Mahle SL 1.1 to SL 1.2 - What's Possible and What's Different ?

Zimmerframe

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Jun 12, 2019
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The SL 1.2 is out in the wild with the '23 Levo SL.

From what we know so far, mountings and connections are all the same. It works with the existing battery and range extender (shorter 145mm instead of 160mm cable).

The motor is slightly larger due to the two piece aluminium honeycomb casing for noise reduction.

New 1.2 motor :

1683279404603.png


Previous (1.1) motor :

mahle 1.1.jpg


The torque sensor looks slightly different and you can see the casing on the drive side is thicker.

Hardware wise, from what we know so far, there were only slight changes made to the gears to make them slightly quieter.

There are claims that the new motor is slightly more efficient if used with the same settings as the 1.1 motor. This either means there were hardware changes that we're not aware of, or just with firmware they've managed to optimise the power delivery in a more efficient manner. Though they say they've re-tuned Trail 75% Support/80% Peak power and Turbo 100% support/80% peak modes, so this maybe where the extra "efficiency" comes from. Eco remains the same as previously at 35% support/35% peak power. If you want to use all the new power which is available, you'll need to up peak power to 100%.

Allan Cooke from Specialized (mountain bike marketing manager and all round amazing bike rider) suggested a lot was done on the firmware side, so it might be that the hardware changes were primarily for sound, but the power is from firmware. If that's the case, then theoretically Spesh could offer updates to existing owners, though that reduces incentives for existing owners to upgrade to new bikes.

Updating the firmware yourself wouldn't be easy as the Spesh systems are generally well secured even if you could get hold of the firmware, though potentially a third party could offer a "tuning service" if they knew what they were doing and weren't treading on Spesh toes.

Edit: put better picture of original motor.
 
Last edited:

G-Sport

Active member
Oct 7, 2022
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Yorkshire
Thanks for starting the thread.

Looks like they perhaps added a bearing to the drive side of the intermediate axle and the outside of the output shaft.

Possibly the old lay-shaft had rolling-element-bearings inside the lower-speed gears and ran on a fixed axle and the new one has the axle rotate in rolling-element-bearings in the case so all the gears are more efficient?
The enlarged output shaft boss might be to create more space between the crank axle and output shaft to accommodate a beefier bearing and/or a better seal?

Crank now uses "SRAM DUB" splines, so old M30 SL cranks aren't going to fit nor ISIS ones I assume. Does anyone know what the "SRAM DUB" spline is? Is it a standard anyone can use or is it a proprietary standard and we will be limited to SRAM cranks?
What is available to fit this and in what lengths? Is Q factor standard?

Sealing is supposed to be better and noise quieter and lower pitched. Sealing will be hard to test but noise is measurable.
 
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G-Sport

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Oct 7, 2022
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IF the motor really will fit older bikes, then I think Specialized would do very well to consider offering an upgrade kit.
It would probably have to be Motor + TCU2 and possibly new guard/cover and crank options maybe.
But:-

1. It would really help them shift old stock of gen1 bikes.
2. It would really help their green credentials (much better to keep an "old" (largely) non-recyclable CF bike going for longer than have it in landfill).
3. It would help support second hand values, making it easier for existing owners to sell their old bike and upgrade to the new.
4. It would help sell new bikes to people worried about "investing" in an uncommon motor standard. If you buy a Shimano or Bosch bike, the perception is that you could later upgrade to newer more powerful motors as they are launched. (this was definitely a major consideration/worry/hurdle for me when I bought my SL 7 months ago). If they offer the 1.2 motor to gen1 owners then the implication is that they might offer 1.3 motors to gen 2 owners down the line. The pace of change in eMTBs is so fast that I bet a lot of potential purchasers are stuck waiting to see what the next big thing is. I certainly know several people who are like this, been considering a lightweight ebike for well over a year but always changing their minds as a new one is launched.
5. It would allow them to offer a better solution to people like me who are waiting for a warranty motor for a 1.1. As it stands they will be out of pocket a new motor and shop labour to fit plus shipping etc. If they offered me an upgrade to the 1.2 at cost price then suddenly the negative experience of a warranty so early in ownership plus the profit lost would be converted to a modest sale, a very happy customer, and a reduced likelihood of a subsequent second warranty claim.
6. Its all good for brand loyalty.

