I recently bought the entry-level Specialized Turbo Levo in carbon. It was that sale price that got me. $5,000 for an eMTB seemed like a reasonable amount. For someone on the fence, how could you say no? With post-pandemic overstock levels, they’ve been on sale this summer, and given how expensive e-bikes are, it’s unlikely discounts of this level will come around again. (turns out I was very wrong in regards to this build kit)
Unfortunately, I find myself wishing I had spent a bit more and selected the Turbo Levo Comp Carbon.
$5,000 for a carbon Turbo Levo? Sold…
The Specialized Turbo Levo S-Works eMTB sells for over $15,000. That is a lot of money for a bicycle, motorized or not. There is no way I would personally ever spend that much on a single bicycle. I’d rather have a garage full of less expensive bikes.
At $5,100, there was finally a Carbon Turbo Levo at the price I was willing to pay, and I was ready to pull the trigger. In hindsight though, I should have spent a bit more time considering the next model in the lineup, the Turbo Levo Comp Carbon, (a bike I’ve ridden, as my brother owns one) which was also on sale (from $9,000) for $6,749.
Alternatively, the Turbo Levo Comp Carbon in alloy would have been a more affordable option. But… carbon.
The parts it came equipped with in to meet the lower retail price are lackluster. That was expected, and I planned to replace them all. The regrets come from the two components that aren’t so easy to replace — the TCU and the battery.
Turbo Levo Carbon vs Turbo Levo Carbon Comp — Buyer’s Remorse is real
I could have taken home the Turbo Levo Comp Carbon for another $1,650. Though it was the $5k price tag that convinced me it was finally the time to buy, I wish I had spent a bit more time considering my options.
The most important upgrades from the base Turbo Levo Carbon are the TCU unit and a 700 Wh battery, (from the 500 Wh battery) which appear to be carry-over components from the generation 2 Levo.
Buying the 700 Wh Turbo Levo Gen 3 battery pack sells for $1,299. The MasterMind TCU would cost you even more. IF you could upgrade to it, which from my understanding, would require also replacing a host of other wiring components – basically everyone I’ve asked about it, saidDon’t’t do it.”
It’s not that bad
On the bright side, having been on long all-day rides with my brother astride his Turbo Levo Comp, there’s no perceptible performance difference between the two TCU units other than I don’t have the bells and whistles. I don’t get a speedometer, (which I miss from my Norco Sight VLT) but I could always add an aftermarket unit.
The big differences between the two models on the trail come down to the 500 Wh battery vs the 700. On a big ride, I need to pay attention to how much I’m using boost mode and work a bit harder in order to end the ride with the same amount of power.
Ironically, my brother and I were recently leading an e-bike ride on ATCA at MBO (we’re Ride Guides for MBO) with several riders who were on demo eMTBs from a competing brand. Even with my 500Wh battery, I made it back to camp with a bar to spare. My brother on his comp carbon with the 700Wh had about the same but had been enjoying boost mode far more often. Two of the riders astride the other brand ran out of battery; we did not.
So while I’m feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse, (I’m still paying down the bike as I financed it) I’m glad I have the bike — after I replaced well, everything —it’s super fun to ride. And I probably wouldn’t have pulled the trigger for a seven thousand + dollar e-bike, as I still have sticker shock with that number.