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First Look | The All New Specialized 2020 Kenevo

Words by Tom Worsfold

on 01/10/2019 15:33:11

Kenevo-2020-Hero-2

Without a doubt one of the years most hotly anticipated releases, the all-new 2020 Kenevo builds on all Specialized have learned from the Enduro and Turbo Levo to be truly the most capable E-MTB ever released. This is the power to ride more trails.

The first generation of Kenevo was a bruiser, bringing forth the idea of the personal uplift and allowing many riders to reach and ride trails they could have only dreamed of riding before. Burly, coil sprung and designed to crank you to the top of the chunkiest of descents, it was hard to see how Specialized could improve until the release of the 2019 Turbo Levo. The sleek lines of the new sidearm frame and improved 2.1 motor left many Kenevo owners wanting more, with online forums seeing chatter of rumours and wishes for the new frame. Does it live up to the hype? Oh yes.


What's Changed?

  • New, lighter & stiffer side-arm frame design - 1kg lighter than the previous model
  • New 2.1 motor which is 400g lighter and 15% smaller
  • Upgraded battery capacity with up to 700Wh
  • Longer, lower, slacker geometry
  • 180mm Travel in both front and rear

See the new Kenevo range >

The Ethos: Shuttle killer

E-bikes are still a hot topic of debate, with many riders being divided over as to whether or not they have a place on the hill, an opinion that usually comes down to whether or not they have ridden one personally. The feeling of an electric bike truly has to be experienced to be believed, with bikes like the Kenevo allowing many to push their boundaries like never before. Whilst this may sound like marketing spin, there is no doubt that the Kenevo opens up whole new possibilities when it comes to accessibility of trails and the absolute antics you can get up to, allowing you more runs on challenging terrain without the need for an uplift. All of this on a bike that you know can take the hits? For many that will be hard to beat.

Kenevo-2020-2

The Frame: Built for the descent

The all-new Kenevo frame uses Specialized side-arm technology, originally seen on the latest revision of the Stumpjumper and later the critically acclaimed Turbo Levo. The side-arm design has a host of benefits for the Kenevo, allowing the weight to be dropped around 1kg without sacrificing stiffness or robustness. Side-arm works much like the X-wing design seen on the Kenevo and previous Enduro models, creating a sturdy frame that reduces stress on the headtube/downtube join all whilst keeping a low, easily manoeuvrable standover height.

Kenevo-2020-5

The frames design allows for excellent integration of the electric components whilst keeping the weight low in the frame, which sees a fully integrated battery in the bikes downtube alongside the compact Specialized 2.1 motor. In a nutshell the 2020 Kenevo’s stiff, lightweight frame and low centre of gravity allow for more desirable ride characteristics when it comes to the bike’s main objective of descending. More airtime, more speed, more fun.

Geometry: Behind the numbers

The 2020 Kenevo sports some pretty “out there” numbers, with an adjustable 64-degree head angle, short seat tube lengths and mighty long wheelbase it is pretty on the mark when it comes to progressive geometry – but how does that impact the ride? Slack head angles are all the rage, building confidence and reducing the chances of an over the bars crash by keeping your weight further back from the axle. When it gets steep these angles truly come into their own and are a perfect pairing for the Kenevo’s rowdy intentions. A slack head angle also increases the wheelbase length, which when paired with the long reach measurements on offer with the Kenevo gives a predictable, stable ride on rougher terrain that pushes you to let off the brakes and to let the bike do the work.

Shop the new Kenevo

Kenevo-2020-4

Motor & Battery

The magnesium cased 2.1 Brose motor provides ample power for any climb, whilst also being 15% smaller and 400g lighter than the previous edition. A range of three power modes and optional shuttle mode mean the Kenevo can get you to the top of the most remote ascents, with shuttle mode engaging all 100% of peak power to get you to the downhill runs as quickly as an uplift truck. Battery wise the Kenevo Comp comes with a high capacity 500wh battery, with the Expert model receiving the 700wh monster seen on the S-Works Turbo Levo. Specialized’s free Mission Control app allows you to customise power levels with Infinite Tune and to even control your range with their Smart Control feature.

Suspension: Made for bombing steeps

Whilst it might not resemble the visuals of the latest Enduro, the 2020 Kenevo shares a lot in common with Specialized’s latest and greatest analogue bike when it comes to suspension kinematics. The 2020 Enduro, Demo and Kenevo share similar axle paths and leverage ratios designed to excel in aggressive enduro and bike-park riding. This benefits the rider by allowing the axle path to move backwards as the suspension compresses, meaning the bike better carries speed through square edged hits. This reduces the forces that slow the bike down with less hang-up in rough terrain, a feature perfectly suited to the increased weight of an E-MTB.

Kenevo-2020-3

As the Kenevo moves through the 130mm travel mark the suspension ramps up and becomes increasingly progressive, giving increased bottom out protection for heavy landings that is well suited to the extra weight of battery and motor. This makes the Kenevo well suited for coil shocks, with the Comp and Expert models coming equipped with a Marzocchi Bomber CR & Super Deluxe Coil respectively. Coil shocks have an incredibly supple and “ground-hugging” feel, requiring less breakaway force to activate than an equivalent air shock, providing grip in the situations when it is most needed. Both the Comp and Expert come with burly forks to match – the Expert even has a custom 180mm travel Rockshox Boxxer dual-crown fork to further increase stiffness!

Overview

  • Stiffer, lighter frame
  • Enclosed 500/700Wh battery keeps out the elements
  • Remote control panel in top tube - 3 base modes with an extra 2 modes accessible through the Mission Control app
  • Longer, lower, slacker geometry
  • 180mm Travel in both front and rear
  • Adjustable geometry via the flip chip
  • Magnesium cased Brose 2.1 motor

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