVE 55mm Carbon stem
Magura MT7 brakes
Magura Storm HC Rotors (200mm + 180mm)
Magura Carbon levers
Specialized Phenom S-Works saddle
HT Components ANS-10 Supreme pedals
Ergon GE1 Evo Grips
Maxxis DHF 29 x 2.5 front tyre
Maxxis DHR II 29 x 2.3 rear tyre
Muc Off 45mm tubeless valves
Mudhugger FRX mudguard (trimmed) at rear
Some cosmetic changes - Magura purple rings for the brakes, some titanium iridescent screws dotted about... and iridescent headset spacers.

B25D988C-05CC-4C30-9214-E18CEFBEA299.jpeg
52E5E199-B40F-4510-BBEE-6A7502D12D83.jpeg

20EAEEEC-8E84-4CD2-8A69-4A24BDADA9E5.jpeg
 
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p3eps

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My goal:

To get a bit of help in the climbs, so that I’m not so out of breath at the top that I don’t enjoy coming down! To get up technical climbs that I usually don’t have the legs for or carry the speed.
To be able to do some of the runs that I usually can only be bothered climbing once a couple of times.

I’m a relatively fit 42 year old, living in Scotland... with 2 children under 5.
I don’t get out on my bike as much as I’d like to, and when I do, it’s usually for a limited time. I thought an eMTB would help me get further in my allowed cycling time!

After about 18 months of pondering, I plunged into the Ebike world with a Trek Rail 9.9 in January. A monster of a bike with a powerful Bosch motor and a great selection of high end components. I wanted a bit of help on some of the climbs I struggle with... the easier I can go up, the more I can go down!
Although I thought the bike was awesome, it just felt like it offered me too much assist. On Eco it felt a bit heavy and sluggish, and eMTB felt a bit like I could conquer anything in 9th gear!

2 weeks later the Levo SL was announced... and sounded much more like what I was after from the start.
Thankfully there was a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, and I was able to test then swap the Rail for a Levo SL. If this bike had been available a few weeks before, this would have been my first choice.

So here I am...

My build has never been about weight... more about getting the components I want on the bike and making it better to ride. I could sacrifice performance for grams, but who wants a 16kg bike that feels like it’ll snap when you come charging down a rock garden?!

I was quite prepared to add weight to get the bike how I wanted it... but was quite intrigued by the differences between components. The general consensus is that Specialized has used lighter components to keep the weight down - so putting better parts on will put the weight up.
The Rail was 22.5kg ready to ride, so even at the stock weight of 17.88kg (No pedals and with tubes) it was a completely different beast.

I went with the SL Expert in XL thinking it was the sweet spot component wise. What I didn’t anticipate was that I would end up changing most of these anyway. I got a decent discount on the bike (15% off), but buying the Comp Carbon and upgrading it may have been a better option financially. I do prefer the finish of the paint job on the Expert though... and I guess when I sell the removed components, they may be worth more than the ones on the Comp Carbon.
 
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p3eps

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Here’s a what and why of my changes so far - and the difference in weight:

Invisiframe: A necessity to keep the frame in A1 condition.
+60g (approx)

SRAM Eagle AXS XX1 Upgrade kit: I had the AXS shifter on the Rail and loved the instant precise shifting.
Eagle GX derailleur / shifter / cable = 471g
AXS XX1 derailleur / shifter / battery = 445g
-26g

Enve DH Carbon bar: ‘Borrowed’ from my Stumpy.
Specialized alloy bar: 366g
Enve DH Carbon bar: 229g
-107g

Enve 55mm Stem: Also ‘borrowed’ from my Stumpy.
Specialized alloy stem: 153g
Enve carbon stem: 88g
-65g

I weighed the Specialized SWAT headset tool - which would remove another 133g... but I quite like it, so have left it for now.