Against this you have what? The chance that someone will decide NOT to buy the new bike and instead upgrade their existing SL? If so you STILL make a good sale (£1.5-2k maybe? on an item with just one SKU no sizes and colours to complicate things and you can justify holding stock and turn warranty stock into goods on hand)
Also I think that that is a very small number of people, more likely you lose customers to TQ, Shimano, Fazua, Bosch etc options.
The new LevoSL still has all the geometry and suspension upgrades to swing the balance.
There is a well known marketing quirk, that if you can change your customers mindset from "should I buy brand A or brand B"; to "should I buy model X or model Y from brand A" then you've essentially won the sale. Offering the motor upgrade would change existing owners mindset from; "Specialized Levo SL Gen2 or Trek TQ or Transition Relay (or whatever)" to "Levo SL Gen 2 bike or motor".
 

ghoststalker

New Member
Apr 26, 2023
23
21
Germany
IF the motor really will fit older bikes, then I think Specialized would do very well to consider offering an upgrade kit.
It would probably have to be Motor + TCU2 and possibly new guard/cover and crank options maybe.
But:-

1. It would really help them shift old stock of gen1 bikes.
2. It would really help their green credentials (much better to keep an "old" (largely) non-recyclable CF bike going for longer than have it in landfill).
3. It would help support second hand values, making it easier for existing owners to sell their old bike and upgrade to the new.
4. It would help sell new bikes to people worried about "investing" in an uncommon motor standard. If you buy a Shimano or Bosch bike, the perception is that you could later upgrade to newer more powerful motors as they are launched. (this was definitely a major consideration/worry/hurdle for me when I bought my SL 7 months ago). If they offer the 1.2 motor to gen1 owners then the implication is that they might offer 1.3 motors to gen 2 owners down the line. The pace of change in eMTBs is so fast that I bet a lot of potential purchasers are stuck waiting to see what the next big thing is. I certainly know several people who are like this, been considering a lightweight ebike for well over a year but always changing their minds as a new one is launched.
5. It would allow them to offer a better solution to people like me who are waiting for a warranty motor for a 1.1. As it stands they will be out of pocket a new motor and shop labour to fit plus shipping etc. If they offered me an upgrade to the 1.2 at cost price then suddenly the negative experience of a warranty so early in ownership plus the profit lost would be converted to a modest sale, a very happy customer, and a reduced likelihood of a subsequent second warranty claim.
6. Its all good for brand loyalty.

Against this you have what? The chance that someone will decide NOT to buy the new bike and instead upgrade their existing SL? If so you STILL make a good sale (£1.5-2k maybe? on an item with just one SKU no sizes and colours to complicate things and you can justify holding stock and turn warranty stock into goods on hand)
Also I think that that is a very small number of people, more likely you lose customers to TQ, Shimano, Fazua, Bosch etc options.
The new LevoSL still has all the geometry and suspension upgrades to swing the balance.
There is a well known marketing quirk, that if you can change your customers mindset from "should I buy brand A or brand B"; to "should I buy model X or model Y from brand A" then you've essentially won the sale. Offering the motor upgrade would change existing owners mindset from; "Specialized Levo SL Gen2 or Trek TQ or Transition Relay (or whatever)" to "Levo SL Gen 2 bike or motor".
👍 very good. After the first hype and run on the bike is over we should probably post stuff like that on their social media accounts. I would assume that there are technical solutions for an upgrade kit even tough it is not 100% the same shape. If they are willing to develop an upgrade kit they should be able to. Somebody in the release thread said something about a video in which they said it the sl 1.1 mount will allow an upgrade (?!), but that video seems to be offline. Is there anybody who probably recorded it?
 

Zimmerframe

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Somebody in the release thread said something about a video in which they said it the sl 1.1 mount will allow an upgrade (?!), but that video seems to be offline.
There was a Rob video with an interview with some of the Spesh team. They were professional and interesting guys but revealed several things in the video which apparently they shouldn't have, so I think the video was removed out of courtesy.

Within that video, one comment was that they'd said they hoped that future motors would be backwards compatible.
 

George_KSL

Active member
Sep 11, 2021
227
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Slovak Republic
Every logical argument listed in this thread supports the idea of retro-fit, but I worry that Specialized values segmentation more and would rather move new full bikes. I also wonder what is the capacity for building the Mahle units and what is their margin on it, if it's even of value to them to potentially build more than they need for full bikes + warranty margin.
I would love to get it, at least the magnesium double-wall casing. But I have no illusions, they don't even sell the Mastermind TCUs to older bikes and that's like pure profit since it's so overpriced.
 

G-Sport

Active member
Oct 7, 2022
177
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Yorkshire
Oh yes.

Does it fit in an existing SL ? Yes. Again, the same bashguard problem and you need to use the gen2 bashguard, But otherwise it's fine. The screws are slightly different, but the threads are the same.
Fantastic, thanks for doing this. Does it look like you could just drill an extra hole in the new guard?
 

