Specialized has beefed up the motor, boosted the power and tweaked the geometry on the new generation of the lightweight Turbo Levo SL electric mountain bike


What are the hallmarks of the best bikes? Is it comfort, performance, great suspension or low weight? With the updated Turbo Levo SL, Specialized argue that a truly great bike is one you don’t notice when you’re riding – and we’re inclined to think they’re on to something there. The question is, does the next generation of its popular lightweight electric mountain bike fit the bill?

(Impatient? You can always just skip straight to the first ride review of the Specialized Turbo Levo SL Gen 2)

Need to know:

  • 150/160mm travel
  • Mixed wheelsize (can also run as full 29er)
  • Adjustable geometry; head angle, bottom bracket height and wheelsize
  • New Turbo SL 1.2 motor with more torque, more power and quieter running
  • Geometry based on Stumpjumper EVO
  • Adjusted suspension leverage


So what exactly has Specialized changed on the bike that has already impressed us – the Specialized Turbo Levo SL Expert scored an impressive 9 out of 10 in 2021 – and are what impact have those changes had on the handling?

Updated frame design and geometry

First off, Specialized has taken another highly rated bike – the Stumpjumper EVO – as the geometry and sizing template for the Levo SL mark two. Now, the Levo SL comes in the S sizing range, from the smallest S1 to S6.

The idea behind this is that sizing isn’t just a matter of rider height; smaller bikes are more manouvrable, larger and longer bikes are more stable on technical terrain, so bike size is also a question of terrain and handling preference. But for those who did find the sizing on the previous Levo SL a tad short – our chief bike tester among them – then the good news is the reach is significantly longer here. For example, the S4 Levo SL has a 471mm reach, 21mm more than that on the size L in the first generation Levo SL.

Shock and link on Specialized Turbo Levo SL II 2023

To ensure that the ride feel is uniform across sizes, the smallest S1 has less travel – 144mm rear, 150mm front – than the other sizes. It also takes a slightly smaller shock (210x50mm) and can’t take reservoir shocks or 55mm shocks.

The chassis is composed of Fact 11m carbon composite, tuned as a single unit. Other geometry elements brought over from the Stumpjumper Evo include a lower bottom bracket, slacker head angle and reduced fork offset, compared to the previous model. A 2° steeper seat angle puts the rider in the much better position when climbing. It’s also lost the distinctive side-arm.

There’s a whole lot of adjustability built into the design, which allows riders to further tweak the bike to suit their preferences, or the trails and terrain it’s going to be ridden on. This includes a flip chip on the chainstay near the Horst pivot which allows the bike to run a 29er rear wheel rather than 27.5, without otherwise affecting the geometry. A another flip chip at the shock eyelet shifts the bottom bracket height, while the head angle can be tweaked between three settings from slack to steep: 63°, 64.25° and 65.5°.

The suspension leverage ratio is lower overall than the previous generation Levo SL, with a slightly flattened curve that offers increased small bump sensitivity and mid-stroke support, Specialized claims, while still offering that magical ‘bottomless’ feel.

Woman jumping on the Specialized Turbo Levo SL II 2023 electric mountain bike in mountains

New motor: more power, for longer

Of course, when talking about an electric mountain bike, one of the most important elements is the motor and battery system. This too has had an update; the new Levo SL is fitted with new Turbo SL 1.2 system. This offers, according to Specialized, 43% more torque and 33% more power than its predecessor. A 50Nm peak output is significantly more than the 35Nm of V1, and the S-Works build and frame set comes with a 160Wh range extender as standard, also available aftermarket for the Comp build.

Motor on the Specialized Turbo Levo SL II 2023

The new, more powerful SL 1.2 motor

This motor is also between 34% and 45% quieter, since it features an updated gearbox design with a honey-comb structure two-piece motor housing designed to dissipate noise more effectively.

Handlebars, display and motor controls on the Specialized Turbo Levo SL II 2023

The Mastermind TCU on the top tube is inset, which handlebar controls are discreet

And finally, integrated into the top tube is the Mastermind TCU or Turbo Control Unit. This is a display and limited control unit which connects the motor, controls and Mission Control App.

Cassette on the Specialized Turbo Levo SL II 2023

The S-Works model comes with the new SRAM XX Eagle groupset

Fox supplies the suspension, while the S-Works model features the brand new SRAM XX Eagle groupset.

While the bike is still light, and still one of the lightest on the market, when we measured it it came in slightly heavier than the original version. This is something Specialized explicitly acknowledge; the priority was building for performance and durability first, light weight second.

Does the updated Turbo Levo SL fulfil the ‘engineered to disappear’ remit that Specialized has stated for it? MBR bike tester Alan Muldoon lists a lot of likes in his list of first impressions, not least the improved sizing, beefier battery and adjustability on the geometry, and his first ride review of the  Specialized Turbo Levo SL Gen 2 will let you know how close it got.

Woman riding the Specialized Turbo Levo SL II 2023 in mountains

Specialized Turbo Levo SL Gen 2 range

There are two build options in the updated Turbo Levo SL range; the range-topping S-Works build, and the less expensive Comp model.

Specialized Turbo Levo SL II Comp Carbon

  • Price: £7,000 / $
  • Frame: Levo SL carbon
  • Forks: Fox Float 36 Rhythm GRIP damper
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS
  • Motor and battery: Specialized 1.2 SL Custom Rx Trail Tuned Motor with SL1-320 32Wh battery
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle, SRAM NX
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RS 4-piston
  • Wheels/tyres: Specialized 29/27.5 alloy, Butcher (front) and Eliminator (rear) tyres

Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL II

  • Price: £13,000 / $
  • Frame: Levo SL SW frame, Fact 11m carbon
  • Forks: Fox Float 36 GRIP 2 damper
  • Shock: Fox Float X Evol LV
  • Motor and battery: Specialized 1.2 SL Custom Rx Trail Tuned Motor with SL1-320 32Wh battery
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM Code Silver Stealth 4-piston
  • Wheels/tyres: Roval Traverse SL Carbon, Butcher (front) and Eliminator (rear) tyres

Looking for a more budget electric mountain bike? Have a look at the Vitus E-Sommet VRX. Or if you’re just interested to know more about the competition, read our guide to the best electric mountain bikes