Magura MT7 Brakes: Stopping power of stock brakes was lacking, and faded really quickly under intense use. Magura’s seem to have a lot more bite to them.
SRAM G2 RSC front brake assembly (short hose) = 287g
Magura MT7 brake assembly (uncut hose) = 242g
-90g (per pair)

Magura Storm HC Rotors: Recommended to go with the brakes. I don’t think a ~17.5kg bike really needs specific eMTB rotors.
SRAM 200mm front rotor = 192g
Magura Storm HC 203mm rotor = 171g
SRAM 180mm rear rotor = 145g
Magura Storm HC 180mm rotor = 140g
-26g (per pair)

Magura Carbon Levers: Changed for to Carbon as I have Raynaud’s Syndrome (perpetual cold hands / fingers). Carbon doesn’t get nearly as cold in extreme temperatures, so will help my fingers stay warmer! They also feel nicer to touch!
Magura Alloy Lever = 30g
Magura Carbon Lever = 17g
-26g (per pair)

Rockshox Lyric Ultimate 160mm: Not a fan of the stock fork. The Lyric Ultimate offers more tunability and a smoother ride... and the extra 10mm slackens the front end a little.
Fox 34 Performance 150mm = 1926g
Rockshox Lyric Ultimate 160mm = 1998g
+72g

Maxxis Minion DHF (29 x 2.5) and DHR II (29 x 2.3) tyres in Max Terra 3C compound: Set up tubeless with Muc Off valves and Stans Racing Sealant.
-250g (approx - for removing tubes, but adding sealant / valves and fitting a slightly wider front tyre)

Rockshox Reverb AXS 34.9 x 170mm: The best dropper post out there bar none! Had this on my Rail and thought it was fantastic. Can drop a few mm by tapping the button when sitting on the saddle.
X-Fusion Manic 34.9mm x 170mm dropper with cable and lever = 752g
Rockshox Reverb AXS 34.9mm x 170mm dropper with battery and wireless lever = 879g
+127g (but well worth it!)

MudHugger FR front mudguard: Trimmed to fit at the rear. Not going to save my ass, but will stop the linkages and hopefully the dropper getting clarted. Essential in Scotland!
+75g

SRAM Eagle XX1 Cassette: After fitting the iridescent Muc Off valves, I looked for other iridescent / rainbow / oil slick / jet fuel parts. The XX1 cassette / chain were mesmerising to look at. Shifting performance is slightly better too.
SRAM Eagle GX Cassette = 451g
SRAM Eagle XX1 Cassette = 368g
-83g

SRAM Eagle GX chain to XX1 chain
-5g
Ergon GE1 grips with iridescent fixings: comfier than the stock grips, and look good.
Specialized stock grips = 54g each
Ergon GE1 grips = 50g each
-8g

Specialized Phenom S-Works Saddle: I have the Phenom Expert on my stumpy, and have been happy with it for years. The S-Works is a bit lighter due to carbon rails, and offers the same padding. I can go day after day on this and not feel like by ‘barse’ (my mates name for the bit between balls and arse) is sore! £230 retail, but managed to pick one up on eBay (brand new - taken from a new Diverge S-Works) for £110.
Specialized Bridge Comp saddle = 258g
Specialized Phenom S-Works saddle = 148g
-110g

HT Components ANS-10 Supreme pedals: I did have DMR Vault Mg pedals on for the first few rides. Great pedals at a good weight. I wanted something iridescent to add a final touch of sparkle - so went with the HT’s. The Vault Lacun’s were iridescent too - but added about 80g. The HT’s only added 6g on paper - or 7g in real life!
+379g
 
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p3eps

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Praxis carbon cranks ordered today. The LBS hoped they’d be here by Wednesday... but the Covid factor might change that!
Looking forward to getting them and seeing what the weight difference between them and the alloy ones are. I went for 165mm rather than the 170mm that’s standard on my bike.
I hope they come with some rubber boots too!

All that’s left after that is the rear shock - but I’m still not sure which way I want to go with that? I think I’ll stick with air, but am undecided as to which one.