G-Sport

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Oct 7, 2022
177
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EMBN just posted a video. One of the engineers explicitly said that the mounting points are the same. 16-20 in:-

Zimmerframe do you have the part number of the Gen2 bashguard? If it was me re-designing it I would really try to re-use one of the previous tools to save time and money.

Personally I would really like to upgrade to the TCU2 anyway so if Specialized offered the 1.2 motor and TCU2 as a package I'd be all over it. I'm sure there will be a way to cobble a bash-guard to fit.
 

George_KSL

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Sep 11, 2021
227
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Slovak Republic
The identical mounting points and form factor are probably for the benefit of designers, they could have used first gen SL as test mule, or rather vice-versa, at some point planned the next-gen bike to use same engine, or one only with minimal changes (as they admitted in LoamWolf video).
The shop who mounted the engine to KSL above must have tried turning the bike on :- ) Perhaps it will be easier upgrade for KSL which already has TCU2.
We must show Specialized there is more interest in the engine itself than the new bike :- )
 

Zimmerframe

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Fantastic, thanks for doing this. Does it look like you could just drill an extra hole in the new guard?
Sorry this is slow, just trying to fit it in around other things and the weathers crap. Heading off trail building for a day or two, but might still manage some updates.

I didn't really describe that very well. The bolt holes are all the same, with the front one also being the battery fixing. The First gen version also had an extra fixing to the motor, which this one doesn't anymore. The motor casing is completely different and now 2 pieces instead of three and obviously the honeycomb.

For a Levo SL Gen1, you can just use the Gen2 cover. No idea what the part number is and it attaches the same as it does on the Gen2 SL.

For a KSL, you can use the Gen2 cover, but it doesn't quite fit perfectly due to the different shape - the KSL twist release on the rear bolt uses a moulded rubber mount. This doesn't line up perfectly with the new motor/gen2 guard, but still feels like it will function correctly.. However, if you cut back the internal fins slightly on the original cover, it should then fit flush on the KSL and also be usable :

Gen2 Motor Cover Bash Guard.jpg
 
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G-Sport

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Oct 7, 2022
177
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Yorkshire
I doubt they'll release it as a spare part or upgrade. Has any firm ever made a motor backwards compatible? It goes against selling a new model bike
All the Bosch motors use the same mounts so there is no reason you couldn't buy a newer Bosch motor and controller and mount them on an older bike. I think the same is true for Shimano.
 

Pdoz

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Feb 16, 2019
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Maffra Victoria Australia
I doubt they'll release it as a spare part or upgrade. Has any firm ever made a motor backwards compatible? It goes against selling a new model bike

Giant did, my 2018 full e pro runs the yamaha pwx2 from the 2020 trance - because that's what they had in stock as a warranty replacement.

Didn't specialized provide the updated brose motors as replacements as well?

It just doesn't make sense to build 1.1's side by side with 1.2's , at least it won't in a couple of years as each 1.1 fails within it's 2 year rolling warranty .
 

Chriso82

Member
Jan 28, 2021
19
11
Worcestershire
All the Bosch motors use the same mounts so there is no reason you couldn't buy a newer Bosch motor and controller and mount them on an older bike. I think the same is true for Shimano.
It's whether the manufacturer will sell you all the stuff to convert it and if it's worth it ie cost
 

G-Sport

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Oct 7, 2022
177
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Yorkshire
Yes. I think you are right, there is a very high likelihood that they won't.
But it would actually make sense for them to do this.
A lot of the cost of these parts is in the development and tooling rather than the part itself, so the actual cost price of the motor and TCU should be quite low.
When a motor or controller fails Specialized probably pass some of that cost on to Mahle. So in my case the motor probably has bearing seats that are oversize and Mahle will probably have to give Specialized a motor replacement for free. Then Specialized will have to cover costs of shipping and the dealer's labour.
If instead you can convert half your warranty claims into upgrade sales, then you turn a £100+ loss for Specialized AND a £100+ loss for Mahle into a £450 TCU2 sale that probably covers the manufacturing cost price of all the parts and the shop labour.
Mahle saves £100+
Specialized saves £100+
Shop most likely gains an additional sale of cranks etc.
Customer experience is converted from a negative warranty into a positive upgrade, increasing likelihood of buying more Specialised/Mahle products for spouse and children and recommending the brand to friends etc.
Additionally, I'm only 7 months into my 2 year warranty. This process could well be repeated twice before the warranty runs out, if the new motor really is better sealed etc then the upgrade may well prevent this, saving even more money.

Then there are the non warranty upgrade sales. £1500-2000 is probably achievable. For a product with 1 SKU.
This is probably very high profit.

Meanwhile the ability to upgrade supports the residual value of the old bikes, so customers get more money for their old bike and can afford to buy a new model sooner.

I really don't see a plausible downside.
 

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