E-bikes are one of the big, divisive curiosities of the cycling world at the moment. E-mountain bikes even more so.
Along with several other influential people in my local riding community – trail builders, Specialized shop staff, keen riders, other media – I was recently invited to test ride the Specialized Turbo Levo. The social media froth was high as everyone took to Instagram and Facebook to confirm that riding bikes, including this one, is a heap of fun.
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Yesterday, I was very lucky to be invited to ride the brand new Specialized Turbo Levo. The Ebike reimagined. The best way I can describe this bike is a Stumpjumper FSR that can drive itself back to the top of the downhill. These things were super fun. With a battery life of three hours when set at its fastest speed (which I can't say I would ever set any slower) I got in more than enough ride time to satisfy my needs. We rode some extremely challenging descents and quite technical climbs and not once did it feel incapable of either. Buzzing up the climbs at a lazy 25kmh limit at times, which is where the motor is capped, was a bizarre feeling which at times did invoke the feeling that maybe I was cheating, in the 'traditional 1950s computer driven bicycles haven't been invented yet' sense of the word. But you know what thought then… who cares!!! Who doesn't want to ride up a hill with next to no effort? I know I do. I'll see the haters pulling into the bar while I'm finishing off the last of my lunch ready to head off for another ride. There are also the cons however, like the reality of batteries going flat and the additional weight but these things aside it didn't stop us riding a tonne of trails all afternoon and having heaps of fun and getting a work out in the process. These bikes might not be to everyone's tastes but I would have to say that you'd be struggling not to have fun on one of these bikes. Which, is the most important thing right?! It definitely opens the category up to a broader range of riders and exciting possibilities for the future of mountain biking. Josh. 📷 @driftbikesmedia #driftbikes #levo #specializedlevo #turbolevo #ebike #fitnewcastle #sickskids #enduro #powertoridemoretrails #cycling #riding #mtb #fitlife #instafit #fitspo #outsideisfree #fromwhereweride #newcastlelifestyle #sideways #drift #driftfamily #sworks #sbcu
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Things I never thought I'd do: ride a mountain bike with a power button! • @specialized_au invited me to test the pedal assisted #Levo trail bike in Sydney today. It's been three months since I've been able to ride the trails while I heal an injury that's stopping me from putting power through the pedals. This e-troduction couldn't have been more perfect and timely. So lovely to catch up with a few friends along for the ride too, and to learn first hand about this shiny (muddy!) new thing. • #thankyou #happyplace #mtb #emtb #ebike #bikephotos #technology #innovation #trailriding #specializedwomen #healthycatchups #destinationtrail #lightbro #photooftheday #vrooooom
Flow Mountain Bike took an in depth look at the myths surrounding e-bikes on the trails, and Bike Exchange published a review. I took a different angle, and wrote an opinion piece on Specialized’s approach to shifting the current negativity surrounding e-bikes in the Australian cycling culture.
Cyclists can be so noisy in their opposition to change. Think disc brakes, think 29” wheels, think bikes designed for women, think fat bikes, think e-bikes.
My biggest problem with these voices of resistance is they often come from people who got into cycling before these new technologies or design philosophies existed. They shout loud and far about things that aren’t necessarily designed for people like them, or aren’t what ‘riding really is’. In doing so, they can have a very negative impact on the experiences and confidence of others.
I had no intention of writing an article when I turned up to the test day, but have learned to always take my camera and collect a few images just in case. I was glad I did. Click any of the images in the extended gallery below for easier viewing.
Photos: Kath Bicknell