Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon eMTB


Two-minute review

The Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon electric mountain bike will make an awful lot of sense if you’re looking to get off the beaten track in serious fashion. As you’ll see from looking at any of the other best e-bike models on the market, there’s something to suit any kind of cycling interest. 

But if you’re dead set on getting out in the sticks, the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon ticks all the right boxes.

This is an electric mountain bike that is lightweight but strong. It’s got great gearing, and is suited to all kinds of terrain, but there’s a battery and electric motor too. The design is striking but practical. 

Above all though, the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon is a great bike to ride. While it's primarily designed for taking on mountain bike trails and all that comes with off-road fun, this is a bike that also works 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 several variations on the theme available directly from Specialized. The company has been quite clever in designing a range of electric mountain bikes that can be tailored to different kinds of users, as well as specific budgets. 

At the time of writing, the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon is on offer too, and this bike maker regularly runs similar discount deals for different markets. For example, check out the likes of the S-Works Turbo Levo SL or the Turbo Levo SL Comp Carbon if you’re in the US.

(Image credit: Rob Clymo)

Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon: Design

  • Lightweight at 18kgs
  • Comfortable to ride
  • Great frame and wheel engineering

Design score: 4/5

 Specialized bills the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon as a new, lightweight breed of e-MTB and it is certainly distinctive. It’s also really light, just under 18kg/40lbs in fact, as you soon discover if you need to lift it up at all. Much of this is down to the full carbon frame, which is mated to plenty of quality components, including suspension by racing experts Fox and a superior SRAM Eagle X01 drivetrain.

In fact, SRAM components appear elsewhere too, with the hydraulic brake disks not only looking fantastic but working to great effect, just as you’d expect. Wheels are another highlight, which has clearly been beautifully put together and feels robust enough to survive the rigors of everyday ruts, potholes, tree trunks, or rocks. The Butcher front tire and Eliminator rubber at the rear deliver substantial dollops of grip on loose ground, though fair less well 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 out. Those Specialized Trail alloy handlebars feature an 8-degree backsweep with a 6-degree upsweep. The grips are fab on your hands, while the Bridge Comp saddle is deceptively comfy even if you don't spend much time sitting on it.

Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon: Performance

  • Low weight makes a real difference
  • Excellent gear-shifting thanks to the drivetrain
  • Motor incorporated well into the experience

Performance score: 4/5

The Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon is a bike that’s more than ready to be put through its paces. Central to the appeal for many will be the capability of the 150mm suspension front and rear, which is made all the more effective courtesy of Fox’s 36 Performance Elite fork and DPX2 shock combination. Specialized reckons the bike is easily comparable to Stumpjumper models and it is incredibly agile.

This takes us back to the low weight aspect too. Even though you’ve got the SL 1.1 motor and a battery on-board, the e-MTB doesn’t feel at all cumbersome. It’s actually better off-road than on the Tarmac. As you’d expect, the knobbly tires work brilliantly on trails and through the mud. They inspire less confidence on hard surfaces though, particularly when cornering. Best stay on the mud then!

We also got on famously 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 don’t feel immediately drawn to using electric power can enjoy their time on this bike by riding it without assistance.

Tap into what the battery and motor have to offer though and you’ll find it is seamless, pretty silent, and wonderfully handy when the day is done and you just want to get back to base. It offers assistance up to 20mph.

Levo SL Expert Carbon eMTB

(Image credit: Rob Clymo)

Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon: Battery life

  • Offers a full day of riding
  • Battery life can be extended via in-app economic riding info
  • Range extender option available

Battery life score: 4/5

The battery on the bike we tested featured the Specialized SL1-320, 320Wh power pack, which proved more than capable of coping with a full day’s mayhem out in the sticks. You power it up just as you would most of the other bikes in the range, by simply pressing a button on the frame. 

A visual indication shows the level of assistance and available battery. Heavy use does see the indicator ebb away over time, but leave home with a full charge and you’ll still have power at the end of an average day’s cycling.

Specialized does also offer a range extender option for the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon, which is worth considering if you're a hardcore biker who’s likely to be out for longer days than some. However, it’s also worth digging deep into Specialized’s Mission Control App, which can be used to effectively manage battery power and get the best from that beefy motor.

Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon: Value for money

  • High price tag represents performance
  • Built with top-notch parts

 Value for money score: 4/5 

When it comes to the best electric bikes, premium models like the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon model are always going to be big-ticket items. However, this is a well-respected brand, and for good reason. Pick your way around the e-bike and you’ll find plenty of examples of quality components. 

Adding to that is the design, which is clearly the end product of a seasoned team who’ve developed bikes for a long time. Even if you’re not a fan of premium price tags, it’s hard not to concede that the Specialized Levo SL Expert Carbon model does represent good value for money. It should deliver plenty of years of service too.

Levo SL Expert Carbon eMTB

(Image credit: Rob Clymo)

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First reviewed July 2022



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