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Can an E-bike improve your favourite ride?

Words by Harry Archer

on 04/06/2018 16:41:56


Should I tell you I like it? E-Bike confessions from #TeamRutland Rider Archie. Find out more about Archie >

This blog originally appeared here.

I’m not a fan of E-Bikes. Well, let me rephrase that. I wasn’t a fan of E-Bikes, until life got in the way. Let me explain…

When away for a weekend with friends to catch up, cycling, though on the list, wasn’t the only thing we had planned. Not to say biking isn’t social, however socialising, amongst other bits, meant the time we had to cycle was a couple of hours max. With the weather forecast threatening thunder and lightning, by the time 2 o’clock came around we were ready to go, but my riding window was getting smaller and smaller! Plus, that long game of Monopoly that went into the early hours the night before and the bowl of cornflakes in the morning meant I was hardly on my ‘A game’! So the picture I’m attempting to paint is the lack of time and also lack of any general ride prep was about to hinder my ride. But I hadn’t been for a good ride in ages, so I was dying to get a good circuit in – and this time it was at my midlands favourite, Cannock Chase, the Monkey Loop.

Luckily for me, Rutland Cycling had graciously lent me the new 2018 Specialized Turbo Levo FSR comp carbon 6fattie for the trip weekend. And this is where the whole concept of E-Bikes starts to make sense; its convenience. When you’re tired, not fuelled properly, but still want to have a good ride, I defy you to not agree with the concept. Even if I wasn’t tired and had eaten a hearty breakfast, the E-Bike still makes sense. Here’s why;


If you like to ride, you can ride for longer on an E-Bike. Furthermore, if you like to ride fast, you can ride even faster on an E-Bike. Generally, if you like riding full stop, you’ll like an E-Bike. If you are some kind of purist however and think this is all terribly wrong, please move aside and resign yourself to history, as progression is heading in the E-Bikes direction. Sorry mate.

So, if you're thinking about getting one, which E-Bike should you chose? Well, I’ve ridden a few in my time now. A Trek Superfly, Cannondale Moterra and Bergamont E-Trailster. If I’m honest with you, they felt like tanks and though the Trek was by far the best I’d take my mechanical bike any day of the week.

One of the biggest turn offs I got was the power delivery of the electric motor. Too often you rotated the cranks only slightly, either to put half a crank in or just to resettle your feet position, and then the electric motor would kick in but after about a second delay, so you end up mid-corner and being pushed out and into that rather hard looking tree. The Levo, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. First and foremost you never really noticed any delay in power. Reading up after I rode the thing, Specialized claim “Our motor is the only one on the market to feature instant engagement with the pedals, so you’ll be able to call for extra power exactly when you need it.” and it honestly feels like it.


The second turnoff was the handling. If you are used to riding something light and agile, you’ll immediately notice you lose that fine feel you get when riding an E-bike. That’s due to their additional weight from reinforced components and the like. The Levo, though light in its class,is heavy overall – circa 20kg. However, the crucial difference between the Levo sand its competitors is that instead of feeling sluggish, the extra weight you get adds grip, which means that you’ll be able to carry that additional speed around the corners, as well as on those straights. Not only that, the extra weight also keeps you nicely planted, a term more associated with cars than a push bike, but in practice means you can smash your way down with increased confidence, so when you need to turn, brake or pedal, they’ll be no interruption in service.

Though I only had two hours, the end result was a truly engaging and awesome ride. Uphill sections became enjoyable, no longer a means to an end, with technical features once a hindrance, now another feature to hit. Oh and those side offshoots you once thought would be cool to explore but didn’t have the time. Well, now you do. And finally, the descents. With the added grip and power, those descents go from being good, to great. You’re now riding at 120% as opposed to 100%. You’re powering out of every turn, Smashing every jump, Braking late, yet still had more grip and braking power left over. Oh and your BPM – you’re still trying as hard as ever (mine was circa 180BPM) but instead of doing 10mph, you’re doing 20mph, everywhere. If you like mountain biking, I don’t see how you wouldn’t enjoy the Specialized Turbo Levo. It made my rather less than ideal situation, a great one. That would not have happened on my normal bike for sure. So E-Bikes are rubbish then? HA, not a chance.

The Bike

In short, I’m sold. The riding experience was absolutely on point, and though different to my lightweight bike, brought its own enjoyable character to the table.


Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp Carbon 2018 6Fattie

With a carbon frame, making a 450-gram weight saving over the standard Comp and a new and improved motor, the Turbo Levo makes light work of the steepest of terrain.

  • Frame - FACT 9m carbon chassis / M5 Alloy rear triangle
  • Fork - RockShox Revelation RC, 150mm travel
  • Shock - RockShox Monarch RT, 135mm travel
  • Drivetrain - SRAM GX 11-Speed
  • Brakes - SRAM Guide RE
  • Motor - Specialized 1.3, Rx Trail-tuned motor, 250W
  • Battery - Specialized M1-504, integrated Trail Display, 504Wh, Mission Control App connectivity
Shop the current Turbo Levo range >


With its 2.8in Butcher tyres front and back creating a larger font print for extra grip and extra lean, the new slacker carbon Levo frame has the basics covered for a good ride. Added to that, a RockShox Revelation RC 6Fatti fork up front with 150mm travel and a Rockshox Monarch RT, Rx Trail Tune with 150mm, means you’ve got the firepower to not worry about much. The tune on both was good, with little to no pedal bob. It pedalled very efficiently even when the battery wasn’t turned on (yes it’s not that heavy to pedal if you ran out of juice). On the battery front, the battery is housed within the carbon frame which looks wise leaves the bike looking clean. It also lasted long too; with two hours around the Monkey only knocking off one charge bar down from its 5 in total – so rough maths suggests its good for a 10 hour Cannock Chase loop! Maybe later…

Other than that, the Levo felt like a quality piece of engineering, made around its power unit and battery from the start, making it ride like a proper, lower centre of gravity mountain bike designed around fun, not just cheating hills. Talking of power units, the bike had 3 settings. Turbo, which as the name suggests gave you thumping great waves of torque for those really, really steep climbs, a medium level which was fine but personally I settled for the lowest setting as this level fills those energy troughs without making a mockery of hills – a nice balance and a very impressive power unit indeed.

Archie Davies

Instagram: agravityman

Blog: A Gravity Man

Riding a bike started out for me with racing my brother round the patio, to now evolving to regular trips to Wales for all day epics. Mountain biking has been with me for pretty much all my life and so has Rutland Cycling from an early age, fuelling my growing addiction for more bikes and gear. As the saying goes, all things that go up, must come down, with the down being important. From Downhill to Trail, it’s all about those descents. Keep your fingers off the brakes, pop those jumps and rail those berms. Let’s not kid about, climbing is a means to an end. So be it the sandy berms of Chicksands to the rocky outcrops of Anton Stiniog, it’s time to point the bike downhill and let that adrenaline flow! So, with fatherhood on the horizon I’ve got just enough time to see the sights, ride the bikes and get as much done as possible. Luckily Rutland Cycling are here to assist again in my final push. It’s time to clip in.

Find Your Nearest Rutland Cycling Store

You can browse our extensive range of Electric Bikes online, at one of our stores or by visiting one of our dedicated E-bike specialist locations where you'll have the opportunity to test ride, ask questions and learn more about the e-revolution!