On another note... the WILD’s are excellent on what I’ve tested them on so far. I thought they were outstanding last weekend when it was drizzling and the trail was damp, but not soaked. Loads of grip on rocks and roots.
I’ll reserve full judgement until I can take them on some of the steeper more technical trails that aren’t available from my doorstep!!
 

highpeakrider

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Aug 10, 2018
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Very nice but

I’m a relatively fit 42 year old, living in Scotland... with 2 children under 5.
I don’t get out on my bike as much as I’d like to, and when I do, it’s usually for a limited time. I thought an eMTB would help me get further in my allowed cycling time!


If you have limited time why didn’t you buy a full fat ebike which would have provided more power allowing more miles in your limited time at a greater reduction cost?

i could understand this build on a normal MTB where you have unlimited time to ride and enjoy it and maybe racing.

For me this build makes no sense but enjoy the bike.
 

SquireRides

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Sep 4, 2018
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Very nice but

I’m a relatively fit 42 year old, living in Scotland... with 2 children under 5.
I don’t get out on my bike as much as I’d like to, and when I do, it’s usually for a limited time. I thought an eMTB would help me get further in my allowed cycling time!


If you have limited time why didn’t you buy a full fat ebike which would have provided more power allowing more miles in your limited time at a greater reduction cost?

i could understand this build on a normal MTB where you have unlimited time to ride and enjoy it and maybe racing.

For me this build makes no sense but enjoy the bike.

My experience with full fat eebs and Levo SL. the SL has enough power to get me to the trails fast enough, it's just more effort. It's only the hilly rat-run roads out of town that i need to turbo through. I probably lose less than 5 minutes on the SL compared to the full fat eeb on the steeper road climbs

On flatter roads, you hit 16mph so the power of a full fat eeb doesnt get you anywhere faster. In fact the lighter SL pedals better past 16mph, so may even be a bit faster.

So, personally, I would choose the right eeb for the fun bit - the trails - not the eeb that knocks out the road sections with most ease.
 

p3eps

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Dec 14, 2019
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Very nice but

I’m a relatively fit 42 year old, living in Scotland... with 2 children under 5.
I don’t get out on my bike as much as I’d like to, and when I do, it’s usually for a limited time. I thought an eMTB would help me get further in my allowed cycling time!


If you have limited time why didn’t you buy a full fat ebike which would have provided more power allowing more miles in your limited time at a greater reduction cost?

i could understand this build on a normal MTB where you have unlimited time to ride and enjoy it and maybe racing.

For me this build makes no sense but enjoy the bike.

I cycle because I enjoy it, and for fitness. I felt like the full fat eMTB was a bit like riding a motorcycle with the excess power.
Yes, I could get further, but I felt like it was effortless. In Eco, I felt like I was dragging round a big heavy bike.

The SL climbs hills that I’d normally do at 2.5-3mph on my Stumpy in 1st gear... at 7mph in 4th gear.
My Rail did it at 13mph in 9th gear!

I can get further than an MTB in the same time, as I can clear the ascents quicker. I can do flats and downhill faster than the Rail could. For me the SL is the best of both worlds. A bit of help when needed, but not silly amounts of power.
I ride at 35% assistance.

I didn’t want greater power - hence why I swapped from the Rail to the SL.
 

p3eps

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My experience with full fat eebs and Levo SL. the SL has enough power to get me to the trails fast enough, it's just more effort. It's only the hilly rat-run roads out of town that i need to turbo through. I probably lose less than 5 minutes on the SL compared to the full fat eeb on the steeper road climbs

On flatter roads, you hit 16mph so the power of a full fat eeb doesnt get you anywhere faster. In fact the lighter SL pedals better past 16mph, so may even be a bit faster.

So, personally, I would choose the right eeb for the fun bit - the trails - not the eeb that knocks out the road sections with most ease.

Totally agree...

Yeah, I had fun flying up the hills on the Rail, but I personally feel the SL gives me more enjoyment on the trails, and also on the roads getting there.

Everyone is different though - which is why manufacturers make different specs of bikes and different components!
 

