‘What!!?’ I hear you say. ‘You can’t compare an e-bike to a normal bike!’ Let me elaborate. I had the opportunity to ride a demo Specialized Turbo Levo SL Expert Carbon for a few days (the model just below the s-works, yours for R165 000) thanks to the good people at Revolution cycles. I picked up the bike and with great excitement headed off to my local Tygerberg trails for a blast. I set off and after about 20km of riding I realised that I was not having as much of a blast as I was expecting. Strange. I had read a lot of online reviews where the testers said it’s impossible not to have a goofy grin riding this bike. I didn’t have a goofy grin on. The assistance from the motor does make you climb faster but everywhere else it just didn’t feel any faster or more fun than my normal bike, a Pyga Stage set up as an allrounder light trail bike. After my usual 30km loop that I have ridden countless times my average speed turned out only about 2km/hr faster than on the Pyga. It didn’t feel like 2x You as claimed by Specialised. The eco mode gives you enough power to offset the extra weight of the bike. If you gonna ride all day in eco mode you might as well be on a normal bike. Trail mode gives you noticeable assistance and full power just a bit more, though not as big a jump as from eco to trail. You never feel like a superhero though. I thought more testing was needed. So I roped in my long time riding partner and we set off to do the Welvanpas white route with the Levo and the Stage. We are very equally matched fitness wise and my initial impressions where confirmed, on anything but the climbs you are better off on the Stage. One problem with the Levo is that the motor assistance stops at 25km/hr. With reasonable fitness on flat terrain it is easy to go faster than that. So on the Levo you are then left to pedal a 20kg bike with no assistance. Not fun. So we both felt that the 25km/hr limit is too slow. We also both agreed that the Pyga was faster and just more fun on the descents. It felt like something was holding the Levo back a bit on the downs which is counterintuitive. You would expect the heavier bike to be faster. The other issue is the noise from the motor, its rather loud and leave you in no doubt that you are riding something with a motor in it. The pedalling feel and sound felt a bit like an exercise bike at the gym. The non SL version of the Levo is very quiet in comparison, almost silent. Don’t get me wrong, the Levo SL is a beautiful piece of kit, it handles well and eats up the trails with ease and comfort. The assistance is fairly modest and so you do work just as hard as on a normal bike. But since you are working just as hard you would expect to feel a lot faster on an e-bike. The performance is a bit underwhelming. During the ride, given the choice, we both would have picked the normal bike to continue with. We are both fit and we both didn’t enjoy it. So I think it depends on where you are in the fitness ladder as to whether or not you will want this bike. So who is this bike for? I would say that if you are a very fit guy, don’t bother. The modest extra speed you will get out of this bike is not worth the high cost and mechanical complication. You can buy 2x Pyga stage’s for the price of this bike… I would say that if you want an e-bike to feel like superman on the trails then get the Turbo Levo, not the SL version. If you are not very fit and have lots of cash then maybe this is for you. It will enable you to keep up with your fitter mates whilst still giving you a proper work out. It’s relatively light and so easier to handle than the heavier e-bikes. It looks awesome and handles well. If it goes flat on you, you can still ride it without killing yourself. You will be able to enjoy mountain biking as much as your fitter mates whilst sweating as much as them. I got 60kms of riding from a full charge with the range extender. There was still one bar showing on the extender, so perhaps a bit more k’s could’ve been squeezed out. Without the extender you are looking at about 40-50kms. Bike was ridden 75% of the time in trail mode, rest of the time on full power. I'm keen to hear what others that have ridden this bike think. Ok, I got my flak vest on. Shoot away.