Two minute review
The Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon electric mountain bike makes a lot of sense if you’re serious about getting off the beaten track. As you’ll see if you look at any of the other best e-bike models on the market, there’s something to suit every kind of cycling interest.
But if you’re determined to get out in the sticks, the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon ticks all the right boxes.
This is an electric mountain bike that is light but strong. It has great acceleration and is suitable for all types of terrain, but there is also a battery and an electric motor. The design is striking yet practical.
But above all, the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon is a great bike to ride. While it’s primarily designed to tackle mountain bike trails and all that goes with it for off-road fun, this is a bike that’s fit for the road too.
Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon: Price and Release Date
The Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon is available now and is just one of many variations on the theme available directly from Specialized. The company has been pretty smart about designing a range of electric mountain bikes that can be adapted to different types of users, as well as specific budgets.
At the time of writing, the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon is also offered, and this bike maker regularly has similar discount deals for different markets. For example, check out the S-Works Turbo Levo SL or the Turbo Levo SL Comp Carbon if you’re in the US.
Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon: Design
- Lightweight at 18kgs
- Comfortable to drive
- Great frame and wheel engineering
Design score: 4/5
Specialized considers the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon to be a new, lightweight breed of e-MTB and it is certainly distinctive. It’s also very light, just under 18kg, as you’ll soon find out if you need to lift it at all. Much of this is due to the full carbon frame, which is paired with a host of premium components, including suspension by racing experts Fox and a superior SRAM Eagle X01 drivetrain.
In fact, SRAM components are also making an appearance elsewhere, with the hydraulic brake discs not only looking great, but working great, just as you’d expect. Wheels are another highlight, which are clearly beautifully put together and feel robust enough to survive the rigors of everyday ruts, potholes, logs or rocks. The Butcher front tire and Eliminator rubber at the rear provide significant dollops of grip on loose ground, but less so on hard, wet surfaces.
The Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon is designed to perform, but it’s also comfortable to ride, especially for long days. Those Specialized Trail alloy handlebars have an 8-degree backsweep with a 6-degree upsweep. The grips are great for your hands, while the Bridge Comp saddle is deceptively comfortable even if you don’t spend much time on it.
Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon: Performance
- Low weight really makes a difference
- Excellent shifting thanks to the powertrain
- Engine well integrated into the experience
Performance Score: 4/5
The Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon is a bike more than ready to be put to the test. Central to the appeal for many will be the capacity of the 150mm front and rear suspension, which has been made all the more effective thanks to Fox’s 36 Performance Elite fork and DPX2 shock combo. Specialized thinks the bike is easily comparable to Stumpjumper models and is incredibly agile.
This also brings us back to the low weight aspect. Even though you have the SL 1.1 motor and a battery on board, the e-MTB doesn’t feel cumbersome at all. It’s actually better off-road than on the tarmac. As you would expect, the knobby tires work great on trails and through the mud. However, they inspire less confidence on hard surfaces, especially when cornering. Then stay in the mud!
We also got along well with the SRAM Eagle X01 12-speed drivetrain. The setup is excellent and offers a well-rounded range of gearing options, especially when the going gets tough. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this, and the bike as a whole, is that purists who aren’t immediately drawn to using electric power can enjoy their time on this bike by riding it unassisted.
Take advantage of what the battery and motor have to offer and you’ll find it seamless, pretty quiet and wonderfully convenient when the day is done and you just want to get back to basics. It offers support up to 20 mph.
Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon: Battery Life
- Offers a full day of riding
- Battery life can be extended via in-app economic driving information
- Range extender option available
Battery Life Rating: 4/5
The battery on the bike we tested featured the Specialized SL1-320, 320Wh power pack, which proved more than capable of handling the chaos of a full day in the sticks. Like most other bikes in the range, you turn it on by simply pressing a button on the frame.
A visual indication shows the assistance level and available battery. With heavy use, the indicator will fade over time, but leave home with a full charge and you’ll still have power at the end of an average day of cycling.
Specialized also offers a range extender option for the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon, which is worth considering if you’re a hardcore biker likely to be out for longer days. However, it’s also worth digging deep into Specialized’s Mission Control app, which can be used to effectively manage battery power and make the most of that beefy motor.
Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon: Value for money
- High price tag represents performance
- Built with premium components
Value for money score: 4/5
When it comes to the best electric bikes, premium models like the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon model will always be big items. However, this is a respected brand, and for good reason. Find your way on the e-bike and you will find numerous examples of quality components.
Added to this is the design, which is clearly the end product of an experienced team that has been developing bicycles for a long time. Even if you’re not a fan of premium price tags, it’s hard not to admit that the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon model represents good value for money. It should also provide many years of service.
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
First reviewed in July 2022