SL-ED

Member
Jun 14, 2020
37
47
Bay Area
Very nice build! I was told that Specialized will eventually come out with a SL frame only option like they did with the regular Levo but I couldn't wait. I end up ordering the SL Carbon Comp. When I first Demo the SL I felt the suspension wasn't cutting it for the type trails and riding I do so suspension will be my first upgrade..
 

p3eps

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0AC53A7F-BA8D-4F3E-9D43-D06131A3F9E2.jpeg


4ED117F6-A548-4B55-9BFF-496E13C7B2F0.jpeg


Swapped my pedals over after my oil slick ones started flaking paint off.
Went with new HT Components ME03T, which are a super light and thin magnesium pedal, with titanium axels.

159g saved there... and hopefully the thinner profile helps with pedal strikes. I’m still waiting to get my 165mm carbon cranks, which will give me a fraction more clearance too.
 

All Mountain Coaching

E*POWAH Elite
Oct 3, 2018
1,332
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GB
View attachment 36057

View attachment 36059

Swapped my pedals over after my oil slick ones started flaking paint off.
Went with new HT Components ME03T, which are a super light and thin magnesium pedal, with titanium axels.

159g saved there... and hopefully the thinner profile helps with pedal strikes. I’m still waiting to get my 165mm carbon cranks, which will give me a fraction more clearance too.
Good luck with those. I had 3 pairs go within about 18m. They then suggested I use the alloy axle instead as it's tougher. They lasted about 6 months as well. They do look the part though and super light.
 

p3eps

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Good luck with those. I had 3 pairs go within about 18m. They then suggested I use the alloy axle instead as it's tougher. They lasted about 6 months as well. They do look the part though and super light.

They come with a 2 year warranty. Good job I have a couple of pairs of spares from the sound of it... can swap them over when they’re back getting repaired ?
The alloy axle version is about 260g if I remember correctly? Still really light.
 

All Mountain Coaching

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Yeah they got fed up of me returning them. Hopefully you have better luck than me. Best looking pedal out there IMO. And super light. Yeah even the alloy axle is light.

I removed the small pins and replaced with the larger ones in the spare set for a bit more bite.
IMG-20200702-WA0008.jpg
 

p3eps

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I removed the small pins and replaced with the larger ones in the spare set for a bit more bite. View attachment 36143

Rode with them today, and they seemed to grip my 5:10’s well enough. It was a lot of trail riding, so they might not grip so well on some rougher stuff?

I was going to see if I could order Oil Slick pins for them, as I’m not a fan of the gold. They’re not M2.5 or M3, so must be an imperial size somewhere in the middle?
 

levity

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@p3eps Are you sure a 2.5mm hex doesn't work? That's what the pins my old set of ME03s took.

Here's the part info for black replacement pins:

ME03 pins.jpg


and like @All Mountain Coaching I had to fuss with the bearings on mine to keep them spinning smoothly.
(However, I don't like using longer pins - the short ones "bite" me often enough!)
 

p3eps

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@p3eps Are you sure a 2.5mm hex doesn't work? That's what the pins my old set of ME03s took.

I took home some different hex bolts from work, and the corresponding nuts to go with them. The thread of an M2.5 nut is really loose on my spare pins, and the M3 nut wouldn’t go on.

I’ll take a spare into my metrology guys tomorrow and have them measure the thread size / pitch properly with a shadow graph.
It has 2.5mm Allen head, but I don’t think it’s a metric screw.
 

p3eps

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The pins in the pedal are 4/40 UNC thread. Small ones are 1/4” long, and the long ones are 3/8” long.

I imagine the hex head is not quite 2.5mm either, and is probably the imperial equivalent?
 

rydeezie

Well-known member
Jul 26, 2020
607
861
san francisco, california
Expert Large
Enve M7 series wheels, bars, stem
i9 hydra hubs
Axs oil slick and 150mm dropper
DMR Lacon and Ergon oil slick
XTR 9120 Brakes
2021 Fox 38 Grip 2, 160mm, 44mm
2021 Fox Float X2 210x55
MM 2.6 F/R

IMG_0504.jpeg


makes it so much better
IMG_0459.jpeg


very very tight clearance. no issues. In Marshall Mullen's vid he said it would be tight, but no rubbing issues.
IMG_0465.jpeg
 
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Grizzy

Member
Mar 10, 2020
31
11
TX
Expert Large
Enve M7 series wheels, bars, stem
i9 hydra hubs
Axs oil slick and 150mm dropper
DMR Lacon and Ergon oil slick
XTR 9120 Brakes
2021 Fox 38 Grip 2, 160mm, 44mm
2021 Fox Float X2 210x55
MM 2.6 F/R

View attachment 36764

makes it so much better
View attachment 36765

very very tight clearance. no issues. In Marshall Mullen's vid he said it would be tight, but no rubbing issues.
View attachment 36766
can I ask your weight and Aprox PSI in the X2?

at 185/84kg I’m unsure if the X2 can go high enough in pressure. Would be good to have a gauge on the 2021 model.
 

killjoyken

Member
Mar 10, 2019
25
19
San Jose, CA, USA
Praxis carbon cranks ordered today. The LBS hoped they’d be here by Wednesday... but the Covid factor might change that!
Looking forward to getting them and seeing what the weight difference between them and the alloy ones are. I went for 165mm rather than the 170mm that’s standard on my bike.
I hope they come with some rubber boots too!

All that’s left after that is the rear shock - but I’m still not sure which way I want to go with that? I think I’ll stick with air, but am undecided as to which one.

On another note... the WILD’s are excellent on what I’ve tested them on so far. I thought they were outstanding last weekend when it was drizzling and the trail was damp, but not soaked. Loads of grip on rocks and roots.
I’ll reserve full judgement until I can take them on some of the steeper more technical trails that aren’t available from my doorstep!!

Did you ever get your carbon cranks? I just picked up an Expert and I'm curious how much weight they will save.
 

Bigtuna00

Active member
Nov 27, 2019
555
336
CA
Stock Praxis 165mm aluminum cranks are 480 grams
Praxis 165mm Specialized Carbon cranks are 380 grams

It'll add some grams but get a coil shock. Best upgrade on a Levo (and any ebike probably).
 

p3eps

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Did you ever get your carbon cranks? I just picked up an Expert and I'm curious how much weight they will save.

Turned out the ones they’d ordered me were just Levo cranks, and the SL ones are STILL not available in the UK yet.
Due in September.

£280 for 100g is quite good value based on some of the things I’ve bought over the last few months!
 

p3eps

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70C79706-6C50-4424-A7EE-F01A8646E3B0.jpeg


Some goodies arrived at work today...
2021 Super Deluxe Ultimate with Megneg installed / tuned.
2021 Lyric damper, and seal kit / oils etc to service whilst upgrading.

Should get the shock on tonight to test over the weekend, but the service of the Lyric will probably have to wait until next week.
Quite excited to see how it changes the bike!
 

p3eps

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Fitted the Super Deluxe Ultimate last Friday when I got home from work. Was due to go for a ride on Sunday, but did my back in playing golf on the Saturday! Properly ruined, and I lay in the fetal position all of Sunday / Monday as it was the only thing that eased the pain!!

The bike has sat with the shock on for over a week teasing me. Although my back is still not 100%, I thought I’d take the bike for a gentle ride today.

We’re back in Covid lockdown again (although it’s lifting at midnight today ?), so I couldn’t go too far anyway.
Some roads, some fire road type trails, and a little bit of single track. Nothing particularly wild, but I’m really pleased with the shock so far. I no longer feel like I’m riding a bucking bronco when riding over rooty and rocky paths!

Looking forward to getting it out on some ‘real’ trails... hopefully next weekend. By that time, I’ll hopefully have done my 2021 damper upgrade to the Lyric too.

As things stand, the only original parts of the bike are the frame, wheels and cranks... although the cranks will be changed as soon as the Praxis carbon are available in the UK. Due beginning of Sept apparently ?


5A372CD1-3E58-411D-813F-AA6D47DC65BB.jpeg


3AE8EDD8-3274-49E6-95A7-DC716E13FCA6.jpeg
